Sporty/performance car; Built in Germany
  • 2-door coupe
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,200 – $2,900*


1990 Volkswagen Corrado


1990 Volkswagen Corrado


1992 Volkswagen Corrado


1991 Volkswagen Corrado


1993 Volkswagen Corrado

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Antilock brakes
  • Cargo room
  • Handling/roadholding
Cons:
  • Entry/exit
  • Rear-seat room
  • Road noise
  • Visibility

Corrado is fun to drive on winding roads, but so are the stylish Mazda MX-6 and Ford Probe. Rather expensive when new, Corrado was well equipped and relatively practical for a sport coupe–but not a good value. Similar money can buy better performance. Still, a lot of early-VW fans swear by these “driver’s” coupes.

Overview

Volkswagen launched its front-drive, hatchback sports car for 1990, in a single Corrado G60 price series with a supercharged version of the 4-cylinder engine used in the Golf/Jetta. Billed as Volkswagen’s “first full-blooded sports car,” Corrado succeeded the Scirocco, which left VW’s lineup after 1988.

Corrado measured 6.3 inches shorter than the Scirocco, but nearly three inches longer in wheelbase. Two inches wider, it weighed some 450 pounds more.

The 1.8-liter supercharged engine produced 158 horsepower, driving a 5-speed manual transmission. Automatic was not available in the Corrado’s opening season. Dubbed “G-Charger,” the engine had a crankshaft-driven supercharger shaped like the letter G.

Based on the Golf/Jetta platform, Corrado got standard 4-wheel disc brakes, with antilocking optional. VW-designed multispoke 15-inch wheels were standard. Corrados seated four.

An “active” rear spoiler extended automatically when the car reached 45 mph to reduce aerodynamic lift. As speed dropped below 12 mph, the spoiler retracted again.

Standard equipment includes power steering, air conditioning, an antitheft cassette stereo, central locking, power windows and mirrors, and a 65/35 split folding rear seat. Motorized front shoulder belts were installed, with separate manual lap belts. Only a handful of options were offered.

Yearly Updates

1991 Corrado
A 4-speed automatic transmission became available this year, and wider (205/50VR15) tires were installed on new BBS alloy wheels. Leather upholstery and a theft-alarm system also joined the options list.
1992 Corrado
Little change took place for 1992, but the supercharged engine would not be around much longer. During the 1992 model year, Volkswagen replaced it with a V6, adapted from the Passat.
1993 Corrado
Halfway through the 1992 model year, Volkswagen had dropped the supercharged engine and installed a V6 in its Corrado coupe. The grille and front spoiler were restyled at the same time, complete with fog lamps, and the name changed to Corrado SLC. Cylinder banks in the V6 engine were only 15 degrees apart. This narrow-angle design allowed valves for both cylinder banks to be housed in a single cylinder head. Traction control became standard, limiting wheelspin on slippery surfaces. The front suspension was redesigned, and new 5-spoke wheels were used. Air conditioning became CFC-free, and the stereo now turned off with the ignition. Standard equipment now included antilock brakes, an electronic differential lock, alarm system, and velour interior.
1994 Corrado
Only a few changes came in the Corrado’s final season in the U.S. market. The optional 4-speed automatic transmission lost its manually selected Normal and Sport modes, in favor of an adaptive dual-mode system, as on the new Volkswagen Golf and Jetta. Electronic controls continuously monitored the driver’s style, altering shift points accordingly. Side-impact protection was improved, to meet 1997 federal standards. The standard speed-activated rear spoiler now raised at 55 mph, but still retracted when speed fell below 12 mph.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

A supercharged 4-cylinder engine powered all early Corrados, producing 158 horsepower. During 1992, Volkswagen switched to a 2.8-liter narrow-angle V6, making 178 horsepower. Only a 5-speed manual transmission was offered in 1990, but subsequent Corrados could have an optional 4-speed automatic.

Supercharged ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/109
Engine HP 158
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 166
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
20/28
19/27
ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.8/170
Engine HP 178
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 177
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
18/24
18/25
20.3

Road Test

As a rule, superchargers make power available more quickly at lower engine speeds, but the early Corrado does not really show its muscle until 3000 rpm or so. That makes it feel weak off-the-line, and a bit tardy when a surge of power is needed around town. Highway response, however, is outstanding. Volkswagen claimed 0-60 mph acceleration time of 7.5 seconds with a 5-speed and 7.7 for automatic, though both figures appeared optimistic. High weight kept fuel economy down, and the engine demanded premium fuel.

With the V6, Corrado became the sports car that it should have been from the start. Strong at low speeds, the V6 stays robust as revs rise, with no untoward rush of power. A Corrado averaged 20.3 mpg in hard city/highway driving.

Volkswagen’s manual transmission suffers from long shift throws, and early versions could be obstructive. Corrado’s ride is firm, but not harsh, and even more absorbent in its 1993-94 form. A taut suspension provides excellent balance in turns, checks undue body lean, and combines with grippy tires for one of the best-handling front-drive cars of its vintage on the road. Power steering is fluid, quick, and properly boosted. The solid structure minimizes rough-road shakes and rattles. Ergonomics are appealing and workmanship is thorough. Road noise is abundant, though the V6 is fairly quiet.

Front seats are supportive without being confining, though on the firm side. Front head room is adequate, with generous leg room. The rear seat has more room than most sport coupes, but is still too small for adults, except on short trips. Cargo space is ample.

Gauges and controls present no difficulties. Rearward visibility is impaired by a high tail and a rear spoiler that deploys automatically.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1994 Volkswagen Corrado

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 7
70%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 3
30%
Steering/Handling - 7
70%
Quietness - 3
30%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 3
30%
Room/Comfort Front - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
20%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 4
40%

Total: 40

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
97.2 159.4 66.5 51.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
15.3 18.5 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.0 35.0 41.7 31.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1992 Corrado 2-door coupe

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 218
Injury 109
Theft 315

Trouble Spots

Dashboard lights
Description: The key binds in the ignition switch preventing it from fully returning to the run position which causes the ABS warning light to stay on. (1993-94)
Engine stalling
Description: The engine may not start because of a broken contact inside the power supply relay for the engine control computer. (1990-94)
Oil consumption
Description: The correct amount of oil for the VR6 engine was reduced from 6.3 qt. to 5.8 qt. and the owners manual should have been corrected to reflect this. (1990-94)
Radiator
Description: There was a voluntary recall to replace the radiator fan, which could fail or come off and damage the radiator. (1993-94)
Tire wear
Description: Premature rear tire wear (cupping and feather edging) is due to too much positive toe on the rear axle requiring installation of a specially machined stub axle to reduce the toe. (1990-94)

Recall History

1990
Description: If engine is operated continuously in overheated condition, coolant pressure will rise to a level at which heat exchanger could leak, allowing hot coolant to escape into passenger compartment.
1990-91
Description: Fuel filter housing could deform, resulting in loosened fuel pump that can cause reduced fuel flow to engine.
1990-92
Description: Fuel hose attached to distribution rail on engine may shrink, allowing fuel to leak.
1992-93
Description: Wiring harness in engine compartment may have been routed too close to sheetmetal edge; wiring can become damaged during normal vehicle operation, resulting in electrical short.
1992-94 w/VR6 engine
Description: Coolant system component can malfunction, causing coolant temperature and pressure to increase significantly and, over time, cause leakage of coolant.
1993-95 Corrado
Description: Due to improper material, radiator-fan motor shaft can wear, become noisy, and possibly seize.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.