The search for the best AWD small cars breaks down into two categories. You have the over $80,000 4WD sports cars like the Porsche 911's of the world, and then you have the other new cars for sale in the other. Since most of us don't have that sort of money to throw around we limited the list today to under $40,000 which is a pretty reasonable number.
Best Small Cars with AWD
So why $40,000? Because while there are some pretty nice budget AWD small cars for sale, the cheapest new car available is not always best. You miss out on luxury coupes and performance sedans that go that extra mile to be the better then the rest but cost a bit more because of it. Let's see what we got now.
Audi A3 - MSRP starting at $30,850
The A3 is Audi's entry point into luxury, and while it sits alone on our list as a strictly luxury car that enjoys some extra grip on the road unlike the other cars built for performance or budget.
Audi TT Series - MSRP starting at $38,300
While not the speedster the WRX or Lancer are, nor even as quick as the Golf R, the base TT provides beyond required performance for every day driving while still providing those little extra bits of luxury that make it one of the best coupes 2012 has to offer.
Mitsubishi Lancer - MSRP starting at $27,995
While the stock Lancer is very much a modest affordable sedan, adding AWD in the Ralliart package pushes the price and performance up to 237 horsepower from the stock 152 horses. Quite an upgrade and that's not even the fire breathing performance edition of the Lancer.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution - MSRP starting at $34495
So what does an extra $6,500 over the Lancer Ralliart get you? How about 291 horsepower of AWD fury. When you think small AWD cars ripping up the road its either the Evolution or the WRX STI that people think of.
Subaru Impreza - MSRP starting at $17495
The stock Subaru Impreza, now the best MPG 4x4, is also one of the most affordable AWD cars on the market today. With the choice of sedan or hatchback model, combined with starting price and fuel cost savings the Impreza is a very popular option in this category.
Subaru WRX - MSRP starting at $25595
Of course the Subaru Imperza WRX is also quite popular in its own right, but more for its performance chops then fuel economy. The main competition to the Lancer, the Subaru WRX STI pushes out an impressive 305 horsepower to top our list in the power category.
Suzuki SX4 - MSRP starting at $16999
Little known and often overlooked, the Suzuki SX4 is actually the cheapest AWD option on our list. But since budget doesn't always mean best, it wouldn't be our first choice on any car search sites.
Toyota Matrix - MSRP starting at $21715
Once the sister car to the now gone Pontiac Vibe, this smart little hatchback soldiers on. With an impressive 26 city and 32 highway mileage it's a choice to consider if you aren't a fan of the Impreza.
Volkswagen Golf R - MSRP starting at $33990
While not a match for the WRX or Lancer lineups, the Golf R is the top of the Volkswagen Golf lineup for performance. This quick and responsive little hatchback bangs out a none the less impressive 256 ponies.