Audi of America, Inc.
Keep Your Car Glued to the Pavement
Traction matters when you’re driving in rain and snow. You could lose control if your car doesn’t maintain its grip on the road.
That’s where all-wheel drive comes in. By sending power to all four wheels, this feature makes it easier for your car to remain safely planted when traveling on slick roads. This amenity can be a lifesaver for drivers who frequently face rough weather.
We can help if you want a capable vehicle with this helpful feature. We’ve identified the 12 all-wheel-drive cars with the highest U.S. News overall scores. Based on each model’s overall score, we’ve ranked our selections in ascending order. If there’s a tie, the vehicle with the lower price takes the higher spot. The price shown is for the most affordable all-wheel-drive version of the car.
Remember that we frequently update scores in our reviews as new insights and information come in. For that reason, the scores in this slideshow may differ from those shown elsewhere on our site.
Next:2023 Tesla Model 3
2023 Tesla Model 3
Price w/AWD: $47,240 | U.S. News Overall Score: 8.6/10
To access the Model 3’s most affordable all-wheel-drive version, you must move up from the single-motor base trim to the dual-motor Long Range model. That trim’s extra motor vastly improves acceleration. The base model sprints from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds; Long Range models take just 4.2 seconds to make that dash.
You can opt for the Performance trim for an even quicker choice with all-wheel-drive. It starts at $53,240 and hustles from zero to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds.
The Long Range trim also has a longer driving range than the single-motor Model 3. Base models travel 272 miles on a full charge, while the Long Range can go up to 333 miles on a fully charged battery, which is the best estimate in the lineup.
More on the 2023 Tesla Model 3
Next:2023 Audi A5
Audi of America, Inc.
2023 Audi A5
Price w/ AWD: $44,600 | Overall Score: 8.6/10
The A5 makes it easy for drivers seeking all-wheel drive because it’s standard in all models.
Audi sells the A5 in three body styles: a two-door coupe, a four-door fastback (A5 Sportback) and a two-door convertible (A5 Cabriolet). The Sportback is the best choice if you’re looking for adult-friendly second-row seating, but regardless of body style, passengers enjoy a cabin with a tasteful design and superb fit and finish.
Sportback models have a base engine with 201 horsepower; coupes and convertibles come standard with a 261-horsepower engine that’s optional with the Sportback. Both engines provide swift acceleration, making it easy to get up to speed on the highway.
Mazda North American Operations
Price w/ AWD: $28,600 | Overall Score: 8.6/10
Mazda sells the Mazda3 in hatchback and sedan versions. The Carbon Edition is the least expensive Mazda3 trim available with all-wheel drive, and the automaker offers this version in both body styles. The Carbon Edition trim adds red leather upholstery and a 12-speaker Bose audio system. This trim also includes amenities like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, dual-zone automatic climate control and heated front seats.
The base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 191 horsepower, and two turbocharged powertrains are available. The standard engine is capable, but the turbocharged upgrades offer more excitement.
Lively handling is one of the Mazda3’s most notable traits. It’s a nimble and enjoyable companion during daily commutes.
More on the 2023 Mazda Mazda3
Next:2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS Sedan
2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS Sedan
Price w/AWD: $107,400 | U.S. News Overall Score: 8.7/10
Mercedes-Benz’s EQS Sedan sits in the top half of our luxury electric car rankings. The base trim comes with front-wheel drive, and its $104,400 starting price makes this Mercedes one of the most expensive models in the class. The least expensive all-wheel-drive trim is the 450 4Matic Premium, which starts at $107,400.
Relative to the base model, the 450 4Matic Premium adds an extra electric motor that increases output. This trim produces 355 horsepower (compared to the base trim’s 329 horses) and has a driving range of 340 miles.
Standard features include a 12.8-inch touch screen, augmented reality navigation, wireless device charging, a 15-speaker Burmester audio system and dual-zone automatic climate control.
More on the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS Sedan
Next:2023 Audi A4
Audi of America, Inc.
2023 Audi A4
Price w/ AWD: $40,300 | Overall Score: 8.7/10
The A4 sits near the top of our luxury small car rankings, and all-wheel drive is standard in all models.
Three powertrains are available, ranging from 201 to 349 horsepower, and the base engine gets excellent fuel economy for a luxury small car. Every powertrain in the lineup delivers quick acceleration, and the A4 provides engaging handling and precise steering.
The standard features include leather upholstery, heated front seats, Android Auto, wireless Apple CarPlay, tri-zone automatic climate control and automatic high-beam headlights.
Next:2023 BMW i4
BMW of North America, LLC
2023 BMW i4
Price w/AWD: $68,700 | U.S. News Overall Score: 8.8/10
The i4’s high placement in our luxury electric car rankings speaks to its quality. Select the M50 trim, the top model in the range, to get all-wheel drive. The M50 uses two motors and an 81-kWh battery to produce 536 horsepower; it can travel up to 271 miles on a full charge.
BMW’s i4 provides nimble, secure handling. The M50 delivers the quickest acceleration in the range, sprinting from a standstill to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds.
Standard features include a 14.9-inch touch screen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, satellite radio and dual-zone automatic climate control.
Next:2023 Porsche 911
Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
2023 Porsche 911
Price w/AWD: $113,400 | U.S. News Overall Score: 8.9/10
The Porsche 911 is in a class of its own regarding handling, which explains its high placement in our luxury sports car rankings. Three body styles and several trims are available, allowing buyers to customize this performance machine to suit their preferences.
Base models start at $106,100, but the most affordable all-wheel-drive version begins at $113,400. The base engine is a turbocharged flat-six with 379 horsepower, and optional powertrains are available with up to 640 horses.
This Porsche has standard features like a 10.9-inch touch screen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, a Wi-Fi hot spot and dual-zone automatic climate control.
More on the 2023 Porsche 911
Next:2023 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
2023 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Price w/AWD: $114,500 | U.S. News Overall Score: 8.9/10
The S-Class has a steep base price, but the good news is that it comes standard with all-wheel drive and many plush amenities. This model is in the top half of our luxury large car rankings because of its high level of refinement.
A five-passenger layout is standard, but you can configure the S-Class to seat four people. Both rows are roomy enough for taller passengers, and the deluxe cabin features premium materials like leather, wood and soft-touch plastics.
The powertrain lineup starts with a turbocharged 429-horsepower inline-six, but it also includes V8 and V12 options. Every powertrain does an excellent job of moving the S-Class with haste, and the ride quality is gentle and composed.
More on the 2023 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Next:2023 BMW i7
2023 BMW i7
Price w/ AWD: $119,300 | Overall Score: 8.9/10
The i7 debuts for the 2023 model year and is excellent enough to place in the number-one spot in our luxury electric car rankings. It delivers the performance you expect from a vehicle with the BMW badge.
All-wheel drive is standard, and the i7 is motivated by two electric motors and a 101.7-kWh battery. This setup produces 536 horsepower and wastes no time moving this BMW from a standstill.
The i7 travels up to 318 miles on a fully charged battery. All models have an adaptive air suspension that keeps road harshness out of the cabin.
Next:2023 Audi A7
Audi of America, Inc.
2023 Audi A7
Price w/ AWD: $70,200 | Overall Score: 9.0/10
The A7 is a top choice for premium transportation, sitting high in our luxury large car rankings. This car comes standard with all-wheel drive and a 335-horsepower V6 with quick acceleration. The engine lineup also includes a 444-horsepower V6 in the S7 variant and a 591-horsepower V8 in the RS 7.
This car’s ride is comfortable, provided you don’t opt for the optional 21-inch wheels. The A7 seats five people and delivers excellent legroom in both rows.
Its liftback design allows this Audi to provide a generous 25 cubic feet of cargo space. The cabin features sterling build quality and first-rate materials.
Next:2023 Audi R8
Audi of America, Inc.
2023 Audi R8
Price w/ AWD: $209,700 | Overall Score: 9.0/10
You pay a hefty price for all-wheel drive in the Audi R8. Base models have a V10 engine with 562 horsepower and rear-wheel drive, starting at $158,600. Getting all-wheel drive requires choosing a more potent V10 with 602 horsepower and a starting price of $209,700.
The R8 feels secure and well-planted, and while its suspension is taut, the ride is comfortable enough to make this Audi a livable choice for daily commuting. You can choose from coupe and convertible body styles; both provide two-passenger seating.
Unfortunately, this car is light on driver aids, offering just a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors and automatic high-beam headlights.
Next:2023 Genesis G90
John M. Vincent / U.S. News & World Report
2023 Genesis G90
Price w/AWD: $88,400 | U.S. News Overall Score: 9.3/10
Genesis is one of the newer luxury car marques on the market, but this automaker has quickly shown its products are capable enough to compete with the very best. The brand’s G90 sedan is better than ever after a 2023 redesign and holds the top spot in our luxury large car rankings.
All models have all-wheel drive, and buyers can choose between two powertrains. The base engine is a turbocharged V6 with 375 horsepower. There’s also a mild-hybrid setup with a supercharged and turbocharged V6, producing 409 horsepower.
This car’s handling is poised, and its cushioned ride quality makes commutes pleasurable.
More on the 2023 Genesis G90
Next:More Information About All-Wheel Drive
More Information About All-Wheel Drive
What Is All-Wheel Drive?
All-wheel drive is a system that sends power to all four of a vehicle’s wheels, though typically, only when the vehicle detects that additional traction is needed. It differs from four-wheel drive in that it engages when the car deems it necessary, whereas a true four-wheel drive system (like those found in trucks and traditional truck-based SUVs) requires some knowledge on the part of the driver as to when different 4WD settings are appropriate. A true 4WD system is mechanically robust and designed for specific conditions, whereas AWD is more of a catch-all system for added traction.
Advantages of All-Wheel Drive
All-wheel drive provides more traction than front- or rear-wheel drive vehicles, which makes a good alternative in areas that often get inclement weather. It’s also easier to use than a four-wheel drive system and generally offers better fuel economy than a comparable 4WD vehicle. Some vehicles with AWD are even capable of light off-roading, such as the Subaru Outback and an increasing number of crossovers; however, users should be aware that these vehicles generally aren’t as robust as a 4WD off-road vehicle and may lack features such as underbody protection.
Disadvantages of All-Wheel Drive
All-wheel drive does have some disadvantages. Generally speaking, a vehicle (such as a crossover) upgraded from front- to all-wheel drive will have a higher sticker price, lower fuel economy ratings and will need its tires replaced more often.
An AWD model is generally more expensive overall than a comparable vehicle equipped with rear- or front-wheel drive, though this may vary depending on vehicle. That’s because most vehicles that offer all-wheel drive as an option come standard with front-wheel drive, while a vehicle that is offered in rear- and all-wheel drive is typically a performance vehicle, so cost advantages here will differ based on many other factors, such as overall performance.
Buyers of AWD vehicles should also keep in mind that while the vehicle will be more capable in most weather conditions, AWD does not prevent collisions on slippery surfaces and is not a substitute for a good set of winter tires.
Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
What is the best all-wheel-drive car?
The Mazda3 is the best all-wheel-drive car from a mainstream brand, based on its strong scores in the areas that matter most to new car buyers.
What is the best all-wheel-drive luxury car?
Based on our scoring, the Genesis G90 is the best all-wheel-drive luxury car.
What is the best AWD car for the money?
Though it costs a little extra to equip a Mazda3 with all-wheel drive, its low base price and high U.S. News scores mean it’s one of the most value-oriented AWD cars currently on the market.
What is the cheapest all-wheel-drive car?
If you’re looking to spend as little as possible on an AWD car, it’s hard to beat the Subaru Impreza. The base price of the 2023 model comes in just under $20,000, and AWD is standard across the model lineup.
Next:More Shopping Tools From U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News and World Report
More Shopping Tools From U.S. News & World Report
Visit our new car rankings to learn more about the versatile all-wheel-drive vehicles featured in this slideshow. You’ll find everything you need to know about pricing, interior amenities, fuel economy and more. You can also check out the competition, in case none of these cars interest you.
Finally, when you’re ready to buy or lease, don’t forget to use our U.S. News Best Price Program. Whether you’re buying or leasing, shoppers who use this program save an average of more than $3,200 off their new vehicle.
Next:Best All-Wheel-Drive Cars
U.S. News & World Report
Best All-Wheel-Drive Cars
- 2023 Tesla Model 3 – Overall Score: 8.6/10
- 2023 Audi A5 – Overall Score: 8.6/10
- 2023 Mazda3 – Overall Score: 8.6/10
- 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS – Overall Score: 8.7/10
- 2023 Audi A4 – Overall Score: 8.7/10
- 2023 BMW i4 – Overall Score: 8.8/10
- 2023 Porsche 911 – Overall Score: 8.9/10
- 2023 Mercedes-Benz S-Class – Overall Score: 8.9/10
- 2023 BMW i7 – Overall Score: 8.9/10
- 2023 Audi A7 – Overall Score: 9.0/10
- 2023 Audi R8 – Overall Score: 9.0/10
- 2023 Genesis G90 – Overall Score: 9.3/10