When the going gets tough, these cars get going.

3 Best AWD Cars | CarMax

All wheel drive cars (AWD) have a reputation for performance and handling, especially for winter driving or when the roads are less than desirable. They are also gaining popularity with drivers who are looking for a good daily driver or family car. With so many AWD cars out there, we’ve done the research for you by compiling a list of our best AWD cars based on sales data from January to December 2017. Please note that not all trims and model years of the below vehicles have AWD; it just depends on the specific vehicle you pick!

  1. Infiniti G
  2. BMW 3 Series
  3. Mercedes Benz C Class

This handy guide will help you decide which AWD car is best for you.

Isn’t AWD the same as 4WD? Not exactly.

Many people think that AWD is synonymous with 4WD, and it might not be so easy to differentiate between the two. So what is the difference? In a nutshell, AWD cars usually don’t lock all the wheels together like 4WD. Most AWD cars have an intuitive design, meaning that they go from 2WD to AWD when the car detects it is losing traction. So, if you are in knee deep snow or driving across a muddy field, you’ll probably want to choose a 4WD. If you are driving on snowy, icy roads or during a thunderstorm, an AWD car is probably a more practical option.


Infiniti G

3 Best AWD Cars: Infiniti G | CarMax

The Infiniti G is known for its clean lines and great ride at a very accessible price. There are five models available with AWD: G35x, G37x, Q40, Q50, and Q60. The G models were pre-2014 which is when the naming convention changed, and all Infiniti’s passenger cars were designated by the letter “Q.” Prior to that, G models that were AWD were designated with an “x” at the end.

Trim Options

Each model in the G series typically had four or five trim levels depending on model and year. Overall, there are five that are available with AWD: G35x, G37x, Q40, Q50, and Q60. The 2015 Q60 has three options packages as well. The Premium package offers a power sliding moon roof, memory system for the driver’s seat, and a Bose® Premium Audio System with 11 speakers. The Sport Package includes 19” x 8.5” split V-spoke aluminum wheels, a sport tuned suspension, and sport brakes. The Navigation Package offers the Infiniti Hard Drie Navigation system, along with Bluetooth® and NavWeather/NavTraffic.

Best Features

If you are looking for power and handling, the G series delivers. For example, you’ll love the 2015 Q60’s sharp handling. The 2015 Q60 also comes with tech offerings like adaptive steering and dynamic suspension.

Fuel Economy

The 2015 Q60 with a 3.7L six-cylinder engine and manual transmission has an estimated fuel economy of 20 mpg combined.1


BMW 3 Series

3 Best AWD Cars: BMW 3 Series | CarMax

Our second best-selling all-wheel drive car is the BMW 3 Series. The 2015 model sedans have several AWD trim levels with powertrain options, including a turbo-diesel option. These cars offer plenty of vroom. The driving dynamics woos buyers with great performance with a luxurious feel.

Trim Options

The 2015 BMW 3 Series sedans gave owners a choice of six trim levels and five engines – talk about choice! This is a sporty car that is all about luxury. Some AWD sedan options in the 3 Series include the 320xi, 328xi, 335xi, 328dxi. For example, drivers of the 2015 BMW 328xi sedan have a number of available features including a rear-view camera, heated steering wheel, adaptive light control, heated front and rear seats, park distance control, and variable sport steering.

The trim packages for the 2015 328xi reflected a range of features which included performance and creature comfort elements as well as power and high performance on the sportier side. This means that drivers don’t have so sacrifice comfort for muscle.

Best Features

Each level of the 2015 BMW 3 Series has the luxurious BMW features you’ve come to expect.

Fuel Economy

As an example, the 2015 BMW 328xi with a 2.0 L four-cylinder engine has an estimated 22 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.1


Mercedes-Benz C-Class

3 Best AWD Cars: Mercedes-Benz C-Class | CarMax

The Mercedes Benz C Class tops our list for the best-selling all-wheel drive sedans. From the high-end interior in the cabin to the excellent performance, these are, by far, some very nice cars with AWD options. With five AWD trim levels on the 2015 model, drivers have plenty of choices. The 2015 sedan model was redesigned and the result is sleek elegance wrapped around a turbo charged four or six-cylinder engine. The 2015 Mercedes Benz C Class seats four to five people, making it a nice option for families. Forget the old soccer mobile—you’ll ride in lush comfort.

Trim Options

There are several trim options in the 2015 model with all-wheel drive. The C300 has the base, luxury, and sport levels. There is also the Sport C 350 and Base C 400. The Sport C 350 has a standard, 3.5-liter V6 that offers 302 hp, while the Base C 400 has a 3.0-liter V6 with 329 hp.

Best Features

While just slipping behind the wheel of a C Series is an experience in itself, drivers will also love the strong acceleration that you get with the C300 and C400, regardless of the production year. The cabin of the 2015 C 300 has a plush interior and folding backseat for extra cargo space.

Fuel Economy

The C series vehicles with AWD have competitive fuel economy numbers. For example, the 2015 C300 4matic with a 2.0L four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission has an estimated 24 mpg and 31mpg on the highway.1

Ready to shop? Check out the 4WD vehicles and AWD cars we have available right now. Or feel free to conduct more research — and read our research articles, too, which include our own takes on the best SUVs, best minivans, and best pickup trucks — to help you find your next car.

1Fuel economy figures are based on EPA estimates when vehicles sold as new. Fuel economy may vary for reasons like driving conditions and vehicle history. Unless specified, figures are for vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission. See fueleconomy.gov for details.
Unless otherwise noted, information relating 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.