Independent Rear Suspension -- Who Offers it?

I’ve recently had occasion to briefly drive a couple of cars with independent rear suspension. I’ve found I really like this.

I was wondering what makes and models offer this, but didn’t want to have to go through every manufacturer’s site for every model.

Ideally, I’d prefer a new sedan. Does anyone know where a list might be available?

I ran a query at for “rear independent suspension”. Here’s a small subset of the results:

Chrysler Sebring
Ford Focus
Ford Focus
Ford Escape
Volvo S-series
Toyota Matrix
Ford Expedition
Lincoln Navigator
Mercury Mountaineer
Buick Rendevous

Are you referring to a front-drive, rear-drive or all-wheel drive vehicle? New or used?

Traditionally, American-made rear-wheel drive sedans and light trucks have had solid rear axles, mainly due to the simplicity and low cost of the design. Today, however, most cars are front-drive; in nearly all cases some variant of an IRS (independent rear suspension) is used as this is relatively easy to engineer on undriven wheels. For those that retain rear-wheel drive, nearly all European brands, and even most American cars (except the Ford Crown Vic/Mercury Grand Marquis) now have IRS.

All-wheel drive cars tend to have fully independent suspensions, as the all-wheel drive is intended more for performance than off-roading.

Pickup trucks in general have solid rear axles; SUVs are a bit problematic as there is a mix of solid and IRS depending on manufacturer. The most popular SUV, the Ford Explorer, recently went to an IRS arrangement.

Thus, you probably need only be concerned with the rear suspension arrangement if you are in the market for an SUV or large American-built sedan.

Um, maybe not just big American cars and those other thingies. My sister’s Toyota Tercel has a beam axle in the back (I was surprised). So does my Chrysler minivan.

El Kabong’s message is generally good info, but there are plenty of front wheel drive cars that do not have independent rear suspensions.

Ford Cobra Mustang
AWD Subarus
Most Japanese sports cars (actually…most of their cars)

Ford Cobra Mustang
AWD Subarus
Most Japanese sports cars (actually…most of their cars)

Let’s add these:

2000-2002 Ranger - solid axle
2000+ Bonneville - IRS
pre-2003 Grand Marquis / Crown Victoria - solid axle
2003 Grand Marquis / Crown Victoria - IRS (EXCEPT police models: solid axle AND Marauder solid axle).

Just have to add a plug for the Cadillac CTS here, which has RWD and IRS. And if you’re looking for a new sedan… :slight_smile:

Actually, I’d been considering the Sebring or Bonneville already. That’s another point in their column for me. I’m interested in new mid-sized sedans or larger.

Thanks for the help.

The car that made the skid marks in My Cousin Vinny did. (But the kids’ car didn’t)

That would be a Corvair, and as I recall, it had limited-slip, too. Loved Tomei in that…

Rocketeer…wasn’t the Corvair…

Pontiac Tempest…with Posi traction…

Before I’m jumped on: I know…Posi is limited slip as named by GM.

But it was not the Corvair that was the actual get away car…

…and it didn’t have independent rear suspension. Limited slip/Positraction is a drivetrain feature, not a suspension feature.

quote from My Cousin Vinny:

… time, driving identical metallic mint green 1964 … America that had positraction and independent rear suspension … and that was the 1963 Pontiac Tempest …

Vinny: Your honor, this is a picture taken by my fiancee outside the Sack O’ Suds. Can we agree on this?
DA Trotter (Lane Smith): Yeah.
Vinny: I’d like to submit this picture of tire tracks as evidence.
Judge (Fred Gwynne): Mr. Trotter?
DA Trotter: No objection, your honor.
Vinny: Ms. Vito, did you take this picture?
Lisa: You know I did.
Vinny: And what is this picture of?
Lisa: You know what it’s of.
Vinny: Ms. Vito, it has been argued by me, the defense, that two sets of guys met up at the Sack O’ Suds at the same time, driving identical metallic mint green 1964 Buick Skylark convertibles. Now, can you tell us by what you see in this picture if the defense’s case holds water. Ms. Vito, please answer the question. Does the defense’s case hold water?
Lisa: No! The defense’s case is WRONG!
Vinny: Are you SURE?
Vinny: How could you be so sure?
Lisa: Because there is no way that these tire marks were made by a 64 Buick Skylark. These marks were made by a 1963 Pontiac Tempest!
DA Trotter: Objection, your honor! Can we clarify to the court whether the witness is stating opinion or fact?
Judge: This is your opinion?
Lisa: It’s a FACT.
Vinny: I find it hard to believe that this kind of information could be ascertained simply by looking at a picture!
Lisa: Would you like me to explain?
Vinny: I would LOVE to hear this!
Judge: So would I.
Lisa: The car made these two equal-length tire marks had POSITRACTION. Can’t make those marks without positraction, which was not available on the 64 Buick Skylark!
Vinny And why not? What is positraction?
Lisa: It’s a limited slip differential which distributes power equally to both the right and left tires. The 64 Skylark had a regular differential which, anyone who’s been stuck in the mud in Alabama knows, you step on the gas, one tire spins, the other tire does nothin’.
Vinny: Hm. Is that it?
Lisa: No, there’s more! You see, when the left tire mark goes up on the curb and the right tire mark stays flat and even, well, the 64 Skylark had a solid rear axle, so when the left tire would go up on the curb, the right tire would tilt out and ride along its edge, but that didn’t happen here, the tire mark stayed flat and even- this car had an independent rear suspension. Now, in the 60’s, there were only two other cars made in America that had positraction and independent rear suspension, and enough power to make these marks. One was the Corvette, which could NEVER be confused with the Buick Skylark. The other had the same body length, height, width, weight, wheel base and wheel track as the 64 Skylark and that was the 1963 Pontiac Tempest.
Vinny: And because both cars were made by GM, were both cars available in metallic mint green paint?
Lisa: They WERE.
Vinny: Thank you Ms. Vito! No more questions. Thank you very very much. You’ve been a lovely, lovely witness!

Omigod, I was wrong, wrong, wrong. Lousy memory.

At least I remembered the positraction bit right (sigh).

Ha! But wait! The screenplay is wrong! Corvairs had independent rear suspension in 1964!

(retires, smiling smugly)

I started wondering if I was wrong on the Positraction part of the question, but according to This Corvairs had Posi in 1962.

Perhaps TMI, but my '83 Toyota Celica GTS has IRS and RWD …