You Don’t Need an SUV to Have All-Wheel Drive

Not long ago, all-wheel drive was both a pricey option and limited to select vehicles that sacrificed fuel economy for extra grip on the road. With the growing popularity of SUVs and crossovers, however, having all-wheel drive is becoming increasingly popular.

It’s no wonder that car companies are making it available on mainstream sedans – and at more manageable prices. Smarter and lighter all-wheel drive systems are less expensive and more fuel efficient than ever before, too.

Subaru Legacy

2018 Subaru Legacy 

Midsize Sedan | U.S. News Score: 8.0/10

A key attribute of the Legacy is its standard all-wheel drive – most rival midsize sedans charge thousands of dollars more for all-wheel drive (if they offer it at all).

The Legacy has a 175-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The optional 256-horsepower six-cylinder in the 3.6R Limited trim adds better straight-line performance, though even this motor can feel sluggish at times.

While having all-wheel drive used to mean a noticeable drop in fuel economy, the standard Legacy is a fuel-sipper that offers an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in city driving and 34 mpg on the highway. Another upside to the Legacy sedan is its extremely strong performance in safety and crash-test ratings.

Buick Regal

2018 Buick Regal

Full-Size Sedan | U.S. News Score: 8.0/10

Newly redesigned for the 2018 model year, the Buick Regal is available in two styles: a convenient hatchback, called the Sportback, and handsome station wagon labeled the TourX. Both come with seating for five adults, along with vast amounts of cargo room. The cargo space of both rivals some SUVs and crossovers. The TourX has a whopping 73.5 cubic feet of cargo room, while the Sportback offers a substantial 60.7 cubic feet.

The Regal Sportback also has a handsome exterior – no, it definitely doesn’t look like a Buick of yesteryear. The biggest drawbacks include middling interior quality, along with fuel mileage that’s only average for the class.

Subaru Impreza

2018 Subaru Impreza

Compact Sedan |  U.S. News Score: 8.1/10

The Subaru Impreza comes standard with all-wheel drive and, in sedan format, has a highly affordable starting price. A five-door wagon is also available.

The standard 152-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine offers adequate power and solid fuel economy, though primarily because the modest power output doesn’t inspire aggressive driving. Cargo room is impressive, and the seats are spacious and comfortable.

Having all-wheel drive as a no-cost feature makes the Impreza a great value in the compact car segment, if having extra grip ranks highest on your list of priorities. The Impreza faces tough competition, however, including popular (though only front-wheel drive) rivals like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.

Ford Fusion

2018 Ford Fusion

Midsize Sedan | U.S. News Score: 8.3/10

A comfortable ride and finely balanced handling make the Ford Fusion a strong entry in the midsize sedan segment. Adding all-wheel drive, which is optional, means you’ll get the 245-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. If you want more power, you can opt for the 325-horsepower 2.7-liter V6 in the Ford Fusion Sport.

The powerful V6 is the choice for car buyers who want the safety aspect of all-wheel drive combined with strong performance and quick acceleration – though fuel economy, even in the less-powerful turbo model, falls behind that of some front-wheel-drive rivals. Still, with its combination of a roomy cabin, quiet ride, and nimble driving reflexes (especially with the turbo 2.7-liter V6), the Ford Fusion with all-wheel drive rides a fine line between being a practical family car and a subtle sport sedan.Buick LaCrosse

2018 Buick LaCrosse

Full-Size Sedan | U.S. News Score: 8.8/10

Along with its comfortable driving manners and spacious cabin, the Buick LaCrosse has a surprising amount of power thanks to the available 310-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine. This motor comes standard when adding optional all-wheel drive. For comparison, the entry-level LaCrosse is front-wheel drive, comes with a four-cylinder engine.

The LaCrosse has excellent performance in crash tests, strong reliability, nimble handling, and great fuel efficiency. The V6-equipped LaCrosse with all-wheel drive returns an EPA-estimated 20 mpg during city driving and 29 mpg on the highway.

Genesis G90

2018 Genesis G90

Luxury Large Sedan |  U.S. News Score: 9.1/10

Hyundai’s luxury division is not being shy when it comes to taking on entrenched leaders, such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series. While it’s not cheap, the G90 costs many thousands of dollars less compared to its primarily German rivals. The optional all-wheel drive hardware can be fitted to either of the G90’s two available engines: a 365-horsepower twin-turbo V6 or a 420-horsepower 5.0-liter V8.

The cabin is fitted with high-end materials, and there is a ton of room for either front or rear passengers – though the trunk is smaller than some other choices in this elite segment.

Kia Stinger

2018 Kia Stinger

Luxury Small Sedan |  U.S. News Score: 9.2/10

Kia is a newcomer to the sport sedan segment, though you wouldn’t know it from behind the wheel of the Stinger. All-wheel drive is available across all trim levels, which allows buyers the choice of a 255-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder or 365-horsepower twin-turbo V6. Either engine comes with a refined eight-speed automatic transmission.

The V6 has extra punch, though the turbo four-cylinder is a nice match with the direct steering and quick reflexes of the Stinger. Cabin materials are top notch, and leather seating comes standard. A large hatchback reveals a spacious 23.3 cubic feet of trunk room, making the Stinger even more practical and enticing, despite competing in a competitive segment that includes the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Super Luxury Sedan | U.S. News Score: 9.3/10

As statement vehicles go, few have the poise and presence of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. While the sky’s the limit when optioning one of Mercedes’ range-topping sedans the S450 4Matic sedan carries a far less supercar-like price. Powered by a 362-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, the S-Class delivers effortless performance in a whisper-quiet atmosphere.

For that amount of money, you get the very latest in comfort features, safety advancements, and in-cabin technology. Quad-zone climate control, a 26-speaker Burmester 3D audio system, and a seemingly endless list of available active safety features can be optioned into this opulent sedan.


April 23, 2018
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