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11 Best AWD Car Under 20k

Best AWD car under 20k

AWD has grown to be much more popular among automobile drive styles due to its affordability. However, finding the best AWD car under 20k is no easy feat given the numerous AWDs in the market each claiming to give value for the money.

Best AWD car under 20k

This section is a compilation of the best AWD cars you should buy under $20,000 following real user research. Alongside are highlighted MSRP, specs as well as their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

1. Kia Rio 2022 – $16,450

Kia Rio

Kia Rio tops our list of the best car under 20,000 dollars. This car has a sports build, a comfortable and state-of-the-art interior, and a modern and tech-featured dashboard.


  • Fuel economy – Kia Rio has an estimated fuel economy of 41—Highway and 31—city. 
  • Natural-feeling steering – The Kia Rio steering has a natural feeling, giving you a sensitive response at the slightest effort. 
  • The controls are clearly labeled for easy understanding and to minimize confusion. To put it more aptly, everything around the dashboard is easy to navigate. You can guess the function of a button from the label, and that’s just what it is


  • Insufficient rear seat – The 2022 Kia Rio’s downside is the lack of space in the back seat which is just the opposite of the front seat’s space. While the front seat has sufficient space for heads and legs, the back seat falls short of that
  • Lagging acceleration – The acceleration of this car may be one thing not so many people will be proud of. It is a bit sluggish in accelerating from a stop. It takes 9.1 seconds for this car to accelerate up to 60 mph. So when we say this car is sporty, we are referring to the build; acceleration is out of it.

2. Mitsubishi Mirage 2022 – $14,645

Mitsubishi Mirage

The 2022 Mitsubishi Mirage is designed for drivers who want to go for an affordable automobile but yet get the value for their money. While the car may not feature a lot of luxury features, its price will make up for those. Nonetheless, it has a sporty build that makes it quite appealing.


  • Reliable – The Mitsubishi Mirage may not be expensive and feature a lot of luxuries but its performance is worth applauding. In terms of reliability, mechanics give it a whopping 4.5 out of a star rating.
  • Fuel economy – Due to its light engine we assure you that your fuel will be well preserved. Under the hood of this car sits a tiny three-cylinder engine.
  • Safety features – The car may be inexpensive, but it doesn’t leave out important things such as safety features, which are not even an option in the first place. It comes with 7 airbags that prevent passengers and drivers from getting hurt in the case of an accident.


  • Can be noisy – What you may have to overlook when considering this car is noise. You may get a lot of noise from the raspy engine when accelerating, which is peculiar with cars in this price class by the way.
  • Not much engine power – You can’t expect much from this car’s engine as the priority is majorly on fuel economy. Its tiny engine can only crank 80 horsepower.

3. Hyundai Accent 2022 – $16,645

Hyundai Accent

The 2022 Hyundai Accent will give you a run for your money even though it has some weaknesses. Over the years, the manufacturer has introduced a few features here and there to improve it but lacks some things. Let’s find out what. 


  • Excellent fuel economy – The Hyundai Accent is an errand car that usually is built for efficiency and not luxury or style. That is exactly what this car offers you—efficiency. The car is estimated to get 33mpg in this city and 41mpg on the highway.
  • Premium exterior design – The car may not be the best-looking on the exterior overall, but it tops the list of best-looking cars within its price range. You can’t forget to love its build.
  • Comfortable driving experience – The 2022 Hyundai Accent is built for day-to-day errands and as such, provides you with premium comfort while at it. The vehicle stops just when you want it. In addition, the steering is responsive and has a composed feel to it


  • It lacks power – If you are looking for a car with great engine power, you are better off looking elsewhere. This car is powered by a 1.6L four-cylinder engine that makes only 120 horsepower and 113 Ib-ft of torque.
  • Not enough space in the trunk – The car’s trunk space of 13.7 ft will only accommodate a few backpacks and briefcases and that’s all. However, the backseat can be collapsed to increase the space in the trunk.

4. Kia Forte 2022 – $19,090

Kia Forte

A more advanced and sophisticated feel to the Kia Rio. The Kia Forte will offer you value for your money. Not the fastest or largest in its class but you will love it.


  • Finely-designed interior – This car looks more expansive than what it goes for, on the inside. Everything inside the car is made from quality materials you’d think you cheated the manufacturer. In addition, it produces absolutely no noise while driving.
  • Two engine options – You can select between the 1.6-L and 2.0-L. While the 2.0-L is practical, the 1.6-L has more gusto. It is up to you which one best rock your boat (or your car, in this case).
  • Warranty – This car comes with a generous warranty from its manufacturer. Kia gives you 6 years/60,000 miles of basic coverage 10 years/10,000 miles of powertrain, and five years/60,000 miles of roadside assistance.


  • The base engine isn’t much fun to drive – The base 2.0-L engine doesn’t ignite that spark you need with speed. This is even worse as it is labeled a sports car. It takes almost 9 seconds to accelerate it to 60 mph.
  • Rear space is insufficient – The rear cabin does not provide enough comfort as passengers may be cramped in that space especially if they are more than 6ft.

5. Buick Lacrosse 2017 – $18,111

Buick Lacrosse

The Lacrosse is a vehicle to be impressed with about this improved and sleek model of large sedan cars. It balances the scale between luxury and performance so you don’t have to experience a hard time deciding between both. Need I mention that its trunk space is enlarged for more items? Here,, enjoy the tour.


  • Elegant interior – The inside of this car could pass for a luxury sedan. It is built to provide premium comfort with a French-stitched leather seat surface. In addition, the dashboard has an intuitive design that won’t require you to a manual to operate.
  • Teen driver monitoring features – Parents can heave a sigh of relief about their teen’s whereabouts as the car sends a trip report. This car mutes the audio and won’t unmute until all passengers are wearing seat belts. Finally, the driver gets an alert when the speed limit is exceeded.
  • Powerful performance – The 2017 Buick LaCrosse is packed with a 3.6-L engine that provides 310 horsepower. It has an 8-speed automatic smooth-shifting transmission. Quick acceleration is perhaps the icing on the cake of its performance.


  • Confusing shifter – The driver may find the shifter quite confusing as it is a bit different from the dimensions of conventional ones. For example, the lever must be pulled back at the same time with a button on one side of the shifter to get it into gear. And the lever must be moved in an L shape to get it into reverse.
  • Average trunk space – One thing about an average trunk space is that no matter how stylish and high-performance the car is, it discourages purchase. However, not everyone is a fan of large trunk space, so it should still suffice for some drivers.

6. Chrysler 300 2017 – $16,158

Chrysler 300

This fits into the description of a large sedan family car. The manufacturer doesn’t have many offerings for a sizeable family car, so this car is a viable option in that regard. It is built for everyday use but as well with luxury in mind.


  • Luxury builds – The Chrysler 300, as mentioned earlier has its focus on luxury. To this end, the car is built to match high-quality standards. The interior provides an untold amount of comfort and some models feature wood trim.
  • Smooth ride – This car’s weight and design make it easier to glide on any surface including rough terrains. On a good road, the diving experience is indescribable.
  • Safety – When your car is headed for collision, this car sends a warning beforehand to prevent such an occurrence. It informs you when you step out of the lane, and the Lane Keep Assist helps you stay in the lane. The wipers are rain-sensitive and just get to work when necessary.


  • Safety isn’t spectacular – Of course, the car is packed with safety features but the safety scored a 4 out of 5-star rating from the front and side impact testing.

7. Ford Fusion 2018 – $18,400

Ford Fusion

Mid-sized but the number of options you can pick from within this car and the hybrid makes things easier.


  • Sync 3 Infotainment systems – Having an intuitive interface and being able to navigate each bottom even while driving make this car a must-have. You can also integrate your smartphone with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or USB.
  • Impeccable braking capability – Most mid-size cars usually don’t have very effective brakes but this 2018 Ford Fusion doesn’t lack in that aspect. This car can move from 60mph to a complete stop in 120 feet. 
  • No noise – noise has a way of distracting you during motion. The 2018 Ford Fusion has been built with adequate noise-canceling measures to eliminate all raspy sounds even while on the highway. At most, just some wind noise here and there, but any other noise is completely canceled.


  • Sluggish acceleration – This car takes about 9 seconds to accelerate from 0 – 60mph. That’s quite a slow pace. So if you need a car that gets into motion right from the get-go, then you might have to reconsider your options.
  • Steering is a bit complex – The 2018 Ford Fusion’s steering is a bit different from other cars’ steering you may have been used to. It feels like the steering is not receiving the exact condition or state of the tires.

8. Mazda Cx-5 2017 – $18,179

Mazda Cx-5

This car’s interior and exterior have a feel of luxury and sophistication to it. It comes with a 2.5 liter, four-cylinder engine on all trims, but doesn’t come with a manual transmission, which by the way is what makes some drivers’ favorite. The dashboard has also been upgraded with the latest tech to match the modern infotainment system.


  • Cruise with G-Vectoring control – G-Vectoring is a Mazda’s technology that is designed to enhance the driving experience. The keeps the car’s steering on its toes to receive an input signal from the driver and act accordingly. This enhances driving smoothness and consequently the driver’s experience.
  • i-Active AWD – This car is integrated with i-Active All-wheel Drive which only engages all wheels when necessary using the current driving conditions of the cars.
  • Unlike other versions of the CX-5, the 2017 CX-5 has reduced noise even when it’s on top speed. With this car, you don’t have to speak at the top of your voice for other people in the car to hear you.


  • Not enough trunk space – Trunk space is usually a thing of concern for drivers that would be stuffing a lot of things in the trunk. This car does not have enough trunk space to contain a lot of things, but if you don’t care much about space, the car is just right for you.
  • No V6 engine – With 187 horsepower, this car is mid-powered. If you end a car that is high on performance, you might have to go for something else.

9. Subaru Outback 2018 – $19,884

Subaru Outback

This has a lot of fine features including, improved suspension for both on-road and off-road driving. The inside of the car is designed to reduce noise to its barest minimum. Overall, the car is a great car for both adventures and errands.


  • Great for all roads – It doesn’t matter if your car veered off the road to a bumpy road during driving, the suspension’s got you covered with its ability to move smoothly on all roads.
  • Sufficient cargo space – If you want a car with enough trunk space, then this car is your best choice. With the seats in their normal positions, you will have 35.5 cubic feet of trunk space. And with the seats collapsed, you can have up to 73.3 cubic feet of space.
  • Quiet driving experience – You will almost not hear any sound when you are driving, thanks to the car’s suspension systems that take care of bumpy roads and the engine that gives off less noise.


  • No major changes in a while – The Subaru outback has maintained the same design for a while with no major changes to spice things up.
  • Base engine lacks acceleration – The base engine is not it when it comes to acceleration. It takes this car 9 seconds to accelerate from 0-60 mph.

10. Honda CR-V 2017 – $18,000

Honda CR-V

Honda CR-V is popular among car lovers due to its reliability and great safety rating. The 2017 Honda CR-V has done improvements which include a larger-sized cabin and a more modern overall style.


  • Quiet and comfortable ride – The suspension of this car is built to absorb all sorts of shocks from bumpy roads. The engine on its part works quietly, and the interior is built to completely block out any noise from outside.
  • Stylish exterior – Previous Honda CR-V’s exterior design is just there, average. But this 2017 Honda CR-V features a more sleek exterior design. Honda went for a more aggressive getting fascia, and the sturdiness of the car gives it an athletic look.
  • Checks safety boxes – 2017 Honda CR-V features a lot of high-end tech security features which has earned it a 5-star rating in security. These include automatic braking and adaptive cruise control. And if you ever veer off the road you are sure to be steered back on the road with its Departure Mitigation technology.


  • Not a great car for towing – This car has a towing capacity of only 1500 pounds which makes it a bad choice for towing.

11. Subaru Forester 2017 – $16,829

Subaru Forester 2017

The Subaru Forester is loaded with safety features that should pass the mark for most drivers. The large cabin space should do well to accommodate a specific number of people without any problems. 


  • Spacious interior – The spacious interior of this car adds an accommodating feel to it. The back seat can comfortably accommodate three slim adults or two plus-sized adults. The large window which is ideal for ventilation complements its spaciousness.
  • Large trunk space – If you are looking for a car with interior and trunk space, you don’t have to look harder as this car’s got you covered.
  • Safety features – Safety is not an option and it seems the manufacturer of this car understands that well. The car has a rearview camera, side curtain airbags, front side airbags, driver knee airbags, and antilock disk brakes


  • Not so good with corners – Tight corners are not easily maneuvered by this car due to the height.
  • Less refined Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) – This car gives off a high RPM noise when you accelerate hard. However, the car improves fuel economy overall.

What are the advantages of AWD?

AWD comes with a bit of an advantage, which is what makes it stand out amongst the rest of the wheel drive. Let’s find out below.

A two-wheel drive only powers the two front wheels which have a handful of shortcomings. It could skid you off the road and make you lose control in addition to losing traction. Unlike a two-wheel drive, AWD offers better traction on slippery roads such as icy or muddy roads because all wheels are powered by the car’s system. This makes AWD cars accelerate without any glitches and traction is improved.

The majority of best-selling cars adopt the AWD because of its driving efficiency even on rough terrains. The grip on such roads is firm since all wheels are powered.

Is AWD worth the money?

The answer to this question is relative. If you live in a place where it snows a lot or the road gets muddy when it rains, then you will most likely need an AWD for better traction. On the other hand, if you mainly do city and highway driving, then an FWD will do just fine.

When all is said and done, it heavily depends on what you want and how your choice will fulfill the aim of choosing what wheel.

Does AWD use more fuel?

Yes. All AWDs are known for consuming more fuel than other types of drives because they are heavier.

Besides, AWD equips all wheels with power making when all work at the same time, which cause it to consume more fuel.

AWD has more moving parts to feed with fuel, which explains why it runs high on fuel


AWD cars are becoming more popular by the day, which explains why a lot of manufacturers opt for them.

Some AWD may be expensive to purchase but there are still quite a number of them under 20k you can choose from such as the ones on this list. We assure you of the value for your money when you purchase. 

Latest posts by Bernard Juchli (see all)

Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

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