There are two main schools of thinking on the use of all-wheel drive on a compact car. All-wheel drive is standard on most of the cars on this list, giving them a sportier or more luxurious appearance. However, some manufacturers provide all-wheel drive as a feature on their less impressive models simply because they have a reliable system on hand.
Whether or not it’s intended, consumers will pay slightly more attention to a vehicle that offers all-wheel drive due to the additional utility it provides. In this article, we will discuss AWD, the best compact cars with AWD, and the cheapest compact cars with AWD.
What Is AWD?
Most all-wheel-drive (AWD) systems allow your car to select whether to drive all four wheels on its own. They can balance the demands for traction and fuel efficiency without the driver needing to pay attention to what the car is doing.
How it works?
All-wheel drive is available on a sizable number of automobiles and SUVs. Your vehicle’s front and rear wheels are connected by all-wheel drive, but most AWD cars and SUVs allow you to adjust the amount of power going to either the front or rear wheels or even completely detach power from one set of wheels. Its name is “part-time all-wheel drive,” and it is the most typical kind of AWD.
The front wheels of most popular small and medium SUVs, including the Honda CR-V and Toyota Highlander, get the majority of the power. When they have all-wheel drive (AWD), sensors detect whether the front wheels are sliding, and the AWD kicks in to make up for it. You only need to drive; the vehicle will do the rest. This makes driving simpler for the driver and improves the car’s efficiency.
Note that the amount of assistance part-time AWD systems like this can provide in severe situations is constrained because they still send the majority of their power to the front wheels.
10 Best Compact Cars With AWD
Your options for an all-wheel-drive compact car are now more varied than ever. With some of the most well-known automobiles on the market benefiting from an extra pair of drive wheels, many automakers are making this traction-enhancing equipment optional or even standard on a wide range of models. What are the finest compact cars with AWD? We gathered the best 10 for you in this article.
Related: 16 Best Sports AWD Cars For 2023
#1 Alfa Romeo Giulia 2023
The Giulia is a five-seater, four-door sedan with a 2.9L TWIN TURBO V6 engine producing 5050 hp at 6500 rpm and 600 Nm of torque at 2500 rpm, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
In a combined city/highway cycle, Alfa Romeo estimates the Giulia QUADRIFOGLIO consumes 8.2 liters of Premium Unleaded Petrol and emits 189 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer driven. It can drive 707 kilometers on a single tank of gas because of its 58-liter capacity.
#2 Acura TLX 2023
The performance, technology, and design of the 2023 TLX are cutting-edge. The TLX’s thrilling 272 HP108 VTEC Turbo engine is worthy of the high-end fittings and attractive, contoured body.
Experience the most potent Acura sedan ever with the Type S’s level of performance. Power and excitement are amplified to new heights by the 3.0L Turbo V6 producing 355- HP126, the rear-biased Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), and the exclusive Sport+ mode.
#3 Lexus IS 2023
The IS 300 is the entry-level model in the lineup; it has rear-wheel drive and is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four producing 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque; the gearbox is an eight-speed automated with paddle shifters.
The identically called IS 300 AWD ditches the four-cylinder in favor of a 3.5-liter V6 good for 260 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque mated to a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. The 3.5-liter V6 in the F Sport Design and F Sport models produces 311 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque; the RWD model employs an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters, while the AWD model reverts to a six-speed automatic.
#4 Volvo S60 2023
The S60 is a five-seater, four-door, all-wheel drive vehicle that is powered by a 2.0L TURBO 4 engine with 245 hp of power at 5400 rpm and 350 Nm of torque at 1800 rpm through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The S60 ultimate B5 bright mhev, according to Edmunds, emits 5.4 tons of CO2 and uses 7.2L/100km of Premium Unleaded Petrol in combined city and highway driving. Given that it has a 60L gasoline tank, a full tank should allow for an 833km journey.
#5 BMW i4 2023
The BMW i4 2023 has you covered. It’s an all-electric BMW vehicle with impressive power and features. In fact, you’ll receive fantastic performance from even the base model 2023 BMW i4 eDrive35.
A whopping 282 horsepower. 0-60 mph with 295 lb-ft of torque. Countdown: 5.8 seconds with an electronically capped top speed of 118 mph and a total range of 235-256 miles.
#6 Genesis G70 2023
Two gasoline turbocharged engines from Genesis are available for the G70. RWD is the default, while AWD is an option in base models with a 2.0-liter turbo I-4 engine with 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Eight-speed automatic transmissions are standard on all G70 models.
The four-cylinder G70 can reach 60 miles per hour in 6.2 seconds. Depending on whether you choose RWD or AWD, the EPA fuel economy ratings are 20–21/28–31 mpg city/highway.
#7 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2023
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan provides the refined, dynamic, and ideal-for-daily-use premium driving experience you seek. The 2023 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan will take your breath away with its 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine, 48-volt mild hybrid system, and nine-speed automated transmission.
The maximum output is 255 hp, and the maximum torque is 295 lb-ft; combined fuel economy is 25/35 mpg. The 4MATIC all-wheel drive (AWD) package is a good option for the winter since it provides superior traction and stability on slick roads. The 2023 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan accelerates from 0-60 mph in an impressively quick six seconds.
#8 Cadillac CT5 2023
The CT5 typically comes with rear-wheel drive, although all-wheel drive is an option. Besides the Blackwing, all other models can only be had with the standard transmission, a 10-speed automatic. Standard on every CT5 is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four that generates 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.
The vehicle can reach 60 mph in between 7.1 and 7.3 seconds, and its fuel economy ranges from 22 to 23 mpg in the city and 30 to 33 mpg on the highway, depending on the model level.
The CT5-V comes standard with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6, while the Premium Luxury level has an optional 3.6-liter V-8. The Premium Luxury and the CT5-V have access to its 335 hp and 360 hp, respectively, and its 405 lb-ft of torque.
#9 Polestar 2 2023
The base Polestar 2 has a single front motor with 231 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque. It is fed by a 78-kilowatt-hour battery, standard on all Polestar 2s, and drives the front wheels. The EPA estimates a combined efficiency rating of 31 kWh/100 miles (or 107 mpg-e) and a range of 270 miles. According to Polestar, it can reach 60 mph in 7 seconds and can go up to 100 mph.
The next level up is the dual-motor variant, which features two motors—one in front and one in the rear—to generate a total of 408 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque. Its range and efficiency are diminished, but only a little.
Efficiency lowers to 34 kWh/100 miles, or 100 mpg-e, while range decreases to 260 miles. Polestar claims a 0–60 time of 4.5 seconds and a new maximum speed of 127 mph. The two-motor vehicle can also receive a software upgrade. The result is a boost in output to 469 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque.
#10 Tesla Model 3 2023
The Tesla Model 3 can produce as much as 513 horsepower and as much as 486.7257 lb-ft of torque, depending on the configuration. The quickest variant can reach a high speed of 261 km/h and can sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.3 seconds.
10 Cheapest Compact Cars With AWD
For those looking for an economical all-wheel-drive vehicle in 2023, here are the best 10 options. You’d be shocked to learn that some of these cars begin at under $20,000. If you’re traveling in conditions where you have very little traction, these vehicles can save the day.
#1 Subaru Legacy 2023- $24,395
The 2023 Subaru Legacy is the company’s top-tier sedan, and like other current Subaru models, it features all-wheel drive as standard equipment. Features like a collapsible steering column, keyless entry, and braking assist are among the many that come standard. The back seats are also split 60/40. Subaru Legacy prices for the year 2023 begin at $24,395.
#2 Toyota Corolla Hybrid 2023- $24,200
The base price of a 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid with a front-wheel-drive (FWD) powertrain is about $22,800, making it one of the most affordable Hybrid automobiles now available in the United States. However, Toyota also provides an all-wheel-drive (AWD) version of the same vehicle, and the base 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid AWD has a starting price of $24,200, which is about $2,000 more than the FWD type.
The LE variant of the 2023 Corolla Hybrid AWD comes standard with amenities like LED headlights, four USB Type-C connections, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, etc.
#3 Dodge Charger SXT 2023- $37,830
The starting price for the rear-wheel drive variant is $32,645, while the all-wheel drive version’s is $37,830. The 300 horsepower and 264 lb-ft of torque come from the Charger SXT’s V6 engine, which is housed in its 3.6-liter displacement. The Charger SXT AWD’s increased power is well worth the additional cost above the RWD model’s 292 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque.
#4 Dodge Challenger SXT 2023- $31,100
Due to Dodge’s eventual retirement of the Challenger, the year 2023 will be the last in which you can get one with AWD and a powerful V6 for a starting price of $31,100. The base SXT retains the Challenger’s classic appeal and is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that generates 303 hp and 268 lb-ft of torque.
#5 Nissan Altima SV 2023- $27,790
The 2023 Nissan Altima’s revised front fascia makes it appear more powerful and assertive. The clever all-wheel-drive system constantly analyzes road conditions and makes instantaneous adjustments, so the family sedan delivers a confident driving experience no matter the time of year.
The Altima’s four-cylinder engines provide the excitement of a Nissan Z. The Altima SV’s 2.5-liter CVT automatic engine generates 188 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. The base price of the Altima SV with AWD is $27,790, and it’s a nice car for getting around town.
#6 Toyota Camry 2023- $26,320
There are currently eight generations of Camrys, with the newest being the 2023 model. The Camry LE starts at $26,320 and may be equipped with an all-wheel drive system. You may rest easy in this model even when regularly navigating less-than-ideal roadways.
The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine in the Camry LE AWD generates 202 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. Despite its underwhelming acceleration, the eight-speed automatic transmission handles and shifts gears easily.
#7 Mazda3 2023- $23,550
The Mazda3 has been carefully sculpted to entice you, and its wide variety of engine options will satisfy your need for speed. Priced at $23,550, the base model of the Carbon Edition AWD is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that generates 191 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque.
A six-speed automatic transmission works in tandem with the four-cylinder engine. The all-wheel drive technology transfers power to the wheels that need it, ensuring reliable performance in every climate. The Mazda3 has comfortable handling and is thus suited for regular commutes.
#8 Subaru WRX 2023- $31,625
The base price of a 2023 Subaru WRX with a six-speed manual gearbox is $31,625. The 2023 Subaru WRX is a lively and interesting car powered by a 2.4-liter flat four-cylinder engine producing 271 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Active Torque Vectoring and Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive are standard on every WRX trim level.
While it may not be the fastest car in its class, the WRX is nonetheless quite fast, reaching 60 mph in under 6.0 seconds. The WRX really comes to life when hurdling around sharp turns. The WRX delivers a satisfying ride because of its all-wheel-drive torque, quick steering, and well-balanced suspension.
#9 Subaru Impreza 2023- $19,795
When it comes to affordable all-wheel-drive vehicles in 2023, the Subaru Impreza is your best bet. Its all-wheel-drive system is perfectly balanced, making it a joy to drive in the snow. The standard Impreza sedan is powered by an economical 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque.
#10 Kia K5 2023- $25,290
The base price of a 2023 K5 is $25,290, and it comes standard with numerous high-tech and driver-aid features. In the middle of the lineup, the GT-Line and EX trims add luxuries like synthetic leather upholstery and navigation to the base model for $26,690 and $29,190, respectively.
The top-tier GT variant starts at $31,690 and adds a sport-tuned suspension, front sport seats, and unique interior and external aesthetics in addition to its improved turbo-four engine and unique features.
Is all-wheel drive more expensive than rear-wheel drive?
Costs associated with all-wheel-drive (AWD) vehicles are more than those of front- or rear-wheel-drive (FWD or RWD) automobiles due to worse fuel economy and more frequent repairs.
Is All-Wheel-Drive absolutely necessary?
In some cases, yes. Yes, you should acquire an all-wheel-drive car if you live in an area with a lot of snow, mud, or other precipitation.
Which is safer, FWD or AWD?
For your own safety and peace of mind, consider purchasing an all-wheel-drive car if you regularly drive in wet conditions or if you spend any time at all living in an area with icy roads.