While it’s true there are any number of capable cars and SUVs on the market that can easily accommodate the family for a leisurely highway excursion, with flexible seating and kid-friendly features galore, true road warriors are more narrowly focused on setting a course and getting to a desired destination as expeditiously as possible.
To that end, we combed fuel economy ratings and automakers’ spec sheets to compile a list of 10 models that boast the longest operating range on a tank of gas, but still afford a roomy and accommodating interior for at least four adult passengers, with enough cargo room left over for their belongings.
Perhaps not surprisingly, six out of our top 10 marathon runners are high-mileage gas/electric-hybrid models. The remaining four are so-called “clean diesel” models that combine admirable fuel economy with strong acceleration, though their operating costs tend to depend largely on the unpredictable price of diesel fuel.
In fact, we had to search beyond the 10 longest-range models to find a few conventionally powered vehicles that could at least reach 500 miles before stopping for fuel, including the mammoth Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL SUVs (558 miles on what is a very large gas tank) and the midsize Subaru Legacy sedan (at 555 miles).
Here’s a look at the 10 sedans and SUVs for 2015 that can go the distance, literally:
1. Honda Accord Hybrid. The EPA rates the gas/electric-powered version of the roomy and reliable midsize Accord sedan at an estimated 47-mpg in combined city/highway driving, which affords an operating range on a tank of gas of 743 miles.
2. Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. The fuel-saving hybrid version of this stylish and roomy midsize sedan is rated at a combined 38 mpg and can run for 703 miles on a fill-up.
3. Kia Optima Hybrid. With a combined rating of 38 mpg in city/highway driving, the hybrid edition of Kia’s spacious midsize sedan is estimated to run for 703 miles on a tank of gas.
4. Toyota Camry Hybrid. The gas/electric version of the popular Toyota Camry is every bit as practical and amenable as the rest of the line, but at an estimated 41 mpg it’s projected to be able to run for 697 miles without stopping for fuel.
5. Lexus ES 300h. Lexus’ midsize hybrid luxury sedan can go the distance with an EPA-rated 40 mpg that translates into a range of 688 miles. 6. Toyota Avalon Hybrid. Essentially a larger and more posh version of the above Camry Hybrid, the roomier Avalon boasts a similar 40 mpg in city/highway use and is estimated to run for 680 miles on a full tank of gas.
7. Volkswagen Passat TDI, As it is, the Passat treats its occupants to the most generous back seat room in the midsize class, with the “clean diesel” TDI version boasting frugal fuel economy at 44 mpg on the highway, which enables a 648-mile operating range.
8. Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel. When fitted with the available 3.0- liter diesel engine the large, luxurious and eminently off-road-capable Grand Cherokee combines fuel economy of 22/30 mpg with V8-like acceleration; it can travel for up to 615 on a full tank.
9. Porsche Cayenne Diesel. The base version of Porsche’s performance minded midsize SUV gets an estimated 29-mpg on the highway, which enables a long-distance run of 607 miles on a full tank of diesel.
10. BMW X5 xDrive 35d. Another racy diesel-powered SUV, the X5 xDrive 35d’s 24/31 mpg rating enables this midsize people-mover to can race the sun to the horizon for 605 miles at a time without stopping to refill.
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