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Top 15 Best Mileage Midsize Family Sedans for 2013

by Ryan ZumMallen on

Cars can be divided into endless categories to suit almost any need or desire, from sports cars and off-roaders to luxo-barges and super-compacts. But when it really comes down to it, selling cars is about one thing: practicality. On that note, we've arranged a list of the top 15 best mileage midsize family sedans for 2013 that excel in fuel efficiency—because what's more practical than a four-door sedan that can transport a family and save you money at the pump? They're ranked in order of overall fuel efficiency, and while the No. 1 spot may not be much of a surprise, you may just find a couple of entries you wouldn't expect to be on this list. So let's get to it.

2013 Toyota Prius—50 MPG Combined*

Despite the industry’s repeated attempts to knock it off the throne, the Toyota Prius still reigns supreme when it comes to fuel efficiency. What’s even more astounding is that it still uses the same basic formula, with only minor tweaks to the powertrain over the last dozen years. Hey, if it ain’t broke, right? Toyota will keep the good times rolling in the 2013 model year, carrying over the same 1.8L four-cylinder engine with an Atkinson cycle, plus eco-friendly tricks like variable valve timing (VVT), regenerative brakes and low rolling resistance tires. The Prius is a model of efficiency and reliability, and the go-to vehicle for any eco-friendly customer. Find local Toyota Prius Clearance Pricing and Blue Book Values

2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid—47 MPG Combined

And in this corner we have the challenger. The redesigned and re-worked Fusion Hybrid didn’t beat the Prius, as Ford hoped it would, but it does demolish the stereotype that all hybrids need to have the same shape. This is about as far from a Chevy Volt as you can get, with a presence that looks better on the track than a Whole Foods parking lot. It also has a leg up on the Prius when it comes to performance—saving weight with lithium-ion batteries allowed engineers to fit the Ford Fusion Hybrid with more power without losing efficiency. Need proof? We’ll bet you can’t find another car with 188 horsepower that can hit 60 mph on electric power alone. Find local Ford Fusion Hybrid Clearance Pricing and Blue Book Values

2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE—40 MPG Combined*

Combine the legendary comfort of a Camry with the hybrid know-how Toyota has acquired over the years and you’ve got a great package. These days, hybrids are trying to be edgy or sporty or anything except a quality fuel-efficient vehicle. That’s boring. But the Camry Hybrid doesn’t mind being that, because at the end of the day it’s a good product that customers continue to buy and enjoy. It may be the quintessential no-frills hybrid sedan, with a smooth and quiet ride from the CVT transmission. If you’re looking for near-Prius mileage in a more attractive package, you’ve found it with the 2013 Toyota Camry HybridFind local
Toyota Camry Clearance Pricing and Blue Book Values

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI—34 MPG Combined

Quite frankly, it’s astounding that this is the only turbodiesel vehicle on the list. If any of the non-hybrids here plopped a similar powertrain under the hood, their mileage would instantly improve. Automakers still believe that U.S. customers aren’t willing to consider diesel vehicles, plus it costs them more in taxes to ship them here. Que sera sera. So the 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI is the one turbodiesel entry on the list, powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder with 140 horsepower and gobs of torque (236 lb.-ft). Who could turn that down? If you’re open to change—and you are, because you’re looking at hybrids—then check out the Volkswagen Passat TDIFind local Volkswagen Passat Clearance Pricing and Blue Book Values

2013 Kia Optima Hybrid—34 MPG Combined

The first hybrid Kia ever is still among the best options on the market, even three years after its debut. For such a small automaker, that’s incredible staying power. Combined with sharp looks and a great warranty, the 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid is bringing in foot traffic with an innovative hybrid powertrain that still isn’t showing its age. A 2.4L four-cylinder Atkinson cycle provides the grunt and tech like lithium batteries and engine shut-off help efficiency, but the secret is an Interior Permanent Magnet (IPM) electric motor that pushes the total horsepower over the 200 mark. It also allows the Optima Hybrid to run up to 62 mph on electric power years before the Ford Fusion offered the same thing. Find local Kia Optima Hybrid
Clearance Pricing and Blue Book Values

2013 Hyundai Elantra—33 MPG Combined

If you want to look into a crystal ball to see the future of compact midsized cars, just check out the 2013 Hyundai Elantra. How could one car possibly lead its segment in both horsepower per liter and overall mileage? The Elantra pulls it off, with a 1.8L four-cylinder engine making 148 horsepower and 29/40 mpg – for both the automatic and manual transmission. That last part is important, because most cars have different efficiency ratings based on transmission, and buyers need to take that into consideration. With the 2013 Hyundai Elantra, there are no such worries. It’s just a straightforward, small aluminum engine car with dual continuous VVT. Oh, and it also looks pretty good in the process. Find local Hyundai Elantra
Clearance Pricing and Blue Book Values

2013 Chevrolet Cruze Eco—33 MPG Combined

Opt for the manual transmission and you’ll find the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze Eco carries an industry-leading 42 mpg highway with its 1.8L turbo-four. While you can’t beat that with a non-hybrid, the special thing about the Cruze Eco is that it’s so well-equipped. Chevrolet didn’t spare any luxury in order to achieve efficiency; in fact, they loaded even more goodies into the Cruze Eco and still managed great mileage. The Eco boasts 17-inch wheels, a 7-inch color touchscreen, Bluetooth connection, and all the apps you can handle. Add the Eco Driver Convenience Package for a power driver’s seat, rear camera and heated mirrors. Find local Chevrolet Cruze Clearance Pricing and Blue Book Values

2013 Dodge Dart—32 MPG Combined

Chrysler has been pretty late to the eco-friendly game, but they enter with a splash (pun intended) thanks to the optional Tigershark turbo-four engine in the 2013 Dodge Dart. Power is meek at just 160 horses, but the torque comes on heavy and quickly with 184 lb.-ft. available at just 2,500-4,000 rpm. Thank the partnership with FIAT for the small but mighty powerplant and its sequential multi-port fuel injection, which we can also expect to see in future Dodge models. It may have taken a push from overseas, but it’s also better to come with a good product than just being first on the scene and Chrysler has a winner here. Find local Dodge Dart Clearance Pricing and Blue Book Values

2013 Nissan Altima 2.5—31 MPG Combined

The pleasant surprise of the year may be the 2013 Nissan Altima, which made minor improvements in almost every area to create a total package that excels at fuel economy. The new body is lighter and more aerodynamic; the 2.5L four-cylinder is eleven lbs. lighter; the CVT is smoother and made up of fewer moving parts. If efficiency is your priority, then there’s a lot to like about the 2013 Altima. The Altima has been the second-best selling car in the U.S. for several years, and if Nissan is trying to take over that top spot, the increased fuel mileage and sportier feel in the 2013 Altima gives customers a great reason to look past the Camry. Find local Nissan Altima Clearance Pricing and Blue Book Values

2013 Honda Accord—30+ MPG Combined**

You might face a difficult decision when it comes to the 2013 Honda Accord, because the 2.4L inline-four and 3.5L V6 have almost identical fuel economy figures. So while you could spring for the EX or EX-L models and have nearly the same efficiency, we’ll focus on the base models and their smaller engine here. Honda fitted the car with an aluminum-alloy powerplant that has both multi-point fuel injection and Drive-by-Wire throttle system to regulate consumption. The 2013 Accord is also on the lighter side of the segment at just 3,217 lbs. so this is a car built to give you relief at the pump. Find local Honda Accord
Clearance Pricing and Blue Book Values

2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco—29 MPG Combined

General Motors has proven that they can push boundaries with the Chevrolet Volt, but it may be even more important that they can produce fuel-efficient vehicles without having to reinvent the wheel. Enter the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco, which uses an already economical Malibu base and adds minor adjustments that make a big difference. The Malibu Eco comes standard with underbody airflow panels and active grille shutters that close when extra air isn’t necessary. This improves aerodynamics and allows the engine to do its job more effectively – which is a good thing, because the 2.4L direct-injection four-cylinder uses eAssist to provide extra power from lithium-ion batteries charged through braking. Does that make it a hybrid? Kind of. Does that make it green? Definitely. Find local Chevrolet Malibu Eco
Clearance Pricing and Blue Book Values

2013 Buick Regal eAssist—29 MPG Combined

This being GM, one good technology will get spread around the brands like the flu in a kindergarten class. Thus, we find the eAssist system in models like the Buick Regal, which has begun to gain ground with young buyers thanks to striking design and excellent craftsmanship. Now you can add exceptional fuel economy to the list, pairing eAssist with the 2.4L Ecotec inline-four. Other technology like CVVT on the intake and exhaust regulate airflow, while direct injection and electronic throttle control make the most out of the engine’s potential. There is no shortage of leather and chrome on the Regal, so this is your best bet for combining luxury with efficiency. Find local Buick Regal Clearance Pricing and Blue Book Values

2013 Buick LaCrosse eAssist—29 MPG Combined

Now here we have a large sedan, a true luxury sedan, a full-sized sedan – whatever you want to call it, the 2013 Buick LaCrosse is just a big car. Yet with eAssist, a 3,800 lb. vehicle is able to achieve 37 mpg highway, just to demonstrate the effectiveness of the system. The LaCrosse uses the same 2.4L four-cylinder setup in the Regal, which provides up to 15 horsepower of electric power and improves fuel efficiency by about 25%. The engine has automatic shut-off when the car is stopped and aerodynamic panels are outfitted all over. These are the kinds of technologies that will help automakers achieve CAFÉ standards of fleetwide 54.5 mpg by 2025, and GM is clearly ahead of the curve with eAssist. Find local
Buick LaCrosse Clearance Pricing and Blue Book Values

2013 Hyundai Sonata—28 MPG Combined

Despite being one of the best-looking cars on this list, the 2013 Hyundai Sonata also packs quite an environmentally-friendly punch under the hood. It gleams much more power than most 2.4L inline-four engines—with 200 hp and 186 lb.-ft at 4,250rpm in the Sonata SE—and uses CVVT with direct injection to make the most of its fuel tank. That particular trim also boasts 18-inch alloys with performance tires, paddle shifters and sport seats. Bet you didn’t think a Hyundai would be the most aggressive car on this list, did you? Find local Hyundai Sonata Clearance Pricing and Blue Book Values

2013 Kia Optima—28 MPG Combined

If you don’t want to spring for the hybrid, no worries, because the base Optima has plenty to offer for the green-minded customer. Direct injection transforms a 2.4L four-cylinder engine into a gas-sipping GreenPeace member on four wheels, producing 200 horsepower and 24/35 mpg. If you really want to dip into technology, have a look at the 2.0 turbo-four. It also has gasoline direct injection (GDI), but boosts power to 274 horses while still maintaining 22/34mpg. Ah, the beauty of minor technology. If any car can make the case for the value of direct injection, it’s the 2013 Kia Optima. Find local Kia Optima Clearance
Pricing and Blue Book Values

(*Carryover model based on 2012 mileage ratings. **Pre-launch manufacturer estimated mileage.)

Hybrid sedans are still tops when it comes to efficiency, but this list proves that you don't necessarily need batteries to keep a respectable MPG figure. Diesel, direct injection, turbos and CVT—there's variety in today's market, which is good news for the consumer that will only get better as these technologies improve and, perhaps most importantly, become more affordable.

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