do front wheel drive cars suck?
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  1. #1
    Member Stanislav's Avatar
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    Default do front wheel drive cars suck?

    heya,

    been doing a bit of reading on differences between front wheel drives and rear,

    and it seems like there are a number of disadvantages with a front wheel drive set up like:

    *Center of gravity is shifted forward
    *Torque steer
    *Lack of Weight Shifting
    *The driveshaft may limit the amount by which the front wheels can turn
    *Snap Overseer

    obviously there are some advantages and I am not going to list them.

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    But a few articles also claimed that all real hot cars are rear or all wheel drives.

    What about WRC Peugeot, did they have a front wheel drive in the rally circuit?

    And am I a complete ****** for loving my 306?

    Anyone knows the weight distribution ratio for 306 and 206?

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    1000+ Posts gti138's Avatar
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    Just think of the Peugeot 306 Maxi - front wheel drive and one of the most horn rally cars on tarmac!

    Ideally the phrase is two for turning and two for burning. Meaning RWD would be the ideal setup as it's allows for adjustable oversteer etc. FWD cars tend to understeer and AWD cars tend to be neutral with a hint of understeer.

    However your not stupid for loving your 306 as Peugeot make just about the best FWD cars in the world

    Last edited by gti138; 12th February 2006 at 10:28 PM.
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    Member Stanislav's Avatar
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    love that picture man...

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    Tadpole
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    I'd agree with that.

    If you're driving something in the city day to day, A FWD makes alot of sense, especially where the size of the vehicle comes into play. Unless you're trying to bust a clutch with hot take off's then torque steer doesn't impact that much on anything.

    If you're going to start throwing something around a circut, that's different.

    Small FWD's like Civic's, Polo's and Mirages, have/had their own exclusive model race series, and do well on technical circuts.

    A RWD is really a very different beast, and can make a small car feel like a big car.

    I've owned 5 cars 3 RWD and 2 FWD and the best steering of the lot has been my FWD 205.

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    SMP addict pugjet's Avatar
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    hi stanislav, this topic normally causes plenty of punch ons and brain damage here at aussiefrogs, but nonetheless an interesting topic.

    here are two discussions that are interesting reading, that we prepared earlier:

    Ray, say something about RWD vs FWD

    AWD vs FWD vs RWD

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stanislav
    heya,

    been doing a bit of reading on differences between front wheel drives and rear,

    and it seems like there are a number of disadvantages with a front wheel drive set up like:

    *Center of gravity is shifted forward
    *Torque steer
    *Lack of Weight Shifting
    *The driveshaft may limit the amount by which the front wheels can turn
    *Snap Overseer

    obviously there are some advantages and I am not going to list them.

    But a few articles also claimed that all real hot cars are rear or all wheel drives.

    What about WRC Peugeot, did they have a front wheel drive in the rally circuit?

    And am I a complete ****** for loving my 306?

    Anyone knows the weight distribution ratio for 306 and 206?
    It doesn't matter where the power is going down, weight transfer happens the same in all vehicles. You brake and the weight is transferred forward, accelerate and you are forced back. Of course you can have problems getting power down on a FWD (try accelerating up a boat ramp with a boat at the back) due to weight transferance.

    FWD allows for greater room inside the cabin, and you lose the big gearbox bulge RWD vehicles have.

    Torque steer can be a problem on FWD but suspension engineers have largely negatived this on decent cars like Pugs.

    CV joints provide plenty of movement, don't worry!

    Snap oversteer is something you are more likely to experience in a RWD, usually manifesting itself when someone has gone too hot into a corner and jumps off the loud pedal. Weight moves to centre, rear becomes too light, and you suddenly become a passenger in your own car. Most FWD cars are engineered to understeer, as most inexperienced drivers will panic and hit the brakes in a bad situation. A FWD can be induced to produce oversteer by subtle variations of the throttle at the limit. Great fun.

    Forget what other people say, a well sorted FWD is just as good a drive as a RWD.

    Dave
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  7. #7
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    Default FWD vs RWD

    'Forget what other people say, a well sorted FWD is just as good a drive as a RWD.'

    This is so true!
    Have you ever noticed how those who bag FWD refer to ordinary chassis to compare to a well-sorted RWD chassis (eg. Camry vs. 3-series BMW).

    I would argue that for nine-tenths of us that FWD is as capable given a well-sorted chassis (306, 405, 205, etc) and safer on the limit than most RWD vehicles. In cornering terms most struggle to know whether a good chassis is FWD or RWD, assuming they are well-sorted.

    Try keeping up with a 205 GTi on a tight, twisty road (or a 405, for that matter). I have embarrassed a few Commodore / Falcon drivers over the years. Just rubs it in when they realise that your car's a diesel...

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    Fellow Frogger! andrepug's Avatar
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    Try a FWD on a boggy road and it wil pull you through but a RWD will try to push you off.

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    A good FWD is fine unless you are pulling rapidly from standstill and turning or accelerating briskly out of a corner; in these situations it has limitations. And these limitations are amplified with higher powered engines. Torque steer is sometimes an issue although you do tend to get used to it; its only when I step back into a FWD that it bothers me at all. I suppose with traction control such things matter even less. Personally I prefer a good RWD to FWD; I like the steering better and the way it steers with throttle - FWD steers with throttle too, just differently, and I prefer RWD's approach. I also think that cars with a nearer 50/50 weight distribution are nicer to drive. There are so many other factors that muddy the water though, weight, steering feel, tyres, damping etc etc that there are a great many FWD's I can think of that would be a nicer steer than a some RWD's I've tried.

    I suppose the other problem is that most of those manufacturers that still make RWD cars do so because they beleive that this solution provides a better drive - and the space premium/inefficiency is worth the sacrifice. Many of them are sports cars too, which presumably tells something.

    Then again, there is AWD....
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    NO!
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  11. #11
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    In my personal opinion it depends how good the front wheel drive is. A front wheel drive car needs to be very good, and then, in my opinion, it's a better bet. Whereas a reasonably good, but not excellent, rear wheel drive will also make do.

    Forget about the pros and the track drivers - most people buying normal cars don't have that level of skill to fully utilise the various advantages or characteristics - and most certainly not safely on a public road.

    Assuming the majority of us here are "enthusiasts" who enjoy driving, will push the car and explore a little, understand about balancing a car into and out of a corner, and wish to do so safely, I'd go FWD anyday. Well, my FWD anyway.

    I have thusfar been unable to induce torque steer in my 605 - but I only have 170bhp available to me when taking a hard left at a traffic light. Pushing it harder I can barely detect which wheels are driven. I think I drive according to my knowledge that the car is being pulled rather than pushed, but it's barely detectable.

    Spirited driving on a wet, windy road with lots of power available, a FWD to me is much more enjoyable as I can drive in a much more relaxed manner. When I drive a RWD under these conditions I'm concentrating WAY more, ready to catch the rear end should it break out.

    AWD is good for cars that need it.

    In summary, could well come down to personal preference. I'll drive anything that's well sorted and will enjoy it, but at the end of the day, all things being even, I'll choose FWD over RWD.

    The 605 has never failed to provide me with immense enjoyment, far more than the so called "ultimate driving machine" has been able to offer.

    Patrick
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    Spirited driving on a wet, windy road with lots of power available, a FWD to me is much more enjoyable as I can drive in a much more relaxed manner. When I drive a RWD under these conditions I'm concentrating WAY more, ready to catch the rear end should it break out.

    AWD is good for cars that need it.



    Patrick
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    AWD is different again; it has its own set of advantages, as well as disadvantages. But a good AWD is a hoot on a twisty road - the traction out of corners is addictive. Corner entry and the point at which you dial in the torque are the challenges - but once you get the hang of it you can have it neutral, mild understeer or lovely little tail-out drifts. Even better than FWD in wet and windy conditions and almost as good as RWD the rest of the time. Not so much a case of needing it as wanting it IMHO.
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    2000+ Brad's Avatar
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    Coming from 10 years in good FWD cars (Alfa Sprint and S16), and driving more in anger (Mini Cooper S, 206180, Clio Sport) some of the best FWD cars of their era, and into an MX5, one of the best, if not the best RWD modern sports car I've got a pretty fair idea of the differences. While one is not neccessarily better, the both have their differences. The FWD were considerably easier to drive fast and a much more practical package. However the RWD is much more fun and just gets down to business, not predominantly under or over steering, with more grip out of corners. FWD's also suffer from their front wheels having to do the bulk of the work, hence will reach their limit of adhesion before the front wheels of a RWD, all things being equal.
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    XTC
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    In the "REAL" world (i.e. driving at the speed limit, accelerating sensibly, braking and turning in time, getting from A to B) there is no real difference. Only when you start to explore the limits of traction (either for acceleration, turning or stopping) each type FWD, RWD, AWD comes into it's own.

    IMHO ...

    RWD provides the most fun on the limit sideways action.
    FWD feels more confident and neutral, easier to correct mistakes.
    AWD is absolutely the way to go when road conditions are wet or slippery in any way.

    The future:

    RWD because of space and extra cost (engineering) will become less popular to make, FWD will continue to gain momentum (expect to see a FWD Commodore/Falcon at some stage Ė the purists will HATE that), and AWD (or FWD with RWD assist) will start to fill in the gaps left by RWD cars.

    Proper 4WDís (as in off roaders) will retain their unique place.

    - xTc -
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    Fellow Frogger! casnell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad
    However the RWD is much more fun and just gets down to business, not predominantly under or over steering, with more grip out of corners. .
    I'd agree that they're all different, but I would have to say it comes down to responsiveness, not which wheels do the driving. My 205 and my EVO both just want to play like a puppy, and yes I've driven an MX5, and yes it's up there too! That's what makes it fun- ask it the question, and does it answer, or just say huh? or even give the answer you weren't expecting!
    205gti

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    Cub
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    Hi Puggers,

    I'd have to agree that a majority of the most desirable cars in the world are RWD (and may not necessarily have the engine in the front)...BUT they also cost a mortgage! ...even the most affordable RWD sports cars are about $50K ...and they dont offer anywhere as much BFYB as a Hot Hatch.

    As mentioned above a RWD is better balanced and more responsive to inputs however they usually cost more and takes more skill to extract more enjoyment from.
    Take for eg a rainy day on a twisty road, I know i dont possess the skills to balance an oversteering RX-7 in such conditions...however in my 205 I would feel confident enough to take the car one level more because I dont have to consider as many factors as a RWD.

    Anyone read the latest EVO COTY... a 4 cylinder, FWD Frenchie came in #3...was ranked higher than Vantage V8, Lotus and Sagaris (all of which are my favs!)
    CUB

  17. #17
    1000+ Posts Pugnut403's Avatar
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    I have driven good examples of both. I mostly drive RWD but I like either if it is good, hate crap cars full stop
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    The two best handling cars I've driven (driven properly - as in explored) are the 605 and MG ZT V8.

    Both totally different. One rear wheel drive, one front wheel drive. The MG designed for fun, loud exhaust rumble, firm suspension, sports seats, etc. The 605 for comfort.

    Both are different and I can't say which handles better. I honestly can't say that one is more fun than the other (off a track, driven safely but swiftly within their limits).

    Driving the manual 605 at very high speed on a damp, twisty narrow road, I can't say I've had more fun than that ever, and I regularly drive a BMW 528i with a close ratio manual.

    Comments about the front end loosing grip sooner? The only time I've experienced loss of steering was in a RWD car. Admitteldy not all things were even, but I would challenge anyone to find a RWD car that is going to outhandle a Citroen XM or Peugeot 605 through bends, driven by a skilled (but not track-trained/practised) driver - which is what most of us are.

    Furthermore, everyone seems to agree that FWD is much safer and easier to drive at the limit, meaning a normal driver can utilise their car near these limits, whereas they would have to back off if they were driving a similar RWD.

    Patrick
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    Oh, and I often like to refer to the hypothetical of which car I'd choose out of my selection at home if I had to get to the hospital really quickly.

    The Peugeot is the slowest in terms of engine power and acceleration. The other two available are rear wheel drive and manual, or AWD automatic and a turbo charger.

    I wouldn't hesitate to take the Peugeot if it's anything other than a dead straight road.

    My personal opinion though!

    Patrick

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    IMHO I believe they do suck! (although I could never part with my GS which has many qualities which make up for it being front wheel drive)

    If we go back to the late seventies when the majority of European car makers shifted towards front wheel drive it was understood that it was
    far more economical to manufacture front wheel drives than rear wheel drives and hence more profitable plus there were other spinoffs like replacement parts. (ie.CV joints, boots, etc.)

    The only REAL advantage I can see is more cabin space. (no tailshaft hump)

    Just look at the exclusive car makers like BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Lexus etc. it's rear or all wheel drive all the way!

    Can you imagine a serious sports car being front wheel drive , no way, these new sporty front wheel drives are marketed more for girls really!
    Last edited by raver; 14th February 2006 at 09:11 PM.

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    Fellow Frogger! casnell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raver
    Can you imagine a serious sports car being front wheel drive , no way, !
    Ummm, 306 maxi? see above...
    205gti

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    Quote Originally Posted by XTC
    In the "REAL" world (i.e. driving at the speed limit, accelerating sensibly, braking and turning in time, getting from A to B) there is no real difference. Only when you start to explore the limits of traction (either for acceleration, turning or stopping) each type FWD, RWD, AWD comes into it's own.

    IMHO ...

    RWD provides the most fun on the limit sideways action.
    FWD feels more confident and neutral, easier to correct mistakes.
    AWD is absolutely the way to go when road conditions are wet or slippery in any way.

    The future:

    RWD because of space and extra cost (engineering) will become less popular to make, FWD will continue to gain momentum (expect to see a FWD Commodore/Falcon at some stage – the purists will HATE that), and AWD (or FWD with RWD assist) will start to fill in the gaps left by RWD cars.

    Proper 4WD’s (as in off roaders) will retain their unique place.

    - xTc -

    Hmmm.

    Firstly I'd say that there is a lot more to RWD than simply going sideways. You can drift any car if thats what you want to do (much easier in an overpowered RWD car, to be sure). But RWD has its own unique throttle steer ability that is totally different to a FWD IMHO. That alone is very satisfying, and in a larger car, WAY more fun.

    FWD in large cars is a disaster. I can't think of a FWD car larger than a 406 with anything more than acceptable handling (feel free to correct me here!). The Mitsubishi 380 is an interesting car in this regard. It was designed to tackle the XR6/XR8 and S/SS performance variants of Falcon/Commodore respectively. Performance versions of Australian cars have boomed in sales whilst the segment as a whole has tanked. Yet the 380 is a comptent car in the corners, no question, but wheres the fun? I have no doubt in my (delusional?) mind that Mitsubshi loses money in THIS market because the 380 is FWD. The commercial benefits of FWD can be decieving. No point saving fixed costs if people won't buy your car IMHO!

    Look at the success of the Chrysler 300C in the USA. Finally a US manufacturer woke up to the fact that large car enthusiasts were never convinced that FWD was serious in terms of driver involvement and enjoyment. Whether its rational or not for consumers in the USA and here to think like that or not is beside the point. But in terms of commercial viabilty, you'd have to convince me Guy, that FWD would make any sense at all for Holden and Ford

    Having said all that,. for small cars FWD makes the most sense. I don't see anyone other than BMW's 1-Series persisting with RWD. They can get away with its many compromises in such a small car because of their brands unique position. The rest of humanity want a place for passengers, spare wheels etc - demanding buggers that they are. But in larger cars that compromise is less of an issue I'd have thought. Also, many smaller FWD cars have sensational handling, this is NOT the case as they get larger IMHO.

    Of course, the disclaimer is I own a RWD car. Maybe that clouds my judgement.

    EDIT: AWD is an interesting one. Its both expensive and heavy. I'm not sure it will be all that popular into the future in anything other than performance versions of FWD car ranges. But could depend on climate change a bit even....
    Last edited by Sergetov; 14th February 2006 at 10:49 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by casnell
    Ummm, 306 maxi? see above...
    No doubt it's a great little car but Peugeot only manufacture front wheel drives and ECONOMICS ALONE dictates what they're willing to offer potential customers NOT because Peugeot thinks fwd's are better than rwd's (so rwd's are out of the question for Pug lovers, what a dam shame!)
    Rwd's are more expensive to manufacture but require less maintenance, can handle more abuse and power slides are just so much fun.

    fwd = more maintenance = more expensive to maintain and that's just the good news!
    Last edited by raver; 15th February 2006 at 01:02 AM.

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    FWD, RWD, AWD what does it matter? If the car is designed well it will be enjoyable to drive. I personally love how my 205 handles, but my sisterís 2005 liberty RB (AWD) was an awesome drive as well.

    I'll leave it up to the professionals and engineers though. There's most likely a reason for everything. F1 being RWD, Rally being predominately AWD and the 306 being one of the best tarmac rally cars ever. I was always blown away by watching the 306 on tarmac.

    Off the topic, Rally coverage sucks here on TV, I wish we had more of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drevlin
    FWD, RWD, AWD what does it matter? If the car is designed well it will be enjoyable to drive. I personally love how my 205 handles, but my sisterís 2005 liberty RB (AWD) was an awesome drive as well.

    I'll leave it up to the professionals and engineers though. There's most likely a reason for everything.
    ...yeah and the reason is ECONOMICS, it's cheaper to manufacture, PLAIN AND SIMPLE!

    You can try and convince yourself as much as you want of the benefits of fwd for the consumer if any, the manufacturer is the WINNER here not us!

    It does become a REAL issue when the cars start clocking up 100000km + and you start having CV joint and drive shaft problems,
    hmmm replacing drive shafts , servicing CV joints can get HIDEOUSLY expensive on european cars
    Last edited by raver; 15th February 2006 at 10:24 AM.

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