Characteristics of Front-Wheel-Drive Cars
Since front-wheel-drive cars come in every shape and size imaginable, there aren’t a lot of similarities to be found. However, the drivetrain has some defining traits that transcend body style.
- Price: Being quicker and easier to build, with less complex systems, even the top front-wheel-dive cars are quite affordable. Many entry-level commuters come in this configuration to keep costs low.
- Traction: While FWD cars don’t have the four-corner traction of an all-wheel-drive car, the fact that the engine’s weight up front is directly over the drive wheels means it has good grip on slippery surfaces. FWD cars are better in the snow or on wet roads when compared to RWD vehicles.
- Practicality: Because there are no large, heavy rotating parts driving the rear wheels, there is more space inside for seating and cargo.
- Efficiency: Cars with front-wheel drivetrains weigh less and, therefore, manage to achieve good gas mileage.
What to Consider When Buying Cars With FWD
The list of FWD cars is long, and for every great option, there is a lemon or two you’ll want to avoid. It helps to check out the strengths and weaknesses of each before making a final decision, and we have some highlights when it comes to front-wheel-drive cars.
- Generally the most affordable configuration
- Better traction on slippery surfaces than RWD cars
- FWD design means more space inside for people and stuff
- Less weight improves fuel economy
- Propensity for torque steer
- Not the fastest accelerators
- May have a larger turning circle
- Can’t handle as much towing capacity as AWD cars
What are the best FWD cars?
Depending on what your expectations are, there are a number of fun, fuel-efficient, and comfortable FWD cars on the American market. The VW Golf GT is a thrilling hatchback, while the Honda Civic Type R has developed a cult following for its fun-to-drive nature. The Honda Accord, Mazda 3, and Acura TLX are superb FWD sedans.
Do front-wheel-drive cars have rear brakes?
Yes - all cars have front and rear brakes, although some front-wheel drive cars have drum brakes on the back rather than disc brakes.
Can an FWD car drift?
It is technically possible to drift an FWD car, but it requires quite a bit of skill, timing, and understanding of speed and weight transfer. Traditionally, RWD cars are far better suited to what is fast becoming a sport.