According to Wikipedia, the drive train is the portion of a vehicle, after the prime mover, that changes depending on whether a vehicle is front-wheel, rear-wheel, or four-wheel drive. It consists of the parts of the power train excluding the engine. Aside from the popular 4WD, most people have little or no insight on the different drive trains and how they work. Below is a summarised outline on each of the drive trains to help you make an informed decision during your next purchase.

1. Four Wheel Drive (4WD)

This system splits power from the transmission between the front and rear axles so that maximum torque is going to each wheel. When the transfer case splits power evenly, it ensures that each wheel turns at the same speed. While this system effortless provides more traction on off roads and provides greater hauling and towing capabilities, turning corners on wheels with equal torque is problematic. 4WD cars are also more expensive compared to the other drive systems.

2. Front Wheel Drive (FWD)

As the name loosely suggests, this system provides more power to the front wheels. As the system is contained in the engine compartment of the vehicle, there is tactile feedback via the steering wheel informing driver if a wheel is slipping. FWD cars have predictable handling characteristics, are cheaper than most cars with other drive trains and have better crosswinds. Its shortcomings come in form of the misplaced center of gravity as the front holds almost two third’s of the vehicle’s weight. Also, lack of weight shifting will limit the acceleration of a FWD.

3. Rear Wheel Drive (RWD)

In this system, the wheels that receive power from the engine, are the ones in the back. RWD cars typically have better weight balance because most rear wheel drive vehicles have the engine in the front and the drive components in the rear. Despite the fact that they are less expensive and easier to maintain, they have better acceleration and braking since the power is within the rear axel. Other than the fact that RWD’s might have a little more weight than the FWDs, this system’s pros overcome the cons greatly.

4. All Wheel Drive (AWD)

This is a fairly recent innovation that works by using three differentials. A differential is a box of gears, that can take power from the transmission and split it at different levels between two wheels or the front and rear axles (four wheels).
The system works to get power to the wheels with the most traction by splitting power between the front and rear axles on the center differential, and the individual wheels by way of the front and rear differentials.This is useful either in slippery conditions when different wheels might be getting different amounts of grip from moment to moment. The Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG is a perfect example.
While this system provides most of the cons of a 4WD system, it is important to note that it can not match the same levels of traction in extremely low-speed off-roading that the older 4WD systems provide.


Browse our inventory today on and we will be more than happy to find you a unit with a drive system that best suits your needs.