Aaron Widmar
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Which Economy Sedans Can Come with All-Wheel Drive?

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Many luxury brands like Porsche and Mercedes-Benz offer all-wheel drive on their sedans and coupes for performance benefits, but the average buyer can’t afford to spend that much if they just want an economic car with AWD. If you want a brand-new vehicle under $30,000 that offers the best traction in slippery road conditions, consider any of these affordable sedans that can come with all-wheel drive instead of front-wheel drive.

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These cheap sedans offer all-wheel drive for under $30,000

red 2018 Subaru Impreza
2018 Subaru Impreza at the Chicago Auto Show

Subaru Impreza

The lowest-priced all-wheel drive sedan on the market, the Subaru Impreza is an excellent choice for drivers who want the stability and control of AWD but prefer the size and price of a compact car over a crossover or SUV. It’s a cheap option, but it still possesses the quality that’s characteristic of a Subaru.

Chicago Auto Show - 2018 Subaru Legacy
2018 Subaru Legacy at the Chicago Auto Show

Subaru Legacy

A step up in size and price from the Impreza — as well as a bump in finesse — the mid-size Legacy is a deal if you want an AWD sedan with plenty of standard features. Plus, its price with AWD is comparable to many other economy models in its class that only have FWD.

2019 Ford Fusion
2019 Ford Fusion
Photo: Ford Motor Co.

Ford Fusion

Ford gives Subaru a run for its money with the Fusion, which offers Intelligent AWD on its higher trim levels. The system automatically switches between FWD, RWD, and AWD depending on the slippage and incline grade detected.

2019 Nissan Altima
Photo: Nissan

Nissan Altima

Sharing a lot of similarities with the Ford Fusion, the Nissan Altima also offers an available Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system. It’s part of Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite of driving tools and is a major selling point for most Altima buyers.

2019 Mazda3
2019 Mazda3
Photo: Mazda


There’s a lot to love about the Mazda3. One of the elements that makes it an exceptional drive is its available i-ACTIV AWD, an intuitive system that uses the brand’s renowned SKYACTIV Technology to ensure optimal torque distribution in every situation.

2017 Subaru WRX STI blue sedan car on display Chicago Auto Show
2017 Subaru WRX STI at the Chicago Auto Show

Subaru WRX

If you want a sporty sedan that’s affordably priced and fuel-efficient, the Subaru WRX is the best way to go. The brand’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system is standard on the WRX, plus it’s enhanced with track-tuned suspension and Vehicle Dynamics Control with Active Torque Vectoring to get the best operation out of the drivetrain.

2020 Toyota Prius XLE AWD-e
2020 Toyota Prius XLE AWD-e
Photo: Toyota

Toyota Prius AWD-e

Yes, you can get an eco-friendly hybrid car that has AWD. Toyota currently offers its best-selling Prius compact car in an AWD-e form, which uses Electronic On-Demand Compact All-Wheel Drive. Instead of the engine distributing torque between the axles like a traditional AWD system, this Prius uses an independent electric rear motor tied exclusively to the rear axle.

If you’re willing to buy a pre-owned car instead of a brand-new car, you’ll find a couple retired models with AWD, like the Buick LaCrosse, Ford Taurus, and Chrysler 300. Unfortunately, the majority of larger sedans with AWD are being retired as buyers increasingly prefer AWD crossovers. But if you know where to look, you can still find a sedan with the drivetrain you want.

Prefer an SUV with All-Wheel Drive? That’s one of the many reasons to drive the Hyundai Tucson