What are the Differences Between FWD and AWD?

By Product Expert | Posted in FAQs, Tips and Tricks on Thursday, May 28th, 2020 at 7:44 pm
Rear passenger angle of a white car driving on the highway with a sunrise in the background

Front-Wheel Drive vs All-Wheel Drive

Exploring various powertrains in your next vehicle? Chances are, you’ve heard about front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD). Certain vehicles may only offer FWD while others may offer AWD as an available option. What’s the difference? Here, we will share the pros and cons of each powertrain so you can decide which one is right for you.

[ READ MORE: Differences Between Precision All-Wheel Steer and Super Handling AWD ]

FWD Advantages and Disadvantages

Front-wheel drive continues to reign as one of the most popular drivetrains chosen by drivers across the nation. Why is this? A major advantage for FWD is affordability. FWD is a cheaper option for drivers, thus making it very common. Those that want to save more money enjoy FWD because it is more fuel efficient. Since only the front wheels will require power, vehicles equipped with FWD tend to have better fuel economy ratings.

On the other hand, FWD provides one primary disadvantage. With FWD, drivers may face less traction under certain road conditions. Since the front wheels are the only ones receiving power, its easy for a vehicle to slip or skid when one or both of these wheels loses its grip to the road. This is especially true when the roads are wet from rain or slippery from snow or ice.

AWD Advantages and Disadvantages

Close up of a gray car driving in snow

How does AWD compare? Overall, it’s the opposite of FWD. Advantages with FWD become disadvantages for AWD. For instance, AWD is typically more expensive, less common, and less fuel efficient. Meanwhile, AWD helps drivers stay safe in rain and snow by providing power to all four wheels as needed rather than only the front two.

In addition to these advantages and disadvantages, AWD is unique in that many systems are adaptive. Advanced AWD systems can automatically divert power as needed and switch to FWD when the roads are clear. Vehicles that incorporate this kind of intelligent AWD can enjoy the benefits of FWD and AWD at the same time. Due to the increasing advancement of this technology, AWD is quickly growing in popularity among drivers.

Interested in either of these drivetrains? Searching for a luxurious vehicle? Browse our new Acura inventory here at Karen Radley Acura. If you have any questions about any of our models, don’t hesitate to contact us.