A list of 2012’s most fuel-efficient 4WD vehicles? It’s not quite as short as you might think, since strong fuel-economy numbers and four-wheel drive are no longer mutually incompatible in today’s vehicles. As a result, savvy shoppers have a number of well-sorted alternatives when they want both the peace of mind that comes with AWD and the cost savings that come with passing by the pumps, and Autobytel can help pick the best options for a variety of lifestyles. Ranging from a full-size pickup to a premium sport sedan, here’s our Fast Five roster of some of the most fuel-efficient AWD vehicles of 2012.
Skyactiv technologies mean (relatively) sky-high fuel-economy numbers for the new Mazda CX-5 crossover, even when all four wheels are providing the power. The all-wheel-drive CX-5 starts at $23,345 and can achieve EPA ratings of up to 25 mpg city/31 mpg highway/28 mpg combined with a six-speed automatic transmission and Mazda’s Active Torque Split All-Wheel-Drive. The system relies on multiple vehicle sensors to evaluate road conditions, then sends the torque where it’s needed most to provide optimum handling. And don’t forget, in addition to being on the 2012 list of most fuel-efficient AWD vehicles, the Mazda CX-5 also earned Autobytel’s 2012 Crossover of the Year award.
Any list of the most fuel-efficient AWD vehicle for 2012 must include the Subaru Impreza—literally THE most fuel-efficient gas-only AWD vehicle of 2012. Completely redesigned for the current model year, the Impreza posts an EPA line of 27 mpg city/36 mpg highway/30 mpg combined, thanks to an all-new boxer-style I4 engine, an equally fresh Lineartronic continuously variable transmission and Subaru’s signature Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. As opposed to AWD systems from many of its rivals, Subaru’s setup is a dedicated system, not one merely adapted from a traditional front-wheel-drive foundation. The Impreza is available in both sedan and five-door hatchback body styles, with prices starting from $17,495.
GM still sells almost two hundred of its hybrid full-size trucks each month, and considering that they offer some 23.5 percent better fuel economy than gas-powered models with similarly sized engines, Autobytel has added the GMC Sierra Hybrid to its list of most fuel-efficient AWD vehicles for 2012. Along with a hybrid propulsion unit, the powerful pickup showcases a 6.0-liter V8 that produces 332 hp, 367 lb.-ft. of torque, a maximum tow rating of 5,900 lbs., payload capacity of 1,509 lbs., and EPA marks of 20 mpg city/23 mpg highway/21 mpg combined. Admittedly, it takes a fair amount of green to go green with the Sierra, which wears a price tag of $44,205 in its four-wheel-drive configuration.
Not only is the MINI Countryman S ALL4 among 2012’s most fuel-efficient AWD vehicles, it’s also among 2012’s most fun-to-drive vehicles of any kind. The little car packs a big punch, thanks to a turbocharged 1.6-liter I4 engine that uses 181 hp and 177 lb.-ft. of torque to motivate just 3,208 lbs. worth of MINI. Further, it does the job while also ringing up EPA ratings of 25 mpg city/31 mpg highway/28 mpg combined. MINI also mixes in a high-performance suspension, a Sport driving mode that improves the Countryman’s reflexes with one touch of a button, the ALL4 all-wheel-drive system, and an MSRP that starts at $27,750.
To spread the love equally among Autobytel’s list of most fuel-efficient AWD vehicles of 2012, the Audi A4 quattro earns the larger-sedan slot ahead of another Subie, the Subaru Legacy. The Legacy posts slightly better EPA ratings of 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway/26 mpg combined, as opposed to the A4’s 21/31/25, but the “Technik” behind Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system is more than a match for its Subaru rival. Also, the A4 ‘s turbocharged I4 delivers significantly more power than the Legacy’s base engine, making 208 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque; the Subaru gets by on 170 of each. The MSRP of the 2012 Audi A4 quattro starts at $33,300.