Choosing the right drivetrain for your fleet vehicles can have a significant impact on your productivity and your bottom line. In order to help maximize your fleet’s efficiency, it's important to understand what drivetrain is best suited for the type of work you're doing.
For example, does your fleet need towing power for hauling trailers? Are you operating in a warm climate or a colder climate where winter driving is required? There are a variety of considerations that go into the decision-making process.
While there is no “perfect” drivetrain layout to fit all applications, making an informed decision before you invest in new vehicles will help ensure you choose the right drivetrain for your fleet to keep your vehicle lifecycle costs at a minimum.
We’ve compiled a comparison chart you can download on various factors to consider such as drive train basics, acquisition and operating expenses, handling and safety, and here is a summary view we call ‘The Bottom Line’.
Other issues to consider include the following:
FWD vehicles are at a disadvantage, as the load's weight is over the rear wheels. Therefore, the drive wheels have less weight and, as a result, less traction. Accordingly, towing capacity is less on FWD than comparable RWD, AWD, or 4WD vehicles.
Since FWD does not require a driveshaft tunnel or rear differential, passenger and cargo volume is greater. This is not an issue in vehicles with ladder frames, such as pickup trucks or full-size vans, where the space used by the driveline is unusable.
All drivetrains except RWD may limit the amount the front wheels can turn; therefore, a FWD vehicle's turning radius may be much smaller than a comparable RWD vehicle.
AWD/4WD demand in the used vehicle market could help recoup higher initial vehicle cost and offset some higher operating costs. Moving from FWD or RWD to an AWD configuration typically adds $400-$500 in resale value on a sedan or minivan, and 4WD adds about $1,500 above the 2WD resale amount for comparable vehicles.