Best AWD Vehicles Under $30K [5 Options]

Best AWD Vehicles Under 30k

Finding the best AWD vehicles under $30K requires searching through a lot of options. AWD is valued for better traction in bad weather and improved handling.

Our list includes top sedans and SUVs within this budget, factoring in delivery fees but not dealer adjustments.

Research from IIHS and HLDI also shows AWD can enhance driver safety.

Our selection is based on performance, safety, and value, offering a straightforward guide to the best AWD buys under $30K.

Read about how we rank our Vehicles >>

What Types of Vehicles Have AWD Under $30K?

The Takeaway: A great $30K AWD vehicle is possible, regardless of what type of vehicle you prefer.

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We searched for a selection of the very best AWD vehicles one can purchase today with a budget of $30K including destination and delivery fees, but of course less any dealer market adjustments. It turns out, one can find almost any type of vehicle with AWD for $30K. Our selection included a four-door sedan, five-door hatchback, crossover SUVs, and whatever body type a Prius is called.

Our selections include specific trims. You can view our suggested best trims by make and model on our page here. Because our challenge is to have a final price under $30K, we selected the most vehicle we could for the money. Those who want a few more amenities will notice that many of our selections are in the $28K to $29K range. That is because the next-highest trim level broke the budget. For a thousand more, many of these models offer more luxury features.

Best AWD Vehicles Under $30K Comparison

Model MSRP + Destination FeeIIHS Safety RatingConsumer Reports Rating (5 Is Best)J.D. Power VDS Score (Lower Is Better)
Subaru Forester Premium
$29,320
Top Safety Pick +
4
125
Mazda3 Preferred 5-Door AWD
$27,895
Top Safety Pick +
4
121
Toyota Prius LE AWD-e
$28,160
Good
5
98
Subaru WRX (2021)
$28,420
Top Safety Pick
2
125
Toyota RAV4 LE Hybrid
$30,115
Top Safety Pick
3
98

1. Subaru Forester Premium

Subaru-Forester-Premium-FTBCP-Best-AWD-Vehicles-Under-$30K

The Subaru Forester is one of America’s most popular crossover SUVs. Known in its segment for having the best all-wheel drive system on the market, the Forester is sure-footed in any weather and manages quite well on logging trails and off-road access paths that lead to trailheads and kayak launches.

The Forester is one of the larger two-row crossovers in its segment and sports a long record of safety awards. For under $30K a buyer can step up from the base Forester to the Premium and enjoy features like a panoramic sunroof.

What’s New for 2023?

After a refresh in 2022, the Forester is unchanged for the 2023 model year.

The Takeaway: The Forester is the overall best value AWD vehicle at $30K.

Current Subaru Forester Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2023SubaruForester2.90%2/29/24
2024SubaruForester2.90%$319/month for 36 months, $2,719 due at signing2/29/24

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Subaru deals and average prices paid.

2. Mazda3 Preferred AWD

Mazda-3-Preferred-AWD-FTBCP-Best-AWD-Vehicles-Under-$30K

The Mazda3 is a car that feels refined and sporty when driven. For $30K you can’t get both AWD and the turbo engine, but you can get a great sedan with a lot of premium content. LED headlights, leatherette seating surfaces, power driver’s seat, heated seats, and your choice of a six-speed automatic or manual transmission are all part of the price at just $28K.

We like the Mazda3 for its styling and functionality. The hatchback body provides ample cargo volume for college move-in days, taking a mountain bike on an adventure, or packing the Mazda3 full of camping gear.

What’s New for 2023?

Mazda has dropped the 3's base 2.0-liter four-cylinder for 2023. In its place, the Mazda3 gets a larger 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with up to 191 horsepower. Also, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard on all trims.

The Takeaway: With top safety scores and a solid reliability record, the Mazda3 is a very well-rounded all-wheel drive vehicle.

Current Mazda3 Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2023MazdaMazda3 Sedan2.90%$336/month for 36 months, $2,999 due at signing2/29/24
2024MazdaMazda3 Sedan3.90%$376/month for 36 months, $2,999 due at signing2/29/24
2023MazdaMazda3 Hatchback$359/month for 36 months, $2,499 due at signing2/29/24
2024MazdaMazda3 Hatchback$5002.90%$324/month for 36 months, $2,999 due at signing2/29/24

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Mazda deals and average prices paid.

3. Toyota Prius LE AWD-e

Toyota-Prius-LE-AWD-3-FTBCP-Best-AWD-Vehicles-Under-$30K

The Toyota Prius is a legend. Its cost of ownership is almost unrivaled due to its low-maintenance design and industry-leading reliability scores. Add to that a cost for fuel rivaling electric vehicles plus two years of included maintenance, and the Prius has long been the car for many who seek value.

Toyota added its proven AWD-e drivetrain to the Prius to give those in the snowbelt a vehicle that handles well in all seasons. This expands the capabilities of the already much-loved car. No other AWD vehicle can match the low total cost of ownership of the Prius.

What’s New for 2023?

The fifth-generation Prius debuts with a sleeker more attractive exterior that does away with its previous bland styling. The 2023 Toyota Prius rides on Toyota's TNGA-C platform, which delivers a more eco-friendly fuel economy as well as a wider stance and lower driving position.

The Takeaway: This is the Prius you know and love, but with AWD.

Current Toyota Prius Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2023ToyotaPrius
2024ToyotaPrius
2022ToyotaPrius Prime

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Toyota deals and average prices paid.

4. Subaru WRX

Subaru-WRX-FTBCP-Best-AWD-Vehicles-Under-$30K

Did you see the movie Baby Driver? This is the red car from the opening scene. Yes, the asphalt-ripping, turbocharged, stick-shift-equipped road rocket so beloved by car nuts. And you can own a new one for under $30K.

Don’t expect a lot of flashy features for under $30K in a WRX. You get the basics and that’s about it. But you won’t care, because it has 268 hp and is a compact vehicle. That means it’s quick.

Take note that our pricing is for the 2021 model year WRX. The 2022 WRX has not been priced yet, but we suspect it will still be close to $30K.

What’s New for 2023?

The only change for 2023 is the addition of rear-seat head restraints for all three seating positions that mitigate whiplash in case of an accident.

The Takeaway: Can you even believe you get AWD and this much performance for under $30K?

Current Subaru WRX Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2022SubaruWRX2.90%
2023SubaruWRX$385/month for 36 months, $2,510 due at signing2/29/24

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Subaru deals and average prices paid.

5. Toyota RAV4 LE Hybrid

Toyota-RAV4-LE-Hybrid-(AWD)-FTBCP-Best-AWD-Vehicles-Under-$30K

OK, so we broke our own rule and busted the $30K budget by $115. The RAV4 Hybrid is a special vehicle and deserves a spot on any list of $30K AWD vehicles. This is because it has an up-powered engine with 219 hp that also gets 40 MPG. For the record, every RAV4 Hybrid is AWD.

The RAV4 Hybrid has a low cost of ownership due to its low-maintenance design (no timing belt!), included maintenance for two years, and a very low cost for fuel. This is a vehicle that is very affordable in the years following your purchase.

What’s New for 2023?

The RAV4 Hybrid gets a new Woodland Edition that adds a number of off-road features including all-terrain tires, the Woodland Edition sports a TRD suspension kit, bronze-colored wheels, black exterior badging, a roof rack, mud flaps, and a special set of all-season floor mats sporting the Woodland Edition logo.

The Takeaway: If your budget can handle another Benjamin, do yourself a favor and add the RAV4 Hybrid to your list of considerations.

Current Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2023ToyotaRAV4 Hybrid
2024ToyotaRAV4 Hybrid

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Toyota deals and average prices paid.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most reliable AWD car?

The most reliable AWD car, according to Consumer Reports, is the Toyota Prius. No model can match its long record of perfect reliability scores.

What AWD SUVs Cost Under $30K?

Many two-row compact SUVs start at under $30K, but add AWD and the list gets shorter. The Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid are two we find to be the best at this price point.

What AWD car has the best performance for $30K?

The list of AWD performance vehicles under $30K is very short. The Subaru WRX is the easy pick.

Can I get a good AWD vehicle for $30K?

$30K is a reasonable budget for a vehicle. We found a sedan, a hatchback, a hybrid, and a crossover SUV with good reputations for under $30K, including the Subaru Forester, Subaru WRX, Toyota Prius, and Mazda3.