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These vehicles are built to take on all kinds of terrain, both paved and unpaved.

Top 10 AWD and 4WD Cars of 2016 | CarMax
Searching for used 4WD and AWD vehicles for better traction and acceleration on icy highways, rocky roads, and winding paths? Not sure whether 4WD or AWD is best for you?

All-wheel drive is available for sedan fans, wagon lovers, or trunk junkies. This system automatically pushes power to each of your vehicles' four wheels, as they need it, for traction and stability on- or off-road.

Four-wheel drive excels at towing loads on wet, slippery surfaces, such as snowy streets, gravel-packed lots, or boat ramps, and is commonly found in vehicles more often associated with off-road use. Drivers can choose when to engage 4WD.

Read on to see which of our most popularly searched used cars, trucks, and SUVs can help you navigate tricky road conditions.
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Lexus RX 350

Research or Buy a Used Lexus RX 350 | CarMax

Flashy, spacious, and gracious, the Lexus RX 350 is a refined, luxury crossover that packs a capable all-wheel drive option. The RX 350 was first offered in 2007 as a five-passenger luxury vehicle that combines convenience and comfort, and it might be the ideal vehicle to show off refined manners while in the big city (Powered liftgate! Heated and cooled front seats!) and a fair amount of off-road ability outside of town. If you’re solidly a suburban driver, commuter, or infrequent vacationer who sticks to paved roads, you’ll be able to get good fuel efficiency in an RX 350—up to 24 mpg. If you can live without tow capabilities and a rugged exterior, the Lexus RX 350 is a solid choice. 

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Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Research or Buy a Used Chevrolet Silverado | CarMax

A medium-sized pickup truck and the third pickup on this list, the Silverado 1500 is packed with amenities and multitasking features in addition to its driver-engageable four-wheel drive system. Features like a strong 4.3-liter V6 engine that returns up to 22 mpg on the highway gives drivers the ability to haul nearly 2,000 pounds of payload. In newer models, drivers can opt for a V8 engine that lets them tow a whopping 11,800 pounds. With a four-door, four-wheel drive truck like Chevy’s Silverado 1500, you, your family, and all of your gear will be well prepared for tackling just about any terrain.

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Ford Explorer

Research or Buy a Used Ford Explorer | CarMax

An American classic, the Ford Explorer is a very popular midsize SUV that’s packed with options that include four-wheel drive (with the 2L, four-cylinder engine package) and all-wheel drive (the 2.3L engine package). And because it’s also available with a third-row seating option, the Explorer is still one of the most practical SUVs for carrying more than five passengers (it seats seven). With a luxurious interior, a quiet and smooth ride, and a towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds, the Explorer couples the power of a truck with the body and driving style of an SUV.

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Mercedes-Benz C300

Research or Buy a Used Mercedes-Benz C300 | CarMax

When you’re considering all-wheel drive city and country cruisers, you’re probably going to come across the Mercedes-Benz C300. This is a good-looking four-door sedan that handles well, and is both quick and luxurious. Its refined behavior extends to its fuel efficiency; when equipped with a 3.5L, six-cylinder engine, the c300 gets a respectable 28 mpg on the highway—not bad for a solidly built, nearly two-ton vehicle. With parking sensors and a rear-view camera to help keep an eye on the terrain around you, you’ll be looking good in the c300 while you and your family tackle any road conditions.

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Jeep Grand Cherokee

Research or Buy a Used Jeep Grand Cherokee | CarMax

The Grand Cherokee is a very capable, family-hauling, trailer or boat-towing SUV that comes equipped with a handful of features that make it a go-to choice for tackling rugged terrain. It’s got a solid off-road pedigree—it’s a Jeep!— and it packs plenty of power up front and a third row of seats in back. It seats five passengers and offers either a 3.6L V6 engine or a V8 engine that churns out 360 horsepower. An eight-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shifting mode allows for more off-road control. The Grand Cherokee also boasts an 8.4-inch touch-screen monitor which controls the vehicle’s widely-praised Uconnect® media system. This screen provides its driver with a complete display of vehicle diagnostics, and it works in tandem with a rear-facing camera on some models.

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Honda CR-V

Research or Buy a Used Honda CR-V | CarMax

Another bestselling compact SUV, the CR-V is Honda’s all-wheel-drive contribution to the crossover world. Packing plenty of sedan and SUV amenities in one vehicle, the CR-V’s upright build lets its passengers sit high, with commanding views of the road. It’s an excellent choice as a family vehicle for in-city transportation, off-road adventures, and—of course—wet, dry, cold, and rocky environments. The CR-V delivers solid fuel efficiency, earning up to 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. What's more, the CR-V also comes with an "economy" drive mode, which, once engaged, offers a more fuel-efficient driving style compared to conventional driving. 

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Dodge Ram 1500

Research or Buy a Used Dodge Ram 1500 | CarMax

Looking for a four-wheel drive that’s also a diesel? Sometimes, the strong tugging power that only a diesel engine can provide is best for getting you and a lot of your gear where you need to go. Newer Dodge Ram 1500s offer four-wheel and all-wheel drive options along with powerful 3.0L diesel engines that create 420 ft-lbs of heavy-pulling torque. When you’re seeking power and engine variability—and the kind of adventure that’s best tackled in a pickup truck—the Dodge Ram 1500 is an excellent choice. Other features in newer Ram editions include Dodge’s own ParkView® rear backup camera, and both the crew and quad cab models offer an 8.4-inch touchscreen display and integrated audio controls. If you’re set on buying a used four-wheel drive, check out the Dodge Ram 1500.

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Ford F-150

Research or Buy a Used Ford F-150 | CarMax

It’s one of CarMax customers’ perennial favorites, and its four-wheel drive capabilities are tough to compete against. The F150, Ford’s flagship pickup truck, is a solid choice in any model or edition, and it’s been the best-selling pickup in America for more than 30 years. Most used F150s offered by CarMax are powered by a V8 or 3.7 V6 engine. A six-speed automatic gearbox transfers power to any of the wheels, as needed. The F150 comes in two- and four-door models, and drivers who haul lots of stuff will be comforted by the truck’s numbers here: around five tons of towing capacity and about a ton of payload in the full-sized bed (two-door models). 

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Jeep Wrangler

Research or Buy a Used Jeep Wrangler | CarMax

If you’re looking for an everyday vehicle that can handle just about any road conditions that rise to meet it, the Jeep Wrangler is your friend. The Wrangler tops other best-in-class optioned vehicles when off-roading is part of the mix. Packing a 3.6L V6, a five-speed automatic, and real, driver-engaged four-wheel drive, the Jeep Wrangler remains a legendary option for smooth transitions between pavement and rough terrain. Sure, you might experience a little rocking, jiggling, and bouncing, but Jeeps are off-road warriors, and if you’re in the market for one, you know a little bouncing comes with the territory. The Wrangler’s Rubicon version is its top model for off-roading, and the four-door Wrangler Unlimited scores well in mixed driving. Rugged and powerful, the Jeep Wrangler is a solid choice—and it’s a great value for all the vehicle you get.

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Nissan Rogue

Research or Buy a Used Nissan Rogue | CarMax

The Nissan Rogue is one of our customers’ favorite easy-to-drive SUVs. With prompt steering response and decidedly non-truck-like handling, newer Nissan Rogue models are capable of outperforming other competitors in their class. This is partly because the Rogue comes with a 2.5L four-cylinder engine that returns a very efficient 22 mpg in the city and up to 27 mpg on the highway. That means more adventuring for every dollar you spend at the pump! There’s also a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which helps transmit power smoothly to the ground—whether it’s paved or unpaved. Previous versions of the Rogue featured four-wheel drive; the 2017 model, however, ramps up control with an intuitive, always-engaged all-wheel drive option. With optional third-row seats, the Rogue is a weekend cruiser that’s built to transport whole families and carefully designed to overcome all kinds of obstacles. 

 


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Conclusion

As you can see, options abound for luxury-lovers and road warriors alike. If you’re determined to secure a four-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle, don’t stop your research here; make use of all the resources you can, and then make your choice based upon your available budget and how you plan to use this vehicle. Some other vehicles not on this list but also capable as on-and-off-road vehicles include bigger SUVs like the Toyota 4Runner and all-wheel drive wagons like the Subaru Forester and the Audi Allroad.