By the numbers, Canadian shoppers after new vehicles are, more often than ever, after new vehicles that come equipped with all-wheel drive (AWD).
And why not?
Not only does AWD make for a more confident winter commute and add peace of mind to travels all year round, but today’s AWD systems operate smarter, faster and with less compromise than ever.
In the vast majority of modern vehicles, AWD requires no driver input or decision making and poses minimal compromise to fuel efficiency.
Below, we’ll have a look at some of the markets most affordable AWD options available for under $30,000.
The Subaru Impreza is about as affordable as an AWD-equipped car gets and Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system is standard on all models. Impreza starts around $20,000.
Look for manual or automatic CVT transmissions, four-door sedan or five-door hatchback body styles and no fewer than 12 models and equipment levels/trim grades to dial up selection.
If you’re after a new small car with AWD included as standard, the Impreza is a worthy choice. All models run a two-litre, 152-horsepower engine and come backed by the some of the highest safety ratings in the industry.
As the market’s go-to AWD brand, Subaru also offers numerous versions of their WRX sports car, Legacy family sedan, and utility vehicle models like the Outback, Forester and Crosstrek with standard AWD for under $30,000 as well.
The latest-generation Jeep Compass is more stylish, high-tech and comfortable than ever and boasts pleasant on-road manners, higher-than-average off-road capability and nothing less than the market’s latest in infotainment, safety and convenience features.
There’s no shortage of selection and accessories to fine-tune the Compass to any need, budget, taste or lifestyle and a nicely-equipped, high-value Compass Sport 4x4 can be had from about $27,000 with manual transmission, or just under $29,000 with a fuel-saving nine-speed automatic.
Look for an impressive standard features list, seven standard airbags, and more.
With pricing from $23,000 with AWD, Hyundai’s smallest crossover is one of the most striking lookers in the segment. Compact, agile and sporty, it offers up two engine choices, including a feisty 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder.
Advanced safety features including collision warning and blind spot monitoring team up with upscale feature content including a heated steering wheel and leather seating on select models for a package that delivers plenty of choice and the market’s latest in-demand features and tech. Consider this one if you’re after a small crossover that makes a big visual statement at a reasonable price.
With pricing from $25,400 with AWD included, the Honda HR-V takes a place as the popular CR-V’s little brother in the product lineup.
A compact crossover designed to excel in small spaces, this flexible, roomy, manoeuvrable and fuel-efficient crossover features a unique design, plenty of on-board storage and one of the most flexible interiors in the game.
Standard features in the $25,400 LX-AWD model include the Honda Sensing suite of safety technologies, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, remote entry and heated seats.
Where manoeuvrability, confidence, fuel efficiency and compact flexibility are priorities, the AWD-equipped Honda HR-V is worth a closer look.
You might be surprised to see this one on our list, and so were we. For model-year 2019, the all-new Nissan Altima has one major change that stands out like sore thumb: It comes standard for the first time with AWD on all models sold in Canada.
Pricing from $28,000 on this just-launched latest version of Nissan’s elemental family sedan includes an intelligent AWD system with an enhanced new 2.5-litre engine.
This modern AWD system can send up to 50 per cent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels in milliseconds and comes fully integrated with other assist systems for seamless traction and control.
A new look, newly available safety features and a great new cabin are on offer, though Altima’s newly available and standard AWD system are sure to shake things up in the market. Units are arriving at dealers in the immediate future.
Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen 4Motion
The station wagon might be a rare sight on Canadian roads, though Volkswagen has shoppers covered when space to spare and AWD traction are priorities. Don’t want to drive a crossover like everyone else on the road?
The 2019 Golf Sportwagen is available from $29,000 with a 1.8-litre, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission.
You read that right. If you want AWD traction and a manual transmission this is one of the only options going in a new vehicle and “the” only option in a new vehicle at this price point that’s not a crossover.
There’s an automatic transmission available as well, though it bumps this model slightly out of our $30,000 price-range.
The list above provides a good cross-section of your AWD-equipped options under the $30,000 price-point, with pricing pulled directly from the consumer websites of each automaker.
Just remember: Stretching your budget just a bit further can unlock plenty of additional options, including vehicles like the Ford Fusion, Toyota RAV4 and others.