Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A red 2022 Chevy Equinox RS is shown driving after visiting a used Chevy dealership.

Can You Still Make an Eco-Conscious Choice Buying a Used Vehicle?

Many drivers look for a used vehicle because they do not have the means to buy new. Unfortunately, this limits their choices to older vehicles, and these older vehicles may not quite be up to the current standard when it comes to being eco-friendly. As people take notice of the damage we’ve done to the environment, they often feel the need to course correct and do what can be done to limit their carbon footprint, which includes finding a vehicle with lower emissions and alternate energy sources. So, is it possible to be eco-conscious when looking at used vehicles?

Yes! Take a look at any used Chevy dealership, and you might see one of the following three vehicles, all of which are better, more eco-conscious choices than even the most progressive of gas-fueled vehicles. No matter how much you can afford, there are pre-owned vehicles out there that are both eco-friendly and affordable.

An orange 2022 Chevy Spark is shown parked on a street.

Chevy Spark

Since 2013, the Spark has been part of the Chevy family lineup. There was an electric version a few years in, but they’re rather hard to come by nowadays. So why is the Spark included in this list? It’s a small vehicle, and its gas mileage sits around 38 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway—enough of a rarity even today for many gas-fueled vehicles. The Spark is a low-priced, high-value small sedan that still manages to have plenty of room for both driver and passengers. Along with its surprising amount of space, there’s lots of tech, and the ride is quite comfortable.

Even if you can’t afford a hybrid or electric vehicle, you can choose a more eco-friendly vehicle than a large truck or SUV. The Chevy Spark is a great car for those living in the city, young college students, and those who don’t want to drive a bigger vehicle. You’ll enjoy driving the peppy little Spark and know you’re doing your part in caring for the planet.

Used Spark models can be found in a variety of trim levels; these could include features like heated seats and cruise control, while standard equipment across the trim levels—at least in 2017 models—is comprised of the Chevy MyLink software, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, a Wi-Fi hotspot, a USB port, and connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive commuter car that still has plenty of tech goods and a comfortable ride, you’ll want to take a closer look at the Chevy Spark—either from its advent in 2013 or the latest model available at a used dealership, the 2022 Spark. A small sedan with great gas mileage and the most up-to-date tech that helps you zip from point A to point B sounds great—especially these days, wouldn’t you say?

A red and black 2023 Chevy Trailblazer EV is shown parked near a building.

Chevy Volt

Interested in a sedan but want more than a basic four-wheeled go-machine? The Chevy Volt might be up your alley. In 2010, the Volt appeared on the scene and made waves as a serial hybrid electric—a type of vehicle that runs on electric energy first, and then, when the electric energy has been depleted, it switches to a gas-powered engine for power. With a chart-topping 53 MPGe, the Volt quickly became a crowd favorite; although it was discontinued in 2019, you can still find models from 2015 and older at a reasonable price in many areas.

The Chevy Volt is a plug-in hybrid, which means you can charge it at home or while you’re out running errands—so long as you find a charging station with the correct connection type. There might have been fewer charging stations in the past, but as the electric or hybrid vehicle market has grown, so has the number of charging stations, several of which are in high-traffic areas, where grateful drivers flock to recharge after a busy day.

Models of the Chevy Volt from 2018 and older look sleek and powerful and provide drivers with a smooth, quiet, relaxed ride; they have plenty of tech and safety features, like an infotainment center, standard 4G LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity, and of course, compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Depending on where you park it, the Volt can be charged overnight—particularly likely if you have a garage—or at charging stations; if you’re lucky enough to find or have a 240-volt outlet to charge your Volt at, it will take less than five hours. If you don’t make it a habit of driving near empty, you may find charge time lessens no matter what power outlet you opt for.

A red 2023 Chevy Equinox is shown parked on a parking spot.

Chevy Equinox

Maybe you’re not ready to get a hybrid or all-electric vehicle yet, but you’re interested in both safeguarding the Earth and saving money on gas. Or, perhaps you’re looking into getting a hybrid but need a step between your old car and the hybrid, and you want something that can provide spacious seating for your family that still looks good. Take a look at an older model of a Chevy Equinox. Not only is it a great SUV, but it also handles more like a car and comes with a few choices of engine: a turbo-charged 1.5L, a turbo-charged 2.0L, and a diesel engine that nets 43 MPG on the highway.

Not only is there plenty of room for passengers, but there’s quite a lot of room for other things as well; luggage can go on the top, groceries can load into the spacious trunk, and there’s a large console with plenty of storage for all the bits and bobs necessary for the driver and their front passenger to ride accessorized. Like the Spark and the Volt, the Equinox comes standard with plenty of tech, including the standard 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, the Chevy MyLink system, and an infotainment center that comes standard as a 7.0-inch touchscreen but can be upgraded to an 8.0-inch one.

The Equinox also has the distinction of earning a five-star rating from the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the quality and layers of its safety systems. Buying a used but relatively new vehicle like the Equinox is a great way to begin your journey toward a more eco-friendly driving experience, with the added bonus of more affordable prices and pretty new tech.

Go Green & Breed Envy

It’s important to do what we can for the environment so that the current, younger, and future generations can enjoy the beauty, diversity, and vitality of our planet. One of the ways we can help create a cleaner environment is not only by buying used but by buying more eco-friendly models like the Spark, Volt, and Equinox. More and more people have decided to make a change and look for something more Earth-friendly, like different types of hybrids or all-electric vehicles, or vehicles with smaller engines, higher fuel efficiency ratings, etc.

If you’re interested in doing your part to help create a cleaner, safer environment for yourself and the youth of tomorrow, look to buy something like Chevy’s Spark, Volt, and Equinox. These models perform well, are affordable, have contemporary tech, and are better for the environment. When purchasing a used vehicle, keep Chevy’s eco-friendly fare in mind.