My son recently turned 16 and had one thing on his mind: a car. He doesn't have his license yet, but thanks to movies where teens are handed keys on their 16th birthday he thought this would happen to him.I explained it wasn't in the cards for him.

While he's not getting a car tomorrow, the day when he does get his own wheels just got a lot closer. I’m not planning on giving him a new car. But I am thinking in terms of cars I'd let him drive as I consider my next car purchase.

Coincidentally, I recently received tips on buying a car for a teen from Chevrolet. While their materials included an obvious plug for their Chevy Cruze--which I recently drove and put on my short list of new car possibles--it's all good advice. So, I'm sharing these tips here in case you're in the same boat as me with a teen who is growing up way too fast.

Tips on Buying a Car for a Teen from Chevrolet

When shopping for a vehicle for your teen there are three important factors to think about: safety, fuel economy, and technology. 1.

1. Safety. Check out the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) vehicle safety ratings at This site rates vehicles on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests and rollovers. It also evaluates seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts. Vehicles that earn the highest ratings in IIHS tests are named a “Top Safety Pick” for the year.

The Chevrolet Cruze was named Top Safety Pick for 2011, earning the highest safety ratings in each of the individual crash impact conditions. The Cruze offers more standard safety features than any other vehicle in its class, such as 10 airbags, including front knee airbags!

2. Fuel Economy. Since many teenagers will be paying for their own gas, fuel efficiency should be a consideration when shopping for a new car. At you can find a list of the most fuel efficient vehicles in each segment. For example, the Chevrolet Cruze Eco is the most fuel-efficient, gasoline-powered car in the United States delivering up to 42 miles per gallon on the highway.

3. Technology. Today’s car technology can help keep teen drivers more connected and safer than ever before. For example, OnStar from General Motors offers parents peace of mind with emergency services such as automatic crash response and stolen vehicle location assistance. In addition, OnStar offers teens hands-free calling, turn-by-turn navigation, and a mobile app that allows them to unlock their car, start their car, and even check their tire pressure and fuel-tank level from their smartphone!

Christina Tynan-Wood writes the Family Tech column for Family Circle, and is the author of “How to Be a Geek Goddess.”You can find her at