A Look at Front-Wheel-Drive vs. All-Wheel-Drive

Front-Wheel-Drive or All-Wheel-Drive? That's a decision that faces many car buyers around Framingham and Milford MA when they look up and down the options list when they're at the dealership with the possibility of needing the latter always weighing heavy on their minds. There's a lot of conjecture and opinion out there when it comes to needing All-Wheel-Drive, and while it certainly has its benefits, it's not necessarily for every single driver out there.

There are pros and cons to both, so it's important to be informed about each one so you can decide for yourself which direction to go.


Front-Wheel-Drive Cars

So, for starters, what is front-wheel-drive. As the name suggests, front-wheel-drive is when the power generated by the car's engine is connected directly to the front wheels. The rear wheels are free to move independently based on the speed of the car, creating a much simpler system. Most cars that are sold in dealerships come with front-wheel-drive as a standard option. That's because they are cheaper to build since all the mechanical power sits in the front, so the vehicles can be sold at a lower MSRP.

Front-wheel-drive cars are also lighter than their all-wheel-drive counterparts, making them much more fuel efficient. Hence, with a system that's cheaper to maintain, front-wheel-drive owners will find that their out of pocket costs will be lower than all-wheel-drive owners.

What's more is that front-wheel-drive cars have more interior space thanks to the fact that there's nothing connecting the front and rear of the vehicle. Typically, all-wheel-drive vehicles have a large hump jutting out of the floor in the rear, which is the transmission tunnel that would power the rear wheels. So, if you find yourself hauling passengers on a regular basis, they will enjoy quite a bit more legroom in a front-wheel-drive car.

Obviously, there's the obvious downside that front-wheel-drive vehicles don't have as much traction as ones with all-wheel-drive. This is fine if you primarily drive in dry or rainy conditions or even light snow, but if you live in more Northern regions that see heavy snowfall, this could be an issue.

All-Wheel-Drive SUVs

If you haven't guessed by now, and all-wheel-drive vehicle is one that can send power to all four corners of the vehicle. Much like front-wheel-drive vehicles, there are positives and negatives, but it's a system well worth having depending on your situation.

With the ability to send power to all four wheels, more modern SUV models have dynamically controlled systems that can detect when one wheel loses traction and can automatically re-route more power to the other wheels to compensate. This is particularly useful during the rough winter months in Worcester MA and Providence RI, so it's worth considering if you live in the area.

All-Wheel-Drive systems can vary depending on the vehicle, as some have part-time while others are full-time. Part-time all-wheel-drive SUVs only send power to the rear wheels when their sensors detect that it is needed. Full-time all-wheel-drive models, like Subaru SUVs with Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive feature a system where there is always power being sent to the rear wheels, regardless of conditions.

All-wheel-drive SUV models are heavier and less fuel efficient than their front-wheel-drive counterparts, but for people who regularly enjoying going off-road and engaging in some rock crawling, all-wheel-drive is a must.


No matter what your preference is, Imperial Cars features loads of new and used vehicles on our lot. We have both front and all-wheel-drive models across a variety of makes and models, and each one is available to test drive at your convenience. Stop by today, and our friendly customer service staff will put you behind the vehicle you've always been waiting for.

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Imperial Cars

8-18 Uxbridge Rd. (Rte. 16)
Directions Mendon, MA 01756

  • Sales: (800) 526-2886
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  • Parts: (508) 422-3700


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