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What Corollas Are RWD?

When you are buying a new car, there are lots of things that you need to think about. But one of the most important factors is whether it is front or rear-wheel drive. So

, are there any Corolla models that are rear-wheel drive?

There are only two Corolla models that are RWD. These are the 1983-1987 AE85 and 1984-1987 AE86. All the new Corollas manufactured since then have only had FWD. 

Today, Corollas are only made using FWD technology. But this wasn’t always the case. Historically, they did have RWD cars. Keep reading to learn more about the rare RWD Corolla.

History Of The RWD Corolla

The Toyota Corolla has a rich history. The vehicle can be traced back to 1969. Despite this, there are only a couple of Corollas that were RWD. 

These are the AE85 and AE86, which were made during the 1980s. 

After these models, the Corolla faded out the RWD models and have been making FWD Corollas ever since. The RWD models were replaced during the late 1980s. They were officially phased out in the 1990s.

Does Corolla Currently Have A RWD Model?

Since the AE85 and AE86 were phased out, all the Corollas have been front-wheel-drive models. As of today, Toyota doesn’t make any RWD or AWD Corollas (although they have talked about bringing AWD Corollas into the mix in the future). 

Because of the benefits of FWD on smaller vehicles (which we’ll discuss later) they will likely remain committed to this direction.

Difference Between FWD And RWD

To understand why this change is so significant, we need to know the difference between FWD and RWD cars. 

Some of the biggest changes include:

  • Power position. The most obvious difference is how the power is directed. As the name suggests, in a front-wheel drive, it will be sent to the tires at the front of the car.
  • Design flexibility. Most front and rear-wheel drives will put the engine at the front of the car. But this doesn’t always have to be the case. Some rear-wheel-drive cars put it at the back. At other times, the engine can even be placed in the middle of the car.
  • Performance. For many drivers, the most important distinction is how it affects the performance of the vehicle. FWD will be lighter, making them easier to drive and boosting efficiency. On the other hand, powering the rear wheels gives more precise power and control. This is the reason why RWD is more popular in the racing community, allowing them to drift the corners. We’ll discuss this area in more depth later.

Why Did Corollas Switch To Be FWD?

This discussion has raised an important question. Which is better, front or rear-wheel drive? There are a few reasons why it makes more sense for the Toyota Corolla to be a front-wheel-drive car. Some of these include:

  • FWD cars tend to be lighter. As a result, you will be getting better fuel economy. This will also reduce the emissions associated with driving the car.
  • Cheaper to manufacture. Because of this, these cars will have a lower purchase price. This helps them appeal to the consumer market.
  • Better weight distribution. Having the front tires provide the pulling power affects the way a car drives. It will get better traction on the road. It will be better able to handle snow on the road better.

Often, it will depend on the circumstances. In this case, the Corolla was intended to be a reliable family car. It needed to be cheap to buy and inexpensive to run. It didn’t have to drift around corners either.

As a result, being a FWD vehicle is the most practical option.

More importantly, other car manufacturers have adopted the FWD approach. By sticking with this approach, they will be able to keep up with the competition. 

For this type of vehicle though, RWD has become outdated.

Downsides To FWD

While the switch to an FWD model had plenty of advantages, nothing is perfect. Here are some of the downsides that are the modern Corollas might face:

  • Poor handling at high speeds. Because the engine is in the front of the car, it can get a little nose-heavy. This can start to create problems when driven to the extreme. You might start to experience some problems with oversteer. You can also start to experience problems when you accelerate quickly.
  • Trouble handling corners. The handling problems of the FWD might also manifest when you are going around a corner.
  • Wear on the front tires. Because the weight is on the front tires, they will wear out faster.
  • More expensive to maintain. Another common problem is FWD can sometimes be fragile, breaking easily. As a result, you will need to pay a little more to keep it in good condition.

While this might spell some problems when making a sports car, the Corolla is a reliable family car. Because of this, many of these downsides can be overlooked. 

After all, many of the handling problems will only become apparent when you are traveling at high speeds and you likely won’t be doing that in your Corolla. 

Can You Make A RWD Corolla?

If you want to try driving an RWD Corolla, you will have to find an AE85 or AE86 model from the 1980s. This can be a challenge as they become more and more rare to find all the time. 

There is another option you can explore, though. You can pay a mechanic to customize your car. 

This will be a lot of work. The chassis should support the change, though you might need to strengthen it up. You’ll also need to change the transmission, to make sure that it is compatible.

You will need to spend thousands to complete a transition like this. The question is whether it’s worth it. 

As I mentioned earlier, there are plenty of benefits to FWD. Unless you are planning to do some racing and need to have strong handling, the FWD will likely be the best choice for you.

Final Thoughts

There has always been intense discussion in the car community over whether RWD or FWD is the better option. Corolla has opted to embrace the FWD option, phasing out RWD cars a few decades ago. 

This gives them a range of benefits like; fuel economy, low costs, and a reliable source of transportation. Plus, as long as you take care of them a FWD car should last for a long time.