AWD vs. FWD | Dare to Compare | Lafayette, IN

 

You've probably heard about the desirable aspects of all-wheel drive (AWD), but most vehicles come with standard front-wheel drive (FWD). Today, however, this norm is shifting. Many vehicles now offer all-wheel drive as standard or available, with automakers offering all-wheel drive across its lineup, from sedans to full-size SUVs and pickup trucks. If you're shopping around for your next vehicle, you're likely wondering if you should get a vehicle with all-wheel drive and if it's worth the extra cost. Here's a brief guide to all-wheel drive (AWD) and front-wheel drive (FWD) to help you make the best possible decision for you and your on-road lifestyle.

What's the difference between AWD and FWD?

In brief, front-wheel drive (FWD) vehicles supply all the power from the engine to the front wheels, while all-wheel drive splits the power between the front and rear axles and supplies power to all four wheels.

Benefits of Front-Wheel Drive

Front-wheel drive isn't just the norm because it's technically a simpler system. Front-wheel drive systems are actually easier and cheaper to maintain. You won't only save money on maintenance, but also on gas, as front-wheel drive vehicles tend to have better fuel economy than all-wheel drive vehicles because they're lighter. Therefore, you'll save money initially when purchasing the vehicle and over time.

An interesting benefit of front-wheel drive vehicles is the fact that they tend to have better traction while climbing hills. This is due to the fact that they have heavier front ends with all the engine weight over the front wheels. The system also handles most general driving conditions well, including rain and light snow.

Benefits of All-Wheel Drive

Since all wheels are supplied power in an all-wheel drive system, they have better general traction, stability, and control than front-wheel drive vehicles. When a wheel starts to slip, the three other wheels are supplied torque to maintain traction. In front-wheel drive systems, if one wheel slips, you only have one other wheel that's supplied power to get the vehicle back under control.

All-wheel drives systems can often be customized to meet your needs, such as only operating part-time or operating in a particular way depending on the terrain you select using driver selectable modes. If you can turn off all-wheel drive and just drive in front-wheel drive, you'll have improved fuel economy. Additionally, many new all-wheel drive systems have intelligent capabilities that monitor the road and supply instant torque to maintain traction when needed, or use electric motors to enhance their all-wheel drive capabilities.

The main benefit of all-wheel drive is improved traction in snowy winter weather and general off-road conditions. If these driving conditions are likely for you, it's a good idea to consider all-wheel drive.

Here at Mike Raisor Automotive Group, you'll find a wide assortment of vehicles with both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive.

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