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GoAuto glossary

Torque-steer

A distinctive characteristic of front-wheel-drive vehicles, which have both the power and steering forces directed to the front wheels.

Applying engine power naturally tugs at the driven wheels, which can be felt as the steering wheel being pulled from the driver’s hands.

In low-powered four-cylinder cars, the effect is minimal, but more powerful engines can create huge forces – when accelerating though a turn the car may want to straighten-up, making it feel like it wants to drive off the road.

Engineers try all sorts of tricks to lessen this effect or conceal it, many of which lead to a ‘dead’ feel of the steering.

This is one of the main reasons why front-wheel drive is only suitable for smaller, less-powerful cars and why luxury brands stick with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.

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