The Best-Value Vehicles for 2012

Scion TC autos

New Top 10 for Teens list based on factors most important to parents

USAA has unveiled its second annual Best Value vehicles list, naming the top 2012 automobiles in 16 categories for consumers looking to get the most bang for their buck.

To accompany this year's list, parents of teen drivers can also check out the new Top 10 for Teens vehicle list that focuses on traits parents said they cared about most: reliability, safety and affordable insurance costs.

The 2012 Best Value List

Large Sedan: Dodge Charger
Midsize Sedan: Toyota Camry Hybrid
Small Sedan: Hyundai Elantra
Large Luxury Sedan: Hyundai Genesis
Midsize Luxury Sedan: Volvo S60
Large SUV: Chevrolet Traverse
Midsize SUV: Dodge Journey
Small SUV: Kia Sportage

Large Luxury SUV: Audi Q7
Midsize Luxury SUV: Lexus RX 450h
Large Pickup: Toyota Tundra 2WD
Small Pickup: Nissan Frontier
Sports: Ford Mustang
Coupe: Honda CR-Z (hybrid)
Wagon: Nissan Juke
Minivan: Dodge Caravan


Automobiles that make the list offer consumers the best financial value of all the vehicles USAA evaluates as part of a broader rating system called USAA Preferred. Quantitative data are used to evaluate the vehicles' cost, safety and reliability, among other key factors. Nearly 80 cars, trucks and minivans are currently designated as USAA Preferred vehicles, and the Best Value list represents the vehicles at the top of each category.

"Thirty percent1 of members who added a new model year vehicle to their USAA auto insurance policy in 2011 chose a USAA Preferred or Best Value vehicle," says Steve Thompson, an assistant vice president with USAA. "The goal of the list is to help members identify vehicles that offer better safety ratings, lower insurance premium costs, higher fuel economy, better overall reliability and lower MSRP compared to other vehicles in the same category."

Automotive expert Lauren Fix, The Car Coach®, notes that the average vehicle on the road today is 10 years old.

"As the economy improves, new car sales are expected to increase as consumers begin replacing their clunkers with new models," says Fix. "Summer is a great time to get an excellent deal on a 2012 model, especially as used car costs remain nearly on par with new vehicles."

The Top Ten for Teens List

According to a recent survey commissioned by USAA, parents say the factors that are or will be most important when choosing a vehicle for their teen include reliability (81%), a high safety rating (73%) and affordable auto insurance (62%). To help parents seeking a new car for their teen, USAA identified the USAA Preferred vehicles that possess these characteristics, creating the first-ever Top 10 for Teens list:

  1. Scion tC
  2. Nissan Cube
  3. Honda Fit
  4. Scion xD
  5. Scion xB
  6. Toyota Yaris
  7. Honda Civic
  8. Hyundai Elantra
  9. Honda CR-Z (hybrid)
  10. Kia Forte

"As a parent, I know how challenging it can be to feel confident in the car your teen drives, especially if it's a much older model," says Fix. "USAA's Top 10 for Teens list gives parents a place to start their search for a new vehicle that gets top marks in the areas they care most about -- reliability, safety and reasonable insurance costs."

USAA Preferred and Best Value vehicles can be found on, and they're coming soon to the USAA Mobile App. For more information about the USAA Best Value lists and the automobiles featured, visit

Story Continues