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SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The old adage that retirees want a large luxury vehicle to enjoy their golden years might be fading, according to an analysis from Edmunds.com.

The site recently found that baby boomers nowadays are more interested in practical vehicles that often obtain better gas mileage.

For example, Edmunds.com noted that baby boomers who are seeking efficiency are often drawn to the Chevrolet Volt, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Mini Cooper, Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius or Volkswagen Jetta TDI Diesel.

"Many baby boomers are choosing vehicles that allow them to save money and gasoline while presenting an environmentally conscious image," site analysts pointed out.

"A smaller vehicle not only means a smaller gas bill but likely also a smaller monthly payment and cheaper insurance — but not much sacrifice in the driving experience, since today's compact cars are stylish and can be loaded with features," they added.

However, if baby boomers still need a larger vehicle, Edmunds.com believes they're steering away from SUVs and going with crossovers to handle extra passengers or cargo. Some of the units site analysts think fit what this demographic wants include the Buick Enclave, Cadillac CTS wagon, Ford Flex, GMC Acadia, Honda CR-V and Lexus RX 350.

"Other baby boomers — especially those who often carry the grandkids or have hobbies that require hauling capability — are not ready to give up the functionality of a larger vehicle," Edmunds.com explained.

"Since their SUVs have become politically incorrect, many are buying crossovers — which have the interior space and versatility of an SUV but ride on the architecture of a car instead of a truck and therefore get better fuel economy," the site continued.

Since baby boomers comprise about a third of the United States' driving population and purchase almost half of all new vehicles sold, site analysts anticipate that this group still will purchase some luxury vehicles. But, they found that baby boomers are looking beyond traditional luxury leaders such as Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Lexus, Lincoln and Mercedes-Benz.

"Some boomers who are nostalgic for the past want the car they had in their youth — or the car they wanted in their youth," Edmunds.com stated.

Vehicles the site put into this category were the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang.

Along with those units, Edmunds.com also noted that baby boomers also are still looking for efficiency in a powerful vehicle. That trend is making diesel-powered vehicles from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, as well as hybrid versions of the BMW X5 and Mercedes S-Class, more appealing.

"At the recent Geneva Motor Show, I also saw Porsche and Ferrari hybrids — perhaps the dream cars of many baby boomers," Edmunds.com senior analyst Michelle Krebs explained.

"Ultimately, we boomers haven't changed: We still want it all," Krebs added.

Krebs also noted another element that is changing baby boomer tastes — the recession that's gripped the nation since late 2007.

"It was once thought that when baby boomers could put college tuition payments and other parenting expenses behind them, they would reward themselves with expensive luxury cars," said Krebs.

"But that was before economic catastrophe struck. Now that their kids can't find jobs and their nest eggs have shrunk, they are re-thinking everything, including their vehicle choices," she concluded.