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Best AWD Cars: Pros & Cons, Photos, and More

AWD vehicle parked beside tent in desert camping area

Confident cars for everyday life.

If you’re someone that lives more on the wild side, an all-wheel-drive car gives peace of mind when it comes to navigating muddy terrain on backroads or snowy ski trips with the family. AWD vehicles use various technologies to make sure power gets to the right place to give maximum traction. Some cars have advanced AWD with terrain selection, changing how the vehicle behaves based on your settings. Whether it's your next family vehicle or an upgraded commuter, an AWD car is perfect for anyone with a taste for adventure.

To make the most of your time searching, we've compiled a list of the 10 best AWD cars for 2022 shoppers, based on CarMax vehicle and sales data and pros and cons from our expert partners at Edmunds. Check out details, features, and more in our best AWD cars list.

  1. Honda Pilot

  2. Subaru Crosstrek

  3. Subaru Impreza

  4. Toyota Highlander

  5. Ford Escape

  6. Toyota RAV4

  7. Subaru Forester

  8. Subaru Outback

  9. Honda CR-V

  10. Nissan Rogue

10. Honda Pilot

Honda Pilot
  • A roomy interior that's flexible for everyday life

  • Smooth riding and straightforward to drive

  • Practical storage compartments around the interior

  • Collision warning and adaptive cruise control are a little too sensitive

  • Access to third-row seating is narrow

A powerful V6 engine and up to eight-passenger seating make the 2017–2020 Honda Pilot an excellent family vehicle or tow vehicle for boats and small travel trailers. A well-designed interior is packed with modern features and conveniences regardless of trim. Soft leather seating is available in 2017–2020 Honda Pilot EX-L, Touring, and Elite trim. New for the 2020 model year is the sport-themed Black trim. Finally, AWD is included in EX, EX-L, Touring, and Elite 2017–2020 Honda Pilot models.

Included in the 2017–2020 Honda Pilot LX base trim are:

  • A multi-angle rearview camera

  • Push-button start

  • Five-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth® integration

Find out more on our Honda Pilot research page.

9. Subaru Crosstrek

Subaru Crosstrek
  • Plenty of ground clearance for off-road fun

  • Surprising space for a vehicle of its size

  • Good sightlines and a comfortable ride

  • Handling and steering could be more precise

  • Acceleration could be better on the highway

  • Less cargo capacity than some of the competition

Subaru is known for its legendary AWD system, which includes a multi-terrain system called X-Mode® on CVT-equipped 2017–2020 Subaru Crosstrek models. All trims get powered by a powerful four-cylinder engine and have seating for up to five people. The Subaru STARLINK® suite of driver assists is available on Premium and Limited trims. Tackle the beaten path with hill-descent control and active torque vectoring on any X-Mode-equipped 2017–2020 Subaru Crosstreks.

The 2017–2020 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i is loaded with the features you're looking for, including:

  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay® smartphone connectivity

  • A four-speaker sound system

  • Rearview camera

Check out more by visiting our Subaru Crosstrek research page.

8. Subaru Impreza

Subaru Impreza
  • Standard AWD

  • Plenty of room in the cabin

  • Comprehensive available driver assists

  • Lots of engine noise when accelerating

  • Interior materials could be better quality

  • Hard to match the EPA-estimated fuel economy

Available in either a wagon or sedan body, the 2017–2020 Subaru Impreza perfectly blends the capability of an SUV with the drivability of a sedan. AWD is included standard on all trims, alongside attractive 18-inch alloy wheels. A suite of driver aids is included as standard in the 2017–2020 Subaru Impreza Limited trim but can be added to any lower trim. Finally, functional touches like roof rails and a cargo cover can be found on 2017–2020 Subaru Impreza Premium models and above.

Standard features included in any 2017–2020 Subaru Impreza include:

  • A 6.5-inch touchscreen with smartphone connectivity

  • Cruise control

  • Rearview camera

Learn more from our Subaru Impreza research page.

7. Toyota Highlander

Toyota Highlander
  • Passengers will enjoy a quiet, comfortable ride

  • Excellent visibility

  • A powerful V6 engine for towing or hauling

  • The third-row seats are small and best for kids

  • Could use more space behind the third-row seats for luggage

Redesigned for the 2020 model year, the 2020–2022 Toyota Highlander was updated from the ground up to become an excellent modern family SUV. A hybrid drivetrain is available to help stretch the distance between fill-ups. Or use the 2020–2022 Toyota Highlander and V6 engine to tow up to an estimated 5000 pounds, when properly equipped.

The 2020–2022 Toyota Highlander has standard features, which include:

  • A 3.5L V6 engine

  • Tri-zone automatic climate control

  • A suite of driver assists like adaptive cruise control

Find out more at our Toyota Highlander research page.

6. Ford Escape

Ford Escape
  • The dashboard controls are easy to use

  • Comfortable seating with plenty of space

  • Smooth ride around town

  • The automatic transmission shifts abruptly

  • Not as engaging to drive as it could be

Compact and functional, the 2017–2020 Ford Escape offers a selection of engines and options perfect for tackling everyday life. Flexible 60/40 split-folding rear seats provide adaptable storage for oversized items. In addition, modern technology keeps you and your passengers connected, including an available 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot (SE and higher trim).

A panoramic sunroof brightens the interior, standard in the loaded 2017–2020 Ford Escape Titanium trim.

Standard equipment on the 2017–2020 Ford Escape includes:

  • A six-speaker sound system

  • Bluetooth connectivity

  • Steering wheel-mounted cruise and audio controls

Check out more at our Ford Escape research page.

5. Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4
  • Plenty of space for passengers and cargo

  • A quiet, comfortable interior

  • Easy-to-use controls

  • The engine could use more power or other engine options

  • The front passenger seat isn't as comfortable as the rest

  • Steering input isn't as precise as some of the competition

The 2019–2022 Toyota RAV4 is redesigned for 2019 with a fresh, aggressive look and attitude, ready to take on life's next great adventure. As the name suggests, the 2019–2022 Toyota RAV4 Adventure trim includes off-road-ready suspension, an improved estimated towing capacity of 3,500 pounds (when properly equipped), and multi-terrain AWD.

All 2019–2022 Toyota RAV4s are powered by the same 2.5L four-cylinder engine, and AWD is standard on Adventure and Limited trims.

The 2019–2022 Toyota RAV4 L comes well equipped, including features like:

  • A seven-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity

  • A rearview camera with guidelines

  • Steering-wheel mounted cruise and audio controls

There's more information on our Toyota RAV4 research page.

4. Subaru Forester

Subaru Forester
  • AWD is standard

  • A comprehensive suite of driver aids is standard

  • Good ground clearance improves off-road performance

  • Lots of cargo capacity

  • The engine could use more power

  • Low estimated towing capacity compared to other competitors

The 2019–2020 Subaru Forester is a five-passenger SUV that can take you almost anywhere. The standard AWD and multi-terrain mode will take the 2019–2022 Subaru Forester Premium over mud, snow, gravel, and dirt. There's an impressive 76.1 cu-ft of cargo space behind the second-row seats, plenty for everyone's gear. Saddle brown leather and a fantastic Harmon Kardon® audio system add luxurious touches to the 2019–2022 Subaru Forester Touring.

Standard features that you'll find on every 2019–2020 Subaru Forester include:

  • A 6.5-inch touchscreen system with Bluetooth integration

  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity

  • Automatic climate control

Find out more from our Subaru Forester research page.

3. Subaru Outback

Subaru Outback
  • Plenty of space in the interior cabin

  • A powerful turbocharged optional engine

  • Useful roof racks are an easy loading height

  • Cramped center storage area

  • Rough ride from the sport-tuned XT trim

  • Climate controls have small buttons that can be hard to use

A wagon with a taste for adventure, the 2017–2020 Subaru Outback has the space for your crew, the tech you want, and the legendary Subaru Symmetrical AWD system (standard on all trims). The 2017–2020 Subaru Outback Touring adds leather seating, LED accent lights, and a panoramic sunroof. The optional 3.5L V6 engine for 2017–2019 was replaced by a turbocharged 2.4L four-cylinder engine in 2020.

A base-model 2017–2020 Subaru Outback includes:

  • Subaru EyeSight driver-assist technology

  • A seven-inch touchscreen with smartphone connectivity

  • Automatic climate control

You can find out more from our Subaru Outback research page.

2. Honda CR-V

Honda CR-V
  • Lots of interior cabin space

  • AWD is standard on any trim

  • Quiet and comfortable ride

  • The infotainment system could use an update

  • Muted driving dynamics

  • Real-world driving doesn't match up to the EPA-estimated fuel economy

Proving a compact SUV can still be stylish and functional, the 2017–2020 Honda CR-V is an excellent choice for small families. One step up from the base model, a 2017–2020 Honda CR-V EX is packed with features like smartphone connectivity, a suite of driver assists, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, and power-adjustable driver seats.

Starting the 2017–2020 Honda CR-V lineup out is the L trim, which includes:

  • A seven-inch infotainment system and Bluetooth integration

  • A multi-angle rearview camera

  • 17-inch alloy wheels

Learn more when you check out our Honda CR-V research page.

1. Nissan Rogue

Nissan Rogue
  • Excellent cargo volume

  • Easy to navigate urban life thanks to a small footprint

  • Available driving aids and technology

  • There could be more engine power, and it's noisy during acceleration

  • The ride quality is poor when equipped with the 19-inch alloys

  • Front-seat comfort doesn't stand up to long trips

The 2017–2020 Nissan Rogue is your AWD-capable choice for city life, ready to take on the urban jungle. You can get most of the in-demand features across three different trims, and a hybrid is available to get the most from a tank of gas. The 2017–2020 Nissan Rogue SV includes creature comforts like heated seats, a kick-activated power tailgate, and more.

Some of the equipment included on the base-model 2017–2020 Nissan Rogue has:

  • Automatic headlights

  • A seven-inch infotainment system with smartphone connectivity

  • Two USB charge ports

Get more information from our Nissan Rogue research page.

If you're looking for a car that can do it all, consider something with AWD. Not only do you get all-weather confidence, but you also won't think twice about heading to the back of that muddy parking lot.

If you want to learn more, check out some of these additional resources:

* Price excludes taxes, title, registration, and fees. Applicable transfer fees are due in advance of vehicle delivery and are separate from sales transactions.

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.