New cars with all-wheel-drive systems are becoming more common on the market. With Ford and Chevrolet trimming cars out of their lineups in favor of trucks, SUVs, and crossovers, those continuing to offer them are trying to make them more appealing. Offering all-wheel-drive as an option increases their usability and versatility.
Like most other all-wheel-drive vehicles, they are not meant to be off-road beasts designed to compete with four-wheel drive Jeep Wranglers and Ford Broncos. Rather, they offer extra security during bad weather and sometimes even assist with off-the-line traction in the most performance-oriented models.
All-wheel-drive cars offer plenty of great advantages over all-wheel-drive crossovers, four-wheel drive SUVs, and even minivans with AWD systems. Read on to explore those advantages further as we look at the best AWD cars in 2023.
2023 Genesis G70
The Genesis G70 is a luxury sports sedan that impresses nearly everyone with its styling, exciting powertrains, and value within the segment. Its compact size does mean that larger rear-seat passengers will lack some legroom, but the front seats are supportive of nearly everyone. Everything else in the interior may still entice a third or fourth passenger to hop in the back.
Hyundai has ensured that its luxury brand feels like one while not costing an arm and a leg. A 10.25-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a digital gauge cluster, and dual-zone climate control all come standard for a starting price of around $40,525. For that price, you also get blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.
Rear-wheel drive is standard with both the base 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and the 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6. The former makes 252 horsepower while the latter makes 365. Both feel lively and eagerly get the G70 up to speed. All-wheel-drive is optional with both engines and doesn't help its already poor fuel economy. The 3.3T AWD model returns EPA estimates of 17 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway.
2023 Kia Stinger
Few people realize the merits that the Kia Stinger offers. It certainly has its drawbacks, but it has a long list of standard features, it has excellent handling capability, and it looks stunning. Kia has trimmed the lineup to two models for 2023, most likely in preparation to end the car’s production at year’s end.
Much like with the Genesis G70, you can get the Stinger with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine or a twin-turbo V6. The turbo four is larger than the G70’s base engine and makes 300 horsepower. The V6 makes 368 horsepower. Rear-wheel drive is standard with both, and all-wheel-drive is an extra $2,200. Unfortunately, the biggest knock against the Stinger is that its powertrain options are less fuel-efficient than its competitors.
A 10.2-inch touchscreen, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, wireless device charging, and dual-zone climate control work with the easy-to-use infotainment system to keep passengers comfortable inside. The rear seats lack the headroom that some competitors offer, but the rear hatchback increases cargo space to 23.3 cubic feet, a great figure for a compact car.
2023 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan is a great choice if you want a compact luxury sedan with stately styling and the German touch that makes their luxury cars so special. Its interior and exterior mimic the larger and even more luxurious Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Its MBUX infotainment system utilizes a 12.3-inch vertically oriented touchscreen that serves as the centerpiece of the interior.
Wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and an 11.9-inch digital gauge cluster with driver fingerprinting technology for individualized settings bring you everything you would want in a luxury car. Your passengers will benefit from comfortable seating and a smooth ride.
C-Class sedans come standard with rear-wheel drive, a 255-horsepower hybrid powertrain, and a nine-speed transmission. Mercedes-Benz’s 4Matic AWD system is available on each of its three trim levels for an extra $2,000. A coupe and convertible C-class are also available if you want them, and both come with available all-wheel-drive, but they are based on the previous generation C-Class.
2023 Subaru Legacy
Subaru is renowned for its full-time Symmetrical AWD system. It is standard on all of their vehicles except for the Subaru BRZ. The Legacy, Subaru’s midsize sedan, also benefits from this system, but it is the tamest car in the Subaru lineup. Its smooth ride, roomy interior, high safety scores, and surprising agility help it stand out.
The standard powertrain includes a 182-horsepower boxer engine and a continuously variable transmission. A 260-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder is optional and more than enough to transform the Legacy’s otherwise mundane driving experience into a more enjoyable one. Fuel economy is surprisingly good with the base powertrain estimated at 27 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway.
Its standard driver assistance features include adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, automatic emergency braking, adaptive headlights, and forward collision warning. With AWD offered across its lineup, you can equip blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, and reverse automatic emergency braking to the list if you desire.
2023 Audi A4
Audi has their own famous all-wheel-drive system: Quattro AWD. Because it is standard on all three Audi A4 trim levels, you do not have to seek out the perfect powertrain and drivetrain combination. While this is great for better peace of mind in bad weather, you will, unfortunately, have to pay more to get non-standard safety features like blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, and rear cross-traffic alert.
The A4 doesn't have too many other faults. Despite its lack of standard driver assistance features, it earns a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS for 2023. It features one of the best interiors in the class, a near-perfect balance of ride comfort and handling, and good fuel economy estimates of 24 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway with the base engine.
That engine is a 201-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder unit. It sends power through a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. If you want more power, you can opt for an upgraded version of the same engine. It ups horsepower from 201 to 261 and works with the AWD system to rocket the A4 to 60 miles per hour in about 5.2 seconds.
2023 Toyota Camry
It might come as a surprise to you that the Toyota Camry is offered with all-wheel-drive. It is one of the most popular, well-rounded midsize cars on the market, so Toyota decided to increase its versatility even further. All-wheel-drive is optional on all trim levels except the sporty TRD. V6-powered Camrys are also only available with standard front-wheel drive.
The base four-cylinder engine produces 203 horsepower, sending it to the wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. A 301-horsepower V6 engine is available for the top-tier XLE and XSE trim levels. Fuel economy is stellar on four-cylinder models, returning EPA estimates of 28 MPG in the city and 39 MPG on the highway. Naturally, adding AWD or opting for the V6 engine will drop these figures by a few MPG.
Standard features on each Camry include a 7-inch touchscreen, a Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and automatic high beams. If you want a little more than what the Camry has to offer, you can consider the ritzier Lexus ES. It shares its underpinnings with the Camry and also offers all-wheel-drive.
2023 Genesis G80
The Genesis G80 is the G70’s larger brother. Tough competition from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi prevents it from being the definitively best midsize luxury sedan, but it sure comes close. Its upscale interior makes it feel more expensive than its $51,125 starting price tag, and its excellent powertrain options give it power without sacrificing passenger comfort.
Base models are powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. It is good for 300 horsepower, and buyers can opt for all-wheel-drive over the standard rear-wheel drive layout. A twin-turbo V6 is also available. It produces 375 horsepower and comes standard with all-wheel-drive. Unfortunately, fuel economy falls to 16 MPG in the city and 25 MPG on the highway if you want the more powerful engine option.
Class-leading standard features include a 14.5-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, an 8-inch digital gauge cluster, adaptive cruise control, driver attention monitoring, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, and speed limit recognition. An electrified version of the G80 has also debuted for 2023 if you are worried about the regular G80’s comparatively low fuel economy.
2023 Volkswagen Golf R
If you take the iconic Volkswagen Golf GTI and put it on a strict workout routine, you will eventually end up with the Volkswagen Golf R. It is one of the hottest hot hatchbacks on the market, but unlike the Honda Civic Type R or the recently discontinued Hyundai Veloster N, all Golf R models come standard with VW’s 4Motion AWD system.
A 315-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder sends its power through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic or a six-speed manual transmission. Even though it is not considered a true sports car, you can dash to sixty miles per hour in just over four seconds with the dual-clutch transmission. You can also use its 19.9 cubic feet of cargo space to carry luggage and your family while you carve up a mountain road.
If you are worried that fuel economy will suffer if you have too much fun, you do not need to be. EPA estimates of 20 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway are quite reasonable for a performance car. Blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, parking assist, automatic emergency braking, and a head-up display will ensure that if you do have too much fun, you will still be kept safe.
2023 Mazda Mazda3
The Mazda Mazda3 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It clearly has the DNA of the Mazda Miata sports car with its zippy attitude, playful handling characteristics, and ability to squeeze a little extra fun out of your otherwise mundane commute. It is neither the largest, most comfortable, nor most affordable car in the class, but it will reward its buyers in many other ways.
Front-wheel drive is standard, but Mazda gives you the choice to add all-wheel-drive to the 191-horsepower Premium or the 227-horsepower Turbo Premium Plus trim levels if you want to stick with the sedan. The hatchback has more all-wheel-drive options. You can choose the Premium, Turbo, or Turbo Premium Plus trim levels.
Regardless of your choice, you will get features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, automatic emergency braking, driver attention monitoring, an 8.8-inch infotainment display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and one of the best of the best interiors in the class. You will even get the security of knowing that the IIHS named the 2023 Mazda3 a Top Safety Pick+ award winner.
2023 Kia K5
Kia’s Camry competitor, the midsize K5, takes aim at its Japanese rival by offering its own AWD system as an option. The K5 replaced the Kia Optima in 2021, and it has certainly done quite a bit to ensure that it is a worthy successor. Unlike the Camry, though, you can only get the all-wheel-drive option on one trim level: The GT-Line.
A 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder sends 180 horsepower through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Its powertrain is energetic enough but doesn't compare to rivals like the Honda Accord for overall performance. Both the front and rear seats are comfortable, though taller back-seat passengers may be lacking some headroom due to the K5’s swoopy roofline.
AWD GT-Line K5s come standard with a 10.25-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, driver attention monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, safe-exit assist, and automatic high beams. We also cannot forget Kia’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
2023 BMW 2-Series
Despite BMW’s claims of offering “the ultimate driving machine,” some critics have started to doubt that statement in recent years. The BMW 2-Series disproves that theory to us. It is agile, comes in a variety of flavors, and showcases what BMW can still do, even if it is not the prettiest car on the road.
You can go with either the two-door Coupe or four-door Gran Coupe, since both body styles are available with BMW’s xDrive AWD system. The base engine in the Coupe is a 255-horsepower turbo four. You can get an inline-six with 382 horsepower if you crave a little more speed. The Gran Coupe comes with a 241-horsepower base engine or a 301-horsepower option.
Both options are great if you want a zippy, entry-level luxury car, but you should not expect copious amounts of passenger space in either, particularly the coupe. You do get other features you would expect in a luxury car, like a 10.3-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keep assist.
2023 Subaru Impreza
All-wheel-drive is usually a more expensive option on vehicles that offer it as such. Subaru has sought to increase AWD’s accessibility in the marketplace by offering the Impreza. At a starting price of just under $21,000, the Impreza is one of the cheapest cars currently available with standard AWD and one of the few AWD vehicles to still offer a manual transmission option.
Despite its rallying heritage, most buyers will buy the Impreza for its affordability, relatively good fuel economy, and security that comes with its full-time Symmetrical AWD system. As long as you skip over the base model, you can also get safety features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and even adaptive LED headlights.
A 152-horsepower boxer engine is the only one available. Forgoing the base manual transmission for the more fuel-efficient CVT option rewards buyers with 28 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway. It feels slow and unrefined when you push it, but it is fine for normal errand running. If you need more than 12.3 cubic feet of cargo space than the sedan’s trunk provides, you can always upgrade to a hatchback model with 20.3 cubic feet of storage space.
2023 Tesla Model S
With the recent flood of EVs and plug-in hybrids on the market, the Tesla Model S still stands out as the benchmark of electrification. New challengers like the Lucid Air have bested its range. Rivals like the Mercedes-Benz EQS, Porsche Taycan, and Audi E-Tron have outclassed it. Still, the Model S remains popular because of its mind-boggling acceleration and recognizable name.
Its interior is minimalistic. There is plenty of space for passengers in the front, but legroom can get tight for taller rear-seat passengers. A single 17-inch touchscreen controls nearly every aspect of the Model S, and a Wi-Fi hotspot ensures that passengers will be entertained during its 405 miles of maximum battery range. Unfortunately, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and physical buttons are absent.
Standard AWD comes courtesy of two electric motors or three in the Plaid model. 670 horsepower is on tap unless you choose the pricier and laughably more powerful Model S Plaid. That model puts out 1,020 horsepower. That should make delivery drivers happy since each Model S comes with a rear hatchback that provides 25 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats.
With that much power, it is also important to stay safe. Each Model S comes standard with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, and four-corner parking sensors.
2023 Toyota Prius
Toyota redesigned the Prius for the 2023 model year, and everyone is eyeing its new styling with envy. It still may not be the prettiest car on sale, but it will definitely make people reconsider buying a hybrid now. Despite its major overhaul, Toyota has made sure to keep all of the previous Prius elements that people have grown to love: stellar fuel economy, an affordable price, and an all-wheel-drive option.
Buyers can get that all-wheel-drive option on all three Prius trim levels. Each AWD Prius utilizes a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors to produce a combined output of 196 horsepower, far and away more than what the outgoing model produced. Something the old model had more of than the new one is cargo space. The new Prius has 23.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats while higher trims have even less.
Toyota also made sure to update the Prius’ infotainment system with its redesign. A standard 8-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot head up the features list. Adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, safe-exit assist, and rear-seat alert round out its standard safety features.
2023 Acura TLX
The Acura TLX is a true “tweener”, falling somewhere between the non-luxury and luxury midsize car segments. It is a more premium offering compared to its Honda Accord cousin, yet it doesn't reach BMW, Audi, or even Genesis levels of luxuriousness. Make sure not to dismiss it as an outsider so quickly, though.
All-wheel-drive comes on the A-Spec and Advance trims if you stick with the base 272-horsepower four-cylinder. For more spunk, you can go with the sporty Type S or Type S Performance. Both feature a 355-horsepower turbocharged V6. A Top Safety Pick+ award and a well-rounded list of safety features ensure that you and your passengers remain safe.
As with most true sports sedans, stiff suspension tuning is slightly prioritized over a smooth ride, but both elements are still present. The TLX will not beat anybody up unless you are a taller adult that needs to sit in the back. A 10.2-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, and a Wi-Fi hotspot highlight some of the comfort and entertainment goodies that come with each model.