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Old 7th November 2007, 19:41   #1
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Question Can you feel FWD or RWD difference while driving?

I personally can't feel - unless I open the bonnet

I often notice there is so much enthusiasm about RWD cars because of their superior handling characteristics.

I read about torque steering and over steering but does it affect if you are driving sensibly on public roads?
And how often that is "feelable" in normal day to day driving??

PS: For Mods, I know there is thread on FWD vs RWD, but as this is a slight different question, I opened a new thread. If you feel inappropriate, please merge.
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Old 7th November 2007, 20:00   #2
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Well I felt the difference.

It's like in FWD, I felt a pulling sensation due to the power in front wheels. But in RWD, I felt a pushing sensation. It was noticeable. Its noticeable when you push the car hard. While you spin and respin the wheels you can find out the difference.

cya
A

Last edited by Absar : 7th November 2007 at 20:02.
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Old 7th November 2007, 20:05   #3
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Flick the steering in first gear and accelerate.If you are still alive,you are in a FWD.

Last edited by binz : 7th November 2007 at 20:06.
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Old 7th November 2007, 22:00   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by binz View Post
Flick the steering in first gear and accelerate.If you are still alive,you are in a FWD.

Wow...so does this mean FWD is the way to go?
If the car stops on a sharp turn (with wheels completely turned to left, let's say) and the driver tries to restart and accelrate, the car will topple or something (if it's RWD)?
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Old 7th November 2007, 22:04   #5
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Hehe no no .. i was just over exaggerating in my post.
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Old 7th November 2007, 23:13   #6
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try doin a few sharp turns with a rear wheel and you'll see the difference..
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Old 7th November 2007, 23:24   #7
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As long as you're driving within the adhesive limits of your tyres, you shouldn't be able to spot the difference.

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Old 8th November 2007, 00:48   #8
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Hi folks,
Joining in again after a long, long time (again!)... if you compare a RWD Premier Padmini and an FWD Maruti 800, you can pretty much sum up the differences. FWD gives you better directional control, which probably explains why it's easier to do an opposite lock in an RWD (think Porsche, not Padmini). FWD is probably better at getting you out if you're stuck in mud/dirt (maybe due to the fact that the weight of the engine is on the powered wheels, and this aids traction). If you're driving on wet roads, you could probably tell the difference - RWDs will tend to aquaplane and have comparatively worse directional control.

Finally, the deciding factor - just pull the handbrake!

I've heard stories of people driving 800s with the handbrake on (my Mom used to do it), you couldn't possibly do that (without realizing) in a RWD...

-Cheers,
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Old 8th November 2007, 01:02   #9
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the Merc takes at 65mph with part throttle and without braking traction. Entry speed for the Acura was same but mid corner car started to slide outwards. Knew very well, but still kept on the throttle a bit more, nothing doing, it needed the throttle to be backed off from. Exit speed, 50mph.

This guy for whom I was testing, knew very well the speeds the Merc takes those curves. He also knew that I was pointing to the strut tower bracing and all on the Acura suggesting that it has been tuned for handling rather than ride.

A little history, I spent part of my childhood in Nigeria and we had access to some mid powered Rear wheel cars (which was the norm), namely the Peugeot 504 and the Merc W123 280E. The roads were always amix of tarmac, gravel, pebbles on gravel. There was only one Accord hatch in the area belonging to my Dads company and all it ever wanted to do was take a tangent.

However for the Indian scenario, we have Amby's and Fiats, which if not properly setup will never sing the praises of the costlier more enthusiast oriented layout.

Last edited by 1100D : 8th November 2007 at 01:04.
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Old 8th November 2007, 01:34   #10
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Its not just about which wheels are driven. Its also about the overall balance of the car and the weight distribution. You cannot even get close to the ideal 50/50 balance that a typical RWD car offers in a FWD. That is what changes the equation.

To answer your original question: I've driven two cars which are probably very similar in power-to-weight ratio, wheelbase and even suspension type (double wishbone all around). One is my own Miata, which is RWD, has 115 hp and weighs about 2200 lbs. The other is my friend's Honda Del Sol, which has about 125 hp and weighs 2500 lbs. Although I have not driven the latter at the limit, you can actually feel the difference in the way the car wants to enter corners, and the way you can put the power down at corner exit. The Miata is the more "chuckable" of the two, it will go exactly where you want it to, and the car can be placed very accurately. The Del sol on the other hand feels a little vague, but it can also put the power down equally well.

And driving a powerful FWD car is anyday less enjoyable because of the massive torque steer and understeer that you get in a corner.
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Old 8th November 2007, 01:51   #11
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Thats true, Ananth. I've driven the Miata MX5(2007) and it felt so good doing 70mph around corners. Being a RWD,it took off much more easily.
My Mazda 3,being a FWD, feels very different while trying to accelerate from a stop. Corners feel the same,given that the suspension's the same on both cars. I didn't feel any difference b/w a RWD & FWD on that front.
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Old 8th November 2007, 01:58   #12
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OT but on the topic of del sols spotted one out here in Goa recently!
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Old 8th November 2007, 11:12   #13
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I drove a couple of RWD(210,225 BHP) RWD and a few FWD(140-180BHP) cars.
The difference was there when cornering on gravel, launches out of untarred parking lots, and pushing hard uphill.
In RWD the tail would kick out at every excuse. It sure was fun, but I guess if you are not experienced, FWD is simpler and does lesser drama.
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Old 8th November 2007, 11:18   #14
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i wish everyday life @ mumbai was as much fun as pushing a car so hard to know at what point on the speedo the tail swings ahead!!!

in the traffic that i face each day i hardly get space to open my ORVMs!!! leave alone swinging my car's a** around
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Old 8th November 2007, 13:59   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shan2nu View Post
As long as you're driving within the adhesive limits of your tyres, you shouldn't be able to spot the difference.

Shan2nu
the difference is there with good adhesive too.
a fraction of a second late in releasing clutch and even the best rubber takes a spin pushing you back.
otherwise also the "push in seat effect" is there during hard acceleration
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