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Seven All-Wheel Drive Sedans For Any Season


It used to be that only a handful of cars, mostly foreign, came with all-wheel-drive capabilities. (America’s contribution- the AMC Eagle!?!) But as more and more people flee from SUVs, this number has continued to increase, no doubt driven in large part by those not blessed to live in a warm weather climate. At any rate, while the calendar says it’s summer, it is never too early to add either a little AWD performance to your life or plot your AWD strategy for winter. Here are 7 AWD choices that satisfy either fix at any budget.

Under $20,000 – 2009 Subaru Impreza


Another solid choice is Suzuki’s SX4, but it disqualifies itself with its “crossover” designation, a term so freely tossed around by those too scared to admit that they either drive or make a wagon. Not so at Subaru, who have proudly turned out AWD wagons for Birkenstock-wearers since the ’70s. At just $17,495, the 2009 Impreza (here in sedan guise) may be the cheapest Subaru, but you still get a sturdy 2.5 liter 170 horsepower Boxer engine and the automakers legendary Symmetrical all-wheel drive.

Under $30,000 – 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart


It would be hard to leave Mitsubishi off of this list. Along with Subaru, Mitsubishi has consistently banged the AWD drum for several years. But although the EVOs are beloved around here at RideLust, it is hard to wrap your mind around the sticker shock and realize you’ve just plunked down damn near 35 grand for a car with an interior that looks like it was made by Chrysler. (Ouch!) But in the Lancer Ralliart and with a price tag of $25,910, it is certainly easier to swallow. It may not have the ridiculous power of the EVO but it has enough (237 hp), and the same could be said of its attractive exterior which carries off substantial EVO-DNA. As an alternative, those looking for something made here stateside should check out the 2009 Fusion, one of the few domestic cars to offer AWD.

Honorable Mention: 2009 Ford Fusion SEL/Sport

Under $40,000 – 2009 Volkswagen CC VR6 4Motion


The CC is pricey at just under the $40,000 mark ($39,000). However, this is alot of car. And despite its hefty-for-a-V-dub price, we have yet to find anyone who thinks it is over its head. The V6 engine has variable valve timing and produces 280 hp, good for a 0-60 mph time of just 6.6 seconds. Contrary to its sleek and refined outer style, the CC is no dainty flower though, with a seemingly endless capacity to tackle rough roads and snow. Those that want to tap into their inner-muscle car may want to take a look at the Cadillac CTS which also just squeaks in under the 40-G mark.

Honorable Mention: 2009 Cadillac CTS

Under $50,000 – 2009 Volvo S80


We aren’t going to lie, the S80 is clearly not the sporty winner among this, or any other field. But for those that value safety above all else, is there any denying this automaker’s pedigree? As the flagship vehicle of the brand, the S80 gives you the all-you-can-eat Volvo safety buffet starting in the mid-$40,000 range. Notable exclusive technologies include an adaptive cruise control system, collision warning system, blind-spot information system, and the ever-important Personal Car Communicator (PCC), which among other things, is able to detect if a beating human heart is in the vehicle. (The un-dead may or may not be detected)

Under $60,000 – 2009 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 550


At this price point and above, the cars tend to be a blur of power, leather, and unfortunately, white-haired drivers. Yes, we are jealous. There are really not any BAD cars priced above 50 grand, just good and better. The E-class is the latter. It’s also big, though it wears its girth well with exceptional performance and better handling than you’d expect for a car this large. With a smooth 5.5 liter V-8 under the hood, the E550 generates 382 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque with an unbelievable 75% of peak torque available at just 1,000 rpm. For 2009, Mercedes makes 4Matic all-wheel drive a no-cost option for the first time, helping bring down the cost into the merely expensive range of around $59,675.

Under $70,000 – 2009 Lexus LS 460


AWD is a new addition to the Lexus LS model. Perhaps it is because our recent review is still sweetly rolling around in our heads, but it is not often that a car costing around $67,000 is considered a bargain. Yeah, we said it…bargain. The AWD system features a highly compact center TORSEN limited-slip differential that can instantly distribute drive torque between the front and rear wheels depending on driving conditions. It’s actually quite boring when you are behind the wheel, and that’s the way Lexus likes it. Power comes via a 4.6-liter V8 mated to the world’s first eight-speed automatic transmission that produces 357 horsepower and 344 lb.-ft of torque good for zero-to-60 mph times of about 5.9 seconds. Interior = Nirvana.

Under $80,000 – 2009 Audi S6


Our final stop along the all-wheel drive highway is with the $75,000 S6. How can you dislike a sedan that has Lamborghini Gallardo’s 5.2-liter V10 under the hood AND Audi Quattro technology? Like a Siren song lulling us all to our doom off of a cliff, the S6’s 435-horsepower V10 makes a stereo almost irrelevant as it rockets the car to 60 mph in under 6 seconds. Ok. That isn’t incredibly fast for $75K, but again, it’s engine is from Lamborghini! Keeping things simple is the one-size-fits-all single trim level that includes 19-inch wheels, performance tires, a sport-tuned suspension, upgraded brakes and adaptive bi-xenon headlights with washers and LED daytime running lights. Admittedly, it’s more sports car than sedan, but if you can afford it, you can probably spring for an extra Audi just for the snow.

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2 Responses

  1. Kash says:

    what about G37x sedan/coupe, 3 series awd sedan/coupe and 5 series awd sedan? i have a G35x, 4 years old, sedan, take it to the race track in the summer, throw blizzaks on the winter and tackles almost anything, and still averages 21 mph combined city/hwy (50/50 mix). not to mention all the cool features – keyless entry/start, nav, etc that was not widely available in 2005!

  2. omar fidel espinosa says:

    I do not like the way the Audi S6 rides/handles due to the Xtreme Heft/weight/mass of its engine. I would guess fairly that its weight distribution is around 60/40 where of course the mass is up front due to the 5.2 liter v10 engine. Many people agree with me, and to further validate my opinion i found many magazines to agree with this notion that the Most recent Audi S6 just dosnt deserve many accolades when it comes to its handling.

    The Infiniti G37x and G35x (x = AWD), these cars are great i agree ive owned a g35x. Infiniti has a problem of price over lap with its nissan parent. Nissan spent too much money on commercials which poorly conveyed the advantages of a brand image such as Infiniti. Infiniti should never have had nissan next door or in the same sales lot. Thus Infiniti has less “prestige” “cachet” “status” than say a Lexus, or the German Barvarian menace BMW, or the Tried and true MerBnz

    Speaking of bmw, that 4.4 liter 400 hp 7 series the 750 with x drive(awd), wow, it kicks Mercedes butt all day. To bad those dim witted engineers at Morticians Box.. opps (M)ercedes (B)enz didnt figure out how to use direct injection with americas gasoline mixture. Most mercedes come to america, mercedes needs america to survive yet its engine engineers couldnt figure out how to make Direct injection work with 10-15 percent ethanol. Stupid wastes of flesh they are.

    I’d be in love with a 5.5 liter v8 that used supercharging or twin-turbo charging plus direct injection…. 550 horses easy. BMW pulls more than 550 horses out of their X5m and x6ms with a 4.4 liter engine… Time for MB to catch up.

    It wasnt long ago i found great deals on Bents with 6 liter Vw engines below 80k wow, and those babies have awd. They are hella fast, and can be modified to 650 horses easily at places like Hennessey.

    Volvo made a bad mistake of putting in a yamaha sourced 4.4 liter v8 its a tiny little sputter of an engine compared to cadillacs superchared v8s or even the 4.2 liter v8s from audi, thats very sad. If u want the most bang 4 ur buck for a volvo get yourself a 280 hp turbo 6 cylinder, its better gas mileage, weighs less, and get the car moving faster than the v8… News to ford/volvo never have your v8 compete with you v6 really bad idea. This EcoTech engine should have come out years ago to battle and duke it out with other direct inject engines, sigh Ford and gm are always playing catch up.

    Another missing entry is the AWD Chrysler 300c Touring… Its very inexpensive and with its newest 5.7 liter v8 not only is it more peppy than ever b4, but it also has better fuel mileage than evr b4.

    The cadillac sts awd is missing too(im kinda glad lol). I think cadillac pricing is way to high both the direct injection v6 awd and v8 awd are pathetic in terms of POWER! Where is the 4.6 liter v8 to compete with audi or lexus? 315 horse power v8 cadillac or 311 hp volvo s80 sad sad sad but true. Why has gm not spent research/time/development into making its 4.6 liter sing with performance using direct injection twin turbo powering, or supercharging. Cadillac northstar still dosnt use cylinder management, its an ancient beast almost unchanged since 1992 from the cady eldo.

    well my brain hurts trying to remember all the poorly planed and poorly launched car models out there, seems there are a lot of lost causes, never start a war with stupid people you will never win.