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22 Most EPA-Efficient 2015-2016 AWD Cars For Less Than $50,000

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 9/4/2015 Manufacturer, Stefan Ogbac

Before the days of tightening emissions standards, getting all-wheel drive in your vehicle usually meant sacrificing fuel economy or moving into an SUV— which meant sacrificing fuel economy. With tight fuel economy mandates in place, good gas mileage is becoming more important. Several cars come with all-wheel drive and have great fuel economy to boot. Here are 22 under the $50,000 mark.


2015 BMW 335i xDrive

2014 BMW 335i GT© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 BMW 335i GT 20/30 mpg (20/28 mpg with the six-speed manual sedan), Sedan: $46,745, Gran Turismo: $48,245

One of the quickest compact luxury sport sedans on sale today, the BMW 335i xDrive proves that you can have an all-weather driving machine that's fuel efficient. If you need more space, there's also the 335i xDrive Gran Turismo, a hatchback with plenty of room for people and cargo. The 335i xDrive sedan won a comparison test that pitted it against the Audi S4, Cadillac ATS 3.6 AWD, Lexus IS 350 AWD, and Volvo S60 T6 R-Design. Once the face-lifted 2016 3 Series goes on sale, the 335i will be replaced by the more powerful 340i.

2015 Acura TLX SH-AWD

2015 Acura TLX© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Acura TLX 21/31 mpg, $42,495

Despite its modern but conservative looks, the Acura TLX is surprisingly capable when equipped with the brand's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system (SH-AWD). It isn't the fastest entry, but it provides a nice balance of performance, comfort, agility, and all-weather traction at a great value, especially compared with its German rivals.

2015 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD

2015 Cadillac ATS© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Cadillac ATS 22/30 mpg, $38,240

Cadillac's answer to the BMW 3 Series shows that it can match and beat the benchmark of the compact luxury sport sedan segment. When equipped with all-wheel drive, the ATS becomes the perfect driver's car for those in four-season climates, offering impeccable handling and agility in a compact package.

2016 Ford Fusion 2.0T EcoBoost

2015 Ford Fusion© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Ford Fusion 22/31 mpg, $28,655

One of the best-looking midsize sedans on the market, the Ford Fusion is one of few that offers all-wheel drive. Additionally, the Fusion also gets major points for being one of the most engaging cars to drive in the midsize segment thanks to its well-tuned chassis.

2016 Lincoln MKZ 2.0 AWD

2014 Lincoln MKZ© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Lincoln MKZ 22/31 mpg, $38,005

Bold and distinctively American, the Lincoln MKZ is luxurious and comfortable, making it ideal for those endless road trips to every corner of the United States. When equipped with all-wheel drive, the MKZ is the all-American luxury sedan that can deal with virtually everything that Mother Nature throws its way (an MKZ 3.7 AWD is pictured).

2016 Volkswagen Golf R

2015 Volkswagen Golf R Front Three Quarter In Motion 04© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Volkswagen Golf R Front Three Quarter In Motion 04 22/31 mpg (23/30 mpg with the DCT), $36,410 ($37,570 with the DCT)

Practicality, blistering performance, four-season traction, and great fuel economy are wrapped into one package called the Volkswagen Golf R. In a recent comparison test against the Subaru WRX STI, the Golf R reigned supreme thanks to its ability to balance everything in perfect harmony, including daily drivability in all conditions.

2015 Audi A4

2015 Audi A4© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Audi A4 22/32 mpg (22/31 mpg with the eight-speed auto), $37,925 ($38,925 with the automatic)

Although it's about to be replaced by an all-new model, the A4 remains a competitive entry in the compact luxury sport sedan segment. When it's equipped with Quattro all-wheel drive, you have a classy all-around vehicle that excels at nearly everything regardless of the weather. Look for a redesigned 2017 model featuring a new 2.0-liter, turbo I-4 or for the first time a 2.0-liter turbodiesel I-4 on sale next year.

2015 Audi A5

22/32 mpg (21/30 mpg with eight-speed automatic), $40,925 ($42,125 with the automatic)

2015 Audi A5© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Audi A5 Despite its age, the Audi A5 remains timeless and sexy. Its sleek exterior design is attractive yet tasteful and not overdone. When equipped with Audi's legendary Quattro all-wheel-drive system, the A5 becomes the ideal all-weather coupe, blending great handling and fuel economy with style that will stand the test of time.

2015 BMW 328i xDrive

2013 BMW 328i xDrive© Provided by MotorTrend 2013 BMW 328i xDrive 22/33 mpg, Sedan: $40,495, Wagon: $42,945, Gran Turismo: $42,845

Available as a sedan, hatchback, or wagon, the 328i xDrive brings practicality, performance, and luxury in one package. The wagon and the hatchback—called the Gran Turismo—are the most practical and sacrifice nothing to the sedan when it comes to performance and handling.

2016 BMW 428i xDrive Coupe and Gran Coupe

2015 BMW 428I Gran Coupe Front Side View Dark© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 BMW 428I Gran Coupe Front Side View Dark 22/34 mpg, Coupe: $44,845, Gran Coupe: $44,645

Essentially a 3 Series wrapped in a sleek two-door coupe or a four-door hatchback body style, the 428i xDrive Coupe and Gran Coupe provide plenty of style and substance. Add to that a fuel-efficient yet powerful turbo-four and all-wheel drive, and you'll be driving in all-weather style.

2016 Audi TT

2016 Audi TT Roadster Front Three Quarter In Motion 02© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Audi TT Roadster Front Three Quarter In Motion 02 23/30 mpg, Coupe: $43,825, Roadster: $47,325

Back and better than ever, the Audi TT is now a thoroughbred sports car. Available as a coupe or a two-seat convertible, the third-generation TT retains the Bauhaus-inspired exterior that has made it one of Audi's most recognizable designs since the first generation appeared in 1998. One of its neatest features, as we noted in a First Drive of the U.S.-spec TT, is its interior. Audi's new Virtual Cockpit adds a large 12.3-inch screen that replaces traditional gauges and shows everything from music to navigation maps.

2016 Mercedes-AMG CLA45

2014 Mercedes Benz CLA45 AMG© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Mercedes Benz CLA45 AMG 23/31 mpg, $49,425

Need a posh personal pocket rocket? Look no further than the Mercedes-AMG CLA45 and its insane, hand-built 375-hp, 2.0-liter turbo-four. Like all AMG-badged models, the CLA45 is brimming with power, and among four-cylinder engines in production today, the unit found in the CLA45 is one of the most power-dense.

Audi S3

2015 Audi S3© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Audi S3 23/31 mpg, $43,425

If the A3 2.0T doesn't have enough performance for you, then consider the S3, an all-weather sport sedan in a tuxedo. Like all Audi S models, the S3 comes with road-gripping Quattro all-wheel drive and a quick-shift six-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox. All that performance doesn't come at the cost of fuel economy, because the S3 is only a tick or two below the gas-powered A3 2.0T.

2016 BMW 320i xDrive

2014 BMW 320i© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 BMW 320i 23/35 mpg, $35,945

The entry-level model of the 3 Series lineup, the 320i, can be had with all-wheel drive, meaning for you diesel-averse folks, there's a model out there to satisfy your need for good fuel economy and love of good driving dynamics. However, don't expect to get a more practical wagon or a hatchback body, because the 320i is available exclusively as a sedan.

2015 BMW 228i xDrive

2015 BMW 228i Convertible© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 BMW 228i Convertible Coupe: 23/35 mpg, $35,845 (Convertible: 22/34 mpg, $41,645)

The 2 Series range marks BMW's return to form, offering a small, fuel-efficient, and fun-to-drive compact car with impeccable handling and a nice dose of turbocharged power. All-wheel drive makes the 2 Series into the ideal all-season two-door coupe or convertible that doesn't sacrifice fuel economy and agility in favor of traction at all four wheels.

2015 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic

2015 Mercedes Benz C300 4Matic© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Mercedes Benz C300 4Matic 24/31 mpg, $41,325

Nicknamed the baby S-Class, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class has grown in size and become more economical. Even with all-wheel drive the C300 4Matic is relatively fuel efficient, so you don't have to stop as often on those long road trips.

2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4Matic

2014 Mercedes Benz CLA250© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Mercedes Benz CLA250 24/33 mpg, $34,425

Mercedes' smallest four-door coupe is both stylish and fuel efficient even when equipped with all-wheel drive. However, think of it more as a personal vehicle because there isn't much room in the back for your friends or entourage.

2016 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro

2015 Audi A3 2 0T© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Audi A3 2 0T Sedan: 24/33 mpg, $35,125 (Convertible: 23/32 mpg, $39,525)

Small, classy and very German, the Audi A3 2.0T is essentially a shrunken version of its larger sedan siblings. Performance, fuel economy, and luxury are all in perfect harmony in this compact sedan; it feels just as upscale and Teutonic as Audi's larger sedan offerings.

2016 Subaru Legacy

2016 Subaru Legacy© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Subaru Legacy 26/36 mpg, $22,540

In the midsize sedan class, the Legacy is the only entry that comes standard with all-wheel drive, just like every other Subaru except the rear-drive BRZ. When equipped with the 175-hp, 2.5-liter flat-four, the Legacy is one of the most fuel-efficient midsize sedans, even more so than some of its front-drive rivals. Try not to jump for the upgrade engine, an aging 256-hp, 3.6-liter flat-six, because it's down significantly on fuel economy and, as we noted in a 2015 First Test review, doesn't come with a big improvement in overall performance from the 2.5-liter.

2015 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid

2015 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid 28/35 mpg, $47,105

Essentially a rocket for a hybrid, the Infiniti Q50 Hybrid can be had with all-wheel drive, turning it into a 360-hp four-season cruise missile that just so happens to be good on gas when you're taking it easy. Powerful acceleration and fuel efficiency never looked so green.

2015 Subaru Impreza

2015 Subaru Impreza© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Subaru Impreza 28/37 mpg (27/36 mpg for the Sport trim), Sedan: $18,990 Hatchback: $19,490

Well-regarded for being the only all-wheel-drive compact car, the Subaru Impreza is as practical as it is easy on the wallet. If you have four seasons and need a daily driver that has plenty of space, great fuel economy, advanced active safety features, then the Impreza is for you.

2016 BMW 328d xDrive

2014 BMW 328d xDrive Sport Wagon© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 BMW 328d xDrive Sport Wagon 30/40 mpg city/highway, Sedan: $41,995 Wagon: $44,885

The diesel-powered 328d xDrive is a great example of a jack-of-all-trades car, especially in wagon guise. Offering great driving dynamics, great fuel economy, and surprising practicality, the 328d xDrive is the driver's all-weather fuel sipper. Consider getting the available adaptive suspension if you'd like an extra level of adjustability to your miserly driver's car and the M Sport package for a meatier steering wheel, an exterior aero kit, and larger 18-inch alloy wheels.

Most EPA Efficient 2015 2016 AWD Cars© Provided by MotorTrend Most EPA Efficient 2015 2016 AWD Cars

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