The Ten Best Front Wheel Drive Cars Ever Made

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

It is the duty of car enthusiasts to preach the gospel of rear wheel drive, but even Jalopnik readers know some front-drivers can be among the best-handling cars ever made.

Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!


Now, we should say that we are judging these cars on their handling and restricting ourselves to road cars. This cuts off a number of outstanding front wheel drive cars from the running.

First of all, we're steering clear of some of the coolest front wheel drive cars ever made because handling isn't their priority. The original Oldsmobile Toronado and its more expensive cousin the Cadillac Eldorado were seriously cool cars and we would kill to own one, but we'd rather be whipping in something light and fun. The same could be said of the legendary Citroen SM, which we still lust after, though it is the antithesis of a car enthusiast's typical car.


And when we're talking handling, the very best cars are racers. Int he world of rallying, below a certain amount of horsepower, you're liable to be faster in a front wheel drive car than a four wheel drive one, and there are all kinds of winning 'wrong wheel drive' cars in the history books.

But these are cars that us regular human beings can purchase and run on the road, embarrassing rear-drive sports and supercars when the roads get tight, narrow, and wet.


Did we leave your favorite front-driver off this list? Please shout and scream about how wrong we are in Kinja below.

Photo Credit: The Italian Job

10.) Mk1 VW GTI


The prototypical hot hatch. Volkswagen only thought they'd sell a handful of these things, but when they hit the market in 1976 they couldn't build them fast enough to meet demand.

Suggested By: Speedmonkey, Photo Credit: Tony Harrison

9.) Mini


The Mini was never designed to be a performance car. The design goal was for the car to be space efficient, it just happened to be so light and so balanced that it could trump just about any other car of its day, even on the racetrack.

Suggested By: McMike, Photo Credit: Richard Taylor

8.) 4WS Honda Prelude


Back when the Japanese economy was booming, Honda had the money to build light, focused, mechanically complex front-drive sports cars, like the excellent late '80s, early '90s four-wheel-steering Prelude. We miss that Honda.

Suggested By: Shane Elliott, Photo Credit: Honda

7.) Lancia Fulvia


Today a standard Lancia Fulvia feels a little slow, but when it was released it was could trounce BMWs, Alfa Romeos, and just about any other rear-drive sports car on the market.

Suggested By: Bandit, Photo Credit: Nico Quatrevingtsix

6.) Citroën Traction Avant


The Traction Avant makes it onto this list because it was such a revolution for handling in its time. Though it didn't have much power, it's one of the only Prewar cars you could really call nimble or fun to drive. Both gangsters and the police departments trying to catch them bought these Citroëns up by storm.

Suggested By: Crossdrilled, Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove

5.) Renaultsport Megane R26.R


It's a lightweight special as focused as any Porsche RS model. It just happens to put its power down (quite well) at the front.

Suggested By: Reksuh, Photo Credit: Renault

4.) Lotus Elan


If there's one car that corners like it's on rails, it's the 1990s Lotus Elan. It was one of the most sure-footed cars of its day, though many traditionalists hated on its unconventional layout.

Suggested By: Ravey Mayvey Slurpee Surprise, Photo Credit: Ed Callow

3.) Alfa Romeo Alfasud


We're sort of used to family cars feeling secure, tight, and positive on the road, but when the Alfasud debuted it was a revolution. As Top Gear noted in their review, contemporary reviewers said that other car companies should buy up Alfasuds to figure out how to make a car properly. Lo and behold, a few years later we got the VW Golf and GTI.

Suggested By: Define, Photo Credit: Alfa Romeo

2.) Peugeot 205 GTi


If the Alfasud and the VW GTI got hot hatchbacks started, the Peugeot 205 perfected the formula. No hot hatch has ever felt so light, sharp, or happy since.

Suggested By: DarthDuster, Photo Credit: Hammerhead27

1.) Integra Type R


Call it a Honda or an Acura, this is one of the best handling cars ever made. Forget that it's front wheel drive, it just isn't a factor.

Suggested By: KDS, Photo Credit: William Sloan