Now that we all know what the automotive design terminology Tumblehome means, Autoline Daily's Jim Hall is back for another lesson from the Design Handbook. This time around, he focuses on explaining one of the most commonly used terms to bash front-wheel-drive cars, the dash-to-axle ratio.

Technically speaking, dash-to-axle measures the distance between the A-pillar (also the leading edge of the dash) and the front axle. In terms of vehicle design, a shorter dash-to-axle ratio has become a staple of front-wheel-drive cars due to the placement of the engine and transmission under the hood. A great example of a short dash-to-axle ratio on a front-wheel-drive car is any of the Chrysler cab-forward cars from the 1990s, while the Mercedes SLS AMG shows how a longer dash-to-axle creates a stronger, more performance-oriented design.

For even more proof of this, just compare the profiles of the Cadillac CTS and XTS to see how much of an effect this spacing has on the vehicle's design and proportions. The Autoline Daily episode is posted below, and gives other examples of how dash-to-axle affects vehicle design.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 17 Comments
      Hazdaz
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why don't we get more of these kind of posts? That was quite an interesting video and featured some quite gorgeous cars and at the same time it was fairly educational.
        dci gene shunt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hazdaz
        These are like those 1950s military education videos(about diff, etc). Really well made. Doesn't matter what the subject is, they are just fun to watch.
      rstonnerdd
      • 1 Year Ago
      Thank you, Sir! May I have another? After you have enlightened this poor, unwashed piece of humanity on the more technical aspects of auto design, architecture and esthetics, could you please explain crushed blue velour?
      ICantDrive88
      • 1 Year Ago
      Another good example of this is a Nissan Altima vs. Infiniti G37 sedan. Same size class and manufacturer but way different dash-to-axle ratio. One's a family car and the other is a sports sedan - the sporty RWD cars push the wheels as far forward as possible.
        over9000
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ICantDrive88
        it could be because the G37 was an advanced midship design, it needs clearance for the engine to sit behind the front axle for close to 50:50 weight distribution
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @over9000
          The engine in a G37 doesn't sit behind the front axle by any reasonable definition of these words.
      Ducman69
      • 1 Year Ago
      Except using his example, the proportions of the Audi from the side aren't as elegant as those other vehicles with a longer dash to axle ratio. Seems illogical, but now that he points it out I whole heartedly agree, short dash to axle ratios look not so much cheap but less powerful to me. And right or wrong, even though you're not going to go drag racing in a luxury flagship, having it anemic just doesn't work for me as awe inspiring as the status symbol they are meant to be.
      joe shmoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wish car manufacturers would bring back longer axle-dash distance to fwd, like older acuras.
      MotionDesigner
      • 1 Year Ago
      The small dash-to-axle ratio is the reason why I dislike the otherwise nice looking Cadillac XTS. That car has no hood.
      Big Squid
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is bull. Consider 2 vehicles with an exceedingly low dash to axle ratio: VW van, and Ferrari 512 BB.
      joe shmoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      I hate short axle to dash distance and huge front overhangs.
      piggybox
      • 1 Year Ago
      That MB 500K is a piece of art
      Mpower
      • 1 Year Ago
      Secondly he doesn't comment on its influence on ride & handling
      roller146
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is a video regarding the evolution of underhood placement and how range-toppers tend to have a long hood. It doesn't explain the significance and effect it has on driving. This article has a bogus title and I implore readers to save their 2 minutes for a legitimate video.
      GFB
      • 1 Year Ago
      The best A to B comparison of cars to show the stultifying effect of a small dash to axle distance is to look at ItalDesign's RWD Alfa Romeo Brera Concept versus the FWD Alfa Romero Brera production model. Night and day with essentially the same design. FWD cars resemble the stance of constipated dogs.
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