When it comes to military members and their vehicles, they tend to go big.
That means more trucks and sport utility vehicles, and fewer compact cars, according USAA’s top-10 list of most popular vehicles for active and former military members based on the number of insurance policies issued for both new and used cars.
The king remains the Ford F-150, which ranked No. 1 with members across all branches of the U.S. armed forces. No other vehicle was even close.
Lower gas prices pump up sales of larger vehicles
“The top-10 vehicles for military used to be full of compact cars,” says Steve Harrison, executive director of Auto Experience for USAA. “The cost of gas is always a consideration. With lower gas prices, it becomes easier to have a higher car payment.”
The Toyota Camry used to hold the No. 2 spot across all branches. Now the Dodge Ram 1500 is the second most popular vehicle for Army, Air Force and Marines Corps members.
“One of the things you don’t see on this list now is the Toyota Prius, which is probably a strong statement of declining gas prices,” Harrison says.
Safety remains a key factor for military car buyers
As military members shop for cars, safety is a top priority, says Heather Pollard, vice president of Auto Experience for USAA. Nearly half of the vehicles on the top-10 list are recognized as Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, including the Ford F-150, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima. The Subaru Outback, which is popular with Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force members, is also an IIHS Top Safety Pick.
Marine Corps, Coast Guard members have clear favorites
Harrison sees other trends. Members of the Marine Corps tend to stick with American-made cars. “Not that they don’t have Toyotas or others, but their solid top four are all domestic,” he says.
“And the U.S. Coast Guard is huge on Jeeps,” Harrison says.
USAA also named the top 10 vehicles that appeal especially to members in each of the five branches of the military. Find out which ones are Top Safety Picks, and start your search for a new or used car.
Click through the slideshow to see the top 10 vehicles for active and former military members:
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