Fuel prices might be hovering near record lows, but that's no reason to run out and buy a gas guzzler. Yet, automakers have made so much progress toward designing more efficient cars that it's easier to get an all-around performer without compromise. To wit, check out 10 of the best new vehicles for 2016 that provide good fuel economy with the benefits of all-wheel drive. We focused on sedans, coupes and hatchbacks that deliver competitive fuel economy from their gasoline engines. That's right -- no hybrids to be found on this list, and no SUVs or crossovers, either. All of these cars achieve EPA ratings of at least 21 mpg in city driving and at least 30 mpg on the highway (and ad you'll see, some get quite a bit more).
10 of the Most Fuel Efficient AWD Cars for 2016
Photo Credit: Acura
10) 2016 Acura TLX
The most efficient versions of the 2016 Acura TLX are those configured for front-wheel drive, but that'll be a common theme with this list. The Acura TLX is a premium midsize sedan with seating for five, and was new for the 2015 model year. Thus, everything about the TLX still looks and feels fresh and new. The Acura's all-wheel drive system comes paired only with the optional engine, a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission is the only available gearbox with this powertrain, and provides smooth shifts that make the most of the V6's output. When the 2016 Acura TLX is configured as such, it's rated for 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, which is a sacrifice of just a few highway miles from the front-wheel drive version of the car.
Photo Credit: Cadillac Media
9) 2016 Cadillac ATS
The 2016 Cadillac ATS is a small luxury car that comes in a confusing array of options, but if you're dedicated to all-wheel drive, here's what you need to know. The stylish and comfortable Cadillac ATS comes in both sedan and coupe forms, with the former seating five and the latter seating four. Both body styles of the ATS offer all-wheel drive paired with two engines. There's a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 272 horsepower and 292 lb-ft of torque, with EPA estimates of 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. A 3.6-liter V-6 boosts horsepower and torque to 335 and 285, respectively, but fuel economy drops to 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Both come with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
8) 2016 Ford Fusion
The 2016 Ford Fusion is a midsize sedan with seating for five. The Fusion is one of the few sedans on the market that offers all-wheel drive at its price point, although actually getting it requires stepping up to the more expensive SE or Titanium trim levels and ordering the top-of-the-line engine, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 231 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. The included six-speed automatic transmission can be ordered with paddle shifters for a better driving experience. When ordered thusly, the all-wheel drive 2016 Ford Fusion is rated for fuel economy of 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. These EPA estimates are not the highest on this list, but it's worth noting that they're not too far off the base Fusion's specs. The Ford Fusion has no major changes for the 2016 model year.
Photo Credit: Volkswagen of America
7) 2016 Volkswagen Golf R
2016 might be a rough year for Volkswagen, but the brand's gasoline-powered offerings perform as strong as ever. Take the 2016 Volkswagen Golf R, a sport-tuned version of the quintessential hot hatch. The Golf R is based on the four-door version of the car, with a few exclusive touches to give it a more athletic look. Even better, the Golf R makes 292 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque thanks to its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which comes paired to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automated manual transmission. And, the best part yet, the Golf R comes standard with all-wheel drive. Fuel economy estimates for the 2016 VW Golf R are modest at 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, but strict gas misers can always opt for the regular Golf, as they've been doing for decades.
Photo Credit: Mitsubishi Motors North America
6) 2016 Mitsubishi Lancer
Mitsubishi fans might still be sore that the brand discontinued its cult classic Lancer Evolution performance sedan last year, but at least for now, the more mainstream model of the Lancer is still available with all-wheel drive. The 2016 Mitsubishi Lancer, a compact five-passenger sedan, offers a couple different engines, but only the 2.4-liter four-cylinder option can be configured to send power to all four corners. Both a five-speed manual transmission and a continuously variable transmission are available, and the setup produces 168 horsepower and 167 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy falls a little short of some of the other vehicles in the class, with estimates of 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, although the 2016 Mitsubsihi Lancer's price point is attractive compared to the competition.
5) 2016 BMW 228i xDrive
The 2016 BMW 228i xDrive coupe is one of the most accessible (in other words, affordable) cars in the brand's lineup, offering a sporty ride for four passengers. As the entry point to the 2 Series family, the 228i comes powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 240 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic transmission are available. Those familiar with the brand's nomenclature know that the xDrive signifies that the model is all-wheel drive. Other 2 Series models offer all-wheel drive, but the 228i trim represents the best price point and fuel economy, with estimates of up to 23 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. Bonus: the convertible version of the 2016 BMW 228i xDrive is one of the two drop-top all-wheel drive vehicles on this list.
Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz
4) 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4MATIC
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is a compact luxury four-door coupe that offers upscale yet cozy seating for five passengers. All-wheel drive is available throughout the CLA-Class lineup, but the best fuel economy comes from the CLA250 4MATIC trim level. The CLA250 4MATIC (4MATIC is the brand's all-wheel drive system) comes powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, which is plenty to keep up with the competition. Power is managed through a seven-speed automated manual transmission. This configuration earns fuel economy of 24 mpg city and 33 mpg highway, which is competitive for an all-wheel drive luxury car. Buyers with deep pockets can consider the performance version of the CLA-Class, the AMG CLA45 4MATIC, which makes 355 horsepower but sacrifices just a few mpg per measure.
Photo Credit: Audi Media Services
3) 2016 Audi A3
Were you waiting for the other 2016 all-wheel drive convertible? Here it is; they're one of Audi's specialties. Actually, the 2016 Audi A3 comes as both a sedan and a convertible, with the former seating five and the latter seating four. This lineup of compact luxury cars comes in an array of configurations, but for the best fuel economy, focus on finding an A3 with the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Paired to a six-speed automated manual transmission, this configuration makes 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, while achieving fuel economy of up to 24 mpg city and 33 mpg highway in sedan form. The drop-top version of the 2016 Audi A3 sacrifices a little bit of fuel efficiency due to its extra weight and wind resistance, but makes up for it in obvious other ways.
Photo Credit: MINI
2) 2016 MINI Cooper Paceman
The 2016 MINI Cooper Paceman is a subcompact hatchback that provides stylish and sporty accommodations for four passengers. Though the Paceman features an affordable base price for a premium subcompact, obtaining an all-wheel drive version requires shelling out quite a bit more for one of the two top trim levels. The Cooper S ALL4 features a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 181 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. The John Cooper Works ALL4 model uses a tuned version of that same engine to produce 208 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. Both versions of the 2016 MINI Cooper Paceman feature a six-speed manual transmission, and both feature the same EPA fuel economy ratings of 25 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.
Photo Credit: Subaru Media
1) 2016 Subaru Impreza
The 2016 Subaru Impreza is an affordable compact car that offers comfortable and spacious accommodations for five, whether the sedan or hatchback body style is preferred. And, as long as the Impreza is ordered with the optional continuously variable transmission, both body styles achieve fuel economy of 28 mpg city, 37 mpg highway. That's pretty good compared to the competition in the compact car arena, especially considering the Impreza is generally ranked against classmates that put power only to the front wheels (which, in theory, should be much more efficient). Subaru's all-wheel drive system, which comes standard on every Impreza, has long been considered an industry standout, and the 2016 Impreza's 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine produces 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. The Subaru Impreza has seen few changes since this generation made its debut in 2012.