More and more cars are being offered with the added safety and performance of all-wheel drive, with the luxury segments in particular benefiting most from increased demand for the feature. Luxury brands typically offer rear-wheel drive as standard but in colder climates, such as in the Northern states of the U.S., icy roads can prove a real threat for drivers.
The other reason more models are being offered with all-wheel drive is that there are plenty of new car buyers downsizing from SUVs and looking to get back into sedans, but who don't want to lose the security offered by the drivetrain.
The benefit for automakers is that a healthy premium can be charged for the option, while customers will be happy to know that--in addition to being safer--modern all-wheel drive systems weigh less than 200 pounds and only reduce fuel economy by about 1-2 mpg.
According to recent sales data, about 50 percent of Cadillac CTS models were fitted with all-wheel drive systems, and nearly every model offered by Lincoln has it as an option. Audi, meanwhile, sells 80 percent of its cars in the U.S. with an all-wheel drive system fitted.
Not surprisingly, industry analyst Paul Lacy of IHS Automotive predicts that as much as 30 percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2015 will feature all-wheel drive, and that more and more mainstream cars will feature it as an option to capitalize on increasing demand.
In other words, don’t be too surprised if you’re next car comes with all-wheel drive too.