My wife made another interesting observation to me yesterday while driving our new car. She said that people don't get out of the way like they did when she drove the pickup. I never really noticed it myself because I tend to be assertive with my merges no matter what I'm driving.
I think that illustrates more of the allure that many people are reluctant to give up, the intimidation factor of a larger vehicle. It's also a tough sell to get people out of the improved vision that SUVs and trucks provide.
I'm astonished to learn that that's the reason people went to SUVs! I guess most motorists are driving at 9/10ths or higher??? Because at anything less than that FWD vs RWD dynamically hardly matters at all. Of course if you get all your information from the enthusiast magazines they rave over RWD cuz their main focus is how fast can it lap a racetrack. I don't think I'm being biased when I say that when it snows it is by far mostly 4x4s in the ditch, upside down or otherwise! That could be because the traf-f*** mix here is mostly 4x4s tho'. And yes, RWD cars are practically just vintage collectables so that's why you don't see them in the winter.
Well, it may not be the only reason, but I can't help but see the correlation. RWDs were phased out in the early 90s, pickups and SUVs became popular in the early 90s. Dodge recently brought out the rear wheel drive 300 after years of FWD only cars, and unlike their FWD cars the 300s flew off the lot faster than they could make them. This was enough to prompt GM to get the Zeta RWD platform out and get the new Impala on it. The next generation Impala will be RWD, and the FWD Bonneville will become the RWD G8. Caddy is going to go RWD, may make the entire lineup RWD. Then there is also that FWD was not nearly as refined back in the early 90s as it is now, and anyone considering a FWD vs an SUV would definitely hated it, and will to this day tell you how bad FWD sucks, drives like crap compared to RWD, ect ect. I know I hated it back then.
There really is a difference between driving FWD and RWD. On long trips a FWD will wear you out, a RWD won't. I think it has to do with every time you take a corner you have to force the front wheels to turn when they want to go straight. The power steering keeps this from being apparent, but on a long trip the fact that you've been wrestling a lot of weight under power around. I have had to drive a few FWD cars around, and have bought a few FWD minivans (not really because I wanted a FWD but because I needed the van part) so I am not just getting this from magazines. I will admit that I was very impressed with how far FWD has come, when we were getting rid of the Tahoe we test drove a 2005 Nissan Altima 2.5L and found it to be impressive. I do think it was at the edge of torque steer though, under WOT you could start to detect it. The 3.5 probably does have some torque steer. Mom's 06 Lucerne with the northstar V8 has quite a bit of torque steer, but it will also fly like a scalded dog. GM is definitely not someone I'd be looking at for a FWD anything, regardless of price. Their FWD systems just aren't up to snuff even on their luxury liners. Had the Tahoe sold when we made the test drive we'd have bought the Altima, but for some reason the price shot up about 4 grand between the test drive and the sale, and it was only over the course of a month. Otherwise I'd have a 2.5L Altima now instead of a Toyota Sienna minivan.
I see you are from the far north from your logo, I am from Oklahoma. This would explain why you see few RWDs and I see many, we don't have a lot of snow, so not a lot of salt, so not a lot of rust. 70s and 80s RWDs are still commonplace, but the numbers are dwindling .
Well bringing this back around to the 100MPG vision, longitudinal engined RWDs simply are not as efficient. It's just a fact that 90 degree turns in the transmission path impose greater friction than parallel shafts. It's not a huge difference, but it's there.
What about auto fwd? They use a chain to turn the corner lots of spin loss there. Like it or not most people buy autos. Rwd have a straight shot. Rwd is traditionaly heavier, frt wheel drive as stated earlier is a packaging dream. Rwd can be balanced better because the load is spread out. The Volt is frt wheel for packaging. Look at a Solstice no room the tunnel takes up valuable real estate. I've thought of using a Geo Metro 3 cylinder with a 2wd Tracker manual to get rear wheel drive. But packaging beats anything that could be gained by going rwd to lower frontal area.
Why not a RWD with rear engine like mine. They are the best ! ( Smart car)
accually a RR setup car (rear engine rear drive) is worse in the snow because well yes it can get going but since theres virtually no weight on the front wheels you cant turn worth a crap so your front wheels are gonna sliiiiiiiiiiiide (on snow that is) unless you got extremely skinny tires thbat act more liek ski's than tires then prolly would be best. with a front engine RWD you got the weight of the engine on the steering but usually no weight over the drive wheels(if its a truck, cars are alot more balanced) so while you cant get going as easy you sure as hell can steer id rather be able to control my car before i can get it moving...
but yes i too live in the midwest and all i ever see is alot of fwd and 4x4 in the ditches when it snows. yet my 2wd s-10 and my chevette have never gotten stuck...i think the 4x4 people get stuck in the ditch cuz they think well i got 4wd i can go 55 on snow! yet they fail to realize that it takes the same distace to stop no matter what driveline u got...
but yes i too live in the midwest and all i ever see is alot of fwd and 4x4 in the ditches when it snows. yet my 2wd s-10 and my chevette have never gotten stuck...i think the 4x4 people get stuck in the ditch cuz they think well i got 4wd i can go 55 on snow! yet they fail to realize that it takes the same distace to stop no matter what driveline u got...[/QUOTE]
You've got that right. Then add abs, traction control, new rollover protection, and air bags and they think they are invinsible. NOT!!!!!!!!!!
IMO ABS sucks(pisses me off to no end) traction control (learn to drive) rollover protection (again LEARN TO DRIVE) air bags (thier good to a point), but those are the #1 things that total a car.(beacuse they are super espensive to replace)
oh and the fwd traction thingy i totally brainfarted and forgot about the added weight on the gastank over the front. a full 15 gal tank is well close to 200lbs i thought. should be plenty for traction weight.