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Best AWD Sedans for 2018

If you're looking for the unsung hero of mixed-weather driving, look no further than the all-wheel-drive sedan. Part of the appeal of SUVs has always been the feeling of safety they impart, especially when conditions get dicey. But AWD sedans can provide the same year-round security without compromising on handling, ride comfort or fuel economy. In fact, in some AWD sedans, the extra traction provides a boost to handling, making them even more engaging and enjoyable on your favorite roads.

To help you narrow your search for your next car, we've put together a list of 11 all-wheel-drive sedans that earned high marks from our automotive experts. At Edmunds, we put every car we rate through a rigorous testing process that involves both objective tests conducted at our test track and a subjective evaluation on our 115-mile real-world testing loop. We then assign scores to specific characteristics and features to arrive at an overall rating for the vehicle. According to those ratings, here are the best all-wheel-drive sedans you can buy for 2018.

Affordable AWD Sedans

Ranging in dimensions from compact to full-size, these all-wheel-drive sedans stand apart thanks to their relatively affordable starting prices. They provide a more cost-effective path to AWD sedan ownership without skimping on safety, technology or passenger space.

2018 Subaru Impreza

Edmunds Rating

The 2018 Subaru Impreza has the lowest cost of entry of any all-wheel-drive sedan. It's comfortable and easy to live with, and it boasts one of the best collections of advanced driver aids you'll find in any compact car. The Impreza also feels stable and confident in all driving conditions. It loses some points compared to other compacts because it's relatively slow and the trunk is tight. But if what you want is an inexpensive and sure-footed AWD sedan, the Impreza is worth a look. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $19,355
Fuel economy: 26-32 mpg combined

2018 Subaru Impreza Overview and Pricing

2018 Subaru WRX

Edmunds Rating

If you're after affordable, all-weather fun, we recommend the Subaru WRX. With its punchy 268-horsepower turbocharged engine, advanced all-wheel-drive system and satisfying manual transmission, combined with a surprising amount of passenger room for a compact car, the WRX is a practical sedan that's fun to drive all year-round. The biggest drawbacks of the WRX are the sporty (read: firm) ride and the louder-than-average cabin on the freeway. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $27,855
Fuel economy: 19-23 mpg combined

2018 Subaru WRX Overview and Pricing

2018 Ford Fusion

Edmunds Rating

The 2018 Ford Fusion is a roomy and comfortable midsize sedan with optional all-wheel drive, a high-quality interior and above-average handling. Ford offers plenty of cabin technology and active safety features, while the Sync 3 infotainment system is notably easy to operate, as are most of the controls. Happily, selecting all-wheel drive means skipping the lackluster base engine and upgrading to either a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder or the properly fast Sport model's 325-horsepower turbo V6. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $25,055
Fuel economy: 20-23 mpg combined

2018 Ford Fusion Overview and Pricing

2018 Dodge Charger

Edmunds Rating

The 2018 Dodge Charger is an unapologetically American muscle-car sedan. This Dodge is all about personality; the spacious interior, competent infotainment interface and big, comfy seats are a bonus. Mediocre visibility and a taut ride are the Charger's biggest shortcomings. It's worth noting that while the Charger range offers tons of customization choices, opting for all-wheel drive means you can only get the 300-horsepower V6. That's nothing to sneeze at, though, and the V6 also returns solid highway fuel economy by large-sedan standards. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $34,090
Fuel economy: 20-23 mpg combined

2018 Dodge Charger Overview and Pricing

Compare Affordable All-Wheel-Drive Sedans

AWD Sport Sedans

Looking for a combination of all-wheel drive, performance and premium features? Check out these AWD sport sedans, which blend responsive acceleration and handling with a more upscale character than the affordable options above.

2018 Kia Stinger

The all-new Stinger is actually a hatchback in a sedan's body, so you get the convenience of a liftback trunk along with truly head-turning sedan styling. But putting aesthetics aside, the story here is about performance for the price. Even the entry-level four-cylinder model packs a decent 255-horsepower punch, but the Stinger GT model boasts a 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that ups the ante to 365 horsepower. In Edmunds track testing, a rear-wheel-drive Stinger GT sprinted to 60 mph in 5 seconds flat (4.7 seconds with rollout like on a dragstrip). If you ask us, the all-wheel-drive Stinger GT is a bargain at its starting price of $41,450, though you can also get AWD with the four-cylinder and save a few grand. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $35,000
Fuel economy: 21-24 mpg combined

2018 Kia Stinger Overview and Pricing

2018 BMW 3 Series

Edmunds Rating

The BMW 3 Series has been the benchmark for compact luxury sport sedans since the 1980s, and aside from its relatively vague and numb steering, the current model lives up to this legacy. Where some sporty sedans compromise on ride comfort, the BMW balances a supple ride with excellent handling. If it has a weakness, it's how quickly the price goes up when you start checking the boxes for options. You can specify all-wheel-drive ("xDrive" in BMW parlance) on every 3 Series variant except the 330e plug-in hybrid, which means you get to choose from a turbocharged four-cylinder engine (the 320i or the 330i), a four-cylinder turbodiesel (the 328d) and a sports-car-fast turbocharged six-cylinder (the 340i). Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $37,895
Fuel economy: 23-34 mpg combined

2018 BMW 3 Series Overview and Pricing

2018 Audi A4

Edmunds Rating

The 2018 Audi A4 is a high-tech compact luxury sport sedan available with Audi's storied Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Audi has some of the most user-friendly and impressive tech on the market, and the company's use of Google for voice recognition and navigation helps set its vehicles apart. Buyers looking for more speed can opt for the S4, which adds a healthy dose of quickness. But even the regular A4 will be quick enough for most drivers, and the exceptional refinement of the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is a welcome bonus. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $41,475
Fuel economy: 27 mpg combined

2018 Audi A4 Overview and Pricing

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Luxury AWD Sedans

As luxury cars get faster and more capable, more and more models rely on all-wheel-drive systems to maximize their performance potential. But it's not all about speed; you'll find efficient diesel and hybrid variants with all-wheel drive as well.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

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Edmunds Rating

Nothing on this list offers quite the same wow factor as the interior of the recently redesigned Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The Benz's cabin looks sumptuous without being gaudy, and beneath that impressive design is a quick, athletic car available with a generous allotment of technology features. Even better, all-wheel drive is available with all four engine variants, from the efficient four-cylinder to the fire-breathing V8 in the AMG E63 S. The 2018 E-Class makes a convincing case that Mercedes is at the top of its game. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $56,445
Fuel economy: 18-24 mpg combined

2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Overview and Pricing

2018 BMW 5 Series

Edmunds Rating

The 2018 BMW 5 Series is a generously proportioned and equipped midsize sedan. There's plenty of room and comfort to go around, along with an extensive options list that includes forward-thinking technologies such as gesture control and wireless Apple CarPlay. You can also have AWD with every 5 Series engine, including a frugal yet muscular diesel, a plug-in hybrid, and three turbocharged gasoline engines. Notably, all-wheel drive is mandatory with the diesel (the 540d) and the turbocharged V8 (the M550i). Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $55,945
Fuel economy: 23-30 mpg combined

2018 BMW 5 Series Overview and Pricing

2018 Audi A6

Edmunds Rating

The 2018 Audi A6 is showing its age, but only just. With an all-new model right around the corner, you might expect a tepid showing from Audi's midsizer, but you'd be sorely mistaken. The A6 comes with more standard features than ever and all the space and comfort luxury buyers expect, lacking only a very latest technology items that early adopters may crave. The optional supercharged 3.0-liter V6 hasn't lost a step, and the interior still feels modern and upscale. Also, features such as navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard for 2018, making the A6 an even better value in its class. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $52,875
Fuel economy: 23-26 mpg combined

2018 Audi A6 Overview and Pricing

2018 Genesis G90

Edmunds Rating

The Genesis G90 was the first car launched by Hyundai's new luxury brand, and it certainly made a statement. This full-size luxury sedan isn't just big; it's also big on comfort, and it comes with a truly excellent stereo system. In fact, it comes with everything — there's no options list for the G90. Buyers can select either a turbocharged V6 or a broad-shouldered V8 (which also adds an executive rear-seat package), both of which can be paired with all-wheel drive. The G90 is a lot of car for not a lot of coin, especially compared to rival executive sedans. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $71,845
Fuel economy: 18-20 mpg combined

2018 Genesis G90 Overview and Pricing

Compare Luxury All-Wheel-Drive Sedans

AWD Sedans With the Best Fuel Economy

Driving all four wheels of a car means that the engine has to do some extra work, and historically that's been associated with a hefty fuel-economy penalty. But all-wheel-drive sedans have made a lot of advancements in recent years. Not only has fuel economy improved across the board for all vehicles, but some companies have also drastically reduced the AWD gas-mileage deficit.

The Subaru Impreza, for example, is rated an impressive 38 mpg on the highway, and that's with standard AWD. The all-wheel-drive Mercedes-Benz E-Class, equipped with the four-cylinder engine, drops just a smidge from 25 mpg combined to 24. Meanwhile, the four-cylinder BMW 5 Series loses a single mpg on the freeway (from an impressive 34 mpg to 33) yet keeps the same 27 mpg combined. It's clear that many AWD sedans have turned the corner in this regard, and that's good news for both the environment and your wallet.

All-Wheel-Drive Sedan Benefits

All-wheel-drive sedans offer improved traction on all kinds of surfaces and in all kinds of conditions when compared to their front-wheel- or rear-wheel-drive counterparts. Since AWD cars can transfer power "from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip," as Subaru's classic tagline had it, they can better take advantage of available traction when the going gets iffy.

All-wheel drive can also enhance on-road performance in normal conditions. During spirited driving, an AWD sedan may send power to the outside wheels in a turn to improve cornering, as well as shuffle power front to back to help correct a wayward course. Cars with very powerful engines also accelerate more quickly when they're able to distribute that power to all four wheels.

There are trade-offs in terms of cost, weight and efficiency. Driving enthusiasts may also debate the difference in performance and feel between two-wheel- and all-wheel-drive cars. Buyers should think about factors such as the road and weather conditions where they live, how they plan to use their cars, and what type of handling they enjoy when deciding whether to opt for all-wheel drive.

If you'd like more help deciding, be sure to read "Do You Need an All-Wheel-Drive or Four-Wheel-Drive Car?"

AWD vs. 4WD

AWD and 4WD have become more and more similar over the years. There was a time when AWD vehicles weren't considered off-road capable, but advances in traction control systems have largely leveled the playing field. There are part-time and full-time AWD and 4WD systems and also selectable AWD and 4WD systems that can be turned on and off by the driver.

The clearest difference is that if you see a vehicle labeled 4WD, it will almost certainly have low-range gearing that allows it to crawl. This feature does make a 4WD vehicle more capable in extreme conditions in which you need to apply a lot of torque to the wheels at very low speeds.

To learn more about the differences between drivetrain types, check out our in-depth article "AWD vs. 4WD: What's the Difference and Which to Choose?."

AWD vs. RWD

As much as AWD systems may improve vehicle dynamics, rear-wheel drive is still the gold standard for balanced, responsive handling. That's why the sporty luxury sedans on our list from BMW and Mercedes-Benz are built on rear-wheel-drive platforms. You get better straight-line acceleration with RWD than with FWD, along with a livelier handling experience that's generally more rewarding.

AWD cars can put down power more efficiently in high-performance settings, making for quicker acceleration numbers, and they claw tenaciously for grip through the turns. On the other hand, they're frequently described as feeling less exciting by experienced drivers. AWD systems also add weight, which tends to slow the car down relative to a rear-wheel-drive setup.

AWD vs. FWD

Front-wheel drive is all about efficiency, and not just fuel efficiency. Many small cars are FWD-only because it allows them to pack all the powertrain components at the front of the car to open up more space in the back. The Honda Fit, for example, owes much of its impressive cargo storage capabilities to the fact that it doesn't need to make room for a driveshaft connecting the engine and the rear wheels.

Front-wheel-drive cars also tend to be less sporty and much more prone to understeer (that is, the tendency to "push" wide of the intended line in spirited cornering). That said, some FWD cars have picked up tricks from AWD systems. The Volkswagen GTI, for example, can be equipped with an active front differential that shifts power to the outside wheel in turns to improve cornering and tame understeer.

Choosing the Right AWD Sedan for You

If you're in the market for a sedan and you like the idea of a more sure-footed vehicle in adverse conditions, or a more confident vehicle on twisting back roads, it's worth considering all-wheel drive. If you're interested in learning about more all-wheel-drive sedans, you can use our car-finder tool to locate an all-wheel-drive sedan.

It's important to consider your needs and budget. How much space do you need? How much luxury can you afford? Is performance an important consideration? We've outlined the strengths of each vehicle in our summaries here, but be sure to read our full ratings and reviews to make sure the car you choose is the best car for you. After finding the right car, click through to the inventory page to see the best prices in your area.

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