Optimization is the name of the game when it comes to searching for and eventually purchasing the right car for you. Finding a vehicle that excels the most in the variety of areas that you value can be no easy task, as the tug o’ war that takes place between your needs and your wants can leave you feeling more torn than that Natalie Imbruglia song. Fortunately, we’re here to help make sense of things for the individuals seeking fuel efficiency in a family-sized sedan without having to pay luxury-sized prices. Below is our list of the top five most fuel-efficient cars priced below $26,000.
2011 BMW 5 Series
- The BMW 5 Series comes with impressive fuel economy considering its high performance pedigree. Though the MPGs vary some between the 528i, 535i, and 550i, for the most part, those who purchase the 5 Series can expect to receive somewhere between 20 mpg city and 30 mpg highway across the board.
- The 5 Series’ interior is what you’d expect from a BMW. Comfortable front seats allow for plenty adjustability, while the back seats allow for enough room for a pair of adults standing over 6-feet tall. The trunk also offers 14 cubic feet of storage capacity, though that is smaller than average for this particular segment.
- Like the interior, the steering and comfortable ride of the 5 Series of the kind of quality and craftsmanship that BMW is known for. On winding roads in particular, the 5 Series earns high marks for being “unflappable” and “confidence-inspiring.”
- Possessing an enviable combination of performance, comfort and technology, the 2011 BMW 5 Series is a top choice in the midsize luxury sport sedan segment.
2014 Chrysler 300
- Those in the market for a fuel-efficient family sedan with affordable style should look no further than the 2014 Chrysler 300. Though the V8 version of the 300 gets notably fewer miles per gallon (15 mpg city/25 mpg highway), the V6 version possess quality fuel economy, getting you 19 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.
- The Chrysler 300 passes government crash testing with flying colors, earning a top-five overall rating with five stars for total frontal impact safety and five stars for total side-impact safety. In Edmunds break testing, the 300 also came to a stop from 60 mph in a better-than-average 118 feet.
- Inside the 300, passengers are treated to the kind of sense of class and sophistication normally reserved for higher end vehicles. This is particularly true as it concerns the John Varvatos Luxury Edition of the 300, which is complete with special wood finishes and extended premium leather trim.
- With its extraordinary mix of style, power, luxury and value, the 2014 Chrysler 300 is a top pick among full-size sedans.
2014 Dodge Charger
- Available in a variety of trims, the fuel economy for the 2014 Dodge Charger can vary from trim to trim. The SE model returns an EPA-estimated 21 mpg combined (18 mpg city/27 mpg highway), with the eight-speed automatic offering even better economy at 23 mpg combined (19 mpg city/31 mpg highway).
- Coming standard in the Charger is its 3.6-liter V6 engine, which delivers a smooth, comfortable ride with fulfilling power. For those who are a bit more performance focused, the eight-speed automatic might be the preferred choice, as seamless shifting and improved fuel economy make it a quality buy.
- Every passenger inside the Charger’s confines is provided with an impressive amount of space, though taller passengers may feel their headroom restricted due to the sporty roof line design.
- If you dig the 2014 Dodge Charger’s bold styling, wait till you see what else this full-size sedan has to offer. It’s a great all-around car at a great price.
2015 Buick Regal
- According to the EPA, the fuel economy on the Regal checks in at 24 mpg combined (21 city/30 highway), making it one of the more fuel efficient selections to appear on this list.
- Though not a full-on luxury vehicle, the Regal’s interior is upscale with materials that are luxury-grade. The seating up front is both snug and supportive, however seating for backseat passengers is a bit more cramped, particularly for taller individuals.
- The all-wheel-drive system in the Regal has drawn high praise from critics, as its ability to handle in wet weather and on winding roads is smooth and composed.
- The 2015 Buick Regal is one of the best sedans currently built from GM; it marries European driving dynamics, tidy sport-sedan styling, and quite a bit of elegance, and it’s probably the strongest argument, at present, for Buick’s moves toward being seen as a premium (if not full-luxury) brand.
2015 Chevrolet Impala
- Of the sedan options highlighted on this list, the Chevy Impala may quietly be the vehicle that provides the best overall value across the board. With its base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, the Impala’s fuel economy is EPA-rated at 25 mpg combined (22 city/31 highway) – tops among all of our selections.
- In government crash testing, the Impala earned a perfect five stars for overall crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also awarded the Impala its best rating of “Good” in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests.
- “A generous wheelbase gives the Impala serious passenger space front and rear. Four 6-footers could do a cross-country road trip in perfect comfort; that’s what we expect from a large sedan, and the Impala certainly delivers.”
- If you’re looking for a big, comfortable 5-passenger family sedan with style, technology and value, the 2015 Chevy Impala should top your list.