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What type of drive choose when buing a car

Updated on February 17, 2011

Cars have three types of drives :

-front wheel drive

-rear wheel drive

-all wheel drive

In this article I want to describe all wheel drive (AWD or 4WD) and give you good reasons to buy a car with that solution.

In past the 4WD was used in off-road cars like Nissan Patrol, Mitsubishi Pajero, Jeep Wrangler etc. But in 80’s companies start to put four wheel drive to everyday cars(compacts, hatchbags etc). The best example is Subaru Impreza.


Main difference between classic drives (front, rear wheels) and 4WD is number of wheels that takes power and torque from engine. When you have 4WD all four wheels are responsible for acceleration. It cause many problems. First is that when car’s turning each wheel have different way to go. To avoid that problem manufacturers use differential systems. In front or rear wheel drive there is only one differential (because only 2 wheels are stick to the ground). With 4WD thins start to bit little tricky. Front wheels and rear wheels need to have own differential each and also, if you want to drive with 4WD on tarmac there is necessary to mount central differential.

But thing about classic off-road cars. When you drive on loose terrain like mud or stones it is often good to block differential. Manufacturers often put differential lock button in car. When you use it the differential is locked and wheel on that differential start to roll with same speed. It is very useful in terrain.

But what influence have 4WD for usual, street driving. First of all car with 4WD have better grip on wet surface. Especially on snow and heavy rain. They have better acceleration and overall handling. Cars with 4WD burn more petrol for driving. They also use tires a little but faster then FWD or RWD. But overall, in my opinion 4WD cars are better then FWD or RWD. The main cause is that they are much safer. So if you going to buy a car and have a option to choose 4WD I suggest to do that.


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