Top 10 Large Sedans With the Greatest Range

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

There’s something magical about going on a road trip. Whether it’s the allure of visiting a far-flung destination or just the call of the highway, piling into a car and eating up miles satiates mankind’s wanderlust.

Of course some vehicles are better for long-distance drives than others. A quiet interior, comfortable seats and smooth ride are prerequisites, but plentiful cup holders and storage spaces for snacks can’t hurt, either.

In a lot of ways large sedans were tailor-made for cross-country trips. They’re roomy, relatively efficient and don’t beat you up like a race-prepared Miata. Last week we examined 10 such cars, ranking them based on trunk space. This week we’re comparing those same four-doors but focusing on driving range.

We took each car’s EPA highway fuel-economy rating and multiplied it by the total gallons of fuel in their respective tanks to arrive at a maximum possible range. So, which of these full-figured cars is the ultimate bladder-buster? Click ahead to find out!

And landing in the No. 10 spot is Nissan’s Maxima. This sporty sedan holds an even 20 gallons of gasoline, meaning it’s got the second-largest fuel tank in this comparison. The car features a 3.5-liter V6 engine that pushes out 290 horsepower. Unfortunately it’s matched to a buzz-killing continuously variable transmission (CVT).

SEE ALSO: 2009 Nissan Maxima Review

According to the EPA the Maxima can stretch a gallon of unleaded fuel 19 miles in the city and 26 on the highway. That means it can travel up 520 miles, a fair distance to be sure, but nowhere near as far as some of the other sedans in this Top 10.

Of course if you decide to go the full distance with any of these you’ll want to keep a gas can on hand so you don’t get stranded. You’ve been warned.

Chevy’s soon-to-be-replaced Impala barely edged out the Nissan Maxima, topping its total driving range by just five miles. This automotive antelope features a 3.6-liter V6 and a six-speed automatic transmission. Don’t think this trio of sixes is the mark of the beast, it’s a really sweet combination as recently tested in the Buick LaCrosse.

SEE ALSO: 2009 Chevrolet Impala Review

The Impala can only lug around 17.5 gallons of fuel, second lowest in this comparison and a fair bit less than the Maxima. Thankfully it’s pretty efficient. The car delivers up to 30 miles per gallon on the highway (18 around town) giving it a theoretical maximum range of 525 miles.

Topping Chevy’s golden oldie is the Hyundai Genesis. This rear-wheel-drive four-door has the largest fuel tank here, capable of holding 20.3 gallons of liquid goodness.

SEE ALSO: 2012 Hyundai Genesis Sedan Review

In its most efficient form the Genesis is powered by a 333 horsepower V6. An eight-speed automatic gearbox routs power to the rear axle. In city driving the car can travel 18 miles on a gallon of fuel; its highway rating is considerably better at 28. That gives it a total driving range of 568 miles.

It’s a long trip back to Detroit from South Korea, but a necessary one because the Dodge Charger is lucky No. 7. With the company’s award-winning 3.6-liter V6 on board and an eight-speed automatic transmission this full-size sedan delivers a road-trip ready 31 miles per gallon on the highway. It’s rated at 19 MPG around town.

SEE ALSO: 2013 Dodge Charger Review

The car’s fuel tank holds 19.1 gallons of gasoline, and doing the math that means the Charger can tackle nearly 600 miles on a single tank. That’s enough to drive from Motown to Philadelphia with a few miles left over, probably just enough to find a gas station.

If you’re familiar with the Dodge Charger, which you should be since you just read about it, you’ll be very well acquainted with the Chrysler 300. These two cars are identical twins wearing different clothes. From the engine to the transmission to the fuel tank, in this trim they share all the same hardware.

SEE ALSO: 2011 Chrysler 300 Review

This means the 300 carries the same 19.1 gallons of gas and returns an identical 31 miles per gallon on the highway, which translates to a maximum range of 592 miles.

Edging out the Chrysler twins by about 16 miles of total driving range is Ford’s versatile Taurus. In its most efficient form this front-wheel-drive car is powered by a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. With a turbocharger and direct fuel injection it delivers a V6-like 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard across the board.

SEE ALSO: 2013 Ford Taurus Review

The Taurus can take on up to 19 gallons of petroleum distillates in a single sitting. With a highway fuel-economy score of 32 that yields a total range of 608 miles as well as a mid-pack finish in this comparison.

Honda’s ever-economical Accord has earned itself fourth-place honors in today’s competition. The most miserly non-hybrid model is the LX trim, and it’s powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and features a CVT.

SEE ALSO: 2013 Honda Accord Review

The car’s fuel tank holds 17.2 gallons of gasoline. The Accord’s city-mileage rating is 27; on the interstate it delivers up to 36 MPG. Burning every drop of petrol on board the car can travel a maximum distance of 619 miles.

Buick’s large and lovely LaCrosse earns a bronze medal in today’s mileage melee. The eAssist version is the thriftiest model and it really goes the distance, capable of devouring nearly 650 miles of open road on a single tank.

SEE ALSO: 2013 Buick LaCrosse Review

It holds 18 gallons of gasoline and is rated by the EPA at 25 MPG city and 36 highway. Under the hood this mild hybrid is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. An electric motor and a small lithium-ion battery provide up to 15 additional horsepower.

Topping the LaCrosse and landing in second place is Toyota’s recently redesigned Avalon. The hybrid version delivers some damn-impressive fuel economy figures for a large sedan. It’ll return 40 miles per gallon in the city and 39 on the open road.

SEE ALSO: 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Review

Doing the math that works out to a theoretical maximum range of 663 miles, an astounding distance to be sure, but one that pales in comparison to our top-performing car.

In a fearsome battle the Volkswagen Passat TDI beat all comers, topping the hybrids, trouncing cars with efficient CVTs and absolutely trashing the one with a downsized, turbocharged engine. It appears diesel power and an old-fashioned manual transmission is the most economical configuration on the highway today.

When it comes to fuel economy the Passat does very well. In city driving it can extract 31 miles out of a single gallon of low-sulfur diesel, beating all comers in this test by a wide margin with the exception of the Avalon Hybrid. But where this sedan really shines is on the open road. According to the EPA, the “People’s Car” delivers 43 miles per gallon on the expressway, the best in this Top 10.

SEE ALSO: 2012 Volkswagen Passat Review

The Passat is capable of holding 18.5 gallons of fuel, and when you do the math that works out to a butt-busting, bladder-bursting range of nearly 800 miles! Theoretically this Volkswagen’s legs are long enough to stretch clear across the Eastern Time Zone from New York City to Chicago in America’s heartland! How’s that for driving range?

Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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2 of 5 comments
  • Negousan Negousan on Feb 08, 2013

    I think that compare diesel engines with engines to gasoline or hybrid it is wrong, they should compare them each one is its category of motorization

  • Robert Parr Robert Parr on Jul 25, 2014

    FYI, the gas version of the Passat would've placed 4th, along with the diesel version still at #1.