Cars with front-wheel drive are “pulled”. This means the drive is installed on both wheels on the car’s front axle. With rear-wheel drive, the car is “pushed”, as the drives are located on the rear axle wheels. All-wheel drive (also known as four-wheel drive) uses all four wheels to propel the car. What advantages and disadvantages do the various transmission types have in winter?
Front-wheel drive provides a high degree of stability during acceleration. When travelling, even icy roads are not a problem. It does have some weaknesses when moving off. The front wheels can readily spin in ice and snow and skidding may occur when going uphill. With rear-wheel drive in winter, the opposite applies. Hill starts are not a problem – even with luggage in the boot. However, the rear wheels are prone to swerving on icy roads.
Four-wheel drive provides optimum performance in wintry road conditions. Its strengths include excellent traction on icy and snowy roads. Wheels rarely spin and hill starts are straightforward as a result. The disadvantages include slightly delayed braking on downhill slopes as well as increased fuel consumption. Acquisition costs are also higher compared to wheels with front- and rear-wheel drive.