What does FWD mean?

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In the field of automobiles, ‘FWD’ means ‘front-wheel drive’ or ‘forward-wheel drive.’  When a car is classified as FWD, it simply means that the engine parts are controlling or driving the front wheels as opposed to the ones that are located at the rear.  For the latter part, cars are classified as ‘RWD’ or ‘rear-wheel drive.’ With the front wheels being driven by the engine, the transmission system is also located much nearer to the front rather than the back part of the car.

The most common feature of FWD cars is the transverse placement of the engine.  With this type of placement, a big part of the transmission setup is located up front near the wheels.  This type of engine and transmission setup is very different from the RWD cars that typically have a longitudinal engine layout.  The best thing about the engine and transmission layout in FWD cars is that it is less bulky and contributes to making the car lighter.  A lighter engine also results in a more compact car, and this is one of the main reasons that many new cars of today are built with the FWD engine-transmission layout.

One great benefit from cars with FWD engine-transmission layouts is in terms of grip and stability on wet roads or surfaces.  Having the FWD layout is said to handle the wheels better especially during heavy rains and even snow.  This also explains why many experts suggest having FWD cars for people that live in regions with harsh winters.  The front-wheel drive configuration simply provides better performance when handling roads littered with snow or ice.  A big part of this engine performance is the fact that the car’s engine weight is more concentrated to the front, and with this extra weight comes extra traction for the front wheels. With more traction in the front wheels, there will also be a smaller chance of slipping on wet roads.  The lighter cars produced through the FWD engine-transmission layout also result in improvements in fuel efficiency.  With this particular benefit, people on a budget typically choose FWD cars over their RWD counterparts.

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