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Whats the difference between FWD, RWD, AWD, and 4WD?

5506 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  jonestown
Personally I only learned about some of the differences recently. Its not as simple as everyone thinks. Its pretty useful information when you're buying a car based on your needs rather than buying a car based no your wants. The link has the full article and its definitely a good read for any driver. Even if you're not buying a new car anytime soon.

FWD, RWD, AWD and 4WD: What’s The Difference And Why Should I Care?
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Pretty nice article. All this time I thought 4WD and AWD were the same. Didn't realize there was a huge difference between the two.
I've always felt that a small, lightweight FWD car was best in snow. I once had a job where we had to drive up a steep road to work in winter. Only the small FWD cars could make it. RWD cars and 4WD trucks could forget about it.

Not only is FWD best for engine efficiency (no driveshaft losses), but it's safest to have the mass of the engine/transmission up front to absorb the impact of a crash. Mid-engine cars have the best weight balance, but a small FWD car can approach ideal weight balance because the driver/passenger weight is a bigger percentage of the total weight.
Good article. I was always taught that AWD helps you drive better in wet conditions.
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