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Top 10 All-Wheel Drive Vehicles – Motor Trend


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Top 10 All-Wheel Drive Vehicles

Megan Stewart writer October 29, 2014

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With temperatures dropping and winter setting in, snow and other unfavorable road conditions will be on the rise, and without the use of an all-wheel drive vehicle, those situations can be tough to manage. Even if you live in an area where inclement weather doesn t reach you, having an AWD vehicle is great for those roads less traveled without going full off-roading.

Many automakers may offer an AWD system as a standard feature, but with others, you have to pay a premium if you want the extra traction. We ve compiled a list of the top ten AWD vehicles that won t break the bank. Whether you re looking for an affordable, reliable car or a luxury sedan or something in between, there s sure to be something on the list for everyone.

Acura MDX

SUVs are some of the best cars on the road when the weather turns. Many offer all-wheel drive as a standard feature, like the Acura MDX. The automaker s SH-AWD system is one of the best on the road today, making it an ideal choice if an SUV suits your lifestyle. But the AWD system isn t the only attractive aspect of this vehicle; it s also one of the safest on the road. The 2014 Acura MDX earned a 5-Star rating from the NHTSA and earned the designation of Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS. And with a starting price under $45,000, this luxury SUV should definitely be on anyone s list for AWD vehicles.

Audi A4

Audi s Quattro all-wheel drive system first entered the scene over 30 years ago and became the first permanent AWD system for passenger cars. Today, it s become one of the best in the business, giving the Audi A4 an edge over its competitors. The Quattro system comes as an option on all models in the A4 lineup and is paired with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission, giving customers more options in customization. This luxury sedan is one of the brand s best-selling models, and with such a strong and notable AWD system, we can see why.

BMW 3 Series

Not only is the BMW 3 Series one of the most popular luxury cars on the road today, it is offered with a great xDrive AWD system so you don t have to choose between luxury/comfort and performance. All three models in the 3 Series lineup have an AWD model, making it possible to afford one, even on a tighter budget. With a starting price of $34,950 for the BMW 320i xDrive, it comes in under the likes of the Audi A4 and other competitors. Added to that, its superior handling makes it even easier to navigate those tougher roads when the weather finally hits.

Chrysler 300

Chrysler s entry into the AWD game is the 300, and its slogan, Imported from Detroit, suggests the AWD system can handle what the weather throws at it. While it may not be the most popular car on the list, it does have its merits, one of them being its price tag of just $36,495 before any other additions. Although some would rather get a BMW or Audi for that kind of money, the Chrysler 300 is a true luxury car. With the optional 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, we can see why this AWD model would be at the top of some buyers lists.

Ford Taurus

Like with many of the other models on the list, the Ford Taurus offers an AWD system on the SEL and Limited model, while the SHO model has it as a standard feature. Although this isn t our favorite model to drive around busy urban streets, when the AWD is called for in snowy weather or poor road conditions, it s easy to see why the Ford Taurus made the list. And just like the Chrysler 300, the Taurus SHO comes at a premium, with a starting price over $40,000; however the Ford doesn t offer as good fuel economy as the 300.

Infiniti Q50

Infiniti is one of those brands that slip to the back of our minds when shopping for cars, and this is true when looking at AWD models. But the 2014 Infiniti Q50 not only offers a great AWD package, but has been named an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. While none of the models in the Q50 lineup come standard with AWD, each model including the base offers it as an option. If there was one car on this list to compete against the likes of the BMW and Audi, it would be the Infiniti Q50. Unlike its German competitors, however, this model isn t offered with a manual transmission.

Mazda CX-5

The Mazda CX-5 is just now gaining some popularity among car buyers since its debut for the 2013 model year. This compact crossover not only offers the reliability and affordability of the Mazda brand, but it s also an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. Each model in the lineup comes with the option of AWD, while not even the Grand Touring model offers it as a standard feature. However, the option only adds $1,250 to the overall starting price and it still doesn t hit that $30,000 mark until you add in the destination charges. Even the gas mileage is decent at 25/32 mpg city/highway.

Subaru Forester

Subaru has long been a top contender in the AWD game, with most of the models in its lineup coming with standard AWD. The Forester remains one of the brand s most popular models, and with great gas mileage, an attractive base price of $22,195, and an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating, it s easy to see why. But Subaru s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive pushes this SUV ahead of its competition. Whether you re taking it off the beaten path, cruising down the highway, or pushing through tough inclement weather, the Subaru Forester handles it all with ease.

Subaru Legacy

Just like with the Forester, the Subaru Legacy features the same Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system as a standard feature, making it one of the only midsize sedans to have standard AWD. But that s not all this car has to offer. Backed by the brand s reputation for affordability and reliability, the Legacy also boasts an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating. With the latest safety and technology features, the Subaru Legacy is affordable, offers attractive interior and exterior styling, and delivers a great experience no matter where you re driving it.

Volvo S60 T6

When looking for a sedan that offers AWD, sometimes the only option outside Subaru is to enter the luxury segment. With models like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, Volvo throws in its S60 T6 into the mix. Unlike some of its German competitors, Volvo offers its AWD system as a standard feature on the T6 model, but can be optioned on the T5 for an additional $2,000. Although it may be more expensive with a starting price of over $40,000, it s been named an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, something that can t be said about the 3 Series or A4.


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