All-wheel drive (AWD) is an essential item in an SUV of any market category. Not only does it bring extra capability to deal with mud, sand, snow, and even rocks that might be in the way, but it also makes the vehicle easier to control. As a result, your trips will become safer and more predictable. That is why this is an essential item in any model which intends to be the best AWD SUV of the market.
The compilation below only shows vehicles equipped with AWD – some do not offer it as a standard item, so the text only considers trim levels which feature the item. You are going to see examples of different brands, sizes, engines, energy source, price ranges, market portions, and even body styles to some extent. But they all share the fact that they are the best AWD SUV 2021 and 2022 has brought into the market.
10. 2022 Hyundai Kona
Class: Generalist subcompact, Type: 2-row, Price: $22,545
2022 Hyundai Kona Specs
- Engine: Base trims use a four-cylinder 2.0L good for 147 hp of power and 132 lb-ft of torque. Intermediate versions upgrade that with a turbocharged 1.6L unit which reaches 195 hp and 195 lb-ft. The sporty N impresses with the 286 hp and 289 lb-ft of its turbocharged 2.0L.
- Fuel economy: The most efficient version is the 1.6L, which makes 29 mpg in the city, 35 mpg on the highway, and 32 mpg combined according to the EPA.
- Cargo space: The available volume is 19.2 ft³. Folding down the second row of seats takes that figure to 45.8 ft³. The Hyundai Kona has been criticized for its small cargo volume.
9. 2022 Mazda CX-5
Class: Generalist compact, Type: 2-row, Price: $27,125
Why We Picked It: Since this category has so many competitors, they try to earn your attention by offering something different, such as better performance, true off-road capacity, or a fuel-efficient powertrain. Mazda, in turn, made the CX-5 the best AWD SUV among its rivals by excelling at the core characteristics. With handsome design, refined dynamic behavior, sophisticated cabin, AWD as standard, and an efficient yet perky turbocharged engine, it is simply difficult to resist this model.
2022 Mazda CX-5 Specs
- Engine: The standard engine is a four-cylinder 2.5L which makes 187 hp of power and 186 lb-ft of torque. There is also a turbocharged version of the same engine size which elevates those figures to 227 hp and 310 lb-ft, respectively.
- Fuel economy: The best figures come from the naturally aspirated engine. It makes 24 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg combined, according to EPA estimates.
- Cargo volume: You will find 30 ft³ in the CX-5’s trunk. Folding down the rear seats increases that volume to 59.3 ft³.
8. 2021 Ford Bronco
Class: Generalist midsize, Price: $29,995, Type: 2-row
2021 Ford Bronco Specs
- Engine: The base option is a turbocharged, four-cylinder 2.3L engine capable of 275 hp of power and 315 lb-ft of torque. If you want more, you can opt for the turbocharged V6 with 2.7 liters and enjoy 315 hp and 410 lb-ft.
- Fuel economy: Neither option is actually fuel-efficient, but the best one is the four-cylinder 2.3L: 20 mpg in the city, 22 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg combined; if you want your Bronco to sip fuel, you have to order it with the automatic transmission.
- Cargo space: The two-door version offers 22.4 ft³ as the base volume and 52.3 ft³ if you fold down the rear seats. The four-door Bronco increases those figures to 38.3 ft³ and 83 ft³.
7. 2021 BMW X2
Class: Luxury subcompact, Type: 2-row, Price: $39,945
2021 BMW X2 Specs
- Engine: The base option uses a turbocharged, four-cylinder 2.0L engine good for 228 hp of power and 258 lb-ft of torque. If you choose the sporty M35i, you will get a tuned-up version of the same engine which generates 301 hp and 331 lb-ft.
- Fuel economy: The xDrive28i is the most fuel-efficient version among those equipped with all-wheel drive. It makes 23 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway, and 26 mpg combined.
- Cargo space: The base volume is 21.6 ft³. You can increase that to 50.1 ft³ by folding down the rear seats.
6. 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L
Class: Generalist midsize, Type: 3-row, Price: $45,520
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Specs
- Engine: The entry-level option is a 3.6L V6 capable of 290 hp of power and 257 lb-ft of torque. If you want better performance, you can opt for a 5.7L Hemi V8 which is good for 357 hp and 390 lb-ft.
- Fuel economy: Considering the versions equipped with all-wheel drive, the V6 engine makes the most fuel-efficient one reach 18 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined.
- Cargo space: The least you will get is 17.2 ft³. Folding down the third row of seats increases that volume to 46.9 ft³ and doing the same to the second row takes the volume to 84.6 ft³.
5. 2022 Volvo XC60
Class: Luxury compact, Type: 2-row, Price: $46,045
2022 Volvo XC60 Specs
- Engine: All XC60 versions were electrified for 2022. The base B5 uses a mild-hybrid system with a turbocharged, four-cylinder 2.0L unit to generate 247 hp of power and 258 lb-ft of torque. The intermediate B6 pairs the same setup to a supercharger to reach 295 hp and 310 lb-ft. The T8 is upgraded with a plug-in hybrid system to make 400 hp and 472 lb-ft.
- Fuel economy: The B5 is the most fuel-efficient of the regular ones, making 22 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 24 mpg combined. Going by EPA estimates, the T8 offers a combined 57 MPGe of equivalent consumption.
- Cargo space: The base version offers 17.1 ft³ of trunk space. Folding down the rear seats increases that room to 63.3 ft³.
4. 2022 GMC Yukon
Class: Generalist full-size, Type: 3-row, Price: $56,695
2022 GMC Yukon Specs
- Engine: The base unit is a 5.3L V8 capable of 355 hp of power and 383 lb-ft of torque. It can be upgraded with a 6.2L V8 good for 420 hp and 460 lb-ft. You can also opt for a 3.0L inline-six which burns diesel and makes 277 hp and 460 lb-ft.
- Fuel economy: EPA estimates indicate that the 3.0L is the most fuel-efficient, although none of those options are particularly good at this: 21 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 24 mpg combined.
- Cargo space: The short-wheelbase Yukon offers 25.5 ft³ which can be increased to 72.6 ft³ by folding down the third row of seats and to 122.9 ft³ by doing the same to the second row. If you choose the extended XL version, those figures are 41.5, 93.8 and 144.7 ft³ respectively.
3. 2021 Genesis GV80
Class: Luxury midsize, Type: 3-row, Price: $55,695
2021 Genesis GV80 Specs
- Engine: The base version is a turbocharged, four-cylinder 2.5L unit good for 300 hp of power and 311 lb-ft of torque. It can be upgraded with a twin-turbocharged 3.5L V6 that increases those figures to 375 hp and 391 lb-ft respectively.
- Fuel economy: The 2.5L is the most efficient option in terms of fuel consumption: according to the EPA, it makes 21 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined.
- Cargo space: Considering the optional third seat row is in place, the trunk room is of 11.6 ft³. Folding it down increases the volume to 34.6 ft³, which is the standard volume of the five-seater versions. Leaving only the front seats up opens up 84 ft³.
2. 2021 Audi e-tron Sportback
Class: Luxury midsize, Type: 2-row, Price: $70,295
2021 Audi e-tron Sportback Specs
- Engine: The e-tron is only equipped with one powertrain option of two electric motors that produce 355 hp of power and 414 lb-ft of torque.
- Fuel economy: Being a fully electric model, the e-tron makes us talk of equivalent EPA fuel efficiency estimates of 73 MPGe in the city, 78 MPGe on the highway, and 75 MPGe combined.
- Cargo space: The base volume is 27.2 ft³. Folding down the rear seats takes it to 54.5 ft³.
1. 2022 Lexus LX
Class: Luxury full-size, Type: 3-row, Price: $88,245
2022 Lexus LX Specs
- Engine: The all-new model embraces the downsizing trend and uses a twin-turbocharged, 3.4L V6 which delivers 409 hp of power and 479 lb-ft of torque.
- Fuel economy: EPA estimates indicate 17 mpg in the city, 22 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg combined.
- Cargo space: The base trims seat five passengers in two rows while the intermediate ones seat seven in three rows and the range-topper Ultra Luxury accommodates four people with the second row being made of captain’s chairs. Because of all that, we can say that the LX’s cargo space goes from 11 to 46 ft³.
In conclusion, which SUV has the best AWD?
The Grand Cherokee L has the best AWD. While Jeep has a solid reputation in off-road driving, it has also become a regular global brand with a long line of SUVs. Therefore, it has learned to distill its iconic image into several versions, each one aimed at a different customer profile in order to maximize the number of people who could be potentially attracted. This model is a great example of how to execute that.
Offering full capability on all available trim levels would have made them expensive and would have made a nice feature mundane. What the company did, instead, was to offer rear-wheel drive in the standard model to make it cheaper, especially this completely new long-wheelbase variation, then offer different AWD systems according to the trim level: you can get exactly what you want.
1. What is the best awd suv for gas mileage?
The Audi e-tron Sportback is the best AWD SUV for gas mileage.
2. Which AWD SUV is best in snow?
The Jeep Grand Cherokee L is the best AWD SUV in snow.
3. What is the most reliable AWD SUV?
The Mazda CX-5 is the most reliable AWD SUV.