One of VW’s best driver’s cars. Ever.
When you think of Volkswagen hatchbacks, typically the Golf comes to
mind. And why wouldn’t it? After all, the Golf is one of VW’s
best-selling and most popular cars and its hot hatch variants, the GTI
and Golf R, are highly regarded. In overseas markets, there was also the
second-gen Sirocco, which was based on the fifth-generation Golf
platform. It never made it to the US.
What did come to North
America was the Corrado, another compact, three-door hatchback that
earned a reputation as an excellent driver’s car. Built from 1988 until
1995, the German-built Corrado shared a platform with the second-gen
Golf and Jetta. It also utilized those models’ suspension, steering, and
braking systems. The high-performance VR6 variant, however, was the
exception. VW rightly upgraded that car’s front and rear axle assembly,
among other things.
At launch, the Corrado had a choice of two engines, a 1.8-liter
inline-four with 134 hp and a supercharged 1.8-liter with 158 hp. The
vehicle featured here has the latter engine, linked to a five-speed
manual. A four-speed automatic was optional. It wasn’t until 1992 that
VW offered a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter with 134 hp but,
unfortunately, it wasn’t offered for American buyers. The VR6 engine,
for America, was a 2.8-liter with 179 hp. The Euro-spec model had 187
hp. It’s also important to note the VR6 was sold as the SLC (sport
luxury coupe) in the US.
At this time, the Corrado was also subject to a minor styling facelift, specifically with a new front grille and fog lamps. However, 1994 was the Corrado’s final model year in the US. It stuck around for one additional year in Europe. Perhaps it’s best to think of the Corrado as a more premium hatchback over the Golf, which was intended to be an affordable vehicle for just about anyone.
If you wanted a Corrado, you had to pony up more dough. But the
Corrado was more than just a premium hatchback; it was also an excellent
driver’s car. The British press, for example, absolutely loved it.
Express hailed it was one of VW’s best driver’s cars, and the VR6 model
earned a spot on Car Magazine’s “25 Cars You Must Drive Before You Die”
list. Back in 2003, then Top Gear host Richard Hammond stated the
Corrado was going to be a future classic because it’s just so special.
Its biggest problem, as Hammond correctly pointed out, was that it was
too expensive when new and not enough people bought them. Even US
publication MSN gave praise to the Corrado, again specifically to the
VR6, for its great styling, handling capabilities, and for being the
first VR6 variant sold in the US market. All told, VW built around
97,500 examples over seven years, and now you can buy one.
We found this one-owner 1990 VW Corrado posted on Craigslist Los Angeles for a darn reasonable $7,990. Despite its age, there is only 77,120 miles on its clock. Although the listing states it’s an automatic-equipped car, the included photos clearly indicate otherwise. Its yellow exterior looks to be in fine shape overall, as does the gray leather interior. There’s a long list of features and a CarFax report states zero accidents and no damage. It even qualifies for the CarFax buyback guarantee. Classic Volkswagen fans, especially hatchback lovers, could easily find themselves tempted to make this purchase. We wouldn’t blame them. We’re a bit tempted ourselves.