Buying Guides

2017 Best All-Wheel Drive Sedans

Four wheel traction isn't just for SUVs and pickups

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

It used to be the case that if you wanted all-wheel drive, you had to get a Jeep, a Suburban, a Toyota 4Runner, or an AMC Eagle. Those were the choices decades ago, but now you can get some seriously great sedans with all-wheel drive traction, so you can have your cake and eat it, too. You don't have to buy a high-riding crossover or SUV to benefit from four driven wheels. Here are some of the best all-wheel drive sedans for 2017. All of them are worthy of consideration, and you can give the proverbial finger to old man winter.

2017 Ford Fusion Sport

Best

for the lead-footed

  • PROS: Handsome exterior changes freshen up the model, spacious interior for all occupants, class-leading power, great ride, all-wheel drive comes standard on the Sport model, excellent Sync 3 infotainment system.
  • CONS: Dark and monochromatic interior looks dull, unforgiveable panel gaps.

For 2017, Ford blessed the world with a high-performance Fusion that improves upon the already great-driving family sedan. It adds a whopping 325 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque for serious performance. The all-wheel drive system makes the car faster, more tractable, and a true four-seasons sporty family sedan that moms and dads don't have to compromise on in terms of driving fun.

2017 Genesis G80 3.8 AWD

Best

for the new exec

  • PROS: Upscale looks inside and out, roomy interior with excellent ergonomics, top-notch safety scores, quiet at highway speeds, nothing in this segment gives you more for the money.
  • CONS: Firm ride for a luxury sedan, some derivative styling elements.

The former Hyundai Genesis is now the Genesis G80, and it shows how far the Korean automaker has come. You get a host of standard features including adaptive cruise control, heated seats, power liftgate, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Now, with available AWD, the G80 is truly a high-traction, high-brow car that won't break the bank.

2017 Lexus IS 350 F Sport AWD

Best

for the track-lover

  • PROS: Precise steering bests the Germans, capable handling, premium fit and finish inside, potent and smooth engine, F Sport trim adds visual aggression.
  • CONS: Frustrating infotainment system, small trunk, polarizing style.

The current generation IS sedan is the one that made the Germans nervous. It drives far better than its predecessor and made Lexus into a bonafide sports sedan manufacturer. Its top trim model gets 306 horsepower from its sonorous naturally-aspirated V6 engine and routes it to all four wheels. The well-crafted interior leans toward contemporary, but it all looks great, aside from the dated infotainment system.

2017 Audi A6 Premium Plus 3.0 TFSI quattro

 
  • PROS: Sporty and refined ride together in one package, beautifully designed inside and out, powerful engine with solid efficiency, great driving dynamics.
  • CONS: Tech can be a bit too complicated, back seat is a bit cramped for this segment.

The Audi A6 is a testament to how to build a great car. It's held more than its own, and the car hasn't been redesigned in five years. Now, infused with more sophisticated interior tech, it's pretty impressive though a bit complicated to use. Its design and driving dynamics, along with quattro all-wheel drive, are its strong points, and the car is still one of the best in the mid-size luxury segment.

2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription

 
  • PROS: One of the best infotainment systems in existence, unique looks diverge from the Germans, truly stunning interior, magnificent front seats, smooth ride.
  • CONS: Overly heavy steering, rear end isn't as attractive as the rest of the car, drive mode selector looks gorgeous but is hard to operate, ride is compromised with larger wheels.

Volvo truly redefined its flagship sedan in a big way and started truly fresh with the S90. It doesn't look like any other luxury sedan inside or out, and that's a good thing. Its top trim model gets both turbo and supercharging its 4-cylinder engine for 316 horses to all four wheels that move the car with authority. The interior is one of the best we've ever seen or sat in, and anyone who wants to steer away from the German big three will feel truly special behind the wheel.

2017 Cadillac CTS Premium Luxury AWD

 
  • PROS: Robust 336 hp V6 engine, quiet ride, one of the best driving sedans made today, well-crafted interior with rich materials.
  • CONS: CUE infotainment system is hard to use, small back seat and trunk compared to competitors, rear styling on the boring side.

It's too bad the CTS doesn't get more love in terms of sales. It's one of the best cars to drive in the mid-size sedan segment, if not the very best. The American flavor has clearly had some European influences, and the result is a light and athletic luxury sedan with sporting intentions. The all-wheel drive feature adds surefootedness the rear-wheel drive version can't. The interior is premium but distinctly American, and if you can get past the infotainment system, you'll be rewarded with one seriously good car.

2017 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited

 
  • PROS: Truly roomy interior with attractive materials, all-wheel drive is standard on all trim levels, interior tech works very well, optional EyeSight accident avoidance tech suit is excellent.
  • CONS: Numb CVT at lower speeds, top trim engine is still on the slow side, styling is a bit vanilla.

Regardless of which Legacy trim you choose, you get their excellent Symmetrical All-Wheel drive, where some carmakers don't even offer it as optional equipment. Then you step inside and are treated to a truly nice interior with great infotainment. Tack on the EyeSight package, and you get yourself adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist with sway warning, pre-collision braking, and pre-collision throttle management.

Why choose an all-wheel drive sedan?

  • It provides much better traction than front- or rear-wheel drive cars for ideal four-seasons capability.
  • It's not reserved for taller-driving vehicles.
  • The cost increase is often marginal, and sometimes the feature comes standard.
  • It doesn't affect gas mileage as much as you'd think.
  • Driving dynamics are typically far better than crossovers.

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