Insurance Company Names Top Buys for 2011

By Colin Bird  on March 29, 2011

With more than 300 new-car models for 2011, it’s certainly a tough process of winnowing to get to the best choice for your next new car. That’s why we spend so much time at evaluating the latest cars, crossovers, SUVs and trucks, but you can never have too much data to help you decide.

USAA, an insurance and financial company, has created a list of Best Values in 16 vehicle segments. Top choices include the 2011 Dodge Charger, Hyundai Sonata and Chevrolet Cruze and Traverse.

Its picks don't take driving into account. Instead, USAA focuses on affordability, lifetime costs, depreciation and safety. Of course, USAA inserts its insurance rates into the equation along with MSRP as it relates to a car’s features like engine type and safety equipment.

On top of cost considerations, vehicles on USAA’s list must receive the top two scores in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash-test ratings, which means a Good or Acceptable rating. It’s important to note that the USAA helps fund IIHS.

What the organization doesn’t take into account is any sort of vehicle dynamics or quality testing (USAA does say extended warranty costs are a good indicator for reliability).

While USAA’s methodology is rational, it’s important to consider that — as an insurer and financial firm — the company is motivated to suggest vehicles that will keep insurance or financial losses at a minimum.

USAA serves America’s military, both active and retired, and their families.

Below are the insurer’s top choices.

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

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