Difference Between Front-Wheel Drive (FWD) And Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD)


Front Wheel Drive  

Front-wheel drive (FDW) is a form of engine transmission layout used in motor vehicles where the engine drives the front wheels only. The wave of front wheel drive began in earnest with the invasion of the Japanese brands, even those models sold in the US until the mid-1980s were predominantly rear-wheel drive. Most modern front-wheel drive vehicles feature a transverse engine, rather than conventional longitudinal engine arrangement generally found in rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel drive.

What You Need To Know About Front Wheel Drive

  • Given that all the weight is located in the front of the vehicle, front-wheel drive cars tend to understeer.
  • Front-wheel drive repairs and maintenance may cost more since they have to remove more parts for workable access.
  • Front-wheel drive has a lower towing capacity when compared to rear-wheel or 4WD/AWD drivetrains.
  • Front-wheel drive has a poor acceleration when compared to rear-wheel drive.
  • Given that all the weight is up front, handling/steering of front-wheel drive is more difficult.
  • Given that the engine and traction are located directly above the front-wheels, this provides a better stability and traction when climbing hills and driving on slippery roads or in wet conditions.  Also, modern front-wheel drive systems are equipped with an anti-lock-braking, making it most suitable for driving in snowy, dry and rainy conditions.
  • CV joints/boots in Front-wheel Drive vehicles tend to wear out within a relatively shortest time when compared to rear-wheel drive.
  • On slippery gradients, there is high understeer condition develops in front-wheel drive cars, something that is not desirable.
  • The clutch, gearbox and differential are usually made as one unit.
  • It is relatively difficult to drift with Front-wheel drive than rear-wheel drive. Though drifting is not recommended for most drivers.
  • Front-wheel drive, do not have a driveshaft connected to the front-wheel.
  • During sudden acceleration, front-wheel drive vehicles tend to veer to the right or left because of something known as ‘’torque steer’’.

Rear Wheel Drive (RDW)

Rear wheel drive is a form of engine transmission layout used in motor vehicles, where the engine drives the rear wheels only while front wheels handle all the steering.  Rear wheel drive is most commonly found on sport cars and performance sedans.

What You Need To Know About Rear Wheel Drive

  • Rear wheel drive weight of the vehicle is well balanced on all wheels due to the engine at the front and final assembly at rear.
  • Rear-wheel drive tends to have less costly maintenance since there are no as many parts packed into a small space.
  • Towing large loads is easier with rear-front wheel since the pulling are located closer to the load.
  • Rear-wheel drive has a much better acceleration when compared to front-wheel drive, which is the reason most sporty and race cars use rear-wheel drive.
  • Steering of rear-wheel drive is relatively easier since the back wheels are providing the power while the front wheels engage in the work of steering.
  • Given that rear-wheel drive pushes the car rather than pulls it, it is more difficult to navigate in wet and snowy conditions. Though with advancement in technology like stability and traction control, this problem has greatly been improved.
  • CV joints/boosts in Rear-wheel Drive tend to last relatively longer when compared to those of front-wheel drive.
  • On slippery gradients, there is less understeer condition.
  • The clutch and gearbox at the front are not made as a single unit.
  • Though drifting is not allowed for most drivers, it is easier to drift with rear-wheel-drive than Front-wheel-drive or all-wheel drive.
  • Rear-wheel drive has a driveshaft, which connects the front engine to the back axle. The driveshaft adds some significant weight and in this regard, rear-wheel drive weighs slightly more than front-wheel drive.
  • In Front-wheel drive, It is difficult for vehicles to veer to the right or left during acceleration a condition referred to as ‘’torque steer’’.

Also Read: Difference Between Ackermann Steering Gear And Davis Steering Gear