Car’s today have all sorts of extras and add-ons. The sheer variety of different specifications on a car can be confusing, especially if you’re not a petrolhead or mechanically minded. You might even be ashamed to ask a question about what a certain thing means. One of the most common confusions is around FWD, RWD and AWD. These terms are seen with almost all cars, but if you don’t know your GTI from your G and T, then it might as well be a foreign language. Here’s our quick guide to what the difference between FWD, RWD and AWD.

FWD, RWD and AWD: What do they mean?

FWD is front-wheel drive. RWD is rear-wheel drive. And AWD is all-wheel drive. You might sometimes see all-wheel drive referred to as four-wheel drive.

What are the differences?

With all three terms, it refers to where the power of the car is distributed from. In other words, when you put your foot down on the pedal, which wheels do the engines turn. In front wheel and rear wheel drive, only one pair of wheels is powered. The others will obviously move, but only through the motion of the vehicle, rather than the engine powering them.

In simple terms. Front wheel drive is where the power is sent to the front two wheels. Rear wheel drive sends power to the back two wheels. And all-wheel drive distributes the power evenly between each wheel.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Front-wheel drive can mean you spend less money on petrol. Because the engine and the drivetrain is both at the front of the vehicle, then you will get better traction than you might have when power has to be sent to the back of the car. You might also find that front-wheel drive cars have bigger boot space, as they don’t need the powerful drivetrain to take up space in the back of the car.

The biggest advantage of rear-wheel drive vehicles is that you have better handling. In a front-wheel drive vehicle, the front wheels have to power the car and steer the vehicle. This can have a negative affect when you take a corner, especially when you are going faster.

An all-wheel drive vehicle is ideal for going off-road. Because power is sent to all four wheels, if one loses traction, then the other wheels should be able to compensate. But all-wheel drive cars tend to be heavier, as the drivetrain takes up more space, meaning you will burn more fuel.

Which option is best for me?

If you are using the car for the commute and mainly tackling simple roads with little variation, then front-wheel drive with it’s better traction and lower fuel consumption might be the best option for you. If you tackle a wider variety of roads or want something a bit sportier, than rear-wheel drive is probably a better option. All-wheel drive is ideal for anyone living in the countryside or where roads are affected by inclement weather. These cars also tend to be bigger, so if you want something that feels safer for you as a driver, this is the option to go for.

What about electric cars?

It used to be the case that electric motors didn't have the power to cope with all-wheel drive, but in recent years, the developments in the power and charge of electric engines has allowed them to power vans, SUVs and other larger vehicles.

That means the all-wheel drive that was most commonly associated with bigger, off-road ready vehicles, is now an option. In fact, you might spot more electric pickups and vans at national parks and wildlife centres, where carbon footprints and ecological impact are big factors in the choice of vehicle. 

Today, electric cars come with almost all the same options as their petrol-powered counterparts, making them a viable, budget and eco-friendly option. 

Popular FWD, RWD and AWD vehicles

Popular with drivers who need a versatile car that's bigger than a hatchback and more suitable for the office car park, the Vauxhall Astra combines the style you need for an executive car with the practicality you need to run the kids around at the weekend.

One of the most popular rear wheel drive vehicles that we finance BMW 3 Series. This sporty executive car is great for long commutes, with the responsive handling making driving fun. 


One of our most popular all-wheel drive models is the Land Rover Discovery Sport, which combines a high level of luxury with off-road capabilities. But if you want the luxury without worrying too much about dirt or country roads, then the Mercedes C-Class is also another popular option.


Find finance for your next car

Whether you want the money-saving benefit of a front wheel drive car, the extra handling and grip of a rear wheel drive car, or the off-road capabilities of an all-wheel drive vehicle, then Creditplus are here to help.

Apply online today, and we'll help you find a car finance package to fund the purchase of your new vehicle - whatever the driving setup you require. From brand new cars, to nearly new and used, we'll compare over 90 lending options to find the right package for you. We even have bad credit car finance options available too. 

Looking for a lease? Explore our car leasing options to see what sort of fwd, rwd or awd vehicle you can lease today.

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If you’re considering getting a new car, then you don't want to miss out on what Creditplus can offer. Applying with us will not affect your credit profile, so why not complete a quick application now.

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