Rear-wheel-drive on the rise

In 1982, 46.6 percent of Canadian passenger cars featured front-wheel-drive. By 2001, that number increased to 94.8. While American statistics are undoubtedly similar, Canada's snowy winters make the argument for front-wheel-drive that much stronger. But a change is taking place. In 2005, 9.5 percent of of passenger cars featured rear-wheel-drive -- the highest percentage since 1989. "The standard criticism of rear drive is that it's bad in the snow, but today's vehicles allay these fears with effective traction and stability control systems," explained analyst Dennis DesRosiers. "This recovery is no doubt a result of several important vehicles, including all variants of DaimlerChrysler's LX platform (Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger), as well as the Cadillac CTS, Smart Fortwo, Mazda RX-8, Nissan 350Z and Infiniti G35," DesRosiers says. The Leftlane Perspective: If consumers in snowy climates are warming up to rear-wheel-drive, the path should be clear for the rest of North America, too.