Which is better front or rear wheel drive

Every experienced motorist has their own opinion on which drive is better: front or rear? In fact, each of the layouts has its pros and cons, and in many respects, therefore, the question of which one should be preferred depends on the conditions and specifics of using the car.

Historically, almost all of the very first car models were equipped with a rear wheel drive, and it was chain, that is, almost the same as a bicycle, therefore, to implement this type of drive on the front, turning wheels, was problematic enough. A little later, instead of a chain, a cardan shaft was used, a "classic" rear-wheel drive appeared, which dominated the design of cars until the 80s of the last century.

The first production car with front-wheel drive was produced in the United States in 1929, but it was not very popular then. This type of layout of the main units became widespread only in the second half of the last century, and now the overwhelming majority of passenger cars have front-wheel drive. Nevertheless, a number of rear-wheel drive models are also successfully produced, which mainly belong to the executive class. It makes sense to understand what are the features, advantages and disadvantages of each type of drive.

Features of rear wheel drive

In rear wheel drive vehicles, the engine is installed in the front of the cars, followed by the gearbox, and from it to the rear the axle is followed by a propeller shaft, which transmits the torque to the drive wheels, which are driven from the rear axle. It houses the differential. To figure out which is better, front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive, consider the main pros and cons of both options.

Rear-wheel drive vehicle layout.

Advantages of the rear-wheel drive

One of the most significant advantages of the rear-wheel drive layout is that the mass of all units is distributed along the axles most evenly. Ideally, it should be 50% to 50%, and some manufacturers of rear-wheel drive cars (for example, the famous German concern BMW) claim that they manage to achieve either just such a "weight distribution", or very close to it.

Another significant advantage of rear-wheel drive is that vehicles equipped with it have significantly more free space under the hood than front-wheel drive vehicles. The reason is that the main units in them are fairly evenly distributed along the body. This provides more free and convenient access to them, greatly facilitating maintenance.

The transmission of torque is carried out to the rear wheels, and in such machines significantly less vibration from the power unit is transmitted to the steering wheel. Since there are no CV joints in the front suspension, their angle of rotation is approximately 10% greater than that of cars with front-wheel drive. This has a positive effect on agility and handling. In addition, rear-wheel drive vehicles have slightly better acceleration dynamics than front-wheel drive vehicles. The fact is that, according to the laws of physics, when accelerating, the rear axle is more loaded, so the drive wheels are pressed more tightly against the road surface and slip less.

Disadvantages of rear-wheel drive

One of the most significant disadvantages of rear-wheel drive cars is that they are more expensive to manufacture than cars with front-wheel drive, which naturally affects their price. In their design, there are significantly more individual components and assemblies, which must, moreover, be correctly mounted, checked, etc.

The downside is also a rather complex rear axle design. This means, among other things, that it is necessary to monitor its condition, to carry out its regular maintenance.

Finally, one of the biggest disadvantages of rear-wheel drive vehicles is that they are less stable on the road than front-wheel drive vehicles. It should be noted that leading manufacturers are trying to compensate for this shortcoming by installing various additional stabilization systems (and, by the way, quite successfully), but this significantly increases the cost of machines.

Finally, the propeller shaft of rear-wheel drive vehicles will mix up the useful volume of the passenger compartment: it is located in a ledge that runs along it. In addition, the rear axle, due to its rather significant size, “eats up” part of the volume that the trunk usually occupies in a front-wheel drive configuration.

Features of the front drive

parts of the car. From the differential, located in a single housing with the gearbox, the transmission exits equipped with CV joints follow to the wheels. It is through these structural elements that the transmission of torque is carried out. Thus, in the design of front-wheel drive vehicles there is no propeller shaft and rear axle.

Vehicle layout with front-wheel drive

Advantages of front-wheel drive

Front-wheel drive is essential cheaper to manufacture than rear. This plus makes cars equipped with it, much more affordable than rear-wheel drive. In addition, their design is significantly simpler, which means higher reliability and lower maintenance costs.


A significant advantage of the front-wheel drive is that, unlike the rear axle, it does not use oil, there are no oil seals. In a car equipped with it, in the cold, you can hit the road in normal mode immediately after the engine is warmed up.

The most important advantage of front-wheel drive vehicles is their great stability on the road. In addition, as practice shows, in most cases, their cross-country ability is higher than that of rear-wheel drive models. Finally, due to the absence of a universal joint niche and a rear axle, their cabins and trunks are more spacious and roomy.

Disadvantages of front-wheel drive

Under the hoods of front-wheel-drive cars there is significantly less space than under the hoods of rear-wheel-drive cars due to the greater concentration of units.

A significant disadvantage of almost all front-wheel drive vehicles is that their weight is unevenly distributed along the axes (the front is under heavy load). Therefore, in turns they are often "led" to the side. This is especially evident when driving on slippery surfaces.

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Some conclusions

almost impossible. In each individual case, when choosing a car, each motorist must decide this issue, depending on a number of factors.

One of the most important of these is the price. As mentioned above, inexpensive modern rear-wheel drive cars simply do not exist. That is why many people buy front-wheel drive cars.

If acceleration is especially important for the driver, then it is still better to prefer a car with rear wheel drive. Those who wish to have a car with good stability on the road surface, it is better to prefer the front wheel drive model. Moreover, it will be cheaper to maintain.

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