Vans: Front-Wheel Drive vs. Rear-Wheel Drive image

When buying a new or used van, it’s important to consider the differences between front and rear wheel drive. Both systems offer a variety of pros and cons. They affect the van’s stability, weight, capacity, performance and safety. These factors have a substantial impact on the cost to purchase and operate a van.


Front-wheel drive generally performs better than RWD on slippery roads. Traction is improved by the weight of an engine over the drive wheels. RWD traction can be enhanced by heavy cargo or a rear engine. Some drivers improve it by adding unnecessary objects to their vehicles. However, this technique reduces fuel efficiency.

Fuel Economy

Another advantage of front-wheel drive vans is that most models weigh less than their RWD counterparts. This causes FWD vans to use slightly less fuel, according to The Wall Street Journal. The lower weight makes them more affordable to operate and limits air pollution. The greater capacity of FWD vans can reduce fuel consumption as well.

Cargo Capacity

Vans with FWD typically provide more cargo space. This may reduce the number of trips a driver has to make. In rear-wheel drive vans, the drivetrain must extend from the engine to the rear axle. It takes up room that could be used for cargo. However, this problem doesn’t exist if the van’s engine happens to be located in the rear.


A van with rear-wheel drive may offer superior acceleration and driving performance, especially if it has a front engine. RWD vehicles generally perform better when traveling around corners at high speeds. Many motorists find them more exciting to drive. However, these advantages are usually more relevant to sports car owners than van drivers.


Rear-wheel drive vans normally cost somewhat more to purchase. On the other hand, it is often easier to repair this type of vehicle. Vans with RWD also offer greater durability, according to the Kelley Blue Book. When buying van insurance in Ireland, there is usually little difference between the cost of insuring FWD and RWD models.

The best choice depends upon the van’s intended purpose. If it will frequently travel on slippery roads and only carry heavy cargo on occasion, front-wheel drive might be preferable. The same holds true if the owner plans to resell the van after using it to carry large amounts of cargo for a few years. A van with RWD may be advantageous if the owner is willing to spend more money to make the best long-term investment.