Edmunds Answers



  • nate4924 06/10/08 12:49 pm PST

    there is a big difference between awd and fwd. Front wheel drive will only put power to the front wheels. This is considered better than rear wheel drive for driving in inclement weather because the weight of the engine is over the drive wheels therefore giving them better traction.

    All wheel drive on the other hand will send power to the wheels with the best grip when traction is needed. depending on the manufacturer and the vehicle some are set up for mainly front wheel and some are set up for mainly rear wheel. they will all transfer power as the wheels that primarily get power begin to slip. The power can be transfer to specific wheels or all four.

    A lot of FWD and AWD vehicles have both ESC and TCS. TCS is one of the many components in stability control systems. All wheel drives tend to handle better as they are able to transfer power and as a result usually have less understeer. because of the weight over the drive wheels in FWD the vehicle will have a tendency to "push" towards the outside of a turn. stability control will certainly help in this situation by cutting power to the wheels and braking individual tires. but won't be as effective as AWD.

  • texases 06/10/08 12:56 pm PST

    Nate's aswer is good. I'd just add that, IMO, AWD really becomes useful if you have to deal with a lot of snow and ice. Nothing beats AWD+snow tires in that case. Otherwise, it's not worth the complexity to me. I drove FWD in Anchorage 12 years, never got stuck.

  • Stever@Edmunds 06/10/08 1:47 pm PST

    Texases is a better driver than me - I drove FWD cars for 20 years in Anchorage and got stuck twice. But I saw a lot of AWD and 4WDs stuck over the years up there too. Slowing down and having good tires makes up for a lot of safety equipment.

    I still drive FWD but added an AWD car to the garage a few years ago down here in Boise. AWD does help going uphill in snow on the powder days. Otherwise I'm fine with FWD. Traction and/or stability control would be an added bonus.


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