All-Wheel Drive Not Just for SUVs, Trucks

Automakers have increasingly offered more all-wheel-drive passenger cars in the past few years. Before, you had few options outside of trucks and SUVs if you wanted all-wheel drive, but now we're seeing four-wheel power in lots of cars that cost less than $40,000. Even if you don't want to spend more than $30,000, cars like the Suzuki SX4, Subaru Impreza, Ford Fusion and Chrysler Sebring, plus several more, will still give you all-wheel drive.

J.D. Power and Associates analyst Tom Libby said the rising popularity of all-wheel-drive passenger cars can be attributed to automakers trying to take advantage of the image of all-wheel-drive safety in cars. As long as consumers are interested in safety, all-wheel-drive passenger cars should continue to be popular, Libby said.

$40,000 or Less
Listed below are all-wheel-drive cars priced below $40,000. When we compared an all-wheel-drive model to its two-wheel-drive counterpart, we compared the same, lowest trim level to come up with the difference in price, calculated by's Compare tool. In many cases, a higher trim level may also offer all-wheel drive.
Year/make/modelMSRP of lowest-priced AWD versionPrice increase for AWD model vs. 2WD version
2008 Suzuki SX4 Crossover$15,270N/A
2008 Subaru Impreza$16,995N/A
2008 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport$19,995N/A
2008 Subaru Legacy$20,495$2,100
2008 Dodge Caliber R/T$20,495$2,100
2008 Subaru Outback$21,995N/A
2008 Ford Fusion SE$23,295$1,850
2008 Mercury Milan V-6$23,825$1,850
2008 Ford Taurus SEL$25,095$1,850
2008 Dodge Avenger R/T$25,270$2,000*
2008 Mercury Sable$25,390$1,850
2008 Chrysler Sebring Limited$27,515$4,000
2008 Dodge Charger SXT$28,035$2,350
2008 Dodge Magnum SXT$29,855$2,630
2008 Volvo S40 T5$30,365$1,850
2008 Audi A4 Quattro 2.0T sedan$31,000$2,100
2008 Chrysler 300 Touring$31,445$2,855
2008 Volvo V50 T5$31,565 $1,850
2008 Lincoln MKZ$32,425$1,870
2008 Volvo S60 2.5T$32,735$1,850
2008 Volkswagen R32$32,990N/A
2008 Lexus IS 250$34,085$3,630
2007 Infiniti G35x$34,100$2,050**
2008 BMW 328xi sedan$34,300$1,900
2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sport$34,440$3,240
2008 Audi A3 Quattro 3.2$34,915N/A
2008 Jaguar X-Type$35,060N/A
2008 Cadillac CTS$35,445$3,200
2008 Volvo XC70$36,775N/A
2008 Chrysler 300C$37,495$2,100
2008 Volkswagen Passat VR6 sedan$37,940$1,950
2008 Audi A5$39,900N/A

*Compared to comparable R/T trim level.
**Compared to comparable Journey trim level.

Note: These prices aren't a reflection of how much AWD components cost, but of how much extra you have to pay to get an AWD system on each car. AWD is almost always on higher trim levels, and you may be getting other packages and options at the same time. For example, models that offer AWD on multiple trim levels — like Sport or Luxury — may have a different premium for the AWD version on each trim level.

Posted on 12/5/07