Although the weather across the country has been weird with warmer-than-normal temperatures pounding down day after day, believe it or not, winter is still coming. Like the proverbial freight train, winter will get here and when it comes it will bring all of the miserable driving conditions we all know, ice, snow, slush and freezing rain. It’s the kind of weather that’s ready-made for all-wheel-drive vehicles. Now, you may think that it will cost a ton of money — $40,000 or so – to purchase an all-wheel-drive sedan or crossover utility vehicle (CUV), but it doesn’t. Kelly Blue Book looked at ten mini-haulers that fill the bill. The best part is their cost, in the mid-$20s. (Interesting fact department: Subaru is the number one marque in this class, as they make up half this list.)
Mazda CX-5: $21,795
The Mazda CX-5 is a fun-to-drive CUV. Its all-wheel-drive system gives it the ability to go in the snow and ice with traction to spare. It treats you well from a comfort and handling standpoint.
Toyota RAV4: $23,680
Toyota‘s RAV4 is the original crossover (they used to be called compact SUVs), the RAV4’s all-wheel-drive system makes this a formidable anti-winter-weapon. Practical, the RAV4 is on everyone’s 10-best list perennially.
Nissan Rogue: $24,390
Uniquely shaped, the Nissan Rogue, when equipped with all-wheel-drive, is another formidable winter driver. The bulbous Rogue carries five in comfort. Indeed, the Rogue is a surprisingly robust CUV.
Honda CR-V: $23,495
The CR-V is another fun-to-drive, but practical CUV. Equipped with all-wheel-drive, the CR-V powers through snow. Honda’s intelligent AWD system keeps you rolling in all conditions as it shifts traction from one wheel to another.
Jeep Renegade: $19,995
The Renegade, the original Jeep sports ute, has been transformed. Originally an open-air, fabric-topped four-wheel-drive vehicle, it has morphed into a comfortable snow-fighter that carries five in comfort and handles snow easily.
Subaru Crosstrek: $23,000
Based on the compact Impreza platform, the Subaru Crosstrek is a compact CUV that features extra ground clearance so that it can go off-road. Indeed, many Subaru owners regularly take their vehicles off the road thanks to the standard Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive.
Subaru Impreza: $20,000
The Impreza has been part of Subaru’s lineup for more than 25 years. Budget priced, this all-wheel-drive series has an active safety technology suite. Its handling is solid and ride is good. It’s the lowest-priced all-wheel-drive car on the market.
Subaru Legacy: $22.500
The basis of the performance-oriented WRX and WRX STi series, the Legacy is a standard-sized sedan series. Like all Subarus, it features Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive for traction on all surfaces. Built with a roomy interior, its ride experience and handling are excellent, making it the best of the AWD sedans under $25k.
Subaru Forester: $25,000
The Forester has been part of the Subaru lineup for 25 years. Upgraded for 2015, this CUV features this automaker’s standard AWD offering and X mode, a driving assist package. The Forester’s has on-center road feel with positive center road feedback, so you know what the front wheels are doing.
Subaru Outback: $26,000
Subaru’s veteran, top-of-the-line CUV, the Outback features its standard Symmetric for maximum traction on all surfaces. Though there is some body roll deep in corners, the roll controlled ride keeps it barely noticeable. Outback features active torque vectoring for maximum traction on all surfaces.