Historically, this designation was used regardless of whether or not the entire engine was behind the front axle line. In recent times, the manufactures of some cars have added to the designation with the term front-mid which describes a car where the engine is in front of the passenger compartment but behind the front axle. Most pre-World War II front engine cars would qualify as front-mid engine, using the front-mid designation, or on the front axle.
This layout is the most traditional form, and remains a popular, practical design. The engine which takes up a great deal of space is packaged in a location passengers and luggage typically would not use. The main deficit is weight distribution — the heaviest component is at one end of the vehicle. Car handling is not ideal, but usually predictable.