What’s the Better Buy: All-Wheel or Front Wheel?

close up of vehicle tire

When purchasing or leasing a vehicle, you’ll most likely be faced with the choice of all-wheel or front-wheel drive. While front-wheel drive — when all the power from the engine goes to your front wheels — is typically the standard option for most vehicles, all-wheel drive is an option that can be added to a wide variety of vehicles, usually for an additional cost.

As you’re navigating the car buying process and weighing your options, here are some factors to consider regarding front-wheel and all-wheel drive.

Front-Wheel Drive

The main benefit of having front-wheel drive is it’s easier and less expensive to maintain. Since vehicles with front-wheel drive are also lighter in weight, they typically have better fuel economy than all-wheel drive vehicles.

Front-wheel drive vehicles also tend to have roomier cabins since all the mechanics are up front and there is no hump in the floor where the transmission tunnel would be in an all-wheel drive vehicle.

All-Wheel Drive

Since all the wheels get power from the engine in an all-wheel drive system, they can each pick up the slack if another one slips up. This makes it easier to drive in snowy or slippery road conditions due to improved traction.

Winter Tires

If you live somewhere with snowy weather, winter tires are always a great option, whether you have a front-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle. According to U.S. News, winter tires have rubber compounds and tread patterns that help with turning and stopping in slippery conditions more than any all-wheel drive system.

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