FWD v AWD v RWD: why your perfect daily is as individual as your taste in music

FWD v AWD v RWD: why your perfect daily is as individual as your taste in music

THIS VIDEO where the lads pit a BRZ, Golf GTI and Yaris GR against each other on track raised a lot of comments about how each drivetrain does or doesn't work for people.

The simple fact is, around the world we all live in wildly different environments; cities versus rural areas, cold or hot climates. Many in the northern hemisphere will run a four-wheel-drive  "winter beater" and a two-wheel-drive car in summer, because snow and ice means the all-paw grip is needed in a life-or-death seriousness. 

There are drawbacks to each platform, as all three drivetrain formats have to balance competing interests of weight, balance and grip. And this is where the environment the cars live in becomes paramount.

Rear-drive has excellent mid-corner balance, but can suffer from lack of grip exiting the corner, while front-wheel-drive is super-stable but often battles understeer on corner-entry. All-wheel-drive systems offer the best mix of grip and corner-exit speed but the heavier weight of the extra drivetrain components can blunt the on-limit handling and feedback. 

Choosing which format is "best" based off lap times will ultimately depend on what race track is used. Fast, flowing tracks will favour rear-drive, while a tight circuit with lots of low-speed sections is all-wheel-drive's happy hunting ground.  

Realistically, it all comes down to the feel of the car you enjoy the most, and what you can use where you live. 

For some people, they love the thrill of trail-braking a RWD car into the corner, while others enjoy the sure-footedness of AWD or FWD.  Is there a correct answer when "feel" is such a crucial part of enjoying the driving experience? Not really. 

Ultimately the environmental factors determine how useable each of these platforms are in a given situation. The one thing everyone can agree on is skids are fun no matter what surface you do them on.


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