FWD vs. AWD



Are you looking at a new car for the family and confused by the terms FWD (front-wheel drive) and AWD (all-wheel drive)? This article is going to pit FWD vs AWD by explaining the ins and outs of these two drivetrain layouts, such as what their differences are, how these differences affect a vehicle’s real-world performance, and so on.

Front-Wheel Drive

Front-wheel drive is a term used to describe a drive train in which the front-wheels of a vehicle receive power from the engine. Almost all new cars today are front-wheel drive vehicles. This configuration comes with many benefits such as reduced oversteer (oversteer is when the rear end of a car slides out which results in a much tighter turn than expected), better climbing capabilities, and better performance in slippery situations. Manufacturers prefer manufacturing front-wheel-drive cars because this configuration utilizes space better and is cheaper to manufacture.

All-Wheel Drive

Many people use the terms all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive interchangeably. While there are some similarities between the two drivetrains, you can think of four-wheel drive as a more robust all-wheel drive. All-wheel drive drivetrains work by always being engaged and analyzing traction conditions to deliver different amounts of power to the axles. If the system detects less traction in one axle, it will compensate for this by sending more power to the other axle.

Different manufacturers utilize different all-wheel-drive systems. Some systems send a minimum of 20% of the engine’s output to the rear axle with more power being sent if required. Other all-wheel-drive systems might send power to the front axle while ignoring the rear axle. If the system detects a loss in traction, the system will redirect the engine’s output to the rear. All-wheel drive drivetrains are excellent in off-road conditions that aren’t too demanding.

If you live in Charlotte, Concord, or Rock Hill and would like to know more about the front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive drivetrains, head over to the Capital CDJR of Indian Trail dealership in Monroe, NC. Our staff will be happy to answer any questions you have about the two drivetrains as well as demonstrate the differences between the two.

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