Conquer the road in these capable SUVs.

Best AWD SUVs | CarMax

If you crave the adventure of off-roading on the weekends—and need ample room to haul your crew around town during the week—an SUV can get the job done. This list of the 10 best AWD and 4WD SUVs for 2020 shoppers, based on CarMax sales data from September 1, 2019 through February 29, 2020, can help you find the right ride for your lifestyle. Please note that not all model years and trims of the vehicles listed offer AWD and 4WD.

  1. Ford Escape
  2. Audi Q5
  3. Jeep Compass
  4. Toyota Highlander
  5. Toyota RAV4
  6. Ford Explorer
  7. Honda CR-V
  8. Jeep Wrangler
  9. Jeep Grand Cherokee
  10. Nissan Rogue


Ford Escape

Best AWD and 4WD SUVs for 2020 Shoppers: Ford Escape | CarMax

This compact crossover SUV is ideal for urban as well as rural drivers. The Ford Escape offers ample room for luggage, gardening supplies, and up to five passengers across two rows of seating, for all model years. You'll find three trim packages available (S, SE, and Titanium) for 2017-2019 models. When it comes to drivetrains, 2WD is standard on the S and SE trims, with an option to upgrade to 4WD on both. 4WD comes standard on the Titanium trim. Two turbocharged EcoBoost® engines were introduced in 2017, and a turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder became standard on SE and Titanium models (with optional twin-scroll EcoBoost). The Ford Escape SEL trim is available for 2018 and 2019 models, with features including:

  • Heated side mirrors
  • Leather seating
  • LED lighting
  • Power liftgate
  • Reverse sensing system
  • SYNC® 3 infotainment system


Audi Q5

Best AWD and 4WD SUVs for 2020 Shoppers: Audi Q5 | CarMax

When you want to arrive in style, the AWD Audi Q5 is a head-turner. This SUV was refreshed in 2018 for its second generation, with three trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. All 2018 and 2019 trims feature leather seats, and Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ connectivity. 2018-2019 models also offer two engine options, including the standard 252-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder with an EPA-estimated 24 mpg combined fuel economy.1 The SQ5 model features a 354-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6. On 2018-2019 Audi Q5 Premium Plus models, you'll enjoy:

  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Hill-control descent
  • Leather seats
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Signal booster and wireless charger for mobile devices


Jeep Compass

Best AWD and 4WD SUVs for 2020 Shoppers: Jeep Compass | CarMax

The compact crossover Jeep Compass is designed to go from paved highways to gravel roads with ease. The 2018 Compass with a 2.4L engine has an estimated 2,000 lbs. towing capacity when properly equipped—ideal for hauling a trailer with a recreational vehicle or lawn mower on board.2 You'll find four trim packages available for 2017-2019 Jeep Compass models: Sport, Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk. The Sport features 2WD; the Latitude offers a choice between front-wheel drive and AWD; the Limited has AWD; and the Trailhawk features 4WD. The 2019 Jeep Compass Sport comes loaded with:

  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Push-button start
  • Rearview camera
  • Seven-inch touchscreen display
  • Six-speaker audio system


Toyota Highlander

Best AWD and 4WD SUVs for 2020 Shoppers: Toyota Highlander | CarMax

Need plenty of passenger space? The midsize Toyota Highlander offers three rows of seating for up to eight people, so your whole crew can ride along. Now in its third generation, the 2017-2019 Highlander boasts eight trims. Gas-version trims include LE, LE Plus, XLE, SE, and Limited; hybrid trims include LE, XLE, and Limited. If you're looking for an off-road vehicle, check out the 2017-2019 SE with its sport suspension. The Toyota Highlander comes in both AWD and 4WD options. On 2017 models, a 295-horsepower 3.5L V6 engine comes standard on all trims above the base level. Standard features of the 2017 Toyota Highlander LE include:

  • Daytime running lights
  • Rearview camera
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • 185-horsepower 2.7L four-cylinder engine
  • 6.1-inch touchscreen display


Toyota RAV4

Best AWD and 4WD SUVs for 2020 Shoppers: Toyota RAV4 | CarMax

If you're seeking easy handling, the compact Toyota RAV4 is designed to deliver. 2017 and 2018 models offer six trim configurations. The 2019 model offers five trims, including the new-for-2019 XLE Premium with a leather-trimmed steering wheel, power liftgate, and eight-way adjustable driver seat. The Toyota RAV4 comes standard as a 2WD vehicle, with the option to upgrade to an AWD system at any trim level. Tech lovers will love the Limited edition of the RAV4, which features:

  • Built-in navigation system (2017-2019)
  • Digital rearview mirror (2019)
  • Eight-inch touchscreen display (2019)
  • Heated front seats (2017-2019)
  • Push-button start (2017-2018)

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Ford Explorer

Best AWD and 4WD SUVs for 2020 Shoppers: Ford Explorer | CarMax

This midsize SUV features three rows of seating for up to six people, ample cargo space thanks to foldable rear seating (81.7 cubic feet with both back rows folded on 2017-2019 models), and cozy bucket-style seats throughout the cabin. The Sport trim from 2017 onward offers 4WD, a class III trailer tow package, a 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine, and a sport-tuned suspension for your weekend adventures. The base model of the 2019 Ford Explorer comes well-equipped with:

  • Bluetooth® connectivity
  • Eight-way adjustable power driver seat
  • Rearview camera
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • Voice-activated communication system
  • 4.2-inch color LCD display


Honda CR-V

Best AWD and 4WD SUVs for 2020 Shoppers: Honda CR-V | CarMax

This compact crossover is designed to drive and park as easily as a sedan, while offering passenger seating for up to five. All 2017 and newer Honda CR-V models are built on the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ body structure, which is designed to give the vehicle a smooth ride with precision handling. 2017-2019 models feature a 184-horsepower 2.4L four-cylinder engine on the LX base trim, and a 190-horsepower 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine on the EX, EX-L, EX-L Navi, and Touring trims. The 2017-2019 Honda CR-V EX includes the following features:

  • Backup camera
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Heated front seats
  • Power moonroof
  • Push-button start
  • Seven-inch infotainment screen


Jeep Wrangler

Best AWD and 4WD SUVs for 2020 Shoppers: Jeep Wrangler | CarMax

This 4WD vehicle is designed to climb rocks on a trail or navigate busy freeways in style, with optional removable soft and hardtop options. All Jeep Wranglers are 4WD, with the 4x4 systems varying among the trim options. For example, the Rock-Trac®, available on the Rubicon trim (2003-present), is designed to help you inch up steep inclines and traverse varying terrain. The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport trim offers:

  • Dana 44™ axles
  • Easy-to-fold windshield
  • Soft-close doors
  • Turbocharged 2.0L engine
  • Two- and four-door options


Jeep Grand Cherokee

Best AWD and 4WD SUVs for 2020 Shoppers: Jeep Grand Cherokee | CarMax

Sleek exterior styling gives the Jeep Grand Cherokee a city-suburban feel. You can go from business trips to camping weekends with ease in this large SUV. The 2017 Grand Cherokee features six trim levels, with 4WD standard or optional for each. The base engine is the 290-horsepower 3.6L V6 on most trim levels. In 2018, Jeep added the Trackhawk trim—an AWD SUV with a supercharged 707-horsepower 6.2L V8. On the 2018-2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, you'll find:

  • Driveline traction control
  • Dual-zone automatic air conditioning
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Heated mirrors
  • Remote keyless entry


Nissan Rogue

Best AWD SUVs: Nissan Rogue | CarMax

The roomy Nissan Rogue is ready for your whole crew, as well as all their gear. This subcompact SUV can seat up to seven passengers with the optional third-row seating (2017 models), ample cargo area, and innovative tech features. The Nissan Rogue is available as an AWD or FWD vehicle. For 2017-2019 models, the Rogue offers three trims: S, SV, and SL. The base trim of 2018-2019 models comes loaded with:

  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability
  • Four-speaker audio system
  • Rearview monitor
  • Seven-inch touchscreen display

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SUVs excel at people-hauling. Embrace adventure—with plenty of passenger and cargo room—with one of these AWD or 4WD SUVs.

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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.
2Various factors may impact towing capacity, including weight of passengers, cargo, and options/accessories.
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.