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What Is the Worth of All-Wheel Drive?

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2019 Mazda CX-9

When it comes to opting for all-wheel drive, it might seem like a no-brainer. AWD gets better traction than 2WD and handles much better in inclement weather, especially snow and ice.

Due to the cold snap that’s seizing the country right now, AWD probably seems tempting, but you might consider the price of it (up to an additional $1,500 on the price of a new car). If you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow and ice each year, it’d be a good idea to have AWD.

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If you live in warmer parts of the country that see little to no snow, is AWD still worth that price?

Not really.

Don’t get us wrong — we think AWD is pretty great, but if you’re living it up in Florida there’s not much of a reason to pay an extra $1,500 for it.

It’s not the “backyard pool” of cars where you’re guaranteed to add value when you sell. If you do sell it down the line, you won’t see a significant increase in what you’d get for selling the same car with FWD unless you move to a snowy area. Even then, you’d only get extra amount you paid for AWD back in the first place, if that.

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While AWD is great to have, it’s not a necessity unless you live in those snowy areas. If you do, you should know that snow tires are what really make the difference.

Sometimes you don’t get to choose: Dealerships order what sells well in the area, so if you live in a place where AWD is popular, you’ll probably find more AWD cars on the lot compared to FWD. If a car with AWD is in your budget and what you want, we say go for it.

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