If any car layout could be described as classic, it would have to be the one where the engine is at the front and the driven wheels are at the back.

This arrangement was enormously popular for a very long time. Both front engine and front-wheel drive and rear engine and rear-wheel drive, along with engine anywhere and four-wheel drive, had all been attempted before the Second World War, often with considerable success, but they did not become widely used until later.

Nowadays, front engine and front-wheel drive is the most common arrangement. Rear (or mid) engine and rear-wheel drive is used in some small cars but mostly in very high-performance ones. Four-wheel drive is far more widely available than it once was.

Where does this leave front engine and rear-wheel drive? Well, it is no longer the default layout, largely because it requires space that could otherwise be used for passengers and luggage. As customer demand for practicality and convenience has increased over the years, the old set-up has fallen from favour to a large extent.

But not entirely. As we’ll see, 25 manufacturers selling cars in the UK still use it for one reason or another, and nobody is complaining about that.

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