Trucks & SUVs

7 Worst Car Picks for New Drivers

Getting a driver’s license is an exciting time. The new driver has gained a measure of freedom and gets to pick out that first, special vehicle.

It’s important to make good choices when selecting your first vehicle. Some vehicles have too much power for a new driver. Some vehicles need a bit more road experience than a novice driver has. And cheaper isn’t always the way to go when it comes to a vehicle for a new driver. Never sacrifice safety and reliability for price, no matter how long you’ve been driving.

We’ve put together a list of seven cars that aren’t the best choices for new drivers, along with the reason why.

1. Volkswagen Beetle

The last Volkswagen Beetle rolled off the production line in July 2019. Even so, the Beetle has been on the wishlist of many new drivers for decades. While new production is finished, used models will likely be available for some time to come. On the surface, the Beetle may seem like an ideal car for a new driver to start with.

Having only 50 horsepower on today’s roads is a serious drawback. It can be dangerous navigating traffic when your engine can’t accelerate as quickly as the cars around it. And that’s just the sort of situation that a learning driver should avoid.

While it’s not a bad car for learning defensive driving, new drivers should pass on the Beetle.

2. Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

What young person seeking their first car hasn’t dreamed of driving a car with the sporty prowess of Chevrolet’s Camaro ZL1 1LE?

The reality? The Camaro ZL1 1LE is way too much car for a new driver.

The supercharged LT4 V8 engine has an output of 650 lb-ft of torque. It’s a powerful car that’s as at home on race tracks as it is on regular roads.

It has a six-speed manual transmission and isn’t available with an automatic transmission. You don’t drive the Camaro ZL1 1LE with fingers and wrists. You drive it with arms and shoulders.

The power of the car might prove to be too great a temptation. A new driver testing that speed could end up getting a speeding ticket, injured in an accident, and/or injuring someone else in an accident. Best to avoid the temptation altogether.

3. Dodge Ram SRT-10

Now, we’re not trying to say that a truck can’t be one’s first vehicle. Not at all. But, this isn’t an average truck.

The SRT-10 Ram truck, also called the Hellcat, is a pretty much a Dodge Viper with a truck body. The V10 Viper engine has an output of 500 horsepower and all of it went to the rear wheels that had no weight on them. It’s easy to see why that would be a bad idea for a new driver.

4. Hummer H1

It should be obvious why the Hummer H1 isn’t an ideal first car. It’s slow, loud, and guzzles gas. Just try to find a place to park that in town.

If that’s not enough to dissuade you, the fact that it’s anything but easy to drive should. Visibility is not great in a Hummer and its frame is wide. It would be easy for an experienced driver to hit something in the Hummer H1. For a new driver, it could be a disaster.

5. Chevrolet Aveo

While many might see the Chevrolet Aveo as an ideal first car, it’s far from that. The Aveo was one of GM’s more underwhelming offerings. The overall vibe of the car was cheap, particularly the interior. It was notorious for some pretty significant safety flaws

Needless to say, an Aveo shouldn’t be anyone’s first car. Fortunately for GM, the smaller cars they produced next, the Sonic and the Spark, were much better efforts.

6. Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

The Shelby GT500 is affordable and insanely fast. You could see why it would capture the attention of a new driver. 

No new driver, however, needs a car that can go from zero to 60 mph in less than three seconds. That’s an accident waiting to happen. If you’re a Mustang fan, why not consider the Ford Mustang V6 instead?

7. Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

One of the most desired choices for a new driver, the Jeep Wrangler is iconic. The Rubicon version adds the Rock-Trac system.

It’s affordable, customizable, and you can go off-roading in a Wrangler. Many parents and guardians likely feel pretty good about the choice. It’s sturdy and good in all weather conditions. It’s not a fast vehicle. All the boxes ticked, right?

The problem lies in having a new driver who is slower to react to emergency situations due to inexperience. Combine that with a large vehicle that reacts slower to emergency actions and it could spell trouble. Add to that the vehicle’s rollover risk

While Jeep Wrangler in all its forms is a popular vehicle enjoyed by many, it’s not for the new driver.