What is Engine Layout?
The engine layout is nothing but the placement of engine in a vehicle. An engine finds its place at different locations in a vehicle. It depends upon the vehicle’s design, application and the space available. Most of the vehicles’ engine sits at the front because of the effective cooling it offers to run it efficiently. The front engine layout generally places the engine ahead of the front axle line. It also keeps the driven wheels at the front of the vehicle.
The front layout is one of the most traditional forms of layout. It offers practical design and simplicity which is popular among the manufacturers. Front engine layout puts the engine in a place which neither the passengers nor the luggage normally uses. Thus, being at the front, the engine also provides protection to the driver in case of an accident. However, the drawback of the front layout is the uneven weight distribution. Due to the placement of the heavy engine at the front, the car handling is not ideal.
Front Engine Layout: Longitudinally mounted engine, Front Wheel Drive
In a longitudinally mounted front layout, the engine is mounted at the front. But, it runs along the vehicle’s length which is parallel to its wheels. The engine attaches to the gearbox and drives the front wheels thru’ drive shafts as seen in the diagram.
Front Engine Layout: Transversely mounted engine, Front Wheel Drive
In a transversely mounted front engine layout, the engine sits at the front but crosswise. It fits along the vehicle’s width which is almost 90 degrees to its wheels. This front engine layout requires very small space to fit the engine. Hence, most compact cars use this layout which has very small space to accommodate the engine.
However, its design is more complicated as compared to the longitudinally placed engine. This is because it does not leave enough space for accessories. Some of the popular cars with a transversely mounted front layout with front-wheel drive are Maruti Suzuki Alto K10, Suzuki Swift, Tata Tiago, and Honda Jazz which use the similar layout.
Front Engine Layout: Longitudinally mounted engine, Rear Wheel Drive
This design is one of the most commonly used by the manufacturers due to its simple design. In this front engine layout arrangement, the engine mounts longitudinally on the vehicle. However, it drives the rear wheels instead of front ones. Most earlier generation cars used this front engine layout. It provides more flexibility to engineers to place more accessories due to bigger engine compartment space.
However, it uses propeller shaft to send the drive to the rear wheels thru’ the differential. It also provides for great weight-balance as it places the heavy components evenly. Some of the popular cars with a transversely mounted front layout with front-wheel drive are Tata Sumo and Chevvy Tavera which use the similar layout.
Read more: What is rear-engine layout? >>