Several months ago, I went on a massive hunt for a 4 door 4 wheel drive car, priced under $35,000. My candidates are as follows: Lincoln MKZ, Mercury Milan, BMW 3 xi, Audi A4 Quatro, Jaguar X-Type. I am very pleased with my choice of the Lexus IS250 AWD - a loaded base car that looks and feels fantastic. The V6 mated to a 6 speed auto (with paddle shifters) purrs like a kitten. It's quite capable on the highway and corners as if on rails.
Button on the dash changes the car to normal, sport or snow mode. It's much more responsive in sport mode- downshifts earlier and remains in the lower gears longer. Gas consumption suffers, but it's a blast. Love the adjustable speed warning light and keyless entry/start button. No key needed.
If you are over 6'3", don't plan on spending too much time behind the wheel. The back seat is tight for adults. Kids won't even like it on a long trip. Some options (like memory seats) are not available unless you also get the expensive navigation system.