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Edmunds recommends the best all-wheel-drive SUV alternatives

You can find all-wheel drive on most new SUVs on sale today, and some of the most popular models even come standard with this feature.
This photo provided by Audi shows the 2024 S3. This sport sedan's standard all-wheel drive is beneficial for traction for winter weather driving as well as enthusiastic acceleration in drier conditions. (Audi AG via AP)

You can find all-wheel drive on most new SUVs on sale today, and some of the most popular models even come standard with this feature. All-wheel drive can be beneficial for the additional traction it provides on slippery or icy roads, especially when you’re trying to accelerate from a stop or up a hill. But what if you want all-wheel drive without the SUV? After all, SUVs are typically less fuel-efficient and more expensive than a comparably sized sedan or hatchback. Fortunately, there are options for shoppers seeking SUV alternatives with all-wheel drive. Edmunds’ experts have picked five of their favorites. The following prices include destination charges.


Of course, one of the main reasons you may be worried about not having an SUV is storage space. The Subaru Impreza is a nice alternative. Drop the rear seats in the Impreza and you’ll have 56 cubic feet of storage space to work with, which is about what a typical subcompact SUV offers. The Impreza is redesigned for 2024 and only comes as a hatchback. As is often the case with Subarus, all-wheel drive comes standard across the Impreza lineup. Look to get the RS trim if you can as it comes with a more powerful engine and a sport-tuned suspension that puts some welcome pep in this little Subaru’s step.

Starting manufacturer suggested retail price: $24,115


The Toyota Sienna minivan is a great SUV alternative if you’ve got lots to haul. First off, it actually holds more than most other SUVs, and that’s the case for both people and cargo. It seats up to eight people and can hold a substantial 75.2 cubic feet of cargo if you fold down the third row of seats. The Sienna is also a hybrid, getting an EPA-estimated 35 mpg in combined city/highway driving if you pick all-wheel drive. You can get all-wheel drive on an entry-level Sienna but Edmunds recommends the slightly pricier Sienna XLE. The XLE trim adds in some comfort and convenience features that are well worth the money, including a sunroof, a power-adjustable driver’s seat and standard second-row captain’s chairs.

Sienna LE with all-wheel drive MSRP: $40,580


Unlike the Impreza or Sienna, the Kia K5 is not going to compete with an SUV for utility. But you will get a midsize sedan that’s comfortable, quiet and well equipped with features. You also get the best warranty on this list with Kia’s 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty. Make sure to get the GT-Line trim. Besides being the only K5 trim level that offers all-wheel drive, it’s an excellent all-around value. Standard features include heated front seats, an upgraded center touchscreen and a wireless phone charger.

GT-Line with all-wheel drive MSRP: $29,615


The Model 3 has been the lowest-priced option in the automaker’s lineup since its debut and it continues to be a great choice for an EV. The latest Model 3 Long Range comes with dual electric motors — one for the front wheels and one for rear wheels — to give it all-wheel drive. It also has an impressive EPA-estimated 333 miles of range on a single charge. Other upsides to the Model 3 include roomy seating, helpful driver assistance features and access to Tesla’s Supercharger stations, which is the most extensive network of fast chargers in the nation.

Model 3 Long Range MSRP: $47,380


SUVs often fall short in another area: being fun to drive. For the same money as a nicely equipped SUV, Audi will sell you the S3. This compact sedan is the sporty version of the regular A3. It packs a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 305 horsepower, a quick-shifting transmission, nimble handling and standard all-wheel drive. Pick the midlevel Premium Plus trim and you’ll have a nicely equipped luxury sedan thanks to leather upholstery, heated front seats, traffic-adaptive cruise control and a lane centering assist system. Summer-rated tires come standard on the S3 but you can order all-seasons as a no-cost option.

S3 starting MSRP: $48,095


If an SUV isn’t the best for your lifestyle or budget, there are still plenty of all-wheel-drive options out there. On vehicles that don’t come standard with all-wheel drive, make sure that the specific vehicle you’re interested in lists it on its window sticker.


This story was provided to The Associated Press by the automotive website Edmunds.

Chase Bierenkoven is a contributor at Edmunds and is on Twitter

Chase Bierenkoven, The Associated Press