As the world keeps obsessing over bigger and bigger cars, the market is saturated with bloated vehicles in varying segments from all brands. Being a supply and demand market, one can understand the manufacturers' behavior.
The unfortunate side effect of this practice, though, is that less and less time and research is spend on the smaller and less popular vehicles. But the reality of things is that not everyone is interested in giant cars and SUVs. And for us who care about small cars, the current market isn't what we'd call ideal.
For the more sensible enthusiasts, the concept of a small car that can do it all is ideal. So following this idea, what small car is actually quite capable off-road, on the off chance you want to venture off the beaten path on the weekends. Here is a quick list of a few notable tiny warriors.
10 Mazda 3 AWD
Good news everybody, the newest generation Mazda 3 is better than ever. On top of the regular incremental improvement from generation to generation, the current Mazda's biggest change is the addition of an optional AWD variant.
Joining a rare few that actually offer AWD to smaller compact cars. The current Mazda might be an underdog in terms of sales but among enthusiasts, the Mazda is higher popular, giving you the ability now to actually venture off-road without too many worries when it comes to getting stranded in every muddy path.
9 Mitsubishi Lancer AWD
Although shamefully discontinued, the Mitsubishi Lancer was actually a pretty damn good car, if you can look past its cheap plastic look and really focus on the car's capability. Outside of Subaru, the Lancer is actually one of the first to actually offer AWD on the compact sedan and it was actually a pretty good one at that. Although the Lancer was definitely aging and lagging behind its competitors, the stand out AWC will definitely be a selling point for those who want AWD for cheap.
8 Subaru Impreza
The king of putting AWD in everything they offer...well, almost everything. The Subaru was always the way to go if you were looking to have an AWD system in your compact sedans without venturing into the luxury segment. Subaru did a great job staying competitive while being an underdog by differentiating themselves in a good way. Not only that, but they also offer different levels of performance, in case the base model doesn't work for you there is always the WRX.
7 Audi A3
To no surprise, the other manufacturer synonymous with AWD also makes the list. The Audi A3 is their subcompact offering with available Quattro AWD. With the latest version currently out, it is one of the best looking small cars on the market. Also similar to the Subaru above, there are two more variants above the base A3, with the highest RS3 trim it will probably offer the 3.5L 5 cylinder engine producing around 400 HP.
6 BMW 2 Series GranCoupe
The newest addition to the BMW family is the 2 Series GranCoupe, although it shares the name with the small sports coupe the 2 series GC is its own car. Although it offers what is labeled as an XDrive, the AWD the 2 series gets is actually FWD-based, more like the regular Audi Haldex than the 40/60 split that BMW is known for. On the plus side, if you do splurge a bit and go for the M235i trim, you get a 2.0L 4 cylinder with 302 HP good for a zero to sixty time of 4.9s.
5 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack
It is no secret that the Volkswagen Golf is a fan favorite, it is small, well built, and good to drive. But even better for daily ownership is the Alltrack variant of the VW Golf. It is a wagon shaped Golf with some added rugged padding, give it an AWD system and available manual transmission, what more could you want. Completely transforming the Golf from a daily small car to also weekend back wood machine.
4 Infiniti G37X
One of the greatest features of the G37X is how much it has depreciated. Lucky for us, it is also a pretty damn good car at that. The X added to the end of the model name signifies that it is the AWD variant. If you do have one, that means you had an off terrain capable sports car with a 3.7L naturally aspirated V6 with 330 HP. The AWD system used in the G37 is a version of the Nissan ATTESA E-TS, an AWD system also found in the likes of the famous Nissan GTR.
3 Audi TT
The Audi TT is a small and popular small sports car offering from the Ingolstadt group. Without dwelling on the details, like other Audi vehicles, the TT is offered with the Quattro AWD system. This means that not only is the TT quite capable off-road but also has offers one of the best AWD systems available for everyday driving. The regular TT has a 2.0L turbocharged engine producing 227 HP and 272 LB-FT of torque. The top of the line model range has the 400 HP 2.5L 5 cylinder engine like the RS3.
2 Mercedes A-Class
The newest entry-level small car from Mercedes Benz, here to make us forget about the abomination that was the CLA Class. As the new and improved small car offering from MB, the A-Class comes with the Mercedes 4Matic AWD system, and like most German offerings, it has many trim levels. From the unexciting base model all the way to the 416 HP AMG to compete with its rivals, the Mercedes A-Class has something to offer buyers from almost every financial bracket.
1 Toyota Prius AWD
A round of applause is well deserved because the AWD variant of the Toyota Prius is finally available in America. The system that Toyota calls the E-Four is implemented in Toyota hybrid cars, where the rear wheels are powered by the electric motor, effectively making their hybrid cars AWD. This means you can now take your Prius deep into the forest to truly become one with nature. But realistically, it'll most likely just prevent most people from being stuck in snow.