While most car shoppers interested in a roomy sedan assume they'll pay a penalty at the pump, several large sedans boast impressive fuel economy figures. We've rounded up some of our favorite full-size sedans that still return great mileage, capping our budget at $20,000 to appeal to as many car shoppers as possible. And while none of our picks are brand new models, we've made sure to choose certified pre-owned vehicles to ensure a low-cost ownership experience.
2009 Buick Lucerne
17 mpg city/26 mpg highway
Buick's full-size Lucerne is a slam-dunk value, offering a fuel efficient engine, a roomy interior and reasonable pricing. Under the hood, buyers will find a potent 3.9-liter V6 that boasts fuel economy ratings of 17 mpg city and an exceptional 26 mpg in highway driving. Inside, the Lucerne features a comfortable interior typically associated with a large car, though we recommend mid-level CXL models for their leather upholstery and dual power front seats. Best of all, finding a Lucerne won't be a chore, as nearly 400 certified pre-owned examples are currently listed on AutoTrader.com for around $20,000 or less.
2010 Chrysler 300
16 mpg city/25 mpg highway
Despite its bold appearance, Chrysler's full-size 300 is surprisingly fuel efficient - even if you choose its robust 5.7-liter "Hemi" V8. Thanks to a lightweight design and standard cylinder deactivation, that engine achieved fuel economy ratings of up to 16 mpg city and 25 mpg highway - figures that were nearly identical to EPA ratings in 3.5-liter, V6-powered 300 Touring and Limited models. The 300 also offers a roomy interior, a compliant ride and - with nearly 200 certified examples currently listed on AutoTrader.com - a great value for the money. We recommend the newest Chrysler 300 you can get with the lowest miles possible.
2010 Ford Taurus
18 mpg city/28 mpg highway
Although it's easy to find reasonably priced 2008 and 2009 Taurus models on AutoTrader.com with a certified pre-owned warranty, we highly recommend a 2010. In addition to new styling, the 2010 Taurus boasts a roomier interior with upgraded, high-quality buttons, switches and knobs. The sedan also features Ford's muscular 3.5-liter V6, which returns up to 28 mpg in highway driving despite a brawny 263 hp. Best of all, the 2010 Taurus offered available all-wheel drive - an option included in several of the 60 certified pre-owned models currently listed on AutoTrader.com for around $20,000 or less.
2009 Hyundai Azera
18 mpg city/26 mpg highway
It's safe to say that many buyers haven't heard of the Hyundai Azera. To us, that's a shame considering the sedan's luxurious standard equipment, its roomy interior and its efficient, quiet powertrain. Our top recommendation is a 2009 Azera Limited, which includes a standard power sunroof, an in-dash 6-disc CD changer, leather upholstery with heated front seats and 17-inch alloy wheels. The Azera Limited also boasts up to 26 mpg in highway driving thanks to a smooth 5-speed automatic mated to a 263-hp V6. Looking for bolder styling? Consider the 2009 Kia Amanti, which shared the Azera's platform, engine and much of its standard equipment but offered a more distinctive appearance. Both are easily located on AutoTrader.com with a certified pre-owned warranty for around $20,000 or less.
2009 Nissan Maxima
19 mpg city/26 mpg highway
Despite its youth-oriented advertising and the bold styling of Nissan's full-size Maxima, the sporty sedan is well suited to providing a comfortable ride and room for the entire family. We prefer the 2009 model, due to both its updated design and its 290-hp 3.5-liter V6, which - at 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway - was slightly more efficient than its predecessor. And while the 2009 Maxima started at around $31,000 including destination, it's not hard to find budget-priced certified pre-owned examples, with around 35 different 2009 and 2010 models listed on AutoTrader.com today for around $20,000 or less.
2008 Toyota Avalon
19 mpg city/28 mpg highway
You might be surprised to learn that more than 150 different examples of Toyota's plush Avalon sedan are currently listed on AutoTrader.com with a certified pre-owned warranty for around $20,000 or less. That's great news for shoppers who want a worry-free driving experience, since Toyota's certified pre-owned warranty boasts 12 months or 12,000 miles of comprehensive coverage and up to 7 years or 100,000 miles of powertrain protection. But the best feature of a certified pre-owned 2008 Avalon is its engine: a 3.5-liter V6 that provides both ample 268 hp and class-leading gas mileage of up to 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.
What it means to you: Using our list, car shoppers interested in a large sedan don't have to sacrifice wallet-friendly fuel economy.