To the Editor:
I'd like to comment on Rick Kranz's Feb. 6 column, "Rear drive for Impala? Better think it over."
I recall that that discussion was mentioned at least once before in Automotive News, when General Motors was considering building an Impala/Caprice off a rear-wheel-drive Cadillac platform. GM engineers felt that rwd needed traction control, which might be too expensive for a Chevy buyer.
Heck, if there is one type of car that absolutely needs traction control, it's a front-drive! I've owned conventional cars and many, many rear-engine cars, and I am used not only to driving the rear wheels but also to having the engine weight over them.
I won't consider a fwd without traction control. It ought to be required by law on a front-driver.
The real problem is that people praise fwd for the wrong reasons. If the norm were rear engine/front drive, everyone would know why front drive isn't all it's cracked up to be.
The real reason people praise fwd is not because it's driving the front wheels but, rather, because the weight is over the drive wheels.
With fwd, once you break the drive wheels loose (which isn't hard to do with any car on really slick pavement) you've also lost steering control. With rwd, when you break the drive wheels loose, you still have some steering control.
My running joke is that the difference between a rwd and a fwd is that the rwd is a real car, while the fwd is a major appliance.
So should GM make the next Impala rwd? Why not? And if they really want to be sure, do both and name one of them the Caprice.