The Best and Worst Years of the Volkswagen Corrado

For those who don’t know, the Corrado was a front-wheel drive, four-seater sports car which Volkswagen made from 1988-1995. In its short lifespan, the Corrado provided a unique style and a couple of innovations that some cars still use today. That said, there were some dark times for the Corrado as well. These are some of the car’s best and worst years, from its arrival to the U.S. in 1990.

1990: the Corrado overcoming adversity

Volkswagen Corrado VR6 driving down the road
Volkswagen Corrado VR6 | Volkswagen

The Corrado set foot in the states in 1990, but by then it had already made an impression in Europe the year before. U.S.-spec Corrados had two 1.8-liter engine options, according to MotorTrend. It was either naturally aspirated or supercharged (as the Corrado G60), the latter conjuring 158 horsepower in early years.

It was no slouch, as the car could top out at 140 mph. One of the Corrado’s innovations was an active rear spoiler. At 45 mph a microswitch actuated a series of racks that pushed the spoiler upward, and out of the trunk lid. It was the first of its kind in the U.S.

The first year was a mixed bag, and the general public deemed the car underpowered. VW tuned the Corrado’s supercharger unconventionally for mid-range power. It reportedly had minimal torque steer, but its shifting was distracted and lazy. The Corrado was also quite expensive, at $17,500. 

Big changes for the 1992 Corrado

Volkswagen Corrado VR6 in Germany
Volkswagen Corrado VR6 | Roland Weihrauch/picture alliance via Getty Images

An automatic transmission made an appearance in the 1991 model year in the U.S., delivering a better and faster experience. It didn’t see much else in the way of improvements until the 1992 model year when it got both the supercharged engine and the more powerful V6, one of the best engines ever made. Traction control accompanied the V6, along with a brake cooling system and new soft suspension. 

The V6-equipped “VR6” models had even less torque steer, thanks to Plus-Axle suspension. The VR6 proved to be a massive improvement over the older G60, getting to 60 mph in just 6.3 seconds, down from the previous 8.2. The 1992 VR6 was sold for $21,840.

The Corrado’s departure from the U.S.

1993 Volkswagen Corrado VR6 driving down the road
1993 Volkswagen Corrado VR6 | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

The 1993 model year received a few minor changes, including alloy wheels, some interior layout changes, and some new paint options. The 1994 year, however, was a bit disappointing. For the Corrado’s swan song in U.S. markets, it got a 130mph speed governor because of new, lower-rated Goodrich tires. After this, the price went up to $28,000.

Is the Corrado a classic?

Volkswagen Corrado VR6 parked outside
Volkswagen Corrado VR6 | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

The light that burns twice as bright, burns half as long, so they say. The Corrado appeals to multiple enthusiasts, for its excellent handling (in VR6 trim), power delivery, and the number of seats. It will forever stand the test of time as a unique-looking sports car, and seeing one on the road warrants a double-take, every time. In that regard, yes the Corrado is a classic.

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