The difference between FWD and AWD

The difference between FWD and AWD can drastically change how your Toyota drives and what conditions it excels at. With such a simple decision impacting your car, it’s important that you figure out which system is best for you.

Below, the Lethbridge Toyota team has put together the advantages and disadvantages of AWD and FWD so that you can make a well-informed decision.

What Is FWD?

FWD stands for Front-Wheel Drive. The engine delivers power only to the front wheels without sending any to the rear wheels. The front wheels are responsible for pulling the car forward. This type of drivetrain layout is the most common in automobiles today.

Advantages of FWD

Proven to be the most efficient layout for cars today, the Front-Wheel Drive arrangement has plenty of advantages.

● Fuel-Efficient. Thanks to the lower weight of FWD Toyotas, they can achieve better fuel economy than AWD or RWD counterparts.
● Lower Maintenance. The Front-Wheel Drive layout doesn’t require as many moving parts. This means that these vehicles are less likely to have something break within the drivetrain, and if they do, the parts tend to be cheaper.
● More Interior Space. Since FWD Toyotas don’t need any extra mechanical pieces going down the car to deliver power to the rear wheels, interior space, particularly in the rear seats, tends to be greater in FWD models.
● Less Expensive. As this is the most straightforward drive layout, FWD models cost less.
Disadvantages of FWD
While the FWD layout is highly popular, it has its drawbacks, particularly if you have to deal with the harsh winters in the Lethbridge area.

● Less Traction. Since only two wheels are receiving power, a FWD vehicle will inherently have less traction than an AWD model where all four wheels are getting power. If one of the front wheels loses traction, then the vehicle's trajectory becomes dependent on the one remaining wheel. If both front wheels hit an icy spot, the rear wheels won’t be able to compensate like they would on an AWD car.
● Worse Driving Dynamics. If you look at any sports car, you’ll notice that almost all of them opt for either a RWD or AWD configuration. As FWD vehicles are front-heavy, it can lead to subpar driving dynamics.

What Is AWD?

Standing for All-Wheel Drive, this configuration delivers power to all four wheels. There is, however, more variation when it comes to how AWD works. In its most simple setup, each wheel will get an equal amount of power all the time. However, modern Toyotas have introduced “part-time” AWD systems. Whether done by a mechanical disconnect or an electronic one (like in hybrid Toyotas), the car can operate with only the front wheel being powered until the driving situation calls for more traction, which is when the rear wheels become engaged instantly.

Advantages of AWD

● Good Traction. Better traction is the main driving force behind anyone looking for an AWD Toyota in Lethbridge or any other snowy area. With all four wheels receiving power, it is the best way to drive through any slippery roads.
● Better Acceleration. With more traction, AWD models tend to have better acceleration than their FWD counterparts, even if they weigh more.

Disadvantages of AWD

● More Expensive. With an AWD layout being the most advanced, these models will tend to cost noticeably more.
● More Maintenance. Likewise, the increased complexities of the system mean there are more moving parts that can go wrong.
● Worse Fuel Economy (Sometimes). With the added weight and requirement to drive four wheels, AWD models will have worse fuel economy. However, those with part-time AWD systems will often achieve fuel economies extremely close to their FWD siblings.

What’s Right For You

Determining if you need a FWD or AWD Toyota can be a headache. If you are unsure of the best car for you, don’t hesitate to stop by Lethbridge Toyota, where our wonderful team can help you figure out the best Toyota for your needs.