Does anyone make a front wheel drive pick up truck...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Apr 01, 1994

Dear Tom and Ray:

Does anyone make a front wheel drive pick up truck? If not, why not? I have observed that in launching my boat, it is easier to get up a slick ramp when I use my front wheel drive car (whose drive wheels are still on dry pavement) than when I use my rear wheel drive pick up (with the drive wheels in the water).

RAY: There have been a couple of front wheel drive pick-up-style-vehicles over the years, but I'd hesitate to call them "trucks," Joe. Volkswagen made one. I think Chrysler sold one. They were essentially compact, front wheel drive cars with a flat bed in back instead of a back seat and a trunk.

TOM: And there are several reasons why there are no full size, front wheel drive pick ups. One is that most of the weight on a pick up truck is already up front. If you took the drive shaft and the differential, and moved them up front too, pick up trucks would be so light in the back, they'd handle even worse than they do now (if you can imagine that!).

RAY: But more importantly, they'd be very difficult to drive when you put stuff in the back. You'd have plenty of traction when the truck was empty. But if you loaded it up with cement blocks or fresh manure, the back of the truck would be pushed down. And when the back goes down, the front of the truck goes up in the air. Then you'd have NO traction!

TOM: The same thing used to happen to my old Festiva every time my mother-in-law got in the back seat. I finally had to sell it. Not because of that. But because, one weekend, I couldn't get her out.

RAY: Anyway, Joe, if you're going to carry stuff (and if you own a pick up truck, we assume you occasionally carry stuff) you're better off with rear wheel drive. If you're going to carry stuff AND back your truck into the ocean, then you should consider four wheel drive. That's the preferred pick up truck extra-traction solution.

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