Characteristics of Rear-Wheel-Drive Cars
Considering this particular classification is not limited by body style, finding similarities between the various RWD car models might seem like an exercise in futility. However, there are some factors you should be on the lookout for to get the best deal.
- Performance: More often than not, RWD cars come equipped with potent engines. Just think of the traditional American muscle cars and spicy coupes. This makes sense when you consider that these are meant to be driver’s cars. Acceleration is quicker than you’ll find in front-wheel-driven cars, but this can also be overwhelming for inexperienced drivers.
- Handling: This a double-edged sword as sending power to the rear wheels can enhance the feeling of control over the vehicle, but if the road is wet or you’re driving in snow, handling is severely compromised. This can lead to unintentional drifting. With a bit of practice, though, these cars are extremely enjoyable to pilot and intentional drifting becomes a delight.
- Practicality: Depending on the body style, these cars are no less practical than any other. However, since the dominant wheels are so far from the engine, a complex drivetrain needs to connect the two. This usually runs down the middle of car and creates a tunnel in the cabin that can restrict legroom a bit, especially for the middle-rear passenger
- Price: Due to their more complex construction and penchant for higher performance, new rear-wheel-drive cars are generally more expensive than FWD variants. They are also less fuel efficient. Most shoppers will consider this a small price to pay for the excitement these cars bring.
What to Consider When Buying a RWD Car
Even the best RWD car may not be the right choice for you. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons against the various other body style and drivetrain setups available to see which fits your lifestyle and habitat the best.
- Lively powertrains are the norm
- Quick acceleration times
- Engaging handling
- Not as heavy as AWD cars
- Easy access to driveline components
- Can tow heavy loads
- Handling is compromised in wet or slippery road conditions
- Not always as cheap as a FWD vehicle
- Less fuel efficient than FWD, but still better than AWD
- Potentially reduced practicality
What is the best RWD vehicle?
There are plenty of great cars with rear-wheel drivetrains spread throughout the various different body styles. Most of the popular trucks like the Ford F-150, use RWD as standard, with 4x4 as an option. High-peroformance coupes are almost all RWD, like the Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang. Luxurious executive sedans like the BMW 8 Series also start out as RWD before upgrading to AWD on upper trim levels.
Are there any affordable rear-wheel-drive cars?
Though they may cost more than your typical FWD car, there are plenty of highly affordable RWD vehicles. Most of the pony cars, like the Dodge Charger and Ford Mustang, are reasonably priced while still offering a thrilling driving experience and great daily practicality. Roadsters like the Mazda MX-5 is reasonably priced and one of the most fun cars to drive.
Do RWD cars get good gas mileage?
RWD cars are more efficient than comparitively heavier AWD cars, but not as frugal as FWD variants, which are often the lightest. Rear-wheel drive is often the configuration fo choice for certain sports cars and roadsters, all of which aim to be thrilling to drive - thus, they don’t focus on the economy, but rather driving pleasure.