What AWD car has a column shifter?

My mother lives in West Virginia and is looking for an AWD sedan with the gearshift on the steering column instead of between the seats. What do you recommend?

Melissa N., Hillsboro, Ore.

We had to rack out brains on this one. Minivans, SUVs and trucks can combine a column-mounted shifter and all-wheel drive, but sedans usually have floor-mounted shifters when optioned with all-wheel drive. We don’t know of any sedans with a column shifter as well as all-wheel drive, so you may have to re-evaluate which feature appeals to you more.

If the column shifter teamed with all-wheel drive is a must, then it looks like you’ll have to stray from the sedans and go to a van or SUV. But if you want to stick with the sedan and column shifter — sacrificing all-wheel drive — sedans like the Chevrolet Impala, Ford Crown Victoria (shown below) and Cadillac DTS still offer a traditional column shifter, and will also have a bench seat in the front.

Crownviccolumnshifter

Another alternative to the traditional column shifter and floor shifter is a gear selector mounted on the center console/dashboard, which leaves the floor open for storage space and cupholders between the seats. Sedans that have these shifters tend to be smaller cars like the Nissan Sentra, Honda Civic or Dodge Caliber (the Caliber is available with all-wheel drive).

Although we deal with new cars all day, we may have missed a sedan that has this unique configuration of all-wheel drive and a column shifter, so if you’re reading this and thinking, “How could they leave out the (insert car here)?!” please leave a comment.

Answered by Joe Bruzek on May 30, 2007 in What Car Should I Buy? | Permalink

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