A lot of buyers list all-wheel drive at or near the top of their list of the features they’re looking for in their next vehicle. It’s not hard to see why: AWD adds peace of mind during wet or snowy winter weather and lets you tackle the occasional remote forest road with a little more confidence.
Below, we’ve outlined seven used cars and SUVs with AWD that are available to buyers working with a budget of around $15,000.
2013-2018 Subaru Outback
Any list of affordable AWD vehicles should probably start with the Subaru Outback. On sale now for six generations, the Outback is essentially a wagon version of the Legacy sedan, with an increased ride height, extra body cladding and added roof rails. Like just about every other Subaru, the Outback comes standard with AWD, which, combined with that extra ride height, gives it a reasonable degree of off-road prowess, giving you the confidence to tackle dirt roads and rutted-out trails you’d otherwise want to avoid. Outbacks made between 2013 and 2018 have a clever party trick up their sleeve in the form of crossbars that can be stowed in the roof rails when they’re not being used, which reduces wind noise and helps with gas mileage. Right now on Autotrader, there are more than 1,000 Outbacks for sale for around $15,000, most of which come from the 2013 through 2018 model years, which includes fourth- and fifth-generation body styles. Find a Subaru Outback for sale
2013-2019 Ford Escape
The Escape is an economical 5-passenger compact SUV and has long counted vehicles like the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V as its main competitors. It’s available with either front-wheel drive or AWD, and it’s been offered with a variety of 4-cylinder engines over the years, several of them turbocharged. Otherwise, the Escape is pretty run-of-the-mill. Buyers wanting features such as power and heated seats, smartphone integration and upgraded audio systems should look to the Escape’s SE, SEL or Titanium trims. Right now, there are more than 1,000 AWD-equipped 2013-2019 Escapes listed on Autotrader for around $15,000. Find a Ford Escape for sale
2015-2018 Audi A3
The most recent generation of the Audi A3 shares its platform and powertrain options with the Volkswagen Golf, and, as a result, offers excellent handling and driving dynamics. The A3 also comes with a seriously understated exterior design, which should appeal to anyone wanting subtlety from a compact luxury sedan. All the typical Audi luxuries are present, as is optional AWD. As the current-generation A3 is fairly new and typically stickers for around $40,000 when new, depending on how it’s equipped, it’s a little harder to find a used one with AWD. But right now on Autotrader, there are more than 130 2015-and-newer A3 models listed for $15,000 or less that offer all-wheel traction. Find a Audi A3 for sale
2009-2014 Honda Ridgeline
The Ridgeline is an anomaly. While every other midsize pickup offered today uses a rough and rugged body-on-frame construction, the Ridgeline uses a unibody design and shares many of its components with the 3-row Pilot SUV. As a result, the Ridgeline isn’t quite as hardcore as other midsize trucks, but it compensates with a nicer cabin, better driving dynamics and greater efficiency. Essentially, it’s the perfect pickup for someone who doesn’t need a pickup all the time. The Ridgeline debuted for the 2006 model year and was sold in its first generation through 2014. AWD came standard, and it’s not hard to find a great first-gen Ridgeline for around $15,000. There are about 500 currently for sale on Autotrader that fit the bill. Find a Honda Ridgeline for sale
2014-2017 Mazda CX-5
Mazda is known for offering elevated driving dynamics and slightly upscale interiors at economy car prices, making a used Mazda a great value for anyone torn between buying a mainstream car and a luxury model. The CX-5 is Mazda’s compact SUV, and its first generation was introduced for the 2013 model year and sold through 2017. We’d recommend passing on a 2013 model, though, and focusing your search on the 2014 to 2017 model years, as 2013 models came with an underpowered 155-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, which was replaced with a more powerful 184-hp 2.5-liter unit in 2014. Right now on Autotrader, buyers interested in a used CX-5 for less than $15,000 have more than 550 examples to choose from. Find a Mazda CX-5 for sale
2004-2016 Toyota Sienna
AWD minivans are uncommon, but a few have been offered over the years. One of them is the Toyota Sienna, which has offered AWD as an option since way back in 2004. The Sienna offers room for up to eight passengers and a third row that folds flat into a compartment in the rear load floor. Right now on Autotrader, buyers can find around 100 AWD Siennas from the 2004 to 2010 model years, and around 135 AWD-equipped 2011-or-newer Siennas from the vehicle’s third generation, for under $15,000. Find a Toyota Sienna for sale
2007-2014 Subaru WRX
Subaru is so well known for offering standard AWD that we thought it appropriate to include two Subarus on this list. A used WRX is great for anyone who wants a little performance to go with their AWD vehicle. Legendary for its rally racing pedigree, the WRX is based on the Impreza but packs a turbocharged version of Subaru’s 2.5-liter boxer 4-cylinder. While 2007 and 2008 model year WRX models came with 227 hp, Subaru increased that figure to 265 hp in 2009, making the WRX seriously fast, with recorded 0-to-60 mph times as quick as 4.7 seconds. The WRX came in sedan and hatchback versions, and buyers currently have around 220 third-gen WRXs to choose from on Autotrader for around $15,000 or less — and 165 of them are the more powerful 2009-or-newer models. Find a Subaru WRX for sale