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Where do capability and affordability collide? How can you get AWD’s trail-riding, adventure-seeking qualities without paying more than $30,000? Thankfully, some modern vehicles still bring the practical nature of an affordable price and include AWD as part of the package.

Which AWD vehicles make the cut? As expected, Subaru dominates the list of AWD vehicles offered for less than $30,000.

What are the best AWD vehicles for less than $30,000?

Kelley Blue Book offers various “10 Best” lists, and this is one of them. If you want to drive a vehicle that can handle the trails and fit in your budget, you’ll want to choose something off this list.

  • Subaru Outback – $28,895
  • Toyota Prius – $29,050
  • Subaru Forester – $27,095
  • Toyota RAV4 – 29,875
  • Ford Maverick – $26,035
  • Mazda CX-30 – $24,995
  • Honda HR-V – $25,600
  • Hyundai Santa Cruz – $28,150
  • Subaru Legacy – $24,895
  • Hyundai Kona – $25,600

List domination might be a stretch when Subaru only shows up three times out of ten, but Toyota and Hyundai have two models, while other brands only appear once.

How do we pair down this KBB list?

If we’re looking for the best AWD vehicles for off-road fun, the next step is to remove the cars from the list. This means the Prius and Legacy have to go. This leaves eight vehicles, two of which are still Subaru AWD SUVs. Let’s take a look at those two:

What does the 2024 Subaru Forester offer?

2024 Subaru Forester in the Woods. A great AWD vehicle for less than $30,000.
2024 Subaru Forester in the Woods | Subaru

The Forester sits in the compact crossover class as one of the most affordable Subaru SUVs in the market. This Subaru SUV comes with standard Symmetrical AWD, as all Subaru SUVs do, and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick from 2023. The 2024 model should earn the same rating, making it a great choice.

Forester owners can enjoy a roomy cabin with lots of cargo space at an affordable price, making it easy to enjoy time on the trails.

Should you choose the 2024 Subaru Outback?

2024 Subaru Outback Posed Outdoors on a hilltop. This is one of the best AWD vehicles for under $30,000.
2024 Subaru Outback on a Hilltop | Subaru

The Outback tops KBB’s list of the best AWD vehicles for less than $30,000, making it one of the best all-around AWD vehicles in the market. The Outback has grown from a cultish off-road wagon to a real SUV, occupying the compact SUV space with good ground clearance and impressive trail-riding capabilities.

The Subaru Outback took safety one step further than the Forester, earning the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating for 2023. The 2024 model should also receive the same top-tier rating.

While many AWD vehicles under $30,000 could give you the desired off-road driving experience, these two Subaru SUVs come with standard AWD, made for fun in the sun.