You’ve probably seen rear-wheel drive (RWD) cars like the Ford Mustang or Chrysler 300 tolls on a snowy highway. Loss of traction is no joke, and RWD can cause a spin in challenging conditions. But before you search exclusively for four-wheel drive (AWD) cars, what about the front-wheel drive (FWD) options for your winter driver? Is FWD good in the snow or tricky road conditions?
What is FWD?
Front-wheel drive, or FWD, does exactly as described. Instead of a driveshaft sending power to the rear wheels from a front engine, FWD cars drive their front wheels to “pull” the car instead of pushing it with rear-wheel drive. In addition, most fuel-efficient cars on the road today use FWD to move. Better yet, front-wheel drive cars don’t use components to drive the rear wheels, which: American news suggests there is more room for passengers and cargo in modern FWD vehicles.
Are FWD vehicles good in snow?
Front wheel drive applications tend to transfer their weight over the front wheels, where the engine is located. As a result, FWD vehicles tend to “claw their way” through inclement weather such as snow and rain, more so than RWD. In addition, the co-location of the car’s weight and propulsion provides better traction in challenging road conditions. However, RWD tends to behave better in a fair weather performance application than FWD.
Which is better in the snow, AWD or FWD?
AWD has many beneficial properties. First, today’s AWD applications are typically intelligent enough to detect when and where wheels need the power to maintain traction. As a result, all-wheel drive vehicles outperform RWD and FWD in low-friction conditions, such as rain, snow and ice. In addition, many modern AWD cars such as the Volkswagen Golf R use their platforms to start much harder than FWD applications.
Of course, many vehicles with AWD offer it as an optional upgrade from a FWD base. For example, the Toyota Avalon offers AWD, but TrueCar says it was an option on the XLE and Limited trim levels.
What’s wrong with FWD?
Front-wheel drive does have a few issues compared to AWD and FWD. First, the FWD vehicles steer and put the power down with the front wheels. As a result, FWD cars are often subject to steer and understeer. In addition, FWD applications are good in snow, but tend not to work as well as RWD in high speed applications.
Should you buy a front-wheel drive car or a four-wheel drive car?
If you live in an area with high amounts of snow and ice, four-wheel drive cars, crossovers, or SUVs may be better suited to your everyday driving needs. Also, many four-wheel drive trucks or SUVs are even better prepared for extreme weather. Either way, you need to make sure your severely winter-bound vehicle has suitable tires, such as special winter tires. However, if you live in a more hospitable climate with less snow and ice, then FWD will suffice.
What are some examples of good front-wheel drive cars?
Many of the most ubiquitous vehicles on the market are front-wheel drive. For example, the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Mazda3 are all good front-wheel drive cars. Scroll down to the next article to read about sensible vehicles.
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