Before I get into the FWD vs RWD debate I should give a brief description of the two drivetrains and their
Front wheel drive vehicles as the name implies are driven by the front wheels meaning that the front
wheels receive the torque from the engine and drives the vehicle.
The usual design starts with the engine and transaxle being mounted transversely
(length of engine from left to right) in the vehicle. The transmission and
differential is contained within the transaxle and the wheels are driven
directly form the transmission.
Rear wheel drive vehicles are driven by the rear wheels meaning that the rear wheels receive the torque
from the engine and drives the vehicle.
The usual design starts with the engine and transmission being mounted longitudinally (length of engine from front
to rear) in the vehicle. There is a long shaft called a driveshaft that runs from the transmission to the center of the rear
wheels where a differential splits the torque and sends it to the rear wheels through two shafts.
Over 80% of passenger vehicles have front wheel drive layouts/platforms and
there is a good reason for that.
A front wheel drive vehicle will be cheaper to manufacture when compared with a rear wheel drive vehicle with
similar technology and driving features resulting in a cheaper overall vehicle. That is why most or maybe all economy cars
are now made with front wheel drive.
Front wheel drive vehicles provide better traction on slippery surfaces as the weight
of the engine and transmission is over the driven wheels but advances in technology have reduced that advantage.
Front Wheel Drive vehicles are usually more spacious for their size as a transversly mounted drivetrain uses less
space so the rest of it can be used for passenger and cargo space.
Rear wheel drive vehicles benefit from better weight distribution as the drivetrain runs along the length of the
vehicle and transfers some weight to the rear of the vehicle. Better weight distribution improves handling.
Rear wheel drive provides more balance overall for a vehicle. In a front wheel drive the front tyres handles the
accelerating, steering, and most of the braking and all these tasks require traction.
A rear wheel drive does its accelerating from the rear wheels allowing the four wheels to have more balance in functionality.
Rear wheel drive/longitudional platforms facilitate larger amounts of horsepower and
torque as (1) the front wheels can only handle so much power while it also steers and (2) it is
difficult to fit an engine larger than a six cylinder in a transverse layout.
This means that any premium/ultra luxury vehicle, any reputable truck/pick up, proper
sports car or any vehicle that has to offer a V8 engine or higher cannot use the FWD
The conclusion to the front wheel drive vs rear wheel drive debate (FWD vs RWD) is that FWD is much better suited for
general purpose vehicles and RWD is better suited for vehicles that are intended for a specific intention that puts it beyond