Eleven Mid-Engine Cars That Are Genuinely Practical

Just because the engine is in the middle doesn't mean you have to give up on usability.

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McLaren

Generally with a mid-engine car, you sacrifice practicality at the altar of superlative handling balance and eye-catching styling. With smart design, these 11 cars offer the dynamic benefits of mounting the engine right behind the driver, without the drawbacks.

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MG
MG TF

Though it was never offered in America, the MG F and TF made for surprisingly livable mid-engine roadsters. Early cars are just about to cross the 25-year mark, so if you're a fan of modern MGs, this is the one to get.

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Renault
Renault Clio V6

Though the Renault Clio V6 is a hatchback, a lot of the rear trunk space is taken up by an engine, which powers the rear wheels. Still, there's a sizable parcel shelf above the motor, and plenty of comfort features up front.

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Toyota SW20 MR2 Second generation
Toyota
Toyota MR2 (SW20)

Out of the three generations of MR2, the second-gen SW20 remains the most practical. It's bigger, roomier, and more comfortable than the first-gen car, and has a lot more storage space than the Spyder that replaced it.

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McLaren
McLaren F1

Even though designer Gordon Murray wanted the McLaren F1 to be light and small, he didn't overlook daily usability. For starters, he had the driver and passengers–yes, passengers plural–sit in a delta formation, and added sizable storage compartments on both sides of the car. The F1's packaging is somewhat of a miracle.

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FlickrRobin Capper
Ferrari Dino 308 GT4

For its first V8 Porsche 911-fighter, Ferrari wanted to offer 2+2 seating and a decent trunk. Unlike the 911, Ferrari also wanted it to be mid-engined. Somehow, the 3.0-liter V8 was compact enough to offer room for four seats and a trunk at the back.

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Porsche
Porsche 914

The advantage of a boxer engine configuration is that it's extremely compact. That's why the Porsche 914 has its flat-four in the middle, and two big trunks at the front and pack. It's a layout Porsche will revisit in the future as you'll find out.

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Lotus
Lotus Evora

Lotus doesn't generally do practical cars, but the Evora is surprisingly usable. You can have it with two tiny back seats, which with some effort, and it comes with a small trunk behind the mid-engine.

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McLaren
McLaren 570GT

The McLaren 570GT is one of the most interesting interpretations of the grand tourer concept we've ever seen. Instead putting a second trunk aft of the mid-mounted V8, McLaren put a trunk over the motor.

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Matt Tierney
Porsche Cayman GT4

The Cayman revisits the layout Porsche first created in the 914 we looked at earlier. A low-mounted, compact flat-six (now flat-four) allows for a large rear trunk in addition to a decent front trunk. There's even room for some luggage on top of the engine.

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Acura
Acura NSX

Acura designed its first supercar to be as daily driveable as an Accord while still being able to put the contemporary Ferrari 348 to shame. They succeeded, creating a comfortable two-seater with a usable trunk at the back, and visibility as good as a Porsche 911. Oh, and it kicked the Ferrari to the curb.

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Toyota
Toyota Previa

Behold! The most practical mid-engine car ever built, the mighty Toyota Previa. Yes, the Previa has its engine mounted behind the driver, under the passenger compartment. No, it's not a sports car like the others on the list, but, it's mid-engined and practical.

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