With every drive train, there are advantages and disadvantages. Two type of drive trains are the front-wheel drive and the rear-wheel drive. As the names suggest, “Front-wheel drive (FWD) is a form of engine/transmission layout used in motor vehicles, where the engine drives the front wheels only”, while “Rear-wheel drive (RWD) typically places the engine in the front of the vehicle and the driven wheels are located at the rear”. Both are two-wheel drive trains and differ both from each other and from the four-wheel and all-wheel drive trains. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. The main factors are safety/control and fuel efficiency. Safety and control are crucial factors to consider when driving in the snowy, slippery Minneapolis winters. At the same time, fuel efficiency, which can affect the amount of money spent on gasoline (with the gas prices across Minneapolis ranging from $3.09 and $3.25 on Saturday, January 22, 2011), as well as the environment, is just as important. Minneapolitan drivers must consider both when purchasing their vehicles.
Front-wheel drive vehicles are more popular now than rear-wheel drive, as evidenced by the fact that “Nearly every domestic or non-domestic compact or sub-compact made in the past twenty years has front-wheel drive.” The most common front-wheel drive layout features a front engine. This allows for more efficient packaging, as there is no need to install a central tunnel (which would have occurred, had the engine been located at the opposite end of the vehicle). This, in turn, allows for greater space use for passengers, and cargo. This is just one of the front-wheel drive advantages. Others include lower weight, due to more efficient packaging, greater fuel efficiency, due to lower weight, greater safety (due to driving wheels also being the steering wheels) and lower cost due to fewer components (ibid). There are disadvantages to front-wheel drive trains as well. They tend to steer to a side during hard acceleration (torque steering). They are also less suitable for adventurous drivers, as they are less capable of drifting and accelerating rapidly. Finally, they may lose traction when climbing a hill in slippery conditions.
Rear-wheel drive trains have a number of advantages, as well as disadvantages. Their weight is more evenly distributed than that of front-wheel drive counterparts (mainly due to the driveshaft) and there is no torque steering. Rear-wheel drive cars are much better at accelerating and drifting, as well as towing, due to the greater weight on the drive wheels. They also tend to handle better in dry conditions (ibid). On the other hand, there is the risk of over-steering, less control in certain road conditions (such as snow and ice), greater weight, as well as less space and decreased fuel economy (ibid).
In conclusion, each drive train has its advantages and disadvantages. The safety of the two drive trains depends on the situation, the local road conditions, and the risks the driver is willing to take. Front-wheel drive vehicles tend to have improve fuel efficiency, which is beneficial for the environment and can reduce costs to the driver.
 See Footnote 2