Rear-wheel-drive vehicles exhibit a certain purity that performance enthusiasts look for.
Although more and more automakers are opting to have both axles powered, there are still a lot of rear-drive cars offering the thrills drivers want. Here are AutoGuide’s picks for the 10 best rear-wheel-drive cars you can buy, in alphabetical order.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia isn’t perfect, but it has so much personality and is so engaging to drive that we find ourselves forgiving its flaws easily. The Giulia has a few things that its German competitors often lack: swagger, drop-dead gorgeous styling, and an undeniable cool factor. With a balanced chassis, tactile and responsive steering, and a playful rear-drive architecture, the Giulia feels alive. The Giulia has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the hood that outputs 280 horsepower and 306 pound-feet of torque. The Quadrifoglio variant, a ridiculously quick carbon fiber beast of a car that gives us all the feels, is powered by a Ferrari-sourced 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 with 505 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque.
SEE ALSO: 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Review
The BMW 2 Series coupe—not the Mini-based 2 Gran Coupe—remains one of the purest BMWs you can buy. Tight driving dynamics and a playful attitude are the hallmarks of BMW’s smallest coupe. There’s just one small issue with the current model: at launch, the more powerful M240i model is only available with xDrive all-wheel drive. A rear-drive model might come later, and we expect the next M2 to stick to rear-wheel drive. Those who are looking for a manual transmission are also currently out of luck.
Built on a fantastic, balanced chassis and an excellent rear-drive architecture, the new Chevrolet Camaro is impressive in many ways. From the base four-cylinder model, to the SS, and all the way up to the bonkers supercharged ZL1, there’s also a Camaro for every type of driver. Muscle cars democratized performance and brought speed to the masses; the Camaro continues that tradition while at the same time being more refined than ever. We adore the chassis the Camaro is built on—it makes the muscle car engaging and entirely capable.
ALSO SEE: Top 10 Best AWD Coupes
The popular Ford Mustang is also backed by a rich, half-century history of attainable performance. The Mustang has legions of faithful fans and has sold millions of units since the muscle car stormed onto the market more than 50 years ago—more than 10,000,000 have rolled off the assembly line. It has been the world’s best-selling sports car for the past three years. Drivers also have a wide range of Mustangs to pick from—there are four-cylinder EcoBoost coupes and convertibles, V8-powered GT models, and for people who want something more hardcore and track-focused, there’s the thunderous Shelby GT350, which is one of our favorite cars to drive. All Mustangs are fun and represent the American Dream in a way no other car can.
Genesis is the luxury arm of Hyundai and has been making huge waves in the luxury sport market with driving dynamics and luxury that you’d expect from more established German automakers like BMW and Audi. The Genesis G70 is a really impressive car with its buttoned-down driving dynamics, excellent attention to luxurious details, and a personality that actually makes it fun. The G70 doesn’t make too many compromises — you can take it on a twisty road and be entertained, but still drive home and do groceries comfortably. It’s also handsome, well-priced, and legitimately athletic. You can get the Genesis with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder or a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6. Rear-wheel drive is standard with both engines, but AWD is available as an option (in Canada, AWD is standard except on the manual Sport model). The G70 is a heavy hitter and proves that Genesis is serious about building great cars.
ALSO SEE: 2022 Genesis G70 Review: First Drive
The Jaguar F-Type is one of the prettiest cars you can buy right now and also happens to be one of our favorite rear-drive cars. It is gorgeous from every angle and it is aging very gracefully. We also think it will be a future classic. If there was an award for “Best Sounding Cars,” the F-Type would also dominate on that list as well. Simply put, the F-Type has a lot going for it. With coupe and convertible models, and an all-V8 engine lineup as of 2021, this car is all kinds of sexy and we love driving it.
The Kia Stinger was so impressive that we awarded it as AutoGuide.com’s 2018 Car of the Year. It shares a platform with the Genesis G70 but brings a lot to the table like a practical and handsome sportback body style and its own unique personality. The rear-drive grand touring car is exciting, dramatic, and it gets all sorts of admiring looks from passers-by. Besides looking good, its driving dynamics are genuinely engaging thanks to a well-engineered chassis, responsive steering, and rear-drive architecture (AWD is standard in Canada but is still rear-biased). It is really refreshing to experience a car where you can tell that passionate people worked on it and didn’t cut any corners. The Kia Stinger is a very compelling car in many ways.
No list of rear-drive cars or sports cars can be complete without the Mazda MX-5 Miata. This special little roadster perfected the quintessential sports car formula and is one of the purest and most engaging ones you can buy today. Lightweight, rear-drive, and affordable, the Miata might be a car you don’t understand until you drive it and it charms the hell out of you—it communicates with you, makes you feel like a superhero, makes you smile, and engages you like almost no other sports car out there. The MX-5 Miata is a car you can tell was made by people who obsessed over the smallest details and the result is something they can be really proud of.
The mid-engine Porsche 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster set the benchmark for serious sports cars and are so good that they can step on the toes of some 911s. With steering feel, performance, balanced handling, purity, and prestige that few others can match, the 718s are also among the most affordable mid-engine cars you can get. Plus, they’re practical! In addition to a usable trunk, there is a deep front trunk (a frunk) under the hood. The 718s are bred from race cars, something that is immediately obvious once you drive them, even though they are still comfortable and forgiving.
Following a similar formula as the Mazda MX-5, the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR 86 are a pair of lightweight, super chuckable, back-to-basics, and engaging rear-drive sports cars that have legions of faithful fans. Born from a collaboration between the two Japanese automakers, the BRZ and 86 are silly fun—they’re goofy sports cars with a ton of outward personality. Easy to drive at the limit, these coupes are really good at communicating with the driver so you can always swing around a corner without fearing that you’ll stuff it into the guardrail.
ALSO SEE: Top 10 Best Station Wagons: 2019
November 18, 2021: Updated text for accuracy.
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