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Summary
  • Both new and used all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles are great for those living in icy climates.
  • Second-generation Ford Fusions, fifth-generation Honda CR-Vs, second-generation Mazda CX-5s, fifth-generation Subaru Outbacks, third-generation Toyota Highlanders, third-generation Subaru Imprezas, and fifth-generation Buick Enclaves are some of the most reliable used AWD cars you can buy.
  • Keep in mind that these vehicles’ reliability will depend on how well drivers can stay on top of maintenance tasks.

All-wheel drive or AWD vehicles provide better traction on wet or icy roads, so they’re perfect for people who live in icy climates. While they’re not as good as four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles at off-road performance, AWD cars can certainly stand up to the occasional off-road outing.

Whether you’re looking for an affordable winter beater or daily driver, getting a used AWD vehicle is a great choice, considering the prices of newer cars today. 

If you’re on the market for used AWD cars, our top seven most reliable vehicles below are some of the best options available.

7 Reliable All-wheel Drive Cars and SUVs

Purchasing a pre-owned car from dealerships is a great way to find used AWD cars in great condition. These vehicles undergo strict inspections and are repaired with factory parts, so you can be sure that they’re in great shape. Dealerships also give great warranties on used vehicles, which is a plus in our books. 

Aside from the dealership, you can also purchase used AWD vehicles from private sellers and independent car lots. It depends on which location is the most convenient and budget-friendly for you. 

Now let’s take a look at some of the most reliable all-wheel drive cars and SUVs that you can buy pre-owned:

2020 ford fusion
Ford Fusions have strong four-cylinder and V6 engine options that can handle daily driving with ease. They’re also known for their spacious cabins, which make them reliable family cars.

Second-Generation Ford Fusion (2013-2020)

Sedans with all-wheel drive options, like the Nissan Altima and the Toyota Camry, became widely available only recently, but the Ford Fusion has been offering this option for longer than either of these rides.

Fusions have strong four-cylinder and V6 engine options that can handle daily driving with ease. They’re also known for their spacious cabins, which make them reliable family cars. Ford Fusions also have great tech features for their price. The 2015-2019 model years are great deals if you don’t want to break the bank.

2020 honda cr v
If you need an AWD ride with more passenger and cargo space than a midsize car, a compact SUV like the Honda CR-V is always a great choice.

Fifth-Generation Honda CR-V (2017-2020)

If you need an AWD ride with more passenger and cargo space than a midsize car, a compact SUV like the Honda CR-V is always a great choice. This model delivers both style and practicality. Like other compact SUVs, they’re known for their versatility and spacious interiors.

In fact, the Honda CR-V has one of the roomiest cabins and cargo for its class. Whether you’re driving with friends or going on a long-haul trip, you can rely on the CR-V. This SUV also has an established reputation for safety and reliability, so you can rest easy knowing you’re in good hands. You can get great deals if you look for used 2017-2019 CR-V models.

2017 mazda cx 5
The Mazda CX-5 has a high-end look and feel, plus it’s actually affordable.

Second-Generation Mazda CX-5 (2017-Present)

The Mazda CX-5 is a reliable compact crossover SUV with an all-wheel drive option. This SUV is well-loved for its high-end look and feel. But despite its premium look, the CX-5 is actually affordable, making it a crowd favorite. 

 In terms of handling, the Mazda CX-5 is fun to drive. Not only will you enjoy its well-balanced chassis, but you’ll also love its comfortable interiors. If you want the CX-5’s modern look at a great price, choose 2017-2019 models.

2018 subaru outback
The Subaru Outback has great off-road capability and high ground clearance.

Fifth-Generation Subaru Outback (2015-2019)

If you’re going for a more athletic and outdoor look, the Subaru Outback may be for you. All-wheel drive is standard for every trim, so you can find one that suits your wants and needs. 

The Subaru Outback has great off-road capability and high ground clearance, which makes this hatchback a great companion for tough roads. The Outback has very generous cargo space and comfortable seating, so you don’t have to worry about being uncomfortable during long-haul drives.

2017 toyota highlander
The Toyota Highlander is an excellent family SUV, even if the all-wheel-drive option is only available for V6-equipped models.

Third-Generation Toyota Highlander (2014-2019)

The Toyota Highlander is an excellent family SUV, even if the all-wheel-drive option is only available for V6-equipped models. This three-row midsize crossover SUV is a practical alternative to minivans. It also comes with a host of family-friendly features, such as extra storage compartments and cup holders.

The Highlander comes with a decent 187-horsepower 2.7 liter four-cylinder engine option as well as a beefier 270-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine option. This model consistently has excellent safety scores and surprisingly has great fuel economy for an SUV.  

2011 subaru impreza
The Subaru Impreza is a compact car known for its reliability, efficiency, and practicality. Image source: harry_nl | Flicker

Third-Generation Subaru Impreza (2008-2014)

The Subaru Impreza is a compact car known for its reliability, efficiency, and practicality. As far as all-wheel drive cars go, this model sets the standard. The Impreza is spacious for its size and is available in both sedan and hatchback styles.

In terms of handling, the Subaru Impreza is a smooth ride. While this car doesn’t have a powerful engine, it has excellent fuel economy and is a practical choice if you’re looking for a four-season daily driver. 

2015 buick enclave
The Buick Enclave offers a comfortable and quiet ride with smooth handling, and is agile for a vehicle of its size

First-Generation Buick Enclave (2008-2017)

Buick Enclaves are seven-seater luxury midsize crossovers that are known for their spacious third-row seating. People love them for their extra legroom. Not only that, Enclave interiors are well-designed and have a lot of user-friendly tech features. 

The Buick Enclave also has a powerful V6 engine. This ride is comfortable and quiet and its handling is smooth and agile for a vehicle of its size. Overall, the Enclave is a great AWD SUV for daily drives. 

Older Cars Need Special Care

While it’s tempting to go out and buy a used AWD car right now after reading about all the great models above, remember that some of them are over 10 years old. Even if these vehicles are reliable, it’s good to remember that many older vehicles need special care and attention to stay on the road.

Also, due to their age, some of the vehicles listed above may need to have certain parts replaced. Failing to do so may cause even bigger problems and lead to bigger repair bills. If you’re unsure when a specific part has been replaced, you may need to fix it as soon as possible. 

All-wheel drive vehicles are certainly very useful and convenient for many. Buying used ones can save you a lot of money. But remember that these vehicles may not be for everyone. Though if you decide to go for it, you can rest assured that these used AWD vehicles are worth every penny.

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Automotive Features Reviewer at CarParts.com

Lisa Conant grew up in Canada around a solid contingency of gear heads and DIY motor enthusiasts. She is an eclectic writer with a varied repertoire in the automotive industry, including research pieces with a focus on daily drivers and recreational vehicles. Lisa has written for Car Bibles and The Drive.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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