Best used car deals on all-wheel-drive cars and SUVs

Affordable models to keep you safe during winter’s reign

Published: November 27, 2013 12:00 PM

Winter is coming soon, with heavy rain, slippery roads, wind storms, and even snow announcing its imminent arrival. If you’re looking for a fresh car with the added foul-road security of all-wheel drive, consider these Consumer Reports recommended models.

In our latest used-car price analysis, we found that there are plenty of deals on pre-owned vehicles with AWD. When it comes to four-wheel traction, many shoppers gravitate toward the larger SUVs, but there are many sedans, wagons, and small SUVs that can provide sure-footed traction and decent fuel economy.

Whatever your preferred car type, there are savings to be had when choosing to buy used, rather than pay full price on a new model. To make it easier to find what you’re looking for, we've identified some of the best money-saving deals on good, used AWD vehicles.

Check out our top deals for recommended used vehicles with AWD (all are from the 2010-2012 model years). We placed the vehicles in order, starting with the cheapest price you might be able to get when buying from the dealer. The models listed below cost 16 to 49 percent less than the retail price when the vehicle was new; all are under $20,000. Plus, they have at least average reliability according to our latest subscriber survey.

Vehicle Mileage MSRP When New Buying From Dealer Avg Price Drop In Retail Value vs. MSRP
2010 Pontiac Vibe 51,000 $20,275 $11,725 42%
2010 Mitsubishi Outlander 51,000 $22,240 $12,375 44%
2010 Subaru Impreza 51,000 $18,495 $13,100 29%
2010 Mercury Milan 51,000 $27,800 $13,350 52%
2010 Nissan Rogue 51,000 $21,540 $13,950 35%
2010 Toyota Matrix 51,000 $20,910 $14,325 31%
2010 Ford Fusion 51,000 $27,790 $14,825 47%
2011 Mercury Milan 40,000 $28,645 $15,375 46%
2011 Subaru Impreza 40,000 $18,495 $15,525 16%
2011 Nissan Rogue 40,000 $22,060 $15,550 30%
2010 Toyota RAV4 51,000 $24,935 $16,000 36%
2011 Mitsubishi Outlander 40,000 $24,495 $16,450 33%
2012 Nissan Rogue 22,000 $22,780 $17,025 25%
2010 Subaru Forester 51,000 $23,795 $17,800 25%
2010 Honda CR-V 51,000 $25,095 $17,900 29%
2012 Mitsubishi Outlander 22,000 $23,295 $17,950 23%
2012 Toyota Matrix 22,000 $21,715 $18,125 17%
2010 Lincoln MKZ 51,000 $36,005 $18,475 49%
2011 Toyota RAV4 40,000 $25,460 $18,500 27%
2012 Ford Fusion 22,000 $28,760 $18,900 34%
2011 Ford Fusion 40,000 $28,645 $19,025 34%
2010 Honda Accord Crosstour 51,000 $34,020 $19,075 44%

Buying a used car has many benefits. Most important is that the original owner takes the initial depreciation hit, as new cars lose much more value in the first and second years than those that follow. Late-model vehicles typically have the latest safety equipment (such as curtain air bags and stability control), are still affordable, and have much of their service life ahead.

When shopping, look for models that scored well in Consumer Reports’ tests when new, have proven reliability, and perform well in government and insurance industry safety tests. Before handing over the cash, have the vehicle inspected by a trained and trusted mechanic to make sure there are no hidden problems.

See our complete list of used-car deals across a variety of vehicle categories.  Full used car pricing information is available to Cars Best Deals Plus subscribers on the model overview pages. Consumer Reports also offers individual Used Car Price Reports on vehicles from the 2004-2013 model years. Pricing information can be adjusted for vehicle condition, mileage and optional equipment.

—Liza Barth

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