Shopping for a new SUV with all-wheel drive (AWD)? If you are, you’ve got no shortage of options to choose from. The good news is that U.S. News & World Report recently revealed its picks for the best AWD SUVs of 2021. Read on to find out which new AWD SUVs made the cut.
The advantages of buying an AWD SUV
Before diving into the best AWD SUVs of 2021, let’s talk about the benefits of buying an AWD SUV. Perhaps the biggest advantage of buying an AWD SUV is that it improves an SUV’s performance when driving over wet or snowy roads, U.S. News reports. While AWD is designed for pavement, many AWD SUVs also offer additional drive modes that further optimize performance in snow, sand, and mud.
There are plenty of other advantages to consider when buying an AWD SUV too. An AWD SUV will offer better acceleration than a two-wheel-drive vehicle in inclement weather, Edmunds reports. AWD also improves dry handling and both traction and towing. AWD has added resale value too.
Perhaps the only downside to choosing a new SUV with AWD is that it typically boosts a vehicle’s sticker price by approximately $1,500-$2,000, reports U.S. News. Though, if you need a car that’s able to take on wet or snowy roads, that additional cost is likely well worth the spend.
The best AWD SUVs of 2021 includes some big names
As for the best AWD SUVs of 2021? U.S. News kicked off its list with the 2021 Subaru Forester. The 2021 Subaru Forester not only comes standard with all-wheel drive but also boasts 8.7-inches of ground clearance, making it a great choice if you often find yourself facing snowy roads and uneven terrain. The new Subaru Forester comes equipped with hill descent control and X-mode traction enhancement for light off-road excursions, too, U.S. News reports.
The 2021 Kia Sportage also landed a spot on U.S. News’ list of the best AWD SUVs of 2021. Though, unlike the Subaru Forester, the Sportage doesn’t come standard with all-wheel drive. The good news is that it only adds $1,500 to the cost of most trim levels. The same goes for the 2021 Mazda CX-9, which also made U.S. News’ list. Though, AWD is slightly more expensive and will cost you roughly $1,900.
Sitting near the top of the list is another big name, the 2021 Honda CR-V. The Honda CR-V is also one of U.S. News’ best compact SUVs for 2021. However, all-wheel drive is optional and will cost you $1,500. The good news is that the CR-V’s available all-wheel drive system includes selectable modes for driving in several conditions, including snow, mud, and sand.
These three-row SUVs landed a spot on the list too
And if you need an AWD SUV with three rows? You’ve still got plenty of options. Take, for example, the 2021 Hyundai Palisade. It’s one of the best AWD SUVs of 2021 and can seat up to eight passengers. The 2021 Honda Pilot is another worthy option and, much like the Hyundai Palisade, offers three rows of seating. Adding AWD will cost you roughly $2,000. However, the Honda Pilot does come standard with AWD if you opt for the top Elite and Black Edition trims.
The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse boasts three rows of seating too. It’s also one of the best AWD SUVs of 2021, reports U.S. News. AWD is available on all but the base model and will have you spending between $2,000 and $3,800, depending on the model. The good news is that the Traverse’s all-wheel drive system offers several modes, including an Off-Road and a Tow/Haul mode.
And if you need additional options? U.S. News also named the 2021 Kia Telluride one of the best AWD SUVs of 2021. It boasts three rows of seating too and, according to U.S. News, is an excellent minivan alternative. As for how much all-wheel drive will cost you? Opt for this year’s Telluride, and you can expect to spend $2,000 for all-wheel drive.
The most affordable AWD SUV of 2021 is the Hyundai Kona
While all-wheel drive typically drives up the cost of a new SUV, there are affordable AWD SUVs out there. In fact, the 2021 Hyundai Kona is the most affordable AWD SUV to make U.S. News’ list of the best AWD SUVs of 2021. All-wheel drive is available on all models and costs approximately $1,400.
All-wheel drive and an affordable price tag aren’t all the 2021 Hyundai Kona has going for it either. According to U.S. News, this affordable AWD SUV also ranks as one of the best subcompact SUVs. It currently outranks popular models like the 2021 Kia Soul, 2021 Hyundai Venue, and the 2021 Honda HR-V.
These new Mazda models are some of the best AWD SUVs too
Now, the 2021 Mazda CX-9 isn’t the only Mazda model to earn a spot on U.S. News’ list of the best AWD SUVs of 2021. As it turns out, the 2021 Mazda CX-30 also landed a spot on the list. The 2021 Mazda CX-30 comes standard with front-wheel drive but can be had with all-wheel drive. Though, it will cost you approximately $1,400 to get it.
Much like the CX-9 and the CX-30, the 2021 Mazda CX-5 is another Mazda model available with all-wheel drive. It’s also one of the best AWD SUVs of 2021, according to U.S. News. Adding all-wheel drive costs approximately $1,400. However, it does come standard with the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trims.
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson is the best AWD SUV of 2021
As for the best AWD SUV of 2021? U.S. News opted for the 2022 Hyundai Tucson. After undergoing a complete redesign, the Hyundai Tucson ranks as the best AWD SUV of 2021 and the best compact crossover SUV, the best compact SUV, and the best SUV with two rows. There’s no denying that those rankings are pretty hard to argue with. Even better, all-wheel drive is available on all trims and won’t cost you more than $1,400.
But just because the 2022 Hyundai Tucson is U.S. News’ pick for the best AWD SUV of 2021 doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right pick for you. If you’re in the market for a new SUV with all-wheel drive, U.S. News’ picks make for an excellent place to start. Try taking each of these models out for a test drive, and, chances are, you’ll find yourself behind the wheel of the best AWD SUV for satisfying all of your daily driving needs.