The best all-wheel drive sedans combine the best of both worlds: the comfort and nimble handling of a four-door automobile with the sure-footed four-wheel grip of an SUV. For anyone who doesn't need the mammoth cargo space offered by a sport-utility vehicle but who lives in an area where snowy, slippery roads are a yearly menace, an AWD sedan is often an appealing prospect.
We've put together this list of the best AWD sedans to help guide you towards some of the most intriguing models out there featuring four-wheel motivation. Let's take a quick look at each of these all-wheel drive sedans and see what they have to offer.
1) 2015 Subaru Impreza
The Subaru Impreza, treated to a subtle exterior refresh for 2015, is notable for being the only compact sedan on the market that features standard all-wheel drive. Not only that, but the Subaru Impreza also delivers class-competitive fuel economy when ordered with its optional continuously-variable automatic transmission. So configured, the 2.0-liter, 148 horsepower mill under the hood of the AWD sedan returns 27 mpg in city driving and 36 mpg on the highway. It's also possible to get a five-speed manual transmission with the affordable Subaru, but you'll pay a slight fuel mileage penalty for the pleasure of shifting the car yourself.
2) 2015 Audi A4
The 2015 Audi A4 is an entry-level luxury AWD sedan that has long traded on the equity embodied by its quattro all-wheel drive system. The Audi A4 has seen its drivetrain mix pared to a single contender: a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder the produces 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, and one has to check the right box on the options sheet to get all-wheel drive installed. Doing so introduces the choice between either a six-speed manual transmission (our pick), or a very smooth eight-speed automatic with sport mode. Fuel mileage for the Audi A4 with quattro is listed at 22 mpg around town and 32 mpg on the highway.
3) 2015 BMW 335i xDrive
The 2015 BMW 335i xDrive is an interesting entry on our list of the best AWD sedans because the all-wheel drive system installed underneath its chassis has been designed to preserve the rear-wheel drive character that makes the standard version of the four-door such a pleasure to drive. Although more power is nominally directed to the back wheels during normal driving, the BMW 335i xDrive can very quickly shift engine torque where it can do the most good should any of its wheels start to spin. And there's a lot of torque to move around, too - BMW conservatively rates the 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine that comes with the car at 300 horses and 300 lb-ft of twist. A six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic gearbox are offered with the AWD sedan, and fuel mileage shows as 20 mpg in the city for both transmissions. The manual gets 28 mpg on the highway; the automatic achieves 30 mpg.
4) 2015 Lexus IS 350 AWD
The 2015 Lexus IS 350 AWD can be thought of as the Japanese luxury brand's answer to its compact German sedan rivals. The Lexus IS 350 AWD might not be as dynamically interesting from the behind the wheel, but it offers competent handling, a comfortable ride, and superior reliability over the long term. The IS 350 AWD is also quite aggressive on the styling front after a recent redesign significantly sharpened its harder edges. Motivation for the Lexus comes from a 3.5-liter V6 engine that has been tuned to provide 306 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque, managed by a six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel mileage for the all-wheel sedan is listed at 19 mpg in stop and go driving and 26 mpg on the highway.
5) 2015 Infiniti Q50 3.7 AWD
The 2015 Infiniti Q50 3.7 AWD stands out as the most direct competitor to the BMW 3 Series to hail from Japan. With a chassis that has been honed to a sharper point than that found with its Lexus country-mate, the Infiniti Q50 3.7 AWD makes a solid effort to capture the attentions of sports sedan buyers, even going to far as to implement a complete steer-by-wire system. A 3.7-liter, 328 horsepower V6 is included free of charge with the sedan, and this unit can also generate a respectable 269 lb-ft of torque. As with all versions of the Q50, a seven-speed automatic is the only available transmission option, and fuel economy shows as 19 mpg around town and 27 mpg during highway cruising.
6) 2015 Chrysler 300
The 2015 Chrysler 300 adds all-wheel drive grip to the full-size domestic sedan mix, and it can be ordered with either its base 3.6-liter V-6 (up to 300 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque) or its available 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 (363 horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque). Chrysler claims the 3.6-liter’s fuel economy is best in class. All-wheel drive can of course be had with either model, and both get an eight-speed automatic transmission. For 2015, the 300 was treated to an exterior refresh focusing on the front and rear ends. This subtle update has an effect that’s both more aggressive, with a larger front grille, and more elegant, with a lower air dam and more modern lighting. The 2015 Chrysler 300 is completed with an interior refresh, as well, featuring a standard 7-inch full color infotainment screen.
7) 2015 Acura TLX SH-AWD
The 2015 Acura TLX is a new entry that takes the place of two outgoing models in the Acura lineup. The TLX was designed to appeal to fans of both the small TSX sedan as well as the midsize TL, and in terms of size, slots right between, carefully crafted to appeal to the entry-level luxury market. It’s powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, and equipped with the optional all-wheel drive, it’s still pretty quick and returns decent fuel economy (25 mpg combined) that ties the output of the front-wheel drive version. The interior of the new Acura TLX takes cues from more upscale models in the Acura lineup, providing a better experience than either of its predecessors.
8) 2015 Volvo S60 AWD
For the 2015 model year, the Volvo S60 AWD offers plenty of options, including a diverse lineup of powerful engines and a sophisticated, comfortable cabin. Though the S60’s entry-level models are front-wheel drive, Volvo’s all-wheel drive system is one of the brand’s biggest strengths and well worth the upcharge. The S60 AWD can be configured with a turbo five-cylinder or six-cylinder engine, both of which come paired to a six-speed automatic transmission that helps return solid fuel economy.
9) 2015 Cadillac XTS
Though the 2015 Cadillac XTS is on the heavier side of most of the vehicles on this list, that’s pretty typical of Cadillac. Like other models in the brand’s current lineup, performance is incidental to luxury, in part because all the upscale accoutrements of the luxury segment come at a cost in terms of weight. The Cadillac XTS comes powered by either a 3.6-liter V-6 that provides 304 ponies, or a twin-turbocharged version that yields 410 horsepower. A six-speed auto transmission is standard. All-wheel drive is a compelling option on the XTS; though it doesn’t optimize the sedan’s considerable available power, it turns the XTS into a capable, well-rounded luxury cruiser.
10) 2015 Ford Taurus SHO
The 2015 Ford Taurus SHO illustrates what can be achieved when applying a sports sedan philosophy to a full-size family car. The 2015 Ford Taurus SHO comes standard with all-wheel drive, which is key to harnessing the 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque that come screaming out of its twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine. A six-speed automatic transmission is the only gearbox available with the Taurus SHO, but it does feature the availability of the SHO Performance package, which allows drivers to turn off stability control as well as test the limits of track-ready brake pads (all on top of its already superior-to-stock suspension tuning). Fuel economy for the Ford sedan is measured as 17-mpg city and 25-mpg highway.