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The best rear-wheel-drive cars on sale in 2024

Rear-wheel-drive cars offer something a little special on the right road.

They give you the sensation of being 'pushed' through a corner by your engine, rather than being pulled by your front wheels. That often means sweeter handling because your front wheels are only tasked with the job of steering, rather than driving the car along, too.

We've chosen 10 of our favourite rear-wheel-drive cars available to buy today. We're ignoring ultra-expensive supercars and sticking with models that are more sensibly priced.

Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5 in grey

If you want to experience the pure sensation of driving a rear-wheel-drive car and don't need to worry about passengers or cargo space, then stop reading and go buy a Mazda MX-5 – it is, put simply, the definitive sports car. Its zippy, non-turbo petrol engines are quick enough to be fun but aren't so overwhelming that you'll risk your licence every time you accelerate – but it's the handling that steals the show. The car's so light that it changes direction like a wasp at a picnic table, and there's enough compliance that you can tackle cratered British B-roads with confidence. Plus, there's still enough space for a couple and their holiday gear.

Browse used Mazda MX-5 cars or read our Mazda MX-5 review

BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series in grey

What if you want rear-wheel-drive handling but still need to carry passengers and cargo? Check out the BMW 3 Series. This premium five-seater is offered as a sleek saloon or a handy estate, with the latter boasting enough room for a pushchair, a few big suitcases or your four-legged friend. While it's not a sports car, it does feel very sporty to drive, with direct steering and near-flawless balance and body control, plus plenty of power if you choose one of the larger engines. It's no chore to cover long distances in, however, with a full suite of on-board technology, an upmarket cabin, and suspension that doesn't pummel you over every bump.

Search used BMW 3 Series cars or read our BMW 3 Series review

Toyota GR86

Toyota GR86 in blue

The Mazda MX-5 would have the lightweight rear-wheel-drive sports car market all to itself if it wasn't for the Toyota GR86 and its near-identical Subaru BRZ twin sibling. Unlike the MX-5, the GR86 is a hardtop coupe only and actually sneaks a set of tiny rear seats behind its front pair – although these are better used for extra storage than actually carrying passengers. There's deft handling and a reasonable amount of muscle under the bonnet, with earlier GT86 models making 200hp from their 2.0-litre engines, and later GR86 versions getting a sizeable boost from a new 2.5-litre engine with 235hp and substantially more torque.

Shop used Toyota GR86 cars for sale

Mercedes C-Class

Mercedes C-Class in black

You don't need to blast down a country road to feel the benefit of rear-wheel-drive handling. The Mercedes C-Class, like all its predecessors, powers its rear wheels as standard but, rather than feeling outwardly sporty like the BMW 3 Series, it has a softer setup that flows with bumps in the road. Sending power to the back axle gives the C-Class an uncommon sense of grace around corners, complemented by the smooth, even torque delivery from its turbocharged engines. Sit inside, however, and you're unlikely to care which wheels are powered, because the C-Class impresses with its premium materials and cutting-edge on-board tech.

View used Mercedes C-Class cars or read our Mercedes C-Class review

Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo Giulia in red

There's a risk that the Alfa Romeo Giulia ends up playing second fiddle to more obvious choices in the saloon segment – including the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class above. Don't discount the Italian contender, however, because it has its own blend of style and performance that the sensible Germans struggle to match. The Giulia's handling is light and sporty, with a keen front end and plenty of traction. It feels quick, too – even entry-level 2.0-litre turbo models pull harder than equivalent Mercedes and BMW rivals – and you can spec a Ferrari-designed turbo V6 in Quadrifoglio versions if you have money and bravery to spare.

Check out used Alfa Romeo Giulia cars or read our Alfa Romeo Giulia review

BMW 2 Series

BMW 2 Series coupe in purple

The 3 Series above is BMW at its crowd-pleasing best – sporty, refined and practical, all at once. But what if you don't need lots of rear-seat or cargo space? In that case, check out the BMW 2 Series. This compact two-door is offered either as a handsome coupe or a soft-top convertible, and distills BMW's traditional rear-wheel-drive setup into its smallest, lightest form. As a result, handling is super-sharp and you feel like you're sat right above the car's pivot point, helping add a sense of occasion to every drive. Most engines offer decent performance but the M240i and full-fat M2 versions have enough power to give you a proper fright.

See a choice of used BMW 2 Series cars

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 in red

You won't find a transmission tunnel in the Tesla Model 3 because this electric car has no engine up front to send power to the rear wheels. Instead, a powerful electric motor sits on the rear axle drawing current from the car's floor-mounted battery pack. With a full charge, you can cover more than 270 miles in pre-facelift rear-wheel-drive Model 3s, or more than 310 miles following the new Highland update. While Standard Range cars lack the front motor and all-wheel drive traction of higher-end versions, they still offer rapid, hot-hatch-baiting acceleration and quick, sporty steering, helping them feel responsive on the road.

Shop used Tesla Model 3 cars for sale

Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang in green

It took many years for the Ford Mustang to reach the UK with the steering wheel on the correct side, but it was worth the wait. You look over the steering wheel at the football-field-length bonnet in front of you, and feel the whole car shake violently as you rev its massive 5.0-litre V8 engine. With so many 'cubes' under the 'hood', there's a vast reserve of low-down power if you just want to burble around town with the engine barely above idle. Plant your foot, however, and you're rewarded with a NASCAR-like roar from the exhaust and huge plumes of tyre smoke if you're foolish enough to turn off the traction control.

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Jaguar XE

Jaguar XE in blue

The Jaguar XE sells in the same class as the 3 Series, C-Class and Giulia above. Even against those talented rivals, the XE returns a strong report card, especially for its ride and handling, which were clearly developed on British roads. As such, you get fast-footed handling and accurate steering, with suspension that's been set up to cope with craggy road surfaces. The overall impression is of an easy, entertaining car to drive when you're in the mood, as well as one that can soften the sting of long motorway drives. Keep an eye out for more recent versions with their significantly improved infotainment systems.

See used Jaguar XE cars

Toyota GR Supra

Toyota GR Supra in red

Whether you're aware of the Toyota GR Supra's legendary heritage, or are just encountering this cab-back super-sports car for the first time, there's no mistaking the fact this is a seriously high-performance machine. The long bonnet, slashed-up bodywork and massive haunches make the car look fast even when it's stood still. Standard GR Supras use a 254hp 2.0-litre turbo engine, which has plenty of performance for most buyers – but why have plenty when you can have too much? That's why you should spec your GR Supra with a proper 3.0-litre turbo six-cylinder so you can scare yourself silly anytime you floor it.

Browse used Toyota GR Supra cars

Find the right car for you

Buy or finance a nearly new or used car from Motorpoint to save thousands on the brand-new list price. For more choices, check out the best sports cars on sale.

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