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  • View Poll Results: Would you want to buy a 150bhp, RWD car if one were to launch under 15L?

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    26. You may not vote on this poll
    • Yes, I would buy it without a hesitation. RWD is the way to go for an enthusiast.

      21 80.77%
    • No thanks. I shall stick to FWD.

      5 19.23%
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    Thread: Why we Indians are stuck with Front Wheel Driven cars.

    1. #1
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      Why we Indians are stuck with Front Wheel Driven cars.

      Ever wondered why we don't have true RWD (rear wheel drive) enthusiastic cars in India ? IMO a real enthusiasts car is one that is driven by the rear wheels, has around 150bhp and bucket loads of torque. Yet, we hardly see a single RWD car in India aimed at the performance enthusiast. Here is why....

      Typically, cars come in many different layouts.
      1. Front engined front wheel driven.
      2. Front engined rear wheel driven.
      3. Rear engined rear wheel driven.
      4. Front engined AWD.
      5. Mid-engined AWD.
      6. Rear engined RWD/AWD.

      Majority of the cars in India belong to the 1st category. Front engined front wheel driven.

      The typical layout of a FF (Front engined Fwd) car is as shown in figure.
      Name:  Fwd.jpg
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      In case of a FF car, the engine sits in front of the axle and drives the front wheels. The front wheels play a dual function. Not just transferring the power down onto the wheels, but also steering the wheels. In case of RWD car, the front wheels help in only the steering bit, while the onus of putting the power down rests on the rear wheels of the car.

      Now one must wonder, why do manufacturers give us FWD cars. What must be the advantages of such a setup. And yes, others will wonder what are the disadvantages of such a setup too. Let me try and cover some of these points.

      Advantages of FWD
      :
      • A FF car usually weighs a lot less than a FR car. Purely because there is no need for a rear differential and normally given that FF cars are fitted with engines transversely (east-west) mounted which means one cannot have big engines. Hence most cars are limited to Inline-4s or at max V6's.
      • The less weight, automatically translates to BETTER Fuel Economy. Also since the transaxle and the engine are connected directly the mechanical inertia of the transmission is less and this also aids in better FE. Isn't that what we all Indians crave for?
      • Interior space improves as there is no need of a wider tunnel to accomodate the linkage to the rear driveshafts or differential.
      • Since the entire weight of the engine & the transmission is in the front, in slippery/rainy/icy conditions the weight aids to better traction on the front wheels which drive the car.
      • Also, the trademark handling characteristic of FF cars is typical understeer. I shall explain the funda of understeer & oversteer in detail in another thread, but in simple terms "understeer" occurs when the front wheels loose traction during cornering forcing you to run wide though you have applied enough steering correction. Its is said that for a novice user, it is easier to control understeer than oversteer (where the rear snaps out first).
      • Given all the above points, FWD cars are mass-produced and hence the cost factor for these also comes down.

      Now let us discuss the other end of the spectrum.

      Disadvantages of FWD:
      • Torque Steer - The common problem on all FWD cars owing to the uneven size of the driveshafts. Torque steer is the reason you will find your FWD car move crazily to the right or left on a hard launch.
      • Since most FWD cars use the transverse engine mounting funda, the turning radius is horrendous because it limits the extent by which the front wheels can turn.
      • Transverse engine mounting limits the size of the engine. Hence getting powerful V6's/V8's/I-6s becomes a nightmare.
      • Going by the theory of "weight transfer", when a car accelerates, the weight shifts towards the rear. This translates to loss of traction on the front wheels specially in rainy/icy/slippery or slopy conditions. But the excess weight makes up for it to an extent.


      So when you look at "practicality", going for a FWD car makes complete sense. And that is just the exact reason why we don't see many RWD enthusiasts cars in India. However, I do wish we get a proper RWD car within a budget of 15 lakhs soon. Close to 150bhp and tons of torque. That would be a true enthusiasts car .

      PS: Have added a poll to see the response of the community. Do kindly vote.

      Pics courtesy: Wikipedia!
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    2. #2
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      Rahul,

      The answer to your post is :

      1. FWD cars are cheaper to manufacture
      2. Has less moving parts in comparison to RWD
      3. Is easier to control from a layman POV

      And yes, An HARDCORE enthuthiast will always go for AWD or RWD cars only. FWD cars are for sissies.
      Thru the Gears

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      Hardcore = RWD or AWD

      But manufacturers wont make cheap cars which will sell only in the tens or hundreds.
      I wish we had some manufacturers producing cars in sheds like in the UK.
      Noble comes to mind....

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      there is no requirement or demand for rwd / awd cars here.
      say 90% of the cars sold here is hardly over 100 bhp hence no traction issues.

      similarly again 95 % of the people who buy cars here have one requirement to travel to work and back and mainly maintain social status by the looks and cost of their cars.

      hence again no requirement we dont have a harsh climate and geography to warrant awd cars.

      hence its going to be a long time for awd and rwd cars to hit the mainstream.
      necessity is the mother of all invention.

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      Now most of them have already gives reasons as to why the RWD's,AWD's are not available here in India.

      I Just hope things change soon. I want to experience drifting on Indian roads

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      we're stuck? for the longest time we had only RWD's . Ambys, padminis, even the omni is RWD.

      The road to drifting is cheap, time consuming, and paved with junkyard fiats
      *Now with red horns!

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      Quote Originally Posted by [url=http://gearheads.in/post12612.html#p12612
      greenhorn » Fri Dec 25, 2009 3:07 pm[/url]]we're stuck? for the longest time we had only RWD's . Ambys, padminis, even the omni is RWD.

      The road to drifting is cheap, time consuming, and paved with junkyard fiats
      But then the car's you have mentioned were not that powerful or what we say enthusiastic cars :roll:

      That way we even have the Nano

    8. #8
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      mclaren1885's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by [url=http://gearheads.in/post12612.html#p12612
      greenhorn » Fri Dec 25, 2009 3:07 pm[/url]]we're stuck? for the longest time we had only RWD's . Ambys, padminis, even the omni is RWD.
      Greenhorn, I can give you a list of cars sold in India with RWD's. NONE of them even came close to being called an "enthusiasts car". I would love to see a OHC, Baleno, Fiesta, Esteem etc in RWD formats. Then they would be a true enthusiasts cars. Like Vikram says, FWD are for sissies. Unfortunately we have no choice but to live with them.
      2002 Tata Indica DLS.
      2004 Suzuki Zen - A G13B eater.
      2005 Suzuki Baleno - India's fastest Naturally Aspirated Baleno timed on a drag strip officially!
      2008 Suzuki Swift VDi - The Rattle King.
      2011 Chevrolet Cruze - The Torque Monster.
      2016 Ford Ecosport 1.5 TDCi Titanium - The SQ Machine in the making.
      2017 Skoda Octavia VRS - A 400+HP corner craving machine!
      2014 MOC SQ Pro Champions.
      Harmonixx Tuning - Importers for Audiofrog & Arc Audio/APR Tuning Authorized Dealers/Engine Remap Specialists for all makes/models.
      Dealers for Rainbow/Mosconi/Eton/Stetcom/Tru Technology/Blam Audio/Mobridge/Stetsom/Audible Physics/AIV/Gladen/Dampmat/Dr Artex Damping and more.

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      FWD became popular with Japanese Kei cars. These tiny city runabouts with typical mad Japanese power cannot be RWD. Short wheel base and RWD don't mix well. Suddenly people found that FWD is cheap, is not a bad handler so long as power is kept at or less than 250BHP and suddenly it is everywhere.

      I hope Toyota releases the FT86 here. That'll make for a mad little car. I'll buy one even if I have sell my kidney.

      While we wait, If you want a bad, mad, rad, sleeper RWD rocketship, get an Amby and transplant a big honking Ford V8 into it. There is one lurking somewhere in TVM and believe me, it is truly humbling.
      Thou shalt always seek the redline.

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      In a country where speed limit on most highways is 30 mph & city roads resemble off-road courses, I wonder how 150 bhp would be put to use - other than the occasional loaded trips on ghats, you could only spend all that power by doing laps on empty lots / deserted roads in the middle of the night.

      As for the Poll, I'd stick with FWD !

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