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Kia Seltos' all-wheel drive badgeKia Motors America

All-Wheel-Drive Traction for Cheap

Buyers are demanding all-wheel-drive more than ever, thanks to the added traction and security it can provide in a variety of weather conditions. The result is a wide range of vehicles to choose from that are equipped with all-wheel drive and priced for just about any budget.

On the following slides, you’ll find ten all-wheel-drive sedans and SUVs, all with starting prices under $25,000. One, the Subaru Impreza, starts at less than $20,000. The best news is that many of these vehicles aren’t just affordable, some are among the top-ranked models in their categories. 

We’ve arranged the slides from most to least expensive, and included our overall score with each one for reference. All prices are for the least expensive trim available with all-wheel drive, and equipped with an automatic transmission. 

Keep in mind that the rankings on each slide may not match those in our full reviews. That’s because our rankings are constantly changing, as new models are introduced and new data becomes available.

2020 Jeep Compass front 3/4 viewJohn M. Vincent / U.S. News & World Report

2020 Jeep Compass

Price w/ AWD: $23,780 | U.S. News Overall Score: 6.8/10

The Jeep Compass is worth a look if you’re looking not just for a low-priced SUV with all-wheel drive, but also if your plans involve doing some off-roading. 

In addition to serious capability when the pavement ends, the Compass offers a spacious and handsome interior, with good build quality and an excellent infotainment system. That said, the Compass loses points for its mediocre handling, sluggish acceleration, below-average predicted reliability rating, and small cargo area. 

One of seven available trims, the Jeep Compass Sport with all-wheel drive starts at $23,780. Prices for a top-trim High Altitude with all-wheel drive start at $32,645.

2020 Subaru Crosstrek front 3/4 viewSubaru of America, Inc.

2020 Subaru Crosstrek 

Price w/ AWD: $22,145 | U.S. News Overall Score: 7.2/10

A spacious and practical choice among subcompact SUVs, the Subaru Crosstrek has a nice looking cabin with decent interior room in the front and rear, along with good cargo capacity for the class. 

Standard all-wheel drive makes it an even better buy, especially considering all-wheel drive is either optional or unavailable in most competitors. Other standard features include a user-friendly infotainment system and automatic climate control. 

The Crosstrek does not have the crisp handling or quick acceleration of some alternatives. If that’s not a concern, it makes an excellent choice. If you can stand to shift gears for yourself, the Crosstrek is an even better deal. Prices with a manual transmission start at just $22,145.

2020 Chevrolet Trax  passenger side viewGeneral Motors

2020 Chevrolet Trax 

Price w/ AWD: $22,020 | U.S. News Overall Score: 6.7/10

The Chevrolet Trax is a good choice for urban environments, with its tight turning circle, easy maneuverability, and parking space-friendly dimensions. A user-friendly infotainment system that comes standard is another plus. 

The 138-horsepower, 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine feels peppy enough around town, but comes up short on the highway. Fuel economy is 24 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

When equipped with all-wheel drive, pricing for the Trax LS starts at $23,015. That’s well below the average price for a new car, but it also makes the Trax one of the most expensive models in this group. Frankly, there are better and more affordable choices.

2020 Subaru Legacy front 3/4 viewSubaru of America, Inc.

2020 Subaru Legacy 

Price w/ AWD: $22,745 | U.S. News Overall Score: 7.6/10

With a comfortable ride, an easy-to-use infotainment system, and an attractive, upscale, and roomy interior, the Subaru Legacy is a midsize sedan with a lot of appeal. Standard all-wheel-drive only serves to sweeten the deal. 

Redesigned for 2020, the Legacy is also the only midsize sedan to make the cut of least expensive vehicles with all-wheel drive. That gives it a unique edge over its competitors. A long list of standard driver assistance features and excellent safety scores also make it a good choice for families.

2020 Mazda CX-3 front 3/4 viewMazda North American Operations

2020 Mazda CX-3 

Price w/ AWD: $22,040 | U.S. News Overall Score: 7.3/10

One of the more fun-to-drive choices among subcompact SUVs, the Mazda CX-3 offers engaging handling, good acceleration, and decent fuel economy. It also has a more upscale interior than most of its rivals. 

The CX-3 comes with a long list of standard features, including a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a suite of driver assistance features including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and automatic emergency braking.

Competitively priced, the Mazda CX-3 Sport starts at $22,040 with all-wheel drive. The only notable downsides are a cramped rear seat, and less cargo room than some competitors.

2021 Kia Seltos front 3/4 viewKia Motors America

2021 Kia Seltos

Price w/ AWD: $21,990 | U.S. News Overall Score: N/A

The newest entry among subcompact SUVs, the Kia Seltosarrived in showrooms in the spring as a 2021 model. It stands out from the pack thanks to its especially roomy interior, which has excellent passenger and cargo space. 

Inside, the Seltos boasts lots of tech features and an easy-to-use infotainment system, in a modern and stylish package. 

With standard all-wheel drive, the Seltos LX starts at $21,990. Because it is a new model, a lack of a predicted reliability rating prevents the Seltos from having an overall score or ranking.

2021 Hyundai Kona front 3/4 viewJohn M. Vincent / U.S. News & World Report

2021 Hyundai Kona

Price w/ AWD: $21,800 | U.S. News Overall Score: 8.3/10

One of our top-ranked subcompact SUVs, the Hyundai Kona is a well-rounded choice with a lot to offer. The cabin is upscale and well-equipped, the ride is comfortable and smooth, and the handling is composed.

A user-friendly infotainment system is among the list of standard tech features, and the base engine gets the job done while returning good fuel mileage. The optional turbocharged engine feels more energetic. 

Kona SE prices with all-wheel drive start at $21,800, which is less than some competitors.

2021 Honda HR-V driver side viewJohn M. Vincent / U.S. News & World Report

2021 Honda HR-V

Price w/ AWD: $22,520 | U.S. News Overall Score: 7.3/10

The Honda HR-V offers sporty handling and easy maneuverability, and has a lot of cargo room for a subcompact SUV. The interior is well-made if not downright luxurious, and it offers good legroom in both the front and rear seats. 

The 141-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine provides sufficient motivation for driving around town, but feels strained under load or on the highway. Fuel economy, however, is excellent. 

With a starting price of $22,520 for an HR-V LX equipped with all-wheel drive. Others in the class might prove more satisfying over the long term.

2021 Ford EcoSport front 3/4 viewFord Motor Company

2021 Ford EcoSport

Price w/ AWD: $21,590TK| U.S. News Overall Score: N/A

The Ford EcoSport is a subcompact SUV with abundant cargo room, and its compact dimensions make it easy to maneuver and park in tight spaces. The optional infotainment system is feature rich and easy to use. 

Beyond that, the EcoSport doesn’t have a lot going for it other than a low price. Acceleration is slow, the ride is stiff, and competitors offer more rear-seat room and longer lists of safety features. 

Prices for an EcoSport equipped with all-wheel drive start at $21,590. The top trim SES starts at $27,715. The EcoSport does not have an overall score or ranking because it hasn’t been fully crash tested or rated for reliability.

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