All-wheel drive is seen as a free pass to go wherever you please, and while it may not present you with quite as much freedom as a 4×4 drivetrain, it’s still a big step up from 2WD. Most AWD systems are activated only when the car’s systems detect that the non-dominant wheels are lacking traction. This improves handling when the road is slippery with snow or mud, and it does allow cars with enough ground clearance to at least attempt a bit of all-terrain adventuring. But that’s not the only benefit of this technology.
What are the Best All Wheel Drive Cars
Here are three of the best AWD vehicles available in the USA that show how versatile this technology is.
1. Chrysler Pacifica
While minivans may have lost some of their appeal in the face of equally practical SUVs and crossovers that boast more attractive facades, they still have a lot to offer. The Pacifica is one of the last remaining defenders of this body style, but it makes a very compelling case.
Hailing from a premium brand, it has a quiet confidence that extends to its high-quality interior. Inside, there is a decent amount of space, especially when it comes to cargo capacity. That said, the rear seats aren’t as accommodating as one would prefer in the family-focused segment. Where it can’t be faulted, though, is safety. This is also where the AWD plays a pivotal role.
Along with its naturally sturdy construction, the Pacifica plays host to a wide range of advanced driver-assistance features. The all-wheel-drive system kicks in when the rear wheels need some extra grip in low-traction situations to ensure that the long-bodied car remains stable even in rain or snow. Combined with available comforts like heated front and rear seats, this makes the minivan perfect for families in colder states.
2. Porsche Taycan
Since it is an EV, the Taycan benefits from a new kind of AWD that relies on having an electric motor dedicated to each axle. This means that its impressive 482 horsepower is available to all four wheels all the time. The Turbo models get up to 750 hp and 774 lb-ft of torque. This means the 0-60 mph sprint varies from 3.8 to 2.6 seconds on the AWD models.
That kind of speed can be intimidating, but the even split of power ensures that every wheel has all the traction it needs to keep this sporty sedan grounded. Even as an EV, the Taycan delivers on Porsche’s promise of an unrivaled driving experience. Of course, it also comes at the kind of MSRP you’d expect from the brand.
For your money, you get an elegant and high-tech performance sedan, but it may feel a bit more like a coupe on the inside. The back seat is a little cramped, and while the doors open nice and wide, the low roof may have taller passengers ducking to enter. Luckily, the small trunk is complemented by a bit of extra space in the front where the engine would normally be.
3. Subaru Outback
If you actually do want an AWD vehicle that can genuinely handle some off-roading, then the Subaru Outback is one of your best bets. This is largely thanks to a decent ground clearance of 9.5 inches. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Subaru has one of the best AWD systems in the world, either.
The Outback handles very well for an SUV, and the rigid body offers both a comfortable ride on the road and improved safety in the event of a crash. However, the continuously variable transmission and base engine don’t do it any favors. For this reason, one of the higher trims is preferable, which does undermine its appeal as a low-price off-road SUV.
In terms of value, it presents buyers with a lot of space inside and a decent cargo hold. It also comes inclusive with a respectable amount of tech. Due to its more wagon-like construction, the Outback doesn’t have the headroom of its competitors.