All-wheel drive used to be the exotic province of a small number of car companies dedicated to perfecting the art of powering four wheels at a time. Over the past several years, however, all-wheel drive has become one of the more common features available on a wide range of sedans as automakers big and small have begun to target buyers seeking the additional safety and security that this traction-enhancing technology can provide.
Let's take a look at 10 appealing all-wheel drive sedans that prove you don't have to opt for a crossover or sport-utility vehicle to power through inclement weather conditions.
01. 2012 Subaru Impreza
The 2012 Subaru Impreza is one of the leaders of the pack when it comes to all-wheel drive sedans. Completely redesigned for the current model year, the Subaru Impreza now offers the kind of fuel economy that makes it full competitive on the compact scene. The Impreza's 2.0-liter, four-cylinder boxer engine delivers 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque and returns 27-mpg in city driving and 36-mpg on the highway when outfitted with its optional continuously-variable automatic transmission. A five-speed manual is standard with the Impreza - as is its all-wheel drive system.
02. 2012 Cadillac CTS Sedan
The 2012 Cadillac CTS sedan is a lot of fun to drive regardless of whether it is found in rear-wheel or optional all-wheel drive trim. The mid-size Cadillac CTS luxury car is roomy, nimble and comfortable and it can be outfitted with either a 3.0-liter or 3.6-liter V-6 engine, each of which is all-wheel drive-friendly from an available equipment perspective. The smaller mill generates 265 horsepower and 220 lb-ft of torque while the top of the line engine is good for 270 horses and 223 lb-ft of twist. A six-speed automatic is offered with all-wheel drive models, and fuel mileage for the two engines is nearly identical with the larger motor edging ahead thanks to a rating of 18-mpg city and 27-mpg highway.
03. 2012 Dodge Charger
The 2012 Dodge Charger is a full-size sedan that makes both its V-6 and V-8 engine choices available with all-wheel drive. The 3.6-liter Pentastar unit that comes standard with the Dodge Charger SXT puts out 292 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, managed by a five-speed transmission and delivering 18-mpg around town and 27-mpg on the highway. The Dodge Charger R/T's 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 maintains the same transmission and ups the power ante to 370 ponies and 395 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy for the more robust all-wheel drive Charger drops to 15-mpg city and 23-mpg highway.
04. 2012 Buick LaCrosse
The 2012 Buick LaCrosse courts near-luxury buyers with a mid-size sedan that is long on style and features. When ordered in V-6 trim, the Buick LaCrosse can also be equipped with an all-wheel drive system. The vehicle's 3.6-liter V-6 engine puts out an appreciable 303 horsepower and 264 lb-ft of torque, and a six-speed automatic transmission is charged with handling the sedan's gear shifting duties. Buick lists the all-wheel drive LaCrosse's fuel economy figures as 16-mpg in stop and go driving and 26-mpg on the highway, which is a paltry one mile per gallon drop for each respective measure when compared against the front-wheel drive model.
05. 2012 Lincoln MKZ
The 2012 Lincoln MKZ is a mid-size luxury sedan that prides itself on the high level of technological sophistication that is has to offer potential buyers, especially in terms of entertainment and safety equipment. The Lincoln MKZ's optional all-wheel drive system is part of this suite of safety gear, and it comes paired with a 263 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine. Also capable of generating 249 lb-ft of torque, this unit posts fuel economy of 17-mpg in city driving and 24-mpg on the highway, and a six-speed automatic transmission is included free of charge.
06. 2012 Subaru Legacy
The 2012 Subaru Legacy is another of the Japanese brand's respected all-wheel drive sedans. The Subaru Legacy has long made standard all-wheel drive a selling point, and the vehicles starts out with a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine under the hood that can be relied on to produce 170 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque while returning fuel mileage of 23-mpg in city driving and 31-mpg on the highway. The Legacy is also offered with a 3.6-liter, six-cylinder motor that provides 256 horses and 247 lb-ft of torque while dropping fuel mileage to 18-mpg city and 25-mpg highway. The entry-level Legacy drivetrain can be paired with either a six-speed manual or a continuously-variable automatic, while the six-cylinder comes exclusively with a five-speed autobox.
07. 2012 Chrysler 300
Like the Dodge Charger with which it shares its basic platform, the 2012 Chrysler 300 is capable of pairing optional all-wheel drive with each of its two main engine choices. The Chrysler 300's 3.6-liter V-6 offers 292 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, shifted via a five-speed automatic transmission that helps the full-size premium sedan see fuel economy figures of 18-mpg city and 27-mpg highway. The much more capable 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 found in the 300C and 300S delivers 363 horses and 394 lb-ft of torque while dropping fuel economy by three and four miles per gallon for each respective measure. A five-speed auto remains standard with the all-wheel drive, Hemi-powered Chrysler.
08. 2012 Suzuki Kizashi
The 2012 Suzuki Kizashi is a nimble mid-size family sedan that surprised a lot of people when it was first introduced a few short years ago. The Suzuki Kizashi makes all-wheel drive an option on most versions of the automobile, which is powered by a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that is good for 180 horses and 170 lb-ft of torque when paired with the vehicle's continuously-variable automatic transmission (a must for all-wheel drive variants). The Suzuki Kizashi posts fuel mileage of 22-mpg in stop and go driving and 29-mpg on the highway, which is impressive for an automobile of its size turning all four wheels.
09. 2012 Audi A4
The 2012 Audi A4 is proudly offered with optional quattro all-wheel drive, one of the systems that first introduced American consumers to the pleasures of four-wheel traction in a luxury sedan. The compact Audi A4 is motivated by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes use of a turbocharger to grind out 211 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Quattro-equipped models can be matched with either a six-speed manual transmission or an advanced eight-speed automatic gearbox, and fuel economy for the German vehicle checks in at 21-mpg around town and 31-mpg on the highway.
10. 2012 Ford Taurus SHO
The 2012 Ford Taurus SHO is the high performance edition of Ford's flagship full-size sedan. The Ford Taurus SHO comes standard with all-wheel drive and is notable for its use of an EcoBoost V-6 engine to deliver rapid acceleration and great passing power without sacrificing fuel economy. The 3.5-liter, twin-turbo six-cylinder unit is good for 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque, managed by a six-speed automatic transmission that features a manual shift option. The Taurus SHO also comes with bigger brakes and a number of other enhancements to help the big four-door car provide more than its share of driving thrills.