FWD VS RWD VS AWD – Know Your Drivetrain!


So, you have often heard auto geeks saying FWD, RWD, 4WD and AWD in their reviews or you have seen these words on almost every car’s specification. Finally, you searched for it and bam! Here you are so, let’s begin and go back to the basics.

Every vehicle’s engine produces power to run, that’s the only motive for its production, right? and If it must run then there should a proper channel from where it will deliver its power produced to the wheels. By modifying the power output to wheels we can create FWD drive, RWD drive and 4WD drive.

Before we start let’s understand what drivetrain is?
The components or the system of the vehicle responsible for providing power to the wheels are known as drivetrain.

Front Wheel Drive (FWD):

In front wheel drive the drivetrain supplies power to the front axle of the vehicle. Thus, front wheels are pulling the car.


  • Steering is good, as most of the weight is in front of the car.
  • Reduce the weight of the vehicle, as it doesn’t need to carry heavy AWD system.
  • Reduced weight means good average in terms of mileage.
  • Better suited for city driving conditions with snow and wet seasons.
  • Emits less carbon dioxide.


  • Not very good driving experience for enthusiastic.
  • Slow pickup and acceleration.
  • Not a good option to drive at high speeds, that’s the reason race cars don’t usually have FWD system.

In India the majority of hatchbacks and sedan have FWD system, including Hyundai i10, Chevrolet Spark etc.

Rear Wheel Drive (RWD):

In rear wheel drive the drivetrain supplies power to the rear axle of the vehicle. Thus, rear wheels are pushing the car.


  • Gets acceleration quickly and hence fun to drive.
  • Weight is evenly distributed across the vehicle, so you experience a smoother drive.
  • Good for climbing and on highly areas.


  • Doesn’t provide a good mileage.
  • Easily loose its grip on snowy and wet roads.
  • Long radius for taking U turns and for other city driving conditions.

In India the majority of MUV’s Toyota Innova, Mahindra 500 and many other MUV’s have RWD.

All Wheel Drive (AWD):

In all wheel drive the drivetrain supplies power to both front and rear wheels axle of the vehicle. Most of the manufacturers provide part-time AWD which only operates a two-wheel drive mostly and providing power to all four wheels when needed, which is called full time AWD.


  • Gets acceleration quickly and hence fun to drive and stable.
  • Weight is evenly distributed across the vehicle, so you experience a smoother drive in AWD too.
  • Better in safety and doesn’t stuck in muddy areas.
  • Excellent in poor climate conditions.


  • Poor mileage.
  • Produce more carbon dioxide.
  • This system is costly and hence increasing the production cost of the vehicle.
  • Not needed if you only drive in city conditions.

In India some MUV’s like Mahindra Scorpio, Mahindra Thar and some SUV’s like Renault Duster etc., have AWD.

So, which one is the best? Unfortunately, there’s no thumb rule for choosing the right drivetrain for your vehicle. It depends on multiple factors such as your location, type of drive, climate and others. Therefore, taking a test drive helps in making this decision a lot easier.

What Automen recommend?

After serving our large customer base, we at Automen, believe that these different systems are build to meet the varying requirements of the masses. If any one system is above all and best then the others should be ceased to exist, but here they are, still in production.

Generally, AWD is all you need and is best, but this comes for additional cost. So, here’s a quick guide for you:

Driving Condition Drivetrain
City Driving (All seasons) FWD
City Driving + long highways RWD
Racing RWD
Highways RWD

I have not mentioned AWD, because if you are not concerned about money factor then AWD is always good in any condition. AWD provides you control over your power, which eventually results in a smooth driving pleasure.

If you want to know more about the Drivetrain Systems of Auto Giants like Audi, BMW and Mercedes, check out our comparison on Quattro, Xdrive and 4matic Here.

Happy Vrooming!!!