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Rear Wheel Drive on Kia EV6 - Handling OK?

10079 Views 49 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  SoulGW
I watched the Fully Charged look at the EV6 earlier. I was disappointed to hear that the 2WD version will be rear wheel drive. Am I just being old fashioned in not liking the idea of a rear wheel drive car? My most recent experience of that was a friend who gave up on a RWD BMW one winter into owning it as he couldn't control it in even moderately slippery conditions. Is there anything about an EV that would make driving a RWD version any safer/more pleasant than an ICE equivalent?

I haven't watched anything on the Hyundai 5 yet - is that the same?
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I too would always choose a RWD car over a FWD.

If you overcook things in a front drive car and lose traction, you usually get understeer, and the natural reaction to lift off the power and/or break increases traction on the front wheels due to weight transfer, stopping the understeer.
If you overcook things in a rear drive car, you might get understeer or oversteer depending exactly what you've done, and if you end up with oversteer, lifting off and/or braking will usually make it worse, as your transferring weight away from the wheels that are already sliding

So, I agree if you "overcook" it in a FWD car, you get understeer - true - but it's the reason FOR that understeer that is the problem. If it's simply carrying too much speed into a bend, then lifting off will cause the weight to shift forward, and then you get "Snap oversteer" - which unless you are very quick will spin you round like a top - most modern stability systems do mitigate this a degree. However if it's plough on understeer caused by too much power applied, then the sliding wheels are also the wheels you are trying to steer with. A reduction in power then can cause the wheels to stop spinning - quite often the driver has wound too much lock on... and hey presto it's spin time again. Again the modern traction controls will deal with this well.

In a RWD car, the steering isn't corrupted by having to transmit the power as well. Most modern Stability systems will cut power / apply single wheel braking to stabilise this long before the driver has a major issue. Also, usually oversteer will be caused by too much power which again you can dial back - but as the rear wheels have already lost traction, usually lifting off will cause a slide, but a much less "snappy" one - and more easily controlled.

With modern cars it doesn't really matter a jot, Stability controls will deal with most events pretty well. Less weight on the front (ICE cars) means steering needs less power assistance on RWD than FWD so the steering is often more "feelsome" and thus much nicer to drive - but I am not sure how true that is on EV's - but you won't get torque steer on a RWD car unlike a FWD.

And for winter - yes I think a RWD EV will probably be much the same as a FWD except again you aren't corrupting the front tyres by trying to get them to cope with all the power AND all the steering - but you can't beat all seasons tyres come November, that is undeniable - I've towed Discovery's on road tyres out of snow or fields with my old ML500 - because I had All Terrain Tyres on 12 months of the year.

But which would I buy? RWD every single time given a choice.
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I agree to an extent - I think part of the public's reluctance is that they already look "different" - The Kia's are very polarising over their looks (not the prettiest I grant you) and some others just look awful.

I like the ID's (outside not inside) but I think we'll see some "traditional" designs to appeal to older buyers and "revolutionary" for the ones who want something different.
i steered towards the exit i floored it,
in a 330d.... that might be your problem right there lol. I have to say a 330d is a blimmin quick car, also has a bit of turbo lag and then a thump of torque - so if you aren't in a straight line, flooring it isn't an option! Whereas my old 1970's Ford Escort Mk 1 1.3... .well flooring it then didn't result in much happening at all!!

I too have had those moments - one of mine in a Ford Capri, a roundabout and the damp.... ooooh that was interesting....

However modern traction controls make all that pretty much irrelevant - Ferrari for example have tuned it so even an amateur could hold a dramatic drift!!

The reality is, a well sorted EV can meter it's power very progressively - combine that with modern stability controls, and I think the simple answer is, FWD or RWD will be safe - RWD should be able to be "nicer" to drive.
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One difference between EVs and ICE vehicles is the instant torque and from zero mph. This could make a rear wheel drive EV trickier on non dry roads and require a well sorted ESP to save some clumsy drivers.

On a postive note, the weight distribution is usually a lot better than with ICE vehicles.
Yes, but also very progressive and well controlled. I can spin the wheels on mine easily - but I'd have to want to - I can pull away delightfully smoothly if I want to....
Horrible is an overstatement - no worse than any other FWD car, but with more power I agree it's a good move.

Yet BMW have gone FWD for the new 1-series.
It was following “extensive research” that showed their customers didn’t know which end was actually powered......

I can believe it for the 1 series - I think most 3 series owners might be different!
A lot of even “proper” 4x4’s come on low profile road tyres - useless in snow.

Also there are very few RWD cars now, and they tend to be powerful, for which reason again see ultra low profile very wide tyres.

What you want in snow is narrow tall profile tyres at a lower psi (I went down to 25psi on the ML in mud and snow, and they had a deep cut tread, and soft rubber (not too soft, they were all seasons tyres) - swear that thing would have crossed anything in low range.
RWD on the tyres you describe on a skid pan will be more fun and way more of a handful. However with practice and some skill, a RWD could be glided round way more balletically than a FWD which would just plough on understeer.

RWD does need more understanding and skill to drive well, but for most drivers, the Stability Control means it makes little difference now to the safety, but lots to the “feel”
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First ever front driver (mass produced) Citroën Traction Avant - 1934......

So not the newest thing - but it was probably the Mini that started the switch.

In 1980 a Saab engineer famously said "No-one will ever be able to put more than 200hp through the front wheels - it just can't be done".
Audi 100 was an understeering pig - it really wasn't "Mini like"......
Mark 1 or 2 escorts brilliant...

Montego..... hmmmm not missed much there!
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It had "self overtake" fitted - all you did was floor it and it changed lanes for you, a very early driver aid! Course you never knew which SIDE it would change lanes to......
And the one that really makes me laugh are 300hp fed cars with "ediff"....

So, you burn a ton of fuel making loads of power, then apply one or both brakes to those same wheels to control it! Not only burn fuel, but melt brake pads too!
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