What Are The Differences Between Front Wheel Drive And Rear Wheel Drive?

by Mohammed Burman | 28/05/2020
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While both front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive are drivetrain options of cars, they bear some significant differences from each other. Let’s discover them with us in this article.

A drivetrain system is a series of parts in an automobile which work together to make the wheels spin. While the four-wheel drive system has long been well-known for its great off-road capabilities, which make it highly suitable for rough roads in India, most cars nowadays come with a 2WD system in which power is spread either to the front wheels (front-wheel drive) or the rear wheels (rear-wheel drive).  In this article, we will discuss the differences between front-wheel drive (FWD) and rear-wheel drive (RWD) systems in terms of what they are and what are their pros and cons.

fwd vs rwd featured

What are FWD and RWD?

In cars with an FWD system, power is spread to the two front wheels, which make the vehicle move and steer. This type of drivetrain system is more affordable and less space-consuming than the RWD system.

In the meanwhile, an RWD system sends the power to the rear wheels. It comes with quite a few advantages such as more efficient acceleration, braking and handling.

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What are the advantages and disadvantages of FWD and RWD?

Front-Wheel Drive

Pros

  • The motor and transmission are directly positioned above the front wheels. This can supply more traction for the car to climb hills and drive on slippery roads more efficiently.

  • More space is created in the rear of the vehicle since all the equipment is located in the front.

  • Front-wheel drive is one of the drivetrain systems which requires the fewest elements, helping the car weigh lighter, thereby enhancing its fuel mileage. This is the reason why most cars which focus on fuel mileage come with an FWD system.

  • Greater tactile feedback through the driving wheel can be created if the wheel is slipping.

  • Most modern FWD systems come with ABS and traction control, making them greatly suitable for dry, rainy and snowy conditions.

  • Front-wheel drive is a simple system, which requires less money and effort to purchase and maintain.

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Cons

  • Because all the weight are positioned in the front of the car, cars with an FWD system have a tendency to understeer.

  • FWD cars usually have lower capabilities than RWD cars.

  • The handling in FWD vehicles seems to be more difficult with all the weight located in the front.

  • During sudden acceleration, FWD cars often veer to the left or right due to torque steer.

  • FWD cars cannot accelerate as well as their RWD counterparts, which explains the fact that most performance cars come with an RWD system.

  • CV joints/boots in FWD vehicles tend to be damaged sooner than those in RWD ones.

honda civic front three quarters

The Honda Civic is available with an FWD system, which makes it suitable for city commute.

Rear Wheel Drive

Pros

  • During dry weather, an RWD system offers easier handling, thanks to load transfer in acceleration and more weight distribution.

  • Steering is much simpler because the rear wheels are supplying the power while the front wheels are steering.

  • Torque steer which is what FWD system often experiences during acceleration is absent in RWD one.

  • Drifting is easier in a car with an RWD system than the one with an FWD.

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Cons

  • The interior and boot space in an RWD car is much less amber than that in an FWD car since more room is required for the engine, transmission and other equipment.

  • The driveshaft which connects the front motor to the rear axle gives the car a greater weight, which makes an RWD car weigh slightly more than an FWD car.

  • RWD requires additional materials, which means that a car with this system is often more expensive than its FWD counterpart.

  • Instead of pulling the car, RWD system pushes it; therefore, you will be faced with more difficulties in handling the car in snowy and wet conditions. Thanks to modern safety equipment like traction control and stability, this drawback has been considerably reduced.

toyota fortuner front three quarters

Being offered with an RWD system, the Toyota Fortuner offers much fun to drive with.

Above are some differences between front wheel drive and rear wheel drive systems. Generally, each system has its own benefits and drawbacks. We hope that after reading this article, you are clearer about these two drivetrain options. You are always recommended to consider everything carefully, both subjective and objective ones such as your demands, interests and budget as well as the weather conditions in your area, etc. before making the final decision on which drivetrain option to invest in.

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