9 Top All-Wheel Drive Sedans

source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pedrosz/

Autotrader.com is more than just a marketplace for used vehicles as it also possesses a wealth of knowledge and research for those shopping around for a new car, but are unsure of what it is they are looking for exactly.

By presenting lists of vehicles that fall within certain criteria (for example, ‘sedans sporting all-wheel drive’), it allows the less-familiar buyer a chance to cross-shop and compare vehicles that they may not have even known would work for them.

In this case, some folks might be looking for a vehicle that’s smaller than the typical SUV (or even crossover), but still offers all-wheel drive for sub-par weather conditions, or the superior traction that the systems provide. All-wheel drive (or AWD) sedans will often offer better fuel economy than SUVs, too. Here’s Autotrader’s list of their all-wheel drive best bets for sedans. The following are ranked alphabetically.

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1. Audi A4

The Audi takes the company’s famed Quattro AWD system and plugs it into one of Audi’s entry-level vehicles, the popular A4, which starts out at a shade under $35,000 with the AWD system, making it one of the more accessible luxury cars on the road today. “That price buys a 220-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, leather seats, automatic climate control, and an infotainment system that boasts satellite radio and iPod integration,” Autotrader adds, while “drivers also can choose between a standard 6-speed manual and a fuel-saving 8-speed automatic.”

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2. BMW 3 Series

Like the Audi, the BMW 3 Series is the German-based company’s near-entry level model, which comes with the option of BMW’s xDrive AWD system. While the base 3 Series starts on par with the Audi, it too can see its price soar to nearly $50,000 as options are added. Autotrader’s advice? “Try them all and see which one better suits your needs — and your budget.”

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3. Chrysler 300

“Among drivers in cold climates, it’s also known as one of the few full-size sedans that offer an all-wheel drive system — something that rivals from Chevrolet and Toyota can’t claim,” Autotrader observes. However, if you are opting for the high-end SRT8 trim, that’s the one model that won’t come with the AWD system. For the other models, it will cost “typically around $2,500 depending on the 300 trim, and you can choose between the highly praised 300-hp Pentastar V6 (starting around $36,000) or the muscular 363-hp HEMI V8 (from $39,500).”

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4. Ford Fusion

While the Audi, BMW, and Chrysler are all on the higher-end of the sedan class, the Ford (NYSE:F) Fusion brings its AWD option to the more average spending range for the American consumer — but not by a whole lot, as there are some caveats. ”The Fusion is among the few midsize sedans on the market that offer [AWD]. The only catch: If you want it, you can’t get a 47-mpg Fusion Hybrid. And you have to step up to the Fusion Titanium, which starts around $31,000 — or $33,000 with the all-wheel-drive option.”

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5. Ford Taurus

Size-wise, the Ford Taurus is more on par with the Chrysler 300, and like the Chrysler, it’s one of the few full-sizers that can be garnished with an AWD system. “It’s optional on the SEL ($30,000 with shipping) and upscale Limited ($35,000) models, and it’s standard on the high-performance Taurus SHO ($41,000),” Autotrader notes, though pointing out that it would not be available with the four-cylinder EcoBoost unit.

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6. Infiniti Q50

New for 2014, the Infiniti Q50 puts a sleek, graceful new face on Infiniti’s new flagship sedan. Fortunately, the option for AWD was left in place, as it was found in its G37 predecessor. At a premium of $1,800, Infiniti’s four-wheeled system is largely more affordable than many of its rival systems. “A base-level Q50 with this system starts around $39,000. That’s far less than a BMW 335i with xDrive, even though the Q50′s horsepower — and equipment — roughly matches the 335i’s levels.”

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7. Subaru Impreza

When it comes to AWD, no brand has it down quite as effectively as Subaru. Better yet, the system isn’t optional on Subaru’s cars — all models, save for the BRZ, carry AWD as standard equipment. The Impreza is one of the small few compact sedans that boasts the ability to run on all fours.

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8. Subaru Legacy

The Impreza’s larger sibling, the Subaru Legacy, joins the Ford Fusion as one of the few midsize sedans that offers AWD, and one of the fewer still that provides it as standard equipment. “That means drivers can get a brand-new midsize sedan with it for just $21,000 — far less than the all-wheel-drive Ford Fusion,” Autotrader points out. ”The Legacy’s standard engine is a 173-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, while a powerful 256-hp 3.6-liter 6-cylinder is optional.”

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9. Volvo S60

The Volvo S60 starts at around $33,000, but $2,000 later, can be outfitted with an AWD system. However, “those who opt for the muscular S60 T6, which boasts an impressive 300-hp turbocharged 6-cylinder, get the system as standard in the model’s $40,000 purchase price.” Autotrader also adds that, since it is in fact a Volvo, it comes with a generous menu of safety features and options.

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