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8 Great AWD Cars for $30,000

If you’re looking for a new car that offers the year-round security of all-wheel drive (AWD), you might think you’ll have to spend a fortune to buy a high-end Audi or Mercedes or possibly a pricy SUV. That’s not the case. You can also get all-wheel drive in a wide range of excellent, affordable new cars, and to prove it, we’ve listed eight of our favorite new AWD cars you can buy for a budget-friendly $30,000 or less.

2015 Chevrolet Trax

The Chevrolet Trax is the epitome of all-wheel drive on a budget. All new for the 2015 model year and based on the more luxurious Buick Encore, the Trax starts around $21,000, leaving plenty of room for options and extras within our $30,000 budget. The Trax also touts a highly efficient (if slightly dull) 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that boasts up to 24 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway with all-wheel drive. The Trax also touts a surprisingly long list of optional features, such as a backup camera, a 7-inch touchscreen and GM’s MyLink infotainment system. If that’s not enough, you may want to consider the Encore, which also starts under $30,000 and offers some additional luxury equipment.

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2015 Chrysler 200

Although the outgoing Chrysler 200 was mediocre by just about any standard, the latest model is the exact opposite. Its sharp new exterior design, futuristic interior, impressive technology and available Pentastar V6 engine have helped it reach the top of the midsize-sedan segment. Those aren’t the only items that have aided the 200. The sedan is also one of the few midsize models to boast available all-wheel drive, much to the delight of cold-weather car shoppers who want additional security from their family sedans. Expect to pay around $26,000 for a 200 equipped with the feature, as you’ll have to upgrade to the midlevel 200 S model from the budget-priced LX trim.

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2016 FIAT 500X

Although you can’t get all-wheel drive in the tiny FIAT 500 or the larger FIAT 500L, the 500X has finally brought the year-round security of AWD to the FIAT model range. You can now enjoy the brand’s quirky styling, unique interiors and excellent fuel economy while still traversing harsh weather conditions. If that’s not a good enough reason to consider the 500X, here’s some icing on the cake: The subcompact crossover starts at a budget-friendly $21,000, which means you can get one very well equipped for under $30,000 with shipping.

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2015 Ford Fusion

The midsize-sedan world is hardly chock-full of AWD cars, much to the chagrin of northern car shoppers who want a family-friendly car with year-round weather capabilities. Fortunately, the Ford Fusion is one of the few exceptions, as the sedan offers midlevel SE and upscale Titanium trim levels with all-wheel drive. Priced from the mid-$20,000 range, Fusion models equipped with AWD boast a handsome look, a futuristic interior and surprisingly good fuel economy ratings of up to 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy. The Fusion also offers a long list of today’s latest safety features.

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2016 Honda HR-V

The HR-V is Honda’s latest crossover. Slotting below the CR-V in Honda’s growing lineup, the HR-V starts at around $22,000 with shipping and all-wheel drive, giving drivers a lot of room to add more features and equipment within our $30,000 budget. We recommend that upgrade, as high-end HR-V EX-L models, which start around $26,800, feature a navigation system with voice recognition, leather upholstery, push-button starting and Honda’s excellent LaneWatch blind spot camera. If the HR-V strikes you as too small, don’t worry: You can still get the tried-and-true CR-V for a starting price of around $25,500 before options.

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2015 Nissan Juke

If you’re looking for a budget-priced all-wheel-drive vehicle with some personality, look no further than the oddly styled Nissan Juke. Half compact car and half SUV, the Juke offers the look of a dune buggy and the turbocharged engine of a peppy subcompact. It also boasts some surprisingly high-end features, such as leather and suede upholstery, automatic headlights, a 360-degree Around View camera system and heated seats, all of which you should be able to afford within our $30,000 budget since the most basic Juke models start at just $21,500 with shipping.

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2015 Subaru Legacy

You can’t have a list of budget-priced all-wheel-drive cars without including a Subaru or two. The Legacy isn’t just a token pick; it’s a really good midsize sedan beyond its AWD capability thanks to impressive technology, a wide array of well-priced safety features and available 4- or 6-cylinder engines. For drivers interested in all-wheel drive, however, the best part is the drivetrain. All Legacy models come standard with all-wheel drive, even for the sedan’s highly competitive $22,500 base price. If you’re in a snowy climate and you need a midsize sedan, we’d have a hard time recommending anything else.

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2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek

Few cars offer all-wheel drive on a budget like the compact Subaru Impreza, but for drivers who want a little extra practicality, we recommend the Impreza-based XV Crosstrek. Featuring raised ground clearance and more rugged styling compared to the Impreza, the XV Crosstrek is to the Impreza what the Outback is to the Legacy: a go-anywhere wagon version with standard all-wheel drive. There’s also a hybrid model, which boasts up to 29 mpg city/33 mpg hwy. If you like what you see, expect to pay around $22,500 for a base-level, gas-powered XV Crosstrek or around $27,000 for the more efficient and better-equipped hybrid model.

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More

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