A mileage drive with full-size sedans is the 200-mile trek editors have been yearning for, because if we're going to spend all day in cars evaluating gas mileage, they might as well be large, comfy, feature-laden sedans.
Our route west of Chicago consisted mostly of highway driving with slower stoplight-to-stoplight traffic driving sprinkled in. We observed average speeds of around 40 mph, according to various onboard computers.
Surprises were minimal.
The highest EPA-rated sedan also returned the highest real-world numbers: Toyota's all-new 2013 Avalon. An onboard mileage computer average of 30.2 mpg was enough to nab the highest rank by 2.3 mpg over the Chrysler 300.
The 300 and Dodge Charger are platform siblings, sharing the fuel-friendly eight-speed automatic transmission that helped them score second and third place in mileage testing, respectively, with 27.9 mpg for the 300 and 27.3 mpg for the Charger. Both share a 3.6-liter V-6 and rear-wheel-drive configuration.
With the exception of the Nissan Maxima, all competitors recommend 87-octane gasoline. Nissan’s 290-horsepower V-6 wasn't the most powerful of the bunch, but it was the only one to recommend premium fuel (as noted in the owner's manual and on the gas door) for the best performance.
Like EPA testing, all sedans were driven in their default startup mode and not in Sport or Eco modes. Air conditioning was on for all cars, and cruise control was not allowed. Each driver rotated into each of the seven cars to equalize weight and driving styles, and the final rating was determined by the onboard mileage computer.