AWD on a Budget
When weather conditions turn gloomy with heavy rain, snow or ice, all-wheel drive vehicles offer a distinct safety advantage, especially when paired with tires designed for foul weather conditions. When in its infancy, four-wheel drive was only available in trucks or large SUVs; now many of today’s smaller, more economical vehicles offer AWD as an option. Let’s take a look at all-wheel-drive vehicles priced under $25,000 in descending order by MSRP. The prices shown are the starting price for the model when equipped with all-wheel drive.
2020 Hyundai Tucson
Starting MSRP with AWD: $24,750
The compact Hyundai Tucson is updated for 2019, and all trim levels are offered with all-wheel drive for $1,400 over the front-drive version, starting with the Tucson SE with AWD at $24,750. The updated Tucson includes a Hyundai cascading grille similar to the new Santa Fe, a new headlight design with LED daytime running lights, a new rear fascia, redesigned taillights and new wheels. Two new engines are added: a 161-horsepower 2.0-liter for Tucson SE and Value trim levels, and a 181-horsepower 2.4-liter for upper trim levels — both combined with 6-speed automatic transmissions with an electronic shift lock system and SHIFTRONIC manual shift mode. Interior updates for 2019 include a new center stack, instrument cluster, leather seat design, vent design and rearview mirror design.
2020 Subaru Forester
Starting MSRP with AWD: $24,495
The fifth-generation 2019 Subaru Forester went on sale last fall — the roomiest version ever offered with a 1.2-inch-longer wheelbase, more rear-seat legroom and more rear cargo capacity. The new Forester also has improved crash protection, comfort, quietness and driving dynamics. EyeSight driver-assist technology is standard, and Forester Touring debuts DriverFocus safety technology that can alert the driver of fatigue or distraction, and also will automatically adjust many driver settings at startup. All-wheel drive is standard, and the new Forester is powered by an updated direct-injection 2.5-liter Boxer engine that produces 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque; it has an EPA rating of 29 mpg combined.
2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
Starting MSRP with AWD: $24,445
A new compact crossover in the Mitsubishi family, the Eclipse Cross joined the lineup as a 2018 model. With the return of the Eclipse name, which was previously a sport coupe, the Eclipse Cross combines coupe styling with crossover utility. Powered by a 1.5-liter direct-injection turbocharged engine that produces 152 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, the Eclipse Cross is available with Super All-Wheel Control that integrates the vehicle dynamics control systems (including stability control, anti-lock brakes and active yaw control) with the all-wheel-drive system to control torque supplied to each of the four wheels.
2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
Starting MSRP with AWD: $24,395
The Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is offered in three trim levels; all-wheel drive is only offered with the S 4Motion which starts at $24,395 when equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission, and jumps to $25,495 when the 6-speed DSG automatic transmission gets chosen. The Golf SportWagen S 4Motion is powered by a 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 168 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque. The latest generation 4Motion system can redistribute torque even before wheelslip occurs based on driving conditions, and utilizes a center differential controlled by an electro-hydraulic pump to vary the amount of torque delivered to the rear axle.
2020 Mazda Mazda3
Starting MSRP with AWD: $24,000
Redesigned for 2019, Mazda’s popular compact Mazda3 was gets offered with all-wheel drive for the first time. The new Mazda3 is available as a hatchback or sedan and adopts the latest evolution of the company’s KODO design philosophy, with the goal of giving the hatchback more emotional styling and the sedan a more elegant stance. Both sedan and hatchback are offered with Mazda’s predictive i-Active all-wheel drive starting with the Mazda3 Sedan with Select Package at $24,000. The Mazda3 is powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque, combined with a 6-speed automatic transmission when all-wheel drive is selected.
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Starting MSRP with AWD: $23,995
Mitsubishi’s compact Outlander Sport receives styling updates for 2020 including a new grille, a new front bumper, an updated hood, reshaped fenders, new LED headlights and taillights, LED daytime running lights and new rear bumper. All trim levels are offered with all-wheel drive, starting with the Outlander Sport ES at $23,995, powered by a 2.0-liter engine producing 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque combined with either a 5-speed manual or a CVT. The Outlander Sport GT is powered by a 2.4-liter engine producing 168 horsepower and 167 lb-ft of torque.
2020 Jeep Renegade
Starting MSRP with AWD: $23,775
The smallest model in the Jeep lineup, the Renegade is offered in four trim levels: Sport, Latitude, Trailhawk and Limited. Jeep’s Active Drive full-time 4-wheel-drive system is optional on Sport, Latitude and Limited, and Jeep Active Drive Low full-time 4-wheel-drive system with a low range is standard for Trailhawk — the most capable Renegade with crawl mode, 8.7 inches of ground clearance, skidplates, up to 8.1 inches of wheel articulation and up to 19 inches of water-fording capability. The standard engine for Sport and Latitude is the 2.4-liter Tigershark, and a 1.3-liter MultiAir Turbo producing 177 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque is standard on Trailhawk and Limited, although optional for Sport and Latitude.
2019 Nissan Rogue Sport
Starting MSRP with AWD: $23,690
The compact crossover Rogue Sport joined the Nissan lineup as a 2018 model, based on the same platform as the Rogue but riding on a 2.3-inch shorter wheelbase; it is 12.1 inches shorter in overall length. Rogue Sport comes in three trim levels: S, SV and SL, and all-wheel drive is available with all trim levels powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 141 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque, combined with an Xtronic CVT. For 2019 Rogue Sport offers available ProPILOT Assist, Nissan Safety Shield 360 technology and an updated audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
2020 Jeep Compass
Starting MSRP with AWD: $23,595
The Jeep Compass was redesigned for 2017 and the new model looks a lot like a miniature Grand Cherokee. Built on FCA’s small-wide 4X4 architecture, Compass is offered in four trim levels: Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk. Compass is powered by a 2.4-liter Tigershark engine producing 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque, combined with a 9-speed manual transmission for 4X4 variants. Two full-time 4-wheel-drive systems are offered: Active Drive and Active Drive Low. For 2019 Jeep Compass Sport adds the Upland special edition with 17-inch Trailhawk wheels, front Trailhawk fascia, black tow hooks, a front-suspension skidplate and gloss black accents. Also new is the Compass Limited High Altitude Appearance Package, which includes 19-inch Satin Gloss Granite wheels, HID headlights with an LED signature, LED taillights and tungsten stitching.
2019 Chevrolet Trax
Starting MSRP with AWD: $22,800
Chevrolet’s compact SUV, Trax is offered in three trim levels: LS, LT and Premier, and all are available with all-wheel drive, starting with the Trax LS at $22,800. Trax received exterior styling updates for 2017 including a new dual-port grille, sleek halogen headlights, a new rear fascia, and new taillights with signature LED lighting for the LT and Premier trims. Trax is powered by a Ecotec 1.4-liter turbocharged engine making 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque, combined with a 6-speed automatic transmission. When equipped with AWD, Trax receives an EPA rating of 24 mpg city / 29 mpg highway / 26 mpg combined.
2020 Subaru Legacy
Starting MSRP with AWD: $22,745
Subaru’s midsize sedan is all-new for 2020 and offered exclusively with all-wheel drive. The new Legacy is built on Subaru’s new Global Platform and uses more high-strength steel and structural adhesive so the body is both stiffer and lighter than the previous model. Standard power comes from a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine producing 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque, combined with a Lineartronic CVT with paddle shifters and an 8-speed manual shift mode. The new optional engine adopted from the Forester is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder Boxer with twin-scroll turbocharger and an intercooler producing 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque, also combined with the Lineartronic CVT with manual mode. Standard Subaru Symmetrical AWD features active torque split with an electronically-managed variable hydraulic transfer clutch.
2019 Ford EcoSport
Starting MSRP with AWD: $22,685
The smallest SUV in the Ford lineup, EcoSport joined the lineup as a 2018 model below the popular compact Escape. EcoSport is offered with a choice of two EcoBoost engines: a 1.0-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder unit or a 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder. Both engines are combined with a 6-speed automatic transmission and Intelligent 4WD is standard with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost, which starts at $22,685. EcoSport is offered on four trim levels: S, SE, SES and Titanium. For 2019 Ford offers the EcoSport SES Appearance Package that includes a black painted roof and black hood decal when combined with Diamond White, Moondust Silver or Lightning Blue exterior paint.
2019 Honda HR-V
Starting MSRP with AWD: $22,020
The smallest vehicle in Honda’s crossover lineup, the HR-V was introduced as a 2016 model and receives exterior updates for 2019 including a new grille, headlights and taillights; revised bumpers; and two new trim levels. For 2019 the HR-V is offered in five trim levels and all are available with all-wheel drive, starting with the HR-V LX at $22,020 with AWD. The new HR-V Sport includes black trim and 18-inch wheels, while the HR-V Touring with standard all-wheel drive features multi-element LED headlights, dark chrome trim and LED fog lights. The HR-V offers a spacious interior and a configurable second-row seat. Power comes from a 138-horsepower engine teamed with a continuously variable transmission; HR-V earns an EPA rating of 29 mpg combined.
2019 Subaru Crosstrek
Starting MSRP with AWD: $21,895
The Crosstrek was redesigned for 2018, and like all Subaru models except the rear-wheel drive BRZ sport coupe, Crosstrek is offered exclusively with all-wheel drive. Based on the Subaru Impreza, the Crosstrek adds fender cladding and a higher ride height to be more like an SUV. The latest generation Crosstrek is longer and wider than the previous model, with new styling that features the familiar hexagonal grille, “hawk-eye” headlights and an impressive 8.7-inches of ground clearance. Built on an all-new global platform that significantly enhances body and chassis rigidity, the Crosstrek receives suspension improvements, a lower center of gravity and more responsive steering to improve driving dynamics. Crosstrek is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine producing 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque.
Starting MSRP with AWD: $21,790
Mazda’s smallest crossover, the CX-3 joined the lineup for 2016 alongside the compact CX-5 and midsize CX-9 and receives design updates for 2019 including a new grille; available Soul Red Crystal paint; black exterior accents for Touring and above; new 18-inch alloy wheel design for Touring and above; and chrome exterior accents and LED combination taillights for Grand Touring. Mazda CX-3 boasts a dynamic design, signature Mazda sporty driving characteristics and an available sophisticated i-ACTIV AWD system offered with all three trim levels: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. The CX-3 derives power from a SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter engine that produces 148 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque, combined with the SKYACTIV-DRIVE 6-speed automatic transmission.
2020 Hyundai Kona
Starting MSRP with AWD: $21,500
Hyundai’s sporty compact crossover was named the 2019 North American Utility of the Year during the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. All five Kona trim levels are offered with all-wheel drive for $1,400 over the front-drive version, starting with the Kona SE with AWD at $21,500. The standard powertrain for Kona SE, SEL and SEL Plus is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that produces 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque, mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission and EPA rated at 28 mpg combined with AWD. The Kona Limited and Ultimate are powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that produces 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque, mated with a 7-speed EcoShift dual-clutch transmission and EPA rated at 26 mpg city / 29 mpg hwy / 27 mpg combined with AWD.
2019 Subaru Impreza
Starting MSRP with AWD: $18,595
Like all Subaru models except the rear-wheel drive BRZ sport coupe, the entry-level Impreza is offered exclusively with all-wheel drive. Impreza was redesigned for the 2017 model year and is available as either a 4-door sedan or a 5-door hatchback. Power comes from a 2.0-liter Subaru Boxer 4-cylinder engine producing 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque, combined with either a 5-speed manual transmission or a Lineartronic CVT with a 7-speed manual mode. Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is standard for Impreza, featuring a viscous-coupling locking center differential and a 50/50 torque split under normal conditions. The Impreza 4-Door with CVT is EPA rated at 28 mpg city / 38 mpg highway / 32 mpg combined.