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When the going gets tough, these cars get going.

3 Best AWD Cars | CarMax

If you're in the market for a new-to-you vehicle and live in an area that sees harsh winters or unfavorable road conditions, shopping for all-wheel drive cars is a wise decision. Similar to a four-wheel drive car, an AWD vehicle has intuitive technology that saves you the hassle of switching from 2WD to 4WD manually; instead, your vehicle will detect when it needs more traction and adjust accordingly. AWD cars are a practical option for those who would like a little more confidence behind the wheel. Looking for help narrowing down the used AWD cars that are worth your time? We have some recommendations that make shopping for your next vehicle that much easier.

Here's a summary of our 3 best AWD cars of 2018, based on CarMax sales data from November 1, 2017 through April 30, 2018.

  1. Subaru Legacy
  2. Subaru Impreza
  3. Subaru Outback

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Subaru Legacy

3 Best AWD Cars: Subaru Legacy | CarMax

These days, finding a vehicle that comes with AWD as a standard feature isn't always easy, but Subaru is one of a few vehicle manufacturers out there that tends to include an all-wheel drive system as one of its many standard inclusions! The Subaru Legacy is no exception here. The 2014-2016 Legacy features an impressively smooth ride—and with ample space, drivers should have no trouble seating up to five passengers comfortably.

Trim Options

Throughout the 2014-2016 model years, the Subaru Legacy was available in four trim levels: the base 2.5i, the 2.5i Premium, the 2.5i Limited, and the 3.6R Limited. It is worth noting that the numbers in each trim level correspond to the engine included with that particular trim. For example, the 2.5i trims all come with a 2.5L, four-cylinder engine, whereas the 3.6R comes with an amped-up 3.6L, six-cylinder engine.

Standard across all trim levels are 17-inch wheels, full power accessories, and even a rear view camera. However, those wanting more luxurious features like heated seats and leather upholstery may want to upgrade to the 2.5i Limited or 3.6R Limited.

Best Features

The Subaru Legacy delivers an incredibly smooth and quiet ride regardless of terrain and conditions, making this a great choice for a family sedan. It also boasts a decent amount of passenger and cargo space, with about 15 cubic feet in the trunk alone.


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Subaru Impreza

3 Best AWD Cars: Subaru Impreza | CarMax

If you're looking for a smaller sedan or hatchback featuring all-wheel drive, you'll likely find that your options are rather slim. But not only does the 2014-2016 Subaru Impreza come with all-wheel drive, this feature is standard across all trim levels. The Impreza is also easy to customize in a number of ways, making it a great option whether you're wanting something more bare-bones, souped-up, or somewhere in between.

Trim Options

Available in both sedan and hatchback options, the 2014-2016 Subaru Impreza is available in multiple trims that once again correspond to their engine sizes: the 2.0i, 2.0i Premium, 2.0i Limited, 2.0i Sport Premium, and 2.0i Sport Limited. Additionally, there is a high-performance WRX trim that boasts a turbocharged engine and is available only as a sedan.

Standard features across all available trim levels include full power accessories, keyless entry, a rear view camera, and easy smartphone integration. All hatchback trims also come with a rear spoiler. Some potential upgrades in higher trim levels (like the 2.0i Limited) include a larger touchscreen display, voice controls, and sleek chrome trim on the exterior.

Best Features

Despite its small size, even the base 2.0L engine packs quite a punch behind the wheel, and the excellent handling makes the smaller Impreza a joy to drive. Overall, this is a great AWD car for everyday commutes and the occasional road trip.


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Subaru Outback

3 Best AWD Cars: Subaru Outback | CarMax

If the Legacy and Impreza aren't quite roomy enough for your needs, the Subaru Outback is definitely worth checking out. This crossover wagon not only seats up to five passengers comfortably, but also offers much more in the way of cargo space and utility.

Trim Options

The 2014-2016 Subaru Outback is available in four trim levels: the 2.5i, the 2.5i Premium, the 2.5i Limited, and the 3.6R Limited. All trims except for the 3.6R come standard with a 2.5L, four-cylinder engine. Additional standard features include full power accessories, a rugged roof rack with crossbars, easy-folding rear seats, and a rear view camera. Additional features that may be worth the upgrade include adaptive cruise control, power rear liftgate, and heated seats.

Best Features

The biggest bonus you'll find in the Outback compared to the other AWD vehicles on this list is the extra cargo space; with nearly 36 cubic feet of cargo capacity (and more than 73 cubic feet with rear seats folded down), this vehicle is a great choice for those who want a smooth ride and plenty of room for cargo.


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All-wheel drive vehicles can be a great choice for those wanting to navigate most terrains with ease, and these top choices for the best all-wheel drive cars of 2018 are certainly worth checking out. Looking for more information? Check out these similar articles on used all-wheel drive cars and other vehicles.

Unless otherwise noted, information related to these featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. Product and company names may be trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.