Papa and the Monte CarloBob and I recently said good-bye to our 2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. It was by far one of the best cars we have ever owned. We bought it a decade ago for $12,500. In the 201,000 miles it gave us, it saw Bob get to work and kids to school, proms and graduations, road trips up the coast of California, and so many family outings. It finally died on us, and we were able to donate it to The Purple Heart Foundation, which is an organization to help veterans. The tax-deductible donation included free pick-up, and all proceeds benefit programs that support veterans and their families. It is a great organization if you are looking to donate a vehicle.

It is hard to find reliable vehicles these days. We were blessed to have a car to last us so long. When it comes to buying cars, we have a little help. USAA recently released the 2014 Best Values Vehicle list, which identifies 10 vehicles that provide the best value in their class based on cost, reliability and safety. This year the top picks are:

  1. Small Sedan: Toyota Prius
  2. Midsize Sedan: Toyota Camry
  3. Coupe: Chevrolet Spark
  4. Small SUV: Mazda CX-5
  5. Midsize SUV: Toyota Highlander
  6. Wagon: Mazda Mazda3 Hatchback
  7. Minivan: Honda Odyssey
  8. Midsize Luxury Sedan: Lincoln MKZ
  9. Large Luxury Sedan: Volvo S80
  10. Midsize Luxury SUV: Acura MDX

According to USAA’s recent press release on the subject, this year’s requirements for the top picked cars include the new, more stringent safety standards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

“IIHS’s move to increase their standards mirrors the growing feedback we’re receiving from our members,” said Steve Thompson, vice president responsible for the USAA Car Buying Service. “We know safety is one of the most important factors for our members when car shopping so it’s important for us to be able to help them identify reliable, affordable vehicles that have met the highest safety standard.”

In addition to the list above, USAA has also created the top 10 picks for teens, as well. These are USAA preferred vehicles that sell for less than $26,000. These vehicles also rank high in reliability and reasonable insurance costs:

  1. Chevrolet Spark
  2. Honda Civic Sedan
  3. Honda Civic Coupe
  4. Mazda Mazda3 Hatchback
  5. Toyota Prius
  6. Nissan Altima
  7. Toyota Camry
  8. Dodge Dart
  9. Mazda Mazda6
  10. Mazda CX-5

For more information visit or access the USAA Mobile App.

What is the best car you’ve ever owned and what factors do YOU keep in mind when buying a car?

Ellie Kay


©2016-2020 Ellie Kay


We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?