$5K Challenge: Find Us The Best Used AWD Winter Beaters For Sale Right Now


Winter is coming and it has no mercy for your daily driver. If you’re one of the millions who live in a region that experiences freezing temperatures then you might be in the market for a winter beater. With that in mind, we’re hoping that as a Carscoops community we can find the best all-wheel drive winter beaters for $5,000 or less. With that kind of budget, what would you buy?

Despite the wild prices on some used vehicles, it’s easy to find a vehicle that powers all four wheels for that kind of money. Older Ford F-150 pickups, Volkswagen sedans with questionable reliability, and BMWs with thousands of dollars worth of deferred maintenance are all over the place.

Those vehicles have some major weaknesses like poor fuel economy, the likelihood that they’ll leave you stranded in a winter wonderland, or something else. At the same time, there are a number of typically reliable AWD vehicles that can be had for $5,000 or less including a number of Subaru models.

Read More: Who Needs A Winter Beater When You Can Have An Audi R8?

That includes not just the Forester SUV but also the Legacy and even an Impreza here or there depending on where you live. Not only are Subarus relatively reliable (especially when stock), but their symmetrical AWD system is notoriously good on slippery surfaces like gravel, dirt, and snow.

There are a number of available SUVs that might not offer excellent fuel economy but they offer more everyday utility than a two-door pickup truck. That shortlist includes the Nissan Xterra, the Chevrolet Trailblazer, and the Lexus RX 300. Each of those has its own attributes but we think that there might be a dark horse.

That pony is the Volvo V70 wagon. Sure, for this kind of money there are a few different Volvos available but the V70 stands out. Not only is it relatively reliable but it offers a solid AWD system and it’s highly practical thanks to a gigantic cargo area. On top of all of that, it’s ranked highly in safety scores.

It should be noted that every vehicle we’ve mentioned here can be had under our $5,000 budget without major damage, a salvage title, or more than 150,000 miles across most of the country. What are your picks? Let us know in the comments below!


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