9 Awesome Front Wheel Drive Cars That Are Definitely Worth A Look
We petrolheads of course love machines that have an engine and four wheels and a specific driving layout to boot. We got rear wheel drive, all wheel drive, and last but certainly not the least front wheel drive. Forget infamous and fallacious negativity such as FWD being a boring layout because its the main drive layout for mundane economy cars, bad torque steer (although this one is a bit correct) and inability to do some mad hooning, because there are many FWD cars out there that show much potential and ability to go toe to toe with, and sometimes, oust many RWD and AWD cars.
But let the cars do the talking. Here are 9 front wheel drive cars that might change your mind about whatever unjustified resentment you have with FWD.
Of course, the first car people think about when it comes to front wheel drive and performance is the venerable Honda Civic Type R series. What’s not to love about these hot hatches? (sans FN2 sedan) They’re fast, as agile as a sparrow, reliable, and practical. These are all lovable aspects that makes a car excellent, and the Civic Type R is no stranger to excellence, being a popular choice in track racing especially in Tsukuba Circuit runs and can even be used to drift depending on how its modified. The B16 DOHC for the EK9 hatch is a fantastic engine that will do wonders when V-TEC kicks in (yo!) at usually 4000 RPM, acting as a dependable boost system at high speed action. Thankfully, V-TEC can stack with turbo boost, and when that happens, your Honda spews unicorn farts once the double boost kicks in, which is why turbocharging Civics are a common and a positively received type of modification set up.
The EP3 generation Honda Civic Type R is no doubt also a winner in the FWD segment, being a popular choice for young drivers looking for a nice secondhand car, sporting fantastic driving dynamics and a spicy K20 V-TEC engine that is a popular engine swap for small, usually Japanese tuner cars thanks to it’s reliability and power it gives for a small engine. The K20 is even used in the bonkers Ariel Atom, modified and supercharged that allows the Atom to deliver face-ripping power.
Effectively the middle man of the Type Rs, the FN2, or FD2 in Asia, is also quite good, and the FD2 being the first Civic Type R to sport 4 doors, so that practicality is boosted alongside giving you the chance to give your whole family the V-TEC treatment.
Problems aside, the Euro spec FN2 is… As honest as I could be, a decent FWD performance car, where despite the “next-level” styling cues, the FN2 is often criticized for being heavy, more sluggish than it’s predecessor the EP3, and only having a 1 horsepower difference with the EP3, it can certainly fare as good as the others in its class.
At last, the current generation, the FK2 Type R, is certainly one very impressive piece of kit that can lap the Green Hell in under 8 minutes.
As well as sporting a revised K20 engine, the aero package in all it’s subjective aesthetics proves to be very functional all the while making an impressive 300 horsepower for a FWD car, akin to that of the Mk2 Ford Focus RS, and, like the Focus RS, is equipped with impressive suspension technology that allows it to maintain 300 horses without killing you with torque steer. It also has a 0-60 time of around 5 seconds or less, and a top speed of over 160 MPH! Those are crazy numbers for even a hot hatch.
Impressive as always, Honda.
This mighty little Peugeot is a lovable piece of kit especially in the areas of Europe where it was born. During it’s prime in the 90s, the 205 GTI was a top shelf hot hatch that sold like hotcakes especially towards young thrill-seekers for it’s simple dynamics, a dependable, peppy engine, attractive, boxy styling, and low price.
Thanks to parts like MacPherson struts up in the front, torsion bar suspension in the rear, the car was able to achieve a fantastic amount of cornering ability, as well as give surprisingly good ride quality and it promised practicality as a selling point. In fact, the 205 was so good, mostly thanks to it’s styling and dynamics that it was sought out for in nearly all areas of Europe and it also became a prime target for (often reckless) joyriding and car thefts, which meant insurance prices
for these cars were quite high because of those factors.
Despite having a rather mediocre level of power, with only 130 BHP coming out of its 4 cylinder engine, a 0-60 time of 7.8 seconds and a top speed of only 123 MPH, the fantastic driving qualities more than made up for its lack of power, proving to people that power isn’t always the answer. The Peugeot was a champion in its class, and it still is a shining example
of what makes a proper hot hatch, being a formidable rival of the equally impressive Volkswagen Golf GTI.
Its safe to say that all the generations of the Ford Focus ST are great, but surely, the latest generation of the Focus ST can be considered yet another success story for Ford. The first model to be released in other parts of the world especially USA,
its widely considered to be an amazing, fun car, even if it has a little bit of torque steer. For estate body lovers, you all are in luck, because a wagon Focus ST exists to offer you extra space to enjoy that fruity ST power while having groceries and/or kids in the back.
With a turbocharged 4 cylinder making 270 HP, a 0-60 time of 6.3 seconds, enhanced steering mechanics and a delightfully
low price for a car that provides such specs, this is a boon for petrolheads looking for a dependable daily driver that also
promises modern creature comforts and most importantly, driving characteristics.
Yes, there is the new Focus RS now which everybody is talking about but that’s a whole different monster…
Renowned as one of the best handling FWD cars of all time, the Integra, in any iteration, Acura, DC2, DC5 was certainly a tough car to beat in many aspects. It had the looks, the power, the reputation, decent practicality, reliability and the sportiness it needed to go head to head against many RWD counterparts such as the Nissan S14 or BMW E36 328i for example.
With a 190HP B18C V-TEC engine, this car can shoot up to 8,000 RPM without much effort and thanks to V-TEC, adequate power is always at your disposal. And with special components such as a Helical LSD suspension system, enhanced strut tower bars and sway bars, as well as attentive work towards weight reduction, these elements allowed the Honda coupe
to be as agile as most RWD sports cars in its class, if not, outmaneuvering them in the corners.
All prejudices against FWD often go to Hell when it comes to the Integra, because, whether you get the genuine DC2
model or the more modern DC5, the Integra is always ready to step in and prove haters wrong.
Scanning the generations of the venerable VW Golf GTI, it was rather hard to choose what was the real winner.
But when it comes to FWD hot hatches, the Volkswagen Golf GTI Mark 1 has to be given honor. Back in the 70s, Volkswagen really hit the jackpot when they introduced to the world the 110 HP, diminutive boxy hatchback known as the Golf GTI.
Like it’s counterpart the Peugeot 205 GTI mentioned earlier, it was crowned as the original hot hatch, showing the world that big power isn’t always mandatory for fun. The simple yet joyfully swift driving characteristics of this little Volkswagen made it a huge hit among customers, mainly because of its styling, price, practicality, and overall, the fun it gave when you drove it.
These days, prices for Mk1s are rising pretty quickly because of appreciation, but you can see where the car is coming from.
Rich history, character and cool, retro boxy styling and it’s pleasing simplicity is what makes it such a success story for VW.
When it comes to modern hot hatches, the Mazdaspeed3/Mazda 3 MPS is a stand-out among it’s peers due to its aggressive styling, practicality, dynamics, impressive power, and it’s trademark intimidating, sh!t eating grin.
With a factory turbocharged 4 cylinder that can push 263 HP, a 0-60 time in the six seconds mark, 155 MPH top speed and an impressive six-speed manual gearbox, this car can leave most mundane economy cars in the dust and give class leaders such as the Ford Focus ST or the VW Golf GTI a run for their money thanks to its agility and high power.
The Mazda also has expansive aftermarket support, so there is no shortage of ways to make your fierce, Japanese hatchback just the way you want it to be.
Used car buyers find the Mazdaspeed/MPS 3 to be a fantastic car to own, owing much of its success to the eggheads back in Mazda. Even now, prices for good models are surprisingly good for what the car can give. Now, we can only wait for a
Mazdaspeed/MPS version of the latest Mazda 3, which is already a brilliant car on its own…
The egg-shaped Puma is a surprisingly entertaining car that was never really introduced outside of Europe. Nevertheless, the small FWD sports coupe was an impressive piece of kit with design cues similar to the lot less exciting Ford Ka.
Coming with either a 1.6 or 1.7 Zetec 4-cylinder that makes 125 HP and 0-60 in… 9.5 seconds, its clear that power is not it’s forte, but like most other performance FWD cars, the driving characteristics make up for it.
The little Ford has appeared in famous car based movies, which might be a factor in its selling point, and it also got a punchy Ford Racing edition that gave it a more aggressive bodywork, but aside from that, there isn’t much to deduce about this car. Overall, its a simple, fun to drive coupe that works well as a first timer car if you’re a beginner.
When it comes to the king of modern hot hatches, most would think about the Ford Focus ST or Volkswagen Golf GTI.
That’s when the Renault Megane RS steps in in all it’s French glory. Sporting an impressive 275 HP a 0-60 time of exactly 6 seconds and a top speed of 155 MPH (!), topped off with a rumbling exhaust note, this Renault doesn’t joke around. Tuned and tested by Renault Sport, the Megane RS is a beast worthy of taking its place in the kingdom of modern hot hatches. There also exists a bonkers, factory stripped 275 R Trophy Limited edition that ups the ante with immense weight reduction, such as removed rear seats, enhanced handling parts and suspension that allows it to be a ready-to-go track car.
That there is a fine piece of French engineering.
Other than the odd name that sounds like a part of a line of code, the KIA Pro_Cee’d GT is the first hot hatch to come out of the Korean company, and a good one at that, looking like the love child of a Renault Megane, Ford Fiesta ST and a Kia Forte.
It can come as either a 3 door or a 5 door variant, depending on your preference, and it sports an impressive turbocharged 1.6L 4 cylinder engine that makes 201 HP, a 0-60 time of 7.4 seconds and a top speed of 143 MPH. Now that doesn’t sound very spectacular on paper, but like most cars, spec sheets are often irrelevant in real world situations.
Even if its a KIA, it is unexpectedly impressive especially in driving dynamics, mainly because this car came from a brand known for dreary economy cars. The styling, like all KIAs, is very modern and beautiful, with nice touches such as the boxy cluster LED fog lights, red lining that surrounds the car, giving it an impressive, sporty look, signature KIA tiger nose grille, and overall lovable hatchback styling.
The KIA Pro_cee’d GT is a remarkable car from the brand, which shows that even car makers of conservative personality like KIA and Hyundai are aiming for the top to compete with giants such as the Japanese, Europeans and Americans, and surprisingly, their march hasn’t faltered, and its growing stronger as time goes by.
Now, if only KIA confirmed in making the Stinger GT4…
Okay, so this is kind of a ridiculous entry into the article, but the LMP1 is a car too big to miss.
The Nissan GT-R NISMO LMP1 program car was the buzz amongst car enthusiasts, particularly because it was probably the first Le Mans prototype car to be equipped with a front-wheel drive system.
With a staggering amount of 1250 HP powering the front wheels, you’d expect it to torque steer itself in half, but no.
Thanks to advanced Le Mans racing technology and insane aerodynamics, this different approach gave Le Mans racers
a surprise, with weight distribution more on the front than on the rear, hence the wider front tires.
It can reach an ungodly amount of RPM, capping at 19000RPM, and at that speed, the outer flywheel is capable of spinning at Mach 2 speeds. So fast, it is capable of generating it’s own sonic boom! How insane is that?
Unfortunately, the LMP1 turned out to be a flawed project and eventually it was removed from 24 Hours of Le Mans due to reliability issues. None of the GT-R NISMO LMP1s ever managed to cross the finish line.
However, this goes to show that Nissan is still devoted to high performance cars, and it is possible that future Nissan performance cars would be inspired by this technology. Fingers crossed…
So that’s it.
I will admit that some of my descriptions may be quite lackluster, but nevertheless, a lot of effort has been done looking for all the sources and research needed to complete this article.
Thank you for reading this all the way! Thug Bird, out.
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This content was originally posted by a Car Throttle user on our Community platform and was not commissioned or created by the CT editorial team.