So your kid is all grown up and officially a teenager, ready to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. This will be their very first car, and you likely want it to be something they’ll be excited about, since everybody remembers their first car. (You can probably remember what yours looked, sounded, and even smelled like.) But you still want to get them something practical. Soon enough, your teen will be a young adult, out in the real world, and you need them to know that cars like Lamborghinis don’t just appear out of thin air. So you’re looking for something affordable that will still light up their eyes.
Lastly—but certainly not least importantly—you want a vehicle that’s safe. Sure, you can keep an eye on your teen’s driving habits for now, but once they’re off to college or on their own, you can’t monitor everything they do. You want to at least know that you’ve sent them off in a safe vehicle. So, if you’re looking for a dependable brand, safety, and affordability—as well as a little pizazz—you should probably be checking out your nearest used Chevy dealer. Chevrolet is known for making vehicles with excellent resale values, as their cars last for a long time without needing major repairs. Here are the best used Chevys to buy for your teen driver.
First, a Quick Note on Teen Driver Technology
All of the used Chevys we will recommend today are either 2016 or newer. We did this intentionally because, in 2016, Chevy started putting its Teen Driver technology in most of its vehicles. This technology helps teach your teen driver safe driving habits and helps you monitor what they’re doing on the road—even when you’re not with them. This includes features like setting speed alerts and even a volume limit. You can check out your teen’s vehicle report card, which will show you their maximum speed, how often they were given forward collision alerts, and other insights that can help you talk to your teen about improving their safe driving practices.
2016 Chevrolet Volt
The current generation of youth is highly concerned with caring for the environment. You can show your teen that you’ve heard their cries and you care as much as they do about the planet by getting them a 2016 Chevy Volt. This hybrid vehicle boasts a battery and gas engine, meaning your teen driver can reduce their carbon footprint and save money at the pump. Once they’re out in the world on their own, they’ll appreciate that second feature more than they realize now. In fact, with a fully charged battery and full tank of gas, the 2016 Chevy Volt has a 420-mile range. So, there’s really no excuse for your kids not to make the drive home from college on the weekends to see you.
The Chevrolet Volt has traction control to help your teen driver remain in command on uncertain roads. Traction control detects when a vehicle has lost its grip on the road, and it either automatically brakes that wheel or cuts the engine power to prevent an accident.
As for the fun stuff that teens “can’t live without,” the 2016 Volt has available 4G LT Wi-Fi—and you know teens can’t go long without the internet. If you want to treat your podcast- or music-loving teen, you can opt for the upper trim, which will have an eight-speaker Bose sound system. Just remind them not to blast their music too loud when they’re driving—for safety purposes. You know how teens can be.
With seating for five and plenty of cargo space, the Volt is ready to transport your teen and their buddies around town for movies, shopping, and more. You will appreciate the standard safety features in this vehicle, like the rear vision camera that makes backing out of driveways more confident, the ten airbags, and the built-in OnStar, which automatically alerts first responders in the event of a collision.
2017 Chevy Equinox
If your teen is headed to college in a place that experiences all four seasons, they’ll probably need a slightly more rugged vehicle with a higher driving position. The Equinox, a stylish compact SUV, has you covered. While not quite as fuel efficient as the Volt, it still does well on mileage, getting 28 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway. So, hopefully, your young driver can still save some money for fun.
The Equinox is beloved for its comfortable second-row seats, which actually slide forward and back to create more leg room or more cargo room when needed. Speaking of cargo room, this vehicle has a total of 63.7 cu.ft. when the backseat is folded; this should provide enough room for your teen’s stuff for on-campus housing come moving day.
The Equinox also has safety-enhancing traction control, as well as all-wheel and front-wheel drive options. For more in the safety department—if you find a used one equipped with it—the Premier safety package will add lane departure warning, forward collision warning, blind zone alerts, and rear cross-traffic alerts. It can even have rear park assist, which would help your teen get fewer parking-related dings and scratches.
Should your teen be an adventurer, they’ll like this: the Equinox has a towing capacity of 1,500 lbs—enough to tow a small camper out for a trip in the great outdoors. Of course, once they’re inside, they’ll want modern tech, and they’ll get it. There is 4G LT Wi-Fi in the 2017 Equinox, along with smartphone compatibility, so your young driver can see their favorite apps populate on the touchscreen. Plus, it has Bluetooth for hands-free calls, giving you a little more peace of mind that your teen is keeping their hands on the wheel at all times.
2021 Chevy Trailblazer
This subcompact SUV has youthful looks that should appeal to a young driver. Plus, it’s really affordable, so if you’re trying to teach your teen financial responsibility, this is a great vehicle to do it with. The base trim had an MSRP of just around $20,000—when it was brand-new—so you are sure to find amazing deals on a used one.
The Trailblazer is known for having a spacious interior that’s comfortable even with all the seats up, but get this: not only do the rear seats fold flat, but even the front passenger seat folds down. This makes it the perfect vehicle for campers and outdoor enthusiasts. You can easily turn the rear area into a small sleep space, or you can fold down the back seats and that front passenger seat to make room for long gear like a snowboard or extensive camping equipment.
The 2021 Trailblazer also has tech that young drivers will like, and—being a rather recent-year Chevy—it’s basically on par with the current model. You’ll get all the essentials, like hands-free calling via Bluetooth, smartphone compatibility, and standard driver assist features like automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, and lane departure warning.
If you find a front-wheel drive model, this vehicle is going to net your driver 29 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway, which are near-hybrid numbers. It also has a high driving position that’s ideal for drivers in places that get snow or heavy rain, and for those who need the extra confidence in being able to see more of their immediate surroundings.