Best AWD Cars: Pros & Cons, Photos, and More
PUBLISHED FRIDAY, JUNE 24, 2022
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.
10. 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
Five-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth® integration
Find out more on our Honda Pilot research page.
9. 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
Check out more by visiting our Subaru Crosstrek research page.
8. Subaru Impreza
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
Learn more from our Subaru Impreza research page.
7. Toyota Highlander
Passengers will enjoy a quiet, comfortable ride
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
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).
Standard equipment on the 2017–2020 Ford Escape includes:
A six-speaker sound system
Steering wheel-mounted cruise and audio controls
Check out more at our Ford Escape research page.
5. Toyota RAV4
Plenty of space for passengers and cargo
A quiet, comfortable interior
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.
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
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
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
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
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:
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: