Published on July 20th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
VW Corrado To Buy Or Not Used?
The VW Corrado is a 3-door, 2+2 compact hatchback developed by Volkswagen and built by Karmann in Osnabrück, Germany some 26 years ago. It used Volkswagen’s B3 platform in the rear of the car, while using the A2 platform technology up front, which it shared with the then-current Golf and Jetta. The Corrado was in production from 1988 through 1995 and reached a production total of 97,521 vehicles. It shared many mechanical parts with other Volkswagen A platform cars like the Golf Mk2 and the Jetta.
The Corrado debuted with two engine choices. The first was a 1.8-liter 16-valve, 4-cylinder with 136PS as the base model and a supercharged 1.8-liter, 8 valve 4-cylinder, marketed as the G60 and delivering 160PS, which was designed to challenge the Porsche 944 and Nissan 180SX. The G60 is named for the G-Lader with which it is equipped, a supercharger whose interior resembles the letter ‘G’.
The two engine choices proved to be a little disappointing against the competition and so Volkswagen debuted two new engines for 1992. The first was a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter, 16 valve, 136PS in-line four, basically a further development of the 1.8-liter engine. The second was an impressive 2.9-liter, 12-valve, 190PS VR6 engine which also saw service in the Golf Mk3. This 2861cc engine was heavy yet silky smooth for its time and offered good pickup speed and great mid-range torque.
The VR6 was revolutionary at the time because it combined the benefits of both V-shaped and straight engines by placing the two cylinder banks at an angle of 15° with a single cylinder head. This design allowed engineers to mount 6 cylinders into roughly the same space as 4 cylinders.
The Corrado was initially to be the third version of the Scirocco, but because it was heavier and more expensive, Volkswagen changed the name. While some enthusiasts were disappointed by the extra weight, the Corrado still offered exceptional handling and was listed as one of the “25 Cars You Must Drive Before You Die” by the British magazine, Car. Many owner clubs exist around the world and owners still enjoy its prodigious capabilities, especially high speed stability and cornering.
Corrado coupe makes an excellent and often overlooked alternative to the Golf. Sharing many of its hatch sibling’s best bits, its comfortable, usually quick and undeniably more sporty. Here’s a guide to what to look for when buying.
While the 8v 1.8 isn’t desperately quick, it’s a unit that will go on forever if looked after. The 16v is the same, but watch for irratic idle which could be the stabilisation valve. Also, oily plugs and subsequent misfires may be as a result of leaky rocker cover gasket. Cambelts (and tensioners) should be changed every 60,000 miles. If you can’t find a recent receipt, get it done anyway.
As for the G60, the scroll type supercharger has a reputation for breaking and its general health will depend on the frequency of oil changes and the quality of oil used. Problems usually occur when the centre scroll Apex seals wear and come adrift of their grooved seatings and this can happen if the unit hasn’t been properly serviced. Basically, a G60 that’s low on boost or has oil in the boost pipe between the charger and intercooler should be viewed with suspicion.
The lusty VR6 has a chain and are largely bombproof – although abused ones that have missed regular servicing may soon need a chain and tensioner replacement. Otherwise, check for blue smoke which points to bore wear – another reason, probably, to make a swift exit.
Don’t worry too much about the rest of the car’s mechanicals, because everything is available and there’s huge scope to uprate. So if you find a car that needs new suspension bushes and the like, use that as a negotiating tool and invest the money you’ve just haggled off the price to buy yourself a stiffer setup.
ABS was standard on the VR6 and later G60s but optional on lesser models, so if this is important – choose appropriately. If the car you are looking at does have ABS, check there’s not persistent warning lights and the modules can go.
VW had its galvanising techniques well and truly mastered by the time the Corrado came around, so don’t expect any rot. However, surface blisters around the door edges, beneath the windscreen rubber, the sills, front valence and around the filler cap and side repeaters can spoil an otherwise tidy car. Door mechanisms can break but you can buy replacements or swap them with those from the rear of a Passat.
One of the Corrado’s innovations involves the rear spoiler which should rise automatically once you hit roughly 55mph just like in a Porsche 993. If you need to flick the dash switch to get it to work, suspect the module or wiring. Otherwise, the mechanism itself could be at fault, in which case a good clean should do the trick.
Most of what’s inside the Corrado should look pretty familiar to VW enthusiasts, but that means it also shares some of the VW family’s inherent interior weaknesses. Seats should last, but sportier Recaros fitted to the G60 will probably be a bit tatty around the bolsters and leather is always desirable. Otherwise it’s a case of making sure everything works as it should and bargaining hard to cover the cost of replacing anything that doesn’t.
What to pay
Ok, here comes the bad news, because there are only around 6-7 Corrados that made it to Malaysia officially it holds a certain rarity value and owners would be hard pressed to sell their cars unless they need to feed their children. Prices for an immaculate VR6 should start from RM35,000 and a G60 version maybe RM5k less.
There are 4 VR6 Corrados (3 in dark blue colour and 1 in red) and 2 G60 Corrados (one dark blue and another in red). A mystery Corrado has been spotted and is still unable for comment. However if any goes on sale you need to meet the owner and ask why he is selling. As always, with any used car, you buy on condition as well as proof of regular care and attention in the workshop which comes with a servicing file in detail.