Poll: Front Drive Legends

As we wind down our tribute for front wheel drive cars this week, it’s only right that we finish up with FWD-themed reader poll.

We’ve gathered up some of the most important, popular, and exciting front-driven vehicles in automotive history and now it’s time for you guys to pick the best.

Which models made the cut? Read below to find out and make your pick.

Mini Cooper S (Original)

The original Mini redefined what was possible in a small car and instantly became one of the world’s most iconic vehicles. The performance-bred S model quickly became a favorite among rally and club racers across the world.

MINI Cooper S (Modern)

Decades later, the new BMW-built MINI took the character of the original Mini and adapted it to the 21st century. The S models once again won over enthusiasts with their supercharged and later turbocharged powerplants and responsive handling.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk.I

When Volkswagen launched the GTI in 1976 it changed the image of FWD cars and helped create the  “hot hatch” market. It’s simply one of the most important enthusiast cars in history.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk.II

VW followed up the groundbreaking Mk.I GTI with the Mk. II – made even more enticing with its available 16 valve and even supercharged powerplants.

Volkswagen Scirocco Mk.I

Just as the Karmann Ghia was to the Beetle, the Scirocco served as a stylish, more exotic counterpart to the basic Golf.  Giugiaro styling helped make the original Scirocco a classic.

Volkswagen Corrado VR6

As the 1990s approached, the new VW Corrado arrived to take the Scirocco’s place. In addition to very distinct styling, the Corrado would be paired with Volkswagen’s unique and potent VR6 engine.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk.7

The latest seventh generation Golf GTI is a symbol of how much the GTI has advanced over the last few decades. It’s the same formula as the original, but updated for modern times.

Volkswagen Scirocco R

Beginning in 2008, VW brought the Scirocco back to its lineup. It shares underpinnings with the Golf, but once again brings very distinct styling to the mix. The 265 horsepower R Model is the hottest of the bunch.

Renault Sport Mégane

One of the things makes a great FF car is being able to compete directly with its AWD and RWD rivals. Many would say that’s been the case for the Renault Sport Mégane.

Ford Focus RS Mk.1

In the late 1990s Ford introduced the Focus – a replacement for the beloved Escort. Like the Escort before it, the Focus soon found its way to enthusiasts’ hearts with hot models like the RS.

Ford Focus RS500

With production to limited to just 500 units, the RS500 is the ultimate Focus. It has 345 horsepower on tap, making it one of the most the hard core FWD performance cars of all time.

Peugeot 205 GTI

One of Peugeot’s entries into the FWD enthusiast market, the stylish 205 GTI soon established itself as one of Europe’s great affordable performance machines.

Honda CR-X SiR

It’s doubtful that any company has contributed as much to the world of exciting FWD cars as Honda. The B16A-powered EF CR-X SiR is just one of their great FF machines.

Honda Civic SiR EG6

The EG6 took the proven underpinnings and DOHC VTEC powerplant from the EF series and brought things into the ’90s. Now more than 20 years old, the EG will forever be a favorite among Honda fans.

Honda/Acura Integra Type R DC2

But when it comes to great Hondas, there may be no topping the almighty Type R badge. More than a decade and a half after it came out the DC2 Integra Type R is still one of the most sought after and respected FF cars in the world.

Honda Civic Type R EK9

Everything said about the Integra Type R can also be applied to its cousin the EK9 Civic Type R. It’s a car that’s still considered by many to be the greatest Civic of all time.

Honda Civic Type R FD2

An extra set of doors did nothing to hurt the Civic Type R’s credentials when the FD2 was released  in 2007. The FD2 was capable of lap times that would put many traditional performance cars to shame.

Nissan Sentra SE-R B13

Nissan may not be have quite the same FF reputation as Honda, but the company has made some very good front-drive cars over the years. One of them is the B13 Sentra SE-R. With simple styling and SR20DE power under the hood, many saw the SE-R as a reincarnation of the Datsun 510.

Dodge Shelby Omni GLH

When Carroll Shelby’s name began appearing on FWD Chrysler products in the ’80s, people were a bit confused. Once they saw what cars like the Omni GLH and even hotter GLH-S were capable of, they got it.  The GLH-S made 175 horsepower – insane numbers for a FWD car in 1986.

Ford Taurus SHO (1st Generation)

Also representing the USA is the original Ford Taurus SHO. With a 220 horsepower Yamaha-tuned V6 under the hood, the SHO was not only one of the quickest sedans of its era, but also one of the best sleepers of all time.

Alfa Romeo GTV

Among Italy’s contributions to the world of exciting FWD motoring is the Alfa Romeo GTV. The unique Alfa styling should go without mention, but the GTV Cup version also won over serious weekend racers when it was released.

Vauxhall Astra VXR

Hot Hatches make up a large portion of this list, and Vauxhall’s take on the genre is the Astra VXR – one of the most powerful cars in the segment and another one that redefines FWD performance.

Renault Clio Williams

When speaking of hot hatches, Renault’s Clio Williams is another one of the greats.  It’s 147ps may not be a lot by today’s standards, but it in 1993 it helped make the Clio Williams an instant winner.

Renault Sport Clio Trophy

Like it’s predecessor the Clio Williams, the RS Clio Trophy is another car that could be in the hot hatch hall of fame (HHHOF as I like to call it). Very limited production numbers have also secured the Trophy’s place in history.

Fiat 500 Abarth

Last but not least. we have the Abarth version of the Fiat 500. Retro looks, go kart handling, and boost? What’s not to like.

Now comes the hardest part. Choosing one of these cars! Good luck.

-Mike


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224 comments
w1q
w1q

cadillac seville sts? 305hp, 405N*m, one of the most powerfull FWD of it's time...

Big job
Big job

Lancia Fulvia. How could you exclude such a racing legend?

Big job
Big job

Lancia Fulvia. How could you exclude such a rally legend?

MPistol
MPistol

Hey I'm still waiting for the Mazdaspeed 3. Dave Coleman is a god. That is all

Boso_Mk2
Boso_Mk2

Am i the only one thats disapointed that theres no DSM in the list?

Vince RB Slider
Vince RB Slider

No Nissan Pulsar JN15 VZ-R N1???? SR16VE one of the most powerful naturally aspirated cars. Disappointed. Even beat a Civc Type R Stock vs Stock.  

RyanProulx
RyanProulx

WHAT? No love for Saabs or Volvo?

xloki77x
xloki77x

FWD DSM? Anything FWD 4g63 has my vote. I know most DSM's of note are of the AWD persuasion, but there are PLENTY of FWD's running big hp. And with the 2g being dual a-arm, it has loads of grip when equipped properly. I mean, I think we all know A.Brilliant's car.

Amin_nfs
Amin_nfs

The Honda Integra Type R is for me the best, fastest, and one of the most beautiful fwd cars ever. Glad a lot of you share my oppinioun.

stokieclio
stokieclio

Voted for the clio williams, My second has got to be the original mini cooper s. Yes the Honda's have an intoxictaing v-tec but the Clio williams is just so simple and just a fun if not more fun. Tough choice though

DavidMontgomery
DavidMontgomery

I've owned two B13 SE-Rs over the years but I don't know if I would call it legendary.  Definitely a great car and I loved mine but my vote went to the DC2.  I would love to have one in my garage.

Swede
Swede

The Saab 99 Turbo is much more legendary than any of these

Mezle
Mezle

My favourite is an EP3 but since you guys seem to have accidentally missed it had to go with the MK1 golf

Silveti
Silveti

this is a really too hard selectoon of front wheel drive but how the hondas are my favorites and the EK its my sweety in coupe but its the same i give my vote to her, even when her cousing the integra is winning they are hondas and hondas rules! of course..

Stallion8r
Stallion8r

I voted dc2...like the golf. But honestly golf is hard to mod...hence the choice.

tnle
tnle

Top 3 IMO1. DC2 Type R - My favorite FWD, not a huge fan of hatch backs 2. EK9 Type R - GTI Mk II is that you? 3. GTI Mk I - God father of FWD cars

 

Not a huge fan of the Méganes, performs great from what i hear. But It's just not a pretty sight

Current GTIs fall short of my expectations but are excellent daily drives, good all roundersLate 90s Type R Civic/Integras? Amazing, Current generation of Civics? Rubbish

RJ
RJ

eclipse?

weasel
weasel

Little known fact: The Mercury version of the Taurus SHO, The Mercury Sable AIV was much faster and much more of a sleeper.

google it, youll smile.

too bad its a unicorn these days.

 

Trevor Lahey
Trevor Lahey

Should have had more Mopars, Neon ACR and SRT-4 deserve a mention.  Props though, I expected you guys to overlook Chrysler's innovations in front-drive performance completely.

x y
x y

Mégane RS. Maybe the next CTR will have the potential, to beat it.

The choice wold've been harder  for me, if the sporty version of the "most practical Golf" (Octavia RS) was on the list.

RicardoRJL1
RicardoRJL1

I don't see the Nissan Pulsar VZ-R N1? 1.6 with almost 200hp 

gt99
gt99

DC2 check, Golf II GTI 16v check. Too bad my other two cars that I own (owned) didnt make in this list - Honda Civic Type-R EP3 and Toyota Corolla GT AE82

InnerToxicity
InnerToxicity

Yes, I voted for the DC2 Integra, but I can't believe the original mini doesn't have more votes, I weep for this generation =P

Other Will
Other Will

Three Golfs, Four Civics and no Volvo 850 T5-R. What's the world coming to?

FT
FT

The FD2R is not that well known in the west since the west had the inferior FN2. Thus the low % voted here but in the east, it's easily the weapon of choice on the track for FF drive and NA fans. It's better than all previous type R  barring NSX-R aside in terms of handling and power plant, with the best K20A engine (different engine compared to the DC5R and CL7R), very aggressive caster that makes it behave like a RWD.  It was Honda going all out and being recognized for their efforts.

 

Over here at the Sepang International Circuit, seeing the FD2R beating Evos, STI and even the S2K is a common occurrence.

 

Ah yes, I am a fan..I bought mine 3 years ago and intend to keep it for life.  :)

Westm1121
Westm1121

I had a '95 Ford Taurus as my first car, so it has a special place in my heart.

JakWhite
JakWhite

I voted DC2, however I have owned a mk1 golf, mk2 golf, mk2 jetta vr6, and pretty much every small sporty car renault make is brilliant in my eyes (bar the wind), for me its all about the cars I saw winning races, none more than the integra DC5 in the BTCC. Hence my choice of its ancestor. That and I want one so bad compared to my MGF VVC

DaoTran
DaoTran

hmm... I voted DC2, but where's the Celica?

Audidude
Audidude

Yup, legendary lack of traction and torque steer.................

Mitsi hater
Mitsi hater

@RJ Ha eclipse :) you crack me up dude! Lol

SaudQureshi
SaudQureshi

 @weasel I remember seeing a post on Autoblog about one of those. It looked pretty amazing but I think it was experimental.

Audidude
Audidude

Great car, but the historical significance of the original DC2 and it's substantially lighter weight trumps the FD2 - just. I have two, one a fully race prepped tarmac rally car, and a low kms factory spec 1996 original......... ownership brings with it bias ;)

PTrayn
PTrayn

 @Westm1121 A taurus was my first car also.  Had to vote for the SHO.

RJ
RJ

no need to be a hater

Phil_DC2
Phil_DC2

Not owned one for years but it left a good impression @FunctionFirst @Phil_DC2

FT
FT

I agree that the DC2 is indeed a total classic. In fact, I don't think any other Type R (again NSX aside) holds such a revered status, But it terms of performance...sorry, the FD wins hands down.

 

That's only performance only though. The DC2 just is something special. As much as the DC5 is a better looking car (I have that too!~)...it just doesn't give me that warm feeling unlike the DC2 and the FD2.  @Audidude

pwhyze
pwhyze

Well,..to elaborate the soul part, it's partly because I find the FD2R is bit too clinical. It lacks the balance of a well honed street machine, and instead goes down with the racer for the road ethos. This explains the rigidity. Honda took the Civic and gave it more of everything, rigidity, power, beefed up suspension, the whole lot ,and that bothers me. The balance and delicacy of traditional of old Type R like the EK9 and the DC2R is not there anymore. If you've noticed, the DC2R's ride is not harsh at all (at least compared to the FD2R). Again, Honda got the balance just perfect. This has nothing to with performance however, so you might find it irrelevant.

 

I've driven one, and I think it's fair to say I'm not pining for one.

FT
FT

 @pwhyze  Actually, it's odd that you would say the FD is not raw because like the DC2, the FD2R has no sound proofing too. In fact, it's known to be a race car with a number plate since the car just screams raw with all the noise and the harshness of the chassis rigidity. Almost every journalist that have reviewed the car has praised it's handling and power and have moaned at how noisy the cabin is..how harsh the ride is and etc. (Really...you want a soft and comfy type R? Please buy the FN2 lol).

 

While I do not question your knowledge with the DC2R, I ponder whether you have actually driven the FD2R before. Because it's puzzling to me that anyway that has driven both cars will say the FD lacks a soul. It's a real man's car compared to modern Evos and STIs... anyways, sorry...I'm not attacking you personally. It's not my intention. I just found your comments puzzling about the FD2R lacking the rawness persona....

pwhyze
pwhyze

 @Audidude No surprise that the FD2R's faster. It is the newer Type R after all. The thing about the DC2R though, is the feeling you get driving one. It's not as fast as an FD granted, but I doubt a lot else feels as pure as a driving machine. The rawness of the driving experience (definitely contributed by the lack of soundproofing) is not something you can find in a relatively modern FD2R. Capable machine certainly, but I find it lacks that a bit of magic of an old soul. Or maybe that's just ownership bias that's talking...hahaha

Audidude
Audidude

@FT certainly more modern looking but the posture and shape of a well driven DC2 with its subtly flared front and rear arches and frontal profile looking wider lower and more hunkered down is a far more classical look than the DC5.But then I would say that wouldn't I? ;-)


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