USAA Names Best Vehicles for Overall Value

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USAA’s first ‘Best Value’ list focuses on cost, safety and reliability

USAA Preferred "Best Value" seal

We're making members' lives easier by taking the guesswork out of buying a new vehicle.

As the car-buying season swings into full gear, savvy shoppers have a new resource for auto research. USAA, a financial services provider for the military community, unveiled its first “Best Value” vehicle list that names the top 2011 automobiles in 16 categories based on quantitative data used in USAA’s proprietary rating system.

The 2011 Best Value list includes:

Large Sedan: Dodge Charger
Midsize Sedan: Hyundai Sonata
Small Sedan: Chevrolet Cruze
Large Luxury Sedan: Hyundai Genesis
Midsize Luxury Sedan: Audi A4
Large SUV: Chevrolet Traverse
Midsize SUV: Toyota FJ Cruiser
Small SUV: Kia Sportage
Large Luxury SUV: Audi Q7
Midsize Luxury SUV: Lexus RX 450h
Large Pickup: Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid
Small Pickup: Suzuki Equator
Sports: Ford Mustang
Coupe: Scion tC
Wagon: Scion xB
Minivan: Kia Sedona

“We’re making members’ lives easier by taking the guesswork out of buying a new vehicle,” said Steve Thompson, assistant vice president, USAA. “The ‘Best Value’ vehicles typically have better safety ratings, lower Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price and insurance costs, higher fuel economy and better overall reliability than other vehicles in the same category.”

“Best Value” vehicles rose to the top in each of the 16 categories for offering the best financial value of all vehicles USAA evaluates as part of a broader vehicle rating system called USAA Preferred. There are more than 80 cars, trucks and minivans that are currently designated as USAA Preferred vehicles of which the “Best Value” vehicle list is a subset. The USAA Preferred rating system involves three steps:

  •     Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) Value – As the first step, and a key differentiator to USAA’s proprietary scoring model, USAA weighs key attributes such as engine type and safety features to determine whether the vehicle’s MSRP is a good value.
  •     Depreciation & Ownership Costs – Next, USAA factors depreciation and added costs for fuel, auto insurance and extended warranty into the methodology. Extended warranty costs are an indicator of vehicle reliability and maintenance costs.
  •     Safety – Once all of these criteria are quantified and weighted, the top 40 percent of vehicles are evaluated for safety – the final and most critical indicator of all USAA Preferred vehicles. Only vehicles that receive one of the top two safety ratings as reported by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) are qualified to be a USAA Preferred vehicle. Vehicles on the IIHS Top Safety Picks list are given additional weight in the rating system.

USAA Preferred and “Best Value” vehicles are designated as such on usaa.com and autocircle.com. Soon members will be able to view these designations on the USAA Mobile App on the iPhone® or AndroidTM.

Auto Circle®, which launched in August 2010, provides USAA members with a convenient way to find, finance and insure a vehicle through autocircle.com or the USAA Mobile App.

“Our members turn to us for help and advice because they know they can trust us,” said Thompson. “The ‘Best Value’ list helps members make smart financial decisions by determining which vehicles give them the most bang for their buck.”

For more information about the USAA “Best Value” list, and the specific automobiles featured, visit http://www.usaa.com/bestvalue.

About “Best Value” List
USAA Preferred “Best Value” vehicles are those vehicles ranked highest in each vehicle category AND obtain "Good/Acceptable" crash test ratings from IIHS and represent vehicles which are determined to be the best financial value using a USAA-developed proprietary statistical model. The model relates MSRP to vehicle features (engine type, drive train, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, number of airbags, transmission, body additions, curb weight, horsepower-to-curb weight, height and vehicle category), fuel economy, insurance cost, additional warranty cost, depreciation, and IIHS Top Safety Pick to determine the value. In providing this analysis, USAA does not consider factors other than those disclosed.

About USAA Preferred
USAA Preferred vehicles represent vehicles which are determined to be a good financial value using a USAA-developed proprietary statistical model. The model relates MSRP to vehicle features (engine type, drive train, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, number of airbags, transmission, body additions, curb weight, horsepower-to-curb weight, height and vehicle category), fuel economy, insurance cost, additional warranty cost, depreciation, and IIHS Top Safety Pick to determine the value. USAA Preferred vehicles are those vehicles ranked in the top 40 percent for each vehicle category AND obtain "Good/Acceptable" crash test ratings from IIHS. In providing this analysis, USAA does not consider factors other than those disclosed in determining USAA Preferred vehicles.

About Auto Circle
Auto Circle™ is a program provided by United Services Automobile Association. Participation in the Auto Circle program is free. The products available through the program have associated costs and fees.
Availability, eligibility restrictions, and fees may apply to certain banking, insurance or ancillary products. Property and casualty insurance provided by United Services Automobile Association, and its affiliate property and casualty insurance companies is available only to persons eligible for P&C group membership. Loans provided by USAA Federal Savings Bank, Member FDIC. Purchase of a bank product does not establish eligibility for or membership in USAA property and casualty insurance companies. USAA Car Buying Service and Lowest Price Guarantee provided and operated by Zag.com Inc. on behalf of USAA. USAA does not broker, sell, or lease motor vehicles. Certain products and services are provided by third parties. Each company has sole liability for its own products.

About USAA
USAA provides insurance, banking, investment and retirement products and services to 8 million members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving or have honorably served our nation in the U.S. military, and their families. For more information about USAA, or to learn more about membership, visit usaa.com.

Contact: Rebecca Hirsch
rebecca(dot)hirsch(at)usaa(dot)com
(210) 282-4028
USAA on Twitter: @usaa

Sarah Andreani
Fleishman-Hillard
sarah(dot)andreani(at)fleishman(dot)com
(214) 665-1326

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Rebecca Hirsch
USAA
(210) 282-4028
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