Front-Wheel Drive vs. Rear-Wheel Drive Vehicles

When you research on the net which is better, rear wheel or front-wheel drive vehicles, you will see a never-ending debate on the subject. Front and rear wheel cars have always had their advantages and disadvantages, depending on the scenario and how you use the car. During the 1970s, when fuel prices and interior space efficiency became large issues in the automotive industry, the front-wheel drive (FWD) car was introduced in order to address these issues.

Acceleration Power of the Vehicle

Front-wheel drive cars usually experience more lag in acceleration because the front wheels are handling both the acceleration and the steering of the car. All of this work is put on the front wheels making them less effective because they are doing two jobs at once. As compared to rear-wheel drive (RWD) cars, the rear wheels take care of the acceleration while the front wheels cover the steering. This makes it much more effective, resulting in better acceleration during takeoff.

Your Personal Handling

Depending on how you drive your car, FWD and RWD cars have their own handling characteristics. FWD cars have a tendency to under steer when you drive them hard into corners. Because of the car’s weight distribution, it takes more effort to turn the car rapidly. As for RWD cars, they have a tendency to over steer when attacking corners. This means is makes it easier for you to turn the car at high speeds. This is due to a more even weight distribution, making the car’s tail more aggressive when making turns.

Weight Distribution

Since FWD cars do not have a driveshaft running along the underside of the car they do not have a transaxle at the rear. This makes front-wheel drive cars heavier at the front than the rear, causing an uneven weight distribution. This can result in handling issues. As for RWD cars, since the transaxle is found at the rear in order to make the wheels spin, weight distribution is better, almost at 50/50, making for a more evenly weight distributed from to the front and the rear. This results in the car handling better and eases turning into corners at higher speeds. RWD cars therefore give you better control of the car making it easier for you to make it do what you want it to do.

Traction

Front-wheel drive cars generally have better traction than rear-wheel drive cars. This is due to the fact that the heavy engine is on top of the front tires, making them more planted on the ground. This is especially important in wet and slippery conditions where traction is very limited. Front-wheel drive cars also have less of a tendency to fishtail, where the rear of the car loses traction and swerves, but the front of the car remains planted on the ground. RWD drive cars have a more “slippery” feel when it comes to driving them, as compared to front-wheel drive cars.