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7 Great Used AWD Cars Under $20,000 for 2020

While vehicles equipped with all-wheel drive generally hold their value better than their 2-wheel drive counterparts, you generally don’t have to pay a huge premium to find a great, reliable car or SUV with 4-wheel traction. As AWD has become commonplace across the industry over the last decade, there are loads of options out there — new and used — at a variety of price points. Here, we’ll touch on seven great used AWD cars available for around $20,000.

2016 Toyota Highlander

2014-2016 Toyota Highlander

The Toyota Highlander is a great minivan alternative, as it offers sporty looks, an upright driving position and seating for up to eight passengers. While an all-new Highlander will go on sale for the 2020 model year, early examples from the Highlander’s last generation, offered from 2014 through 2019, are readily available for around $20,000 or less. While both 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engines were offered, we recommend looking for a 6-cylinder model, as it offers far more power than the smaller 4-cylinder while returning nearly the same fuel economy. There was also a Highlander Hybrid offered over these years, but don’t expect to find many offered at the $20,000 price point, as hybrids tend to hold their value quite well. Right now on Autotrader, buyers with a budget of $20,000 to spend on an AWD family SUV have about 160 used Highlanders to choose from. Find a Toyota Highlander for sale

2016 Honda CR-V

2015-2016 Honda CR-V

The fourth-generation Honda CR-V was sold from the 2012 to 2016 model years but received a face-lift for 2015. We like the CR-V from these years for its great reliability, efficient powertrain, spacious interior and available active safety features like automatic emergency braking and radar cruise control on top-spec Touring trims. As the CR-V has long been a segment leader in the compact SUV class, these things hold their value quite well, but there are still currently over 1,000 AWD 2015-2016 CR-Vs listed for sale on Autotrader for around $20,000 or less. Find a Honda CR-V for sale

2018 Subaru Outback

2015-2018 Subaru Outback

Given that it combines a practical wagon body style with great safety ratings and standard AWD, buyers love the Subaru Outback, making it one of the most desirable used AWD cars out there. Thanks to depreciation, previous-generation Outbacks from the 2015 to 2018 model years are now readily available at our desired $20,000 price point. When browsing for an Outback from these model years, you’ll have two engines to choose from: a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that puts out 170 hp and a larger 3.6-liter V6 that makes 256 hp. It probably goes without saying, but while it’s down on power to the V6, the 4-cylinder returns better fuel economy and should be sufficient for most buyers. Either engine comes paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission. Right now on Autotrader, buyers looking for a used 2015-2018 Outback for around $20k have close to 1,000 options to choose from. Find a Subaru Outback for sale

2018 Audi A3

2015-2018 Audi A3

Audi’s smallest sedan offering, the A3, offers great driving dynamics in an affordable luxury car package. Sharing its platform with the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf, the A3 is smart, refined and efficient. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that puts out 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque — great figures for a little sedan. In addition to its potent engine and upscale aura, the A3 is offered with available AWD, and buyers looking for a simple luxury sedan with 4-wheel traction have close to 700 used 2015-2018 A3s to choose from on Autotrader. Find an Audi A3 for sale

2018 Ford Fusion

2017-2018 Ford Fusion

While it went on sale in its current form for the 2013 model year, the Fusion received an update for 2017. Buyers looking for good value on the used car market today are wise to target sedans, as the growing preference for SUVs means vehicles like the Fusion experience depreciation at a rapid rate. Not great for the original owners, but a real opportunity for value-minded used car shoppers like yourself to swoop in and get a great deal. Buyers looking for a modern Fusion will be treated to features like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and great active safety features like blind spot monitoring, automatic braking and radar cruise control. There are over 1,000 2017-or-newer Ford Fusions listed for sale on Autotrader with AWD for about $20,000 or less. Close to 50 are from the 2019 model year, while around 80 are the performance-oriented Fusion Sport model, which packs a turbocharged V6 engine putting out 325 hp. Find a Ford Fusion for sale

2014 Honda Ridgeline

2009-2014 Honda Ridgeline

The Ridgeline is the pickup for people who don’t like pickups. Sharing its platform with the Pilot, Odyssey and Acura MDX, the Ridgeline forgoes the body-on-frame construction found on all the other midsize pickups and instead utilizes a front-wheel-drive-based unibody design, allowing for better handling and ride quality characteristics than the competition. We also love the Ridgeline for its boxy design, along with some party tricks you won’t find on other midsize pickups, like a trunk located under the bed floor, a tailgate that can fold down like a traditional tailgate or swing out to the side, and a composite bed that won’t rust or wind up dented like steel. Under the hood is a 3.5 liter V6 putting out a reasonable 250 hp. There are currently around 400 2009-2014 Honda Ridgelines with AWD listed on Autotrader for around $20,000 or less. Find a Honda Ridgeline for sale

2019 Cadillac CTS

2014-2019 Cadillac CTS

While not the sales success Cadillac was hoping it would be, the current-generation Cadillac CTS offers attractive styling, great driving dynamics and a comfortable cabin. While you won’t find the top-spec V model at this price point, the CTS lineup offers great engines all around, and buyers looking for an AWD example will be able to choose from either a 268-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder or GM’s tried-and-true 3.6-liter V6 that makes 335 hp. There are currently over 200 AWD-equipped Cadillac CTS models from the 2014-or-newer model years for sale on Autotrader for around $20,000 or less, making for a great deal. Find a Cadillac CTS for sale

Chris O'Neill
Chris O'Neill is an author specializing in competitive analysis, consumer recommendations, and adventure-driven enthusiast content. A lifelong car enthusiast, he worked in the auto industry for a bit, helping Germans design cars for Americans, and now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He runs an Instagram account, @MountainWestCarSpotter, which in his own words is "actually pretty good", and has a... Read More about Chris O'Neill

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