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March 27, 2017

Driving Dilemma, Part II
Which is better, front wheel drive or rear wheel drive?

Part II. The case for rear wheel drive (RWD).

Despite its overwhelming popularity with automakers, FWD has some disadvantages. Putting the stress of powering, steering and braking on only two wheels can lead to earlier and more expensive repairs. In addition, handling and acceleration suffer because the rear wheels are literally powerless to help.

On the other hand, rear wheel drive:
  • Improves performance because as a vehicle moves forward, the carís weight shifts rearward and presses down on the drive wheels.
  • Eliminates "torque steer,Ē a condition where the steering is affected by surges of power.
  • Provides safer handling because the rear wheels can be used to help control the car through cornering with judicious use of the accelerator.
This does not mean that RWD is the perfect power lash-up either. This front-to-back configuration requires a driveshaft and a differential to get the power from engine to rear wheels. Result: more weight, more cost, plus (I mean minus) a loss of horsepower to operate these extra components.

So whatís the bottom line with FWD vs. RWD? Each has good and not so good qualities, but fortunately neither has any serious drawbacks. So, to each their own.


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