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If you want a safe and sure-footed small or midsize sedan, you’re not without options. These sensible, all-wheel drive (AWD) cars promise practicality and crash protection, with top marks to prove it. In fact, the Subaru Legacy, Toyota Camry, and other vehicles earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ rating for commendable crashworthiness and overall safety. Here are some of the safest AWD cars with the IIHS’ approval. 

  • Mazda3
  • Kia K5
  • Nissan Altima
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Toyota Camry

Does Mazda3 have AWD?

Not only does the Mazda3 offer AWD, but it also gives you a choice of a sporty sedan or practical hatchback. Better yet, both the sedan and hatchback snagged the IIHS highest rating, the Top Safety Pick+. Save for an “acceptable” rating blemish related to headlights in certain trims, the Mazda3 took home a near-perfect bill of health from the safety agency. Of course, you’ll have to be content that the Mazda3 starts higher than most direct competitors; TrueCar says the 2.0 sedan starts at $22,215. 

The Mazda3, like the Subaru Legacy, offers AWD and a Top Safety Pick+.
Mazda3 | Mazda

Is the Kia K5 a safe car with AWD?

The Kia K5 is a very safe car. In the IIHS testing, the midsize Kia sedan earned a 2022 Top Safety Pick+. Furthermore, the Kia K5 offers both optional AWD and Kia’s outstanding 5-year, 60,000-mile warranty. If you want an affordable car in the midsize sedan segment with top safety scores and available AWD, the K5 is a solid choice. 

Does the Nissan Altima have AWD?

If you’d rather have something other than a Kia K5 or Toyota Camry, the Nissan Altima offers optional AWD, unlike its plusher sibling, the Maxima. However, both Nissans earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating. Still, the agency updated its testing of the 2022 Altima and amended its scores for side-impact crashworthiness. 

The Nissan Altima is one of the cars that offers AWD and a Top Safety Pick+.
Nissan Altima | Nissan

Worryingly, the Altima earned many “poor” and “marginal” ratings when officials evaluated the crash test dummies for potential injury. So, while the Nissan Altima maintains its overall rating, you might want to rethink it if your top priority is safety. 

Is a Subaru Legacy a safe car with AWD?

The Subaru Legacy earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS for its 2022 model year sedan. In its crashworthiness and safety evaluations, the Subaru sedan received “good” ratings in nearly every category and subcategory. While that might not seem impressive, good is the top individual mark the agency uses for its tests. Additionally, the Legacy is the first car on this list that offers standard all-wheel drive.  

The Subaru Legacy is a car with AWD and a Top Safety Pick+.
Subaru Legacy | Subaru

Which Toyota Camry is AWD?

While the 2022 Toyota Camry offers standard front-wheel drive (FWD), the marque offers its revered midsize sedan with optional AWD. Furthermore, the 2022 Camry has several trims with hybrid technology, which means potential owners could expect as much as 52 mpg combined. Also, the 2022 Toyota Camry managed to earn a Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS. 

However, much like the Nissan Altima, a revised side-impact test resulted in lower individual scores. Still, the IIHS didn’t revoke the Camry’s Top Safety Pick+ rating.

Which car with AWD should you consider?

If you want an AWD small or midsized sedan, you should look into the Kia K5 or Subaru Legacy. Both cars offer top crashworthiness and AWD for inclement weather. Further, with the amended side-impact scores of the Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima, the Kia or Subaru sedans might literally be safer bets. 

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