Small four-wheel drive vehicles have better overall traction and all-weather performance than similar vehicles with front- or rear-wheel drive while retaining many of the advantages of smaller cars, such as better overall handling and easier parking in urban areas. Small four-wheel drive cars also tend to have better gas mileage than larger vehicles, but the additional weight of the four-wheel drive system may mitigate this advantage to some degree.
Small four-wheel drive vehicles offer some of the best overall performance in all varieties of passenger and sports cars, especially cars designed for high-performance driving, such as the Subaru WRX or Mitsubishi Lancer. Many of these cars were designed for use in rally racing and have considerable performance potential both on- and off-road. Even less sporting small cars with four-wheel drive, such as the Audi A3, have better grip on wet and dry pavement than other small cars due to their ability to send power to the wheels with the most traction at any given time.
Small four-wheel drive cars are available in almost every popular body style, including convertibles and coupes. Hatchback, wagon and crossover designs are popular options for drivers who need more cargo space but also plan to drive in hazardous conditions.