Car layout

In automotive design, the layout describes where on the vehicle the engine and drive wheels are found. Many different combinations of engine location and driven wheels are found in practice, and the location of each is dependent on the application for which the vehicle will be used. Factors influencing the design choice include cost, complexity, reliability, packaging (location and size of the passenger compartment and boot), weight distribution, and the vehicle's intended handling characteristics.

Layouts can roughly be divided into two categories: front- or rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel-drive vehicles may take on the characteristics of either, depending on how power is distributed to the wheels.

Front-wheel-drive layouts

Front engine, front-wheel drive

FF layout

The front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout (abbreviated as FF layout) places both the internal combustion engine and driven wheels at the front of the vehicle. This is the most common layout for cars since the late 20th century.

Mid-engine, front-wheel drive

Some early front-wheel drive cars from the 1930s had the engine located in the middle of the car.

Rear-engine, front-wheel-drive

A rear-engine, front-wheel-drive layout is one in which the engine is between or behind the rear wheels, and drives the front wheels via a driveshaft, the complete reverse of a conventional front-engine, rear-wheel-drive vehicle layout. This layout has only been used on prototype and concept cars.