AWD vs FWD vs RWD vs 4WD

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Hello Guys here is the drivetrain of the cars. There are 4 types of drivetrain, All Wheel Drive (AWD), Front Wheel Drive (FWD), Rear Wheel Drive (RWD), Four Wheel Drive (4WD)

Drivetrain is the system that connects the transmission to the drive axle. It transfers the power generated by the engine to the wheels.

AWD (All Wheel Drive)

It is mostly used in regular cars,  not for deadly offloading but to have traction on surface like snow or sand or water on road. AWD is not always on, by default it drives like normal RWD or FWD unless there is a wheel slip. It is mostly an automatic system, where the ECU (Electronic Control unit) of the car detects which wheel is losing traction and activates the AWD and sends the 50% or required power to the wheels losing grip automatically.

This AWD is mostly used in sports car like Nissan GT-R r35 and Audi R8, this systems helps the car to have a good launch and also helps it in the corners and have a better handling, and utilizes complete power from the engine.

AWD is expensive cause it has a complex hardware system, the fuel efficiency of the car is also low when it is on AWD. The fuel efficiency is improved cause the modern-day cars are not always AWD, they are RWD or FWD and switch to AWD when needed.

Advantages:

Provides increased grip and control under all road conditions.

Gives sportier handling and traction to a broader range of cars.

Works all the time (Mostly the computer decides according to the condition)

Disadvantages:

Reduces Fuel Economy

Increases the weight and complexity of vehicles

Not as good in extreme off-road conditions

4wd (Four Wheel Drive)

4WD is mostly used for heavy off-roading.The power from the engine goes through the transfer case. This transfer case splits the power between the front and the rear axle so that the torque is evenly split. Then those axle sent the torque to the individual wheels. The transfer case splits power evenly ensuring that all four-wheel spin at same speed, but this is not possible when car is turning cause the inside wheel has to turn more slowly than the outside wheel, which is covering more ground.

To solve this problem part-time 4WD is introduced which runs on two wheels on normal conditions and when the traction is less you can activate the 4WD via protruding lever or electronically when you require power on all four wheels.In 2WD the car has fewer restriction on front wheels motion, and you also get better fuel economy in 2WD than 4WD.

There are 2 gears in 4WD ‘High’ and ‘Low’. High gear limits available power to the wheels so you can move quickly over slippery surfaces. The Low gear limits wheel speed but is perfect for difficult terrain. High gear has a limit up to about 60 mph, but you in Low gear you cannot go fast it, if you do it might cause problems.

Advantages:

Best traction in off-road conditions.

Can be turned off to improve fuel economy.

Proven, rugged technology.

Disadvantages:

Adds weight and complexity to cars.

Can’t be used in all conditions.

More expensive than two-wheel drive models.

FWD (Front Wheel Drive)

FWD is nowadays common in daily driven cars because of its stability and efficiency. It has a less weight which means better fuel economy. The engine is mounted either sideways or longitudinally which puts weight on the front wheels, because of this there is better traction while driving.The transmission and differential are connected with one unit called transaxle. Complex universal joints connect the wheels to axle, allowing a smooth transmission of power while the wheels turn, cause the front wheels are responsible for steering, wear on tyres and suspension happens more quickly.

There is no driveshaft going from front of the car to back cause all the powertrain is a single unit in the engine compartment, this increase interior space as there is no space occupied by the rear differential.

Advantages:

Low weight, because all the components are in front and one additional differential and drive shaft which transfers the power to rear axle is removed.

Low cost.

Better Fuel Economy.

Better traction on slippery surface (snow).

Disadvantages:

The center of gravity of the vehicle is typically farther forward than a comparable rear-wheel drive layout.

Chances of Oversteer at a high-speed cornering.

In low traction condition the front wheel will lose traction making steering ineffective.


RWD (Rear Wheel Drive)

It is the oldest drivetrain used in cars, todays most cars have RWD cause it provides better handling on dry surface. RWD systems uses a long driveshaft which transmits power from the engine in the front of the vehicle to the differential at the rear axle. The driveshaft is connected to transmission and differential via universal joints which helps the driveshaft rotate easily. The rotation motion of driveshaft rotates the differential and the differential rotates the wheels.

Advantages:

Better handling in dry condition, because the rear wheels will have more grip on dry surface.

Better Weight distribution.

The work is distributed to both front and rear axle. Front axle steering and braking and  Rear axle powering the car.

Disadvantages:

Oversteer

The overall weight of the car is increased, because the components are increased.

Handling can be tricky if the driver is new.

Also in the front engine RWD car, traction on slippery condition is bad.

So in my opinion if you are rookie driver FWD is best and reliable and fuel-efficient also, RWD is good for experience drivers as it tends to side way if you accelerate harder. And if you looking for racing AWD is best as it has most grip and it can get you off the line more quickly. 4WD are strictly for offloading only can not be used on day-to-day life.