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Front Vs Mid Vs Rear-Engine Cars Compared - Pros and Cons

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 13/02/2024

​​Other than the look and feel of the car, have you ever wondered about the car engine and its role in the overall car design and functionality? Most cars on the streets of India have a front engine, i.e. under the bonnet. However, there are also cars that have mid and rear engines.

Understanding the key differences between front-engine vs mid-engine vs rear-engine is necessary to make an informed decision regarding which car suits your needs the best. The placement of the engine impacts the acceleration, interior space, weight distribution, brake performance and much more.

Before you buy any of the front-engine, mid-engine, and rear-engine cars in India, you must do some research to recognise the mechanism behind each.

Front Engine Cars

In front-engine cars, the engine placement is at the front of the vehicle under the bonnet. These are the most common types of cars in India, and the key selling points include economical pricing, better comfort and easier maintenance.

Pros of Front-Engine Cars

Front-engine cars are more accessible to drive as the front wheels of the car solely handle the weight of the engine.

Front-engine cars have a better cooling system; as everytime the vehicle moves forward, the air vents make it easier to accommodate engine cooling promptly.

As the engine is placed right at the front of the car, there is ample passenger space in the car, increasing the boot space in the vehicle.

Front-engine cars provide easy access to the car engine, easing the maintenance effort and ensuring faster service and repairs.

Cons of Front-Engine Cars

The weight distribution in front-engine cars is uneven as more weight is shifted towards the front of the car, making it challenging to balance the gravitational pull of the vehicle when on the road.

Due to the weight adjustment in front-engine cars, the overall performance of the car may be impacted as the acceleration of the vehicle is restricted.

Mid-Engine Cars

For mid-engine cars, the engine placement is behind the driver’s seat and is more common for 2-seat cars. The primary reason for the mid-engine placement is to divide the weight of the heaviest part of the car equally between the front and the rear wheels, making them incredibly stable.

Pros of Mid-Engine Cars

These cars offer complete control and handling while driving as the weight distribution in the vehicle is equal.

In addition to that, due to the balanced weight division, such cars also offer better braking performance for the vehicle, which is also one of the prime reasons why race cars use this engine placement category.

Mid-engine cars also provide better high-speed handling capacity as they have a low centre of gravity due to the weight division.

Cons of Mid-Engine Cars

Cars with mid-engine placements do not support any rear passenger seats and are thus only available in 2-seater capacity.

The maintenance time and effort for such cars is very high, making it an expensive affair.

The engine placement is right behind the driver’s seat, making the impact of accidents and other casualties higher on the driver.

Rear Engine Cars

In rear-engine cars, also called back-engine cars in India, the engine is placed right above the back wheels. In most cases, rear-engine cars offer a rear-wheel drive configuration to offer high-speed stability, better vehicle handling, and more.

Such engines are most common in sports cars. When comparing front mid-engine vs rear-mid engine cars, the former ones are generally best for Indian consumers, whereas the latter offer unmatched acceleration.

Pros of Rear-Engine Cars

As most of the weight of the engine is on the back wheels, the initial acceleration ability of the car is better and more manageable.

With the placement of the engine right at the back of the car, the unique distribution allows better car handling and attracts improved traction when on the road.

Steering capacity and power delivery are better distributed in rear-engine cars, allowing less burden on the front of the car, which improves car performance and increases steering ease significantly.

Cons of Rear-Engine Cars

The engine takes longer to cool down in rear-engine cars as the air ventilation is not as good as the front-engine cars.

Rear-engine cars are not that common in India, and thus, the manufacturing and maintenance costs are very high for such vehicles.

It poses a serious threat to the safety of the driver as the engine is absent from the front and is placed right in the back of the vehicle, leaving a limited scope of divided frontal impact in case of accidents.

Summarising Differences for Front Engine vs Mid Engine vs Rear Engine Cars

Features  Front-Engine Cars Mid-Engine Cars Rear-Engine Cars
Engine Placement  Right at the front of the car, under the bonnet Behind the driver’s seat, ahead of the rear wheels Right at the back of the car, above the rear wheels
Weight Distribution  Front-focused  Mid-focussed between the front and mid or mid and rear.  Rear-focussed 
Space Ample space for rear passenger seating Limited space and less space for rear passenger seats  Spacious for small cars but limited rear passenger seating 
Scope of Safety Modernisation of designs, so different levels of safety offered based on vehicle choice No frontal protection, so high driver safety concerns No frontal protection, so high driver safety concerns
Availability in India Most common in India Mostly sports cars, so not so common Rare availability due to low use-case for everyday routine 
Cost The most economical option due to its availability in the mass markets Higher than front-engine cars It is a rare purchase, so most costly in the market


The choice between front-engine vs mid-engine vs rear-engine cars depends on individual preferences and budget. It is crucial to differentiate between the car types based on their engine placement as it helps evaluate the feasibility of the vehicle for day-to-day use.

Front-engine cars offer better affordability and practical driving experience, whereas mid-engine cars are designed for better agility and vehicle handling. Similarly, for highly experienced drivers who are looking for an expensive yet rare car, rear-engine cars can be a great option.

So, assess your needs and budget and pick the one that fits the required criteria best for a seamless driving experience.

Role of Four-Wheeler Insurance

Regardless of the type of car you purchase, an integral part of owning a car is investing in the right car insurance. According to the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, every vehicle owner is required to have valid third-party four-wheeler insurance to be permitted to drive around in India. However, this insurance category does not protect your vehicle against any damage or loss.

To protect your car, you need a comprehensive car insurance plan. Tata AIG offers a comprehensive car insurance policy that can be customised based on specific coverage needs.

The list of add-ons includes engine protection coverage, no-claim bonus, key replacement cover, tyre secure cover, etc. All these add-ons can be added to the base policy simultaneously while purchasing car insurance online from our website.

Additionally, to make informed decisions and plan your policy premium effectively, you can use the car insurance calculator on our website and discuss any query with our 24/7 available support team.


What are some of the top rear-wheel cars in India?

Some of the top rear-wheel cars in India include the Mahindra Bolero Neo, Toyota Fortuner, Mahindra Scorpio, and Toyota Innova Crysta.

Are back-engine cars in India common?

Back-engine cars are cars that have the engine located towards the rear of the vehicle. At present, back-engine or rear-engine cars in India are uncommon, and some of the reasons behind it include complexities with maintenance, design challenges, population preferences, etc.

Common rear-wheel drive advantages and disadvantages?

Some rear-engine cars are rear-wheel drive cars. However, they are not the same thing. The advantages of rear-wheel drive include a connected driving experience and better vehicle handling in dry areas.

On the other hand, the disadvantages include low power in front wheels, struggle while driving in rain or snow, and less fuel efficiency when compared to the most common front-rear engine vehicles in India.

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