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Most driving enthusiasts will say that you need a rear-drive car to have the most fun when driving. When a car is powered by its rear wheels, the handling and acceleration characteristics allow for a more “pure” driving experience since the front wheels take care of the steering. A front-wheel-drive car, on the other hand, is steered and powered by the same wheels, which leads to torque steer and arguably worse handling under heavy cornering.

However, many performance front-drive cars made today are more fun to drive than you would think. Turbocharged engines and modified suspension geometries put the following seven cars at the top of the list. Check them out.

The 2023 Hyundai Elantra N is a fun-to-drive front-wheel drive car

A white Hyundai Elantra N parked
Hyundai Elantra N | Hyundai

The Hyundai Elantra used to be a ho-hum compact sedan built mainly for commuting to school and work. Technically, the lower trim levels are still good for that. However, if you opt for the high-performance Elantra N, you’ll be better off driving it on a track.

The 2023 Hyundai Elantra N is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that produces 276 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque. That power flows through an electronic limited-slip differential, which aids in traction and out through sporty summer tires. The best part is that you can still drive the front-wheel-drive Elantra N to school and work, but you’ll get there quicker.

The 2023 Honda Civic Type R is practical and fun

2023 Honda Civic Type R
2023 Honda Civic Type R | Honda

What can we say about the 2023 Honda Civic Type R that we haven’t said before? It’s a practical hatchback with over 300 hp, a six-speed manual transmission, and all the creature comforts you need for normal commuting.

However, if you were to take it on the track, the Civic Type R has a race-tuned suspension and wheel-hop-eliminating geometry to put the power down adequately. There’s even an onboard datalogger to keep track of your lap times.

Is the Acura Integra 2023 FWD or RWD?

A blue 2024 Acura Integra trim (Type S) driving in the rain on a winding road.
2024 Acura Integra Type S | Acura

We’re not going to lie, the 2024 Acura Integra Type S is basically a Civic Type R with heated seats, but it does have more to it. The Integra Type S has 320 hp (versus 315), a nicer sound system, and a far more comfortable front seats that are indeed heated. As for performance, the Integra Type S is a front-wheel drive car and is well-suited for the track. It also performs well on any curvy you can put it on.

The 2023 Volkswagen GTI is a spry hatchback

A red Volkswagen GTI front wheel drive car driving down a road
Volkswagen GTI | Volkswagen

The Volkswagen GTI has been called the original “hot hatchback” thanks to its eager performance and spry handling characteristics. For 2023, the GTI is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that makes 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, enough power to induce plenty of smiles on any commute. Like the Hyundai Elantra N, the GTI sends its power through a limited-slip differential for the most traction. That means it can handle any hard acceleration and corner-carving you can throw at it.

The 2024 Mini John Cooper Works is a quick front-wheel drive car

A Mini John Cooper Works driving on a sunny day
Mini John Cooper Works | MINI

Driving a Mini Cooper is like driving an oversize go-kart, but driving a Mini John Cooper Works is like a go-kart on steroids. The Mini Cooper JCW is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 228 hp, which is transmitted through either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Although the power comes through the front wheels, the Cooper JCW has enough supporting components to put it to use. According to the editors at Car and Driver, this souped-up Mini can get up to 60 mph from a stop in only 5.7 seconds, which is pretty quick.

Enjoy increased power in the 2023 Hyundai Kona N

A red Hyundai Kona N parked at dusk
Hyundai Kona N | Hyundai

The 2023 Hyundai Kona N is powered by the same turbocharged 2.0-liter engine as the Elantra N. In most driving situations, the Kona N produces the same 276 horses, but if you press the red button on the steering wheel, that power increases by 10 for 20 seconds. That equates to 0 to 60 mph times of around 4.8 seconds, which is plenty of fun on the street.

The 2023 Honda Civic Si features a turbocharged engine and front-wheel drive

A side view of the 2023 Honda Civic Si
2023 Honda Civic Si | Honda

We tested the 2022 Honda Civic Si and were thoroughly impressed with its turbocharged engine and sporty road manners. It may only produce 200 hp, but the Civic Si makes good use of it. Driving it spiritedly on canyon roads was a lot of fun, but it was even fun rowing the gears on its six-speed transmission while driving normally.

Don’t count these front-wheel drive cars out

Although some may say that a rear-drive car is far more fun than a front-drive one, these seven cars prove otherwise. Although they’re all based on commuter-friendly base versions, they have plenty of high-performance chops to get anyone smiling while driving.