As the largest in the Compact- Crossover Class, the Chevrolet Equinox actually has some experts stymied as to what to do with the vehicle. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) saw fit to put it in the mid-sized SUV class and award it with a Top Safety Pick Plus Award for that class. The Equinox however, is a bit small for the mid-sized SUV class and instead belongs in a category with the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, and Toyota RAV4.
Giving up some cargo space in favor of passenger comfort the Equinox when powered by the V6 engine is able to tow up to 3,500 pounds, enough to make this a great choice to bring along the weekend toys or head to the hardware store and buy what is needed for a small project in the yard. Offering a fairly standard ride with decent road control and adequate steering the overall feel of the ride in this SUV is pretty much what is expected. The one place the ride is better than the competition is in quietness of the cabin. The Equinox offers such a quiet ride the occupants feel like they are riding in a much more upscale vehicle than a simple SUV.
Under the hood is found a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine to start off with. This engine offers a simple 182 horsepower and 172 lb.-ft. of torque, just enough to get this SUV going and performing the job at hand, but as far as quickness and passing ability this engine leaves a lot to be desired. When partnered with the six-speed automatic transmission this set up will bring in a fuel economy of 22 city/32 hwy mpg for the front-wheel drive (FWD) and 20 city/29 hwy mpg for the all-wheel drive (AWD) version. Still offering a towing capacity even with this smaller less powerful engine the towing limit is set at 1,500 pounds for this powertrain.
The larger and more capable engine comes in the form of a 3.6-liter V6 offering a substantial 301 horsepower and 272 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine handles the weight of this SUV much better than the smaller block does and when matched up with the six-speed automatic transmission brings in a fuel mileage of 17 city/24 hwy mpg for the FWD version and 16 city/23 hwy mpg on the AWD models. This powertrain is capable of a much higher towing capacity being rated for a full 3,500 pounds of towing.
With a ton of cabin space for all the inhabitants of the SUV the Equinox offers a nice ride in comfort for anyone riding along for a weekend of fun or to do some work in the yard. According to Chevrolet Albany, it offers a two-tone look as an option on some of the models. This SUV offers the driver the ease of use with knobs and dials right where they have been for years with Chevrolet products.
Offering a length of 187 inches the Equinox is the longest and largest in its class and almost reaches proportions to put it squarely in the midst of the mid-sized SUV’s. Offering interest at all angles, the Equinox shows curves right where they belong along with sharp continuous edges to keep the eye looking on creating the right blend of a boxy feel and new age look once again proving this really is the oxymoron of vehicles. On higher end models body colored mirrors and roof rails become available to offer more interest and appeal to the vehicle. Riding on standard 17-inche wheels with options for both 18 and 19-inch wheels the Equinox finishes its good looks with a very well designed set of wheels.
The Equinox offers a fairly large amount of standard options even on the base model to include cruise control, a six-month trial of the GM OnStar service, traction control, electronic stability control, multiple airbags, a sound system that includes AM/FM/CD/satellite radio with a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity. Moving up from the base LS to the LT model adds an eight-way power driver’s seat, automatic climate control, rearview camera, and the MyLink radio with a seven-inch touchscreen. At the top end the LTZ mode add leather seats, a power front passenger seat, a power tailgate, a lane-departure warning and forward collision alert system. Overall, that is a long list of standard features even on the base model, which has not always been the case with base model Chevrolet vehicles.
Usually putting more effort into the optional features rather than the standard ones, Chevrolet did fill the Equinox with some options, but they are trim based which seems to be the way most of the optional equipment in today’s market is going. Unfortunately for the base model LS there really aren’t any options of note, but moving up to the LT and LTZ models will bring a navigation system, a Pioneer premium audio system, a power sunroof, a rear-seat entertainment system with a DVD player and two screens and wireless headphones, as well as the option of chrome accents added to the outside to offer a more upscale look.
Entering the pricing foray with a starting price just over $25,000 the Equinox is a bit more expensive than its smaller competitors, but more affordable than its larger ones, depending on which class it really is supposed to fall into. At the top end an LTZ model starts at $32,000 and can head up quite a bit farther with several options added, but overall every model of the Equinox offers great value to the owner.
As either a larger crossover SUV or a smaller mid-sized SUV the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox makes a real splash with a decent towing capacity, a bevy of great features, more leg room than the competition and a longer stance than the smaller competitors. As an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus the Equinox deserves a long look for all Chevrolet enthusiasts and may even convert a few that have never owned a Chevrolet in the past.
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