For anyone who values traction highly - say, those scarred by a traumatic banana peel slip or, more likely, those with a love of off-road or performance driving - there are several options available in terms of vehicles built with an all-wheel-drive system that gives the driver the ability to stick to (almost) any surface.
It’s a feature most people associate with the traditional all-wheel-drive SUV, but all-wheel-drive cars also come in sedan form, which brings the advantages of grip long-enjoyed by off-road types, with dust in their teeth, to those who want to stay planted to the road.
The benefits are many, but chief among them is the fact that sending power to all four wheels doesn’t just help you climb over mountains, but also delivers AWD performance and AWD safety when you’re travelling on tarmac.
Power to the people
Years ago, all-wheel-drive cars were mainly found at the higher end of the market, meaning wallet-emptying German models from brands like Audi, which uses its “quattro” AWD system as a selling point, particularly in snow-covered European countries.
Recently, other Germans brands have got on the AWD train, as they struggle to get all the power modern engines make to the ground, so BMW’s M5 - once a rear-drive-only offering, now drives all four wheels.
Thanks to one Japanese brand in particular, however, which used to enjoy the branding phrase “all 4 the driver” to describe its all-wheel-drive-is-better philosophy, there are also more affordable options.
Subaru’s Impreza may look like a typical four-door sedan, but it is anything but. At just $26,640 recommended driveaway price nationally, the Impreza 2.0i AWD is far more attainable than an expensive luxury vehicle, yet it still offers the same great features, like Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) with active torque split (an option that splits the torque ratio between the front and rear wheels).
The next step up is Subaru’s WRX range, a model that offers extra power and more clever features but still comes with the same impressive and safe Symmetrical AWD capabilities as the Impreza sedan.
Grip when you need it
While some people assume that bigger, all-wheel-drive SUVs are the safest AWD options available due to their sheer size, it’s worth noting that the Impreza and the WRX come out top of the pops in terms of safety, both scoring an impressive five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Whether you’re after peace of mind when driving on wet roads or you’ve encountered some sand or mud on an out-of-town adventure, the gorilla grip and control that Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD offers is the perfect solution for those who want not only the sleekness of a sedan, but also the same AWD capability that SUVs and high-end German brands offer.
The advantage of a sedan, of course, over higher-riding models, is one that any keen driver will recognise instantly. A lower centre of gravity means better handling, and more enjoyable cornering, at all times, with AWD adding extra grip, too.
27 May 2021