Whilst at the car dealers choosing a new car, customers seldom ask about whether the vehicle they’re interested in is front or rear drive. It isn’t something that automatically comes to mind when considering the aspects of a new car, unless of course the customer specifically wants a four wheel drive vehicle.
Most cars on the road these days are front wheel drive, as this set up is generally considered the safest. Front wheel drive literally means that the power is given to the front wheels only. The rear wheels follow on behind and do nothing other than keep the back of the car off the road! Front wheel drive cars are easier to control on wet and icy roads, as the weight of the engine is (usually) resting over the wheels. This gives a better grip on the road but can become troublesome when taking corners at high speed, but then again this isn’t something you should be doing in the first place!
Rear drive vehicles are harder to come by in the car dealerships, but they do exist out there. This type of drive is usually present in sportier cars and in the more upmarket, expensive models. Rear drive is better for racing cars and for handling on corners, but trying to translate it to every day driving situations is hard. It is a generally more balanced set up than front wheel drive, as the acceleration is done by the back wheels and the steering is done by the front. This however, does not bode well in very wet/icy conditions and it can be very difficult to get anywhere in a rear drive when the freezing weather kicks in.
If you want the best of both worlds from your local car dealer though, he may point you towards a four wheel drive vehicle. Grip and handling are good on all types of terrain, so there is no worry about being stuck wheel spinning anywhere. The obvious downside to this type of drive is of course fuel consumption. Four wheels to drive equals double the amount of petrol that you would need in a standard two wheel drive vehicle. Consider your lifestyle and chat to your car dealers before making the choice, the handling is more important than you think.