• Jan 20, 2006
GM's Fastlane Blog launched today an "informal survey" of buyer's preferences for front-wheel drive vs. rear-wheel drive, sponsored by the director of GM's Advanced Concepts Group, Jack Keebler.
In setting the stage for the poll, Keebler leaves little doubt of what he thinks the answer should be. See if you can pick up on the oh-so-subtle clues.

I guess only "formal" surveys strive for unbiased responses...

Interestingly, of the many virtues of FWD, Keebler neglects to mention low cost. Not that that's a factor in GM's thinking, of course.


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  • 23 Comments
      • 9 Years Ago
      I'm pretty sure most people could tell the difference between fwd and rwd. fwd is gross. for those of you with rwd complaining about driving in snow and ice, get some snow tires and tell me they aren't better than fwd. fwd drive sucks. having the front wheels in charge of everything is just not smart. torque steer and trying to turn while accelerating are the reasons that no one should ever impliment fwd. fwd biased awd is fine. it is mind boggling that car guys like fwd. it makes me thing what kind of audience is actually reading autoblog. maybe everyone here only has 75 hp engines.
      oh and trucks dont count as cars, trucks dont have traction anywhere other than dry pavement. that is because it has no weight over the back, if you want to drive daily get a car, or atleast some snow tires and sand bags.
      it really angers me to hear about the way some people here are talking about fwd and what 'sane' people should want. but obviously the best package is rear engine rwd!
      • 9 Years Ago
      If you take a poll on the internet, you'll get mostly enthusiasts. So you'll get mostly RWD (or perhaps AWD) responses.

      But really, most cars and trucks should be FWD. It is simpler, it is cheaper, it saves gas both through less rotating mass and less mass (weight) overall.

      True, for high performance, you need RWD or AWD. But despite the current power war, most of the car market will not be high performance cars. It doesn't take 300HP to move a car around, and as gas prices go up, you can expect mpg to go back up, tires to get narrower and engines to get smaller. Cars with real economy will return. At the high end (luxury cars) it'll probably be hybrids, but at the low end it'll likely be just lower-perfoming cars.

      In all this, I want to send a shout out to Honda for keeping the faith. The Integra was critical in showing that FWD can perform. And the TSX and RSX still do perform on the track almost weekly in the Speed (SCCA) Touring Car series.

      No, you can't make 300HP work with FWD, but as engines return to more reasonable sizes, FWD will be useful again even in moderate performance applications.

      I do own an AWD car, I use it for driving to Tahoe from Northern California. Honestly, I mostly use it as a dodge because if you don't have AWD, CalTrans makes you put chains on your car. Despite this, I don't feel that in most on-road (even snowy) conditions AWD holds much of an advantage over FWD. I just use it so I don't have to get out in the snowy weather and put chains on. Honestly, I feel that CalTrans just put this mandatory chains rule in effect because idiots from the rest of California wouldn't realize that in poor conditions you can't drive 60mph. With chains on, it is very difficult to drive 60mph, so by making people put chains on, they forced them to slow down.

      Now the bozos just drive SUVs, which are really poor in snow (weight is a killer, especially when trying to stop on ice or packed snow) and the first cars into the ditches in bad conditions are invariably SUVs, while the chained FWD cars drive right by.

      Anyhow, I'm way off track here.

      Most cars and trucks should be FWD and I do believe this will become the case again soon. Those with a lot of money and or need for high HP/high performance will continue to have RWD (or AWD) and the higher costs they bring.
      • 9 Years Ago
      This is what GM is worried about? No wonder they're having problems.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Do you guys ever give credit for news tips? Between this one and 001's tip that Erin used earlier today, I am starting to wonder if it is worth the effort.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Rear wheel drive. There, I said it.
      • 9 Years Ago
      In the latest horsepower race which all high end luxury cars seem to be joining, Front wheel drive is simply not a viable option. Go drive a 300hp impala and learn the true meaning of "torque-steer", and you'll see why.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I submitted a pro-RWD/AWD comment to the GM blog...oddly enough, it hasn't shown up yet...of course, no other comments have shown up yet either, but still...
      • 9 Years Ago
      SUV's popular because of RWD? People are buying RWD SUV's for their highly superior driving dynamics and stunning handling? What are you smoking?

      SUV's are popular because most, at some time in their lives, need a family car, but nobody wants to be seen in one. Therefore, they keep chasing the next trendy alternative.

      Station Wagons were RWD. When FWD minivans appeared, everyone ran to them. THink about it; before this time, vans were "cool." A-Team, Scooby-Do, and funky custom vans.

      Minivans were trendy for a while, until folks realized that they had become the new station wagon. They ran in droves to SUV's, which had that "cool" image.

      Now, wagons are cool, while SUV's have become quite girlified. Would you really think anything on seeing an Expedition or Suburban parked in a driveway with running boards other than "soccer mom?"

      Didn't think so!

      To further complicate your arguement, if SUV's are so popular for RWD, shouldn't conventional SUV sales be on the rise while FWD, carbased SUV's are plummeting?
      • 9 Years Ago
      btw, to clarify... the 2.0t has 200hp. My normal car has awd and 310 hp.

      I can floor my car with one hand on the steering wheel, barely steering, getting to 60 in about 6.5 seconds.

      The A3 takes about a half second longer to 60 and not only do I have to use both hands, I have to brace myself and fight the steering wheel to keep it in a straight line. Not to mention the traction control light flashing and listening to the wheel hop.

      In fact, I didn't even realize there was traction control indicator light for when it kicks in. And I've had esp traction control for 5 years now. I suppose its never had to kick in. But it kicked in w/the fwd car in the first 3 miles.
      • 9 Years Ago
      AWD on ALL cars? That is plain dumb. Let me tell you why: AWD adds unneccessary weight, cost, and repairs for the 82% of buyers who don't spend siginificant amounts of time in low-traction conditions. That translates to higher cost to purchase, run, and repair a car or wagon. Why would that be a good solution?

      And for the guy with the 'car (truck really)': cars and trucks are not the same. trucks have no rear-wheel traction when unloaded, and should not be driven in foul weather unless they have winter- or snow-tires. that is not a fault of RWD, it is a fault of the fact that you are driving a work vehicle for personal transportation.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I too commented, and don't see it up there!

      Comments like:

      "Audi, Saab, Volvo are still trying to catch up. AWD does not equal RWD."

      are completely ignorant. Audi dominated rally racing in the 80s with the introduction of Quattro. Glad to see GM making decisions based on blog feedback - a nice diverse group indeed.
      far jr
      • 9 Years Ago
      Just curious how many of you who insist that RWD is completely acceptable in all cars actually live and drive in high elevation big snow areas and not just somewhere that that sees a few inches once or twice a year. I prefer driving RWD for the feel, but I own FWD and four wheel drive. There definitely IS a difference! Yeah you can add weight, better tires, and limited slip to a RWD but when equally equipped, a FWD will pull out of places a RWD will struggle with. FWD does have trouble turning and pulling while spinning, but in most situations they are easier to control for an inexperienced driver...and there are plenty of them out there!
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