It is a practical vehicle for families, commuters, travelers, app-based ride service drivers, local delivery people…you name it!
Name one of the most “common” vehicle you will find on the road today?
One where it has become ubiquitous. Commonplace anywhere you roam in North America. It is a practical vehicle for families, commuters, travelers, app-based ride service drivers, local delivery people…you name it!
I argue that the answer is normally found on the sales charts. That is not exactly 100% accurate. A measure of a popular vehicle among the masses is found within the proximity to a local dealer or service center. If that an honest measurement, by chance it would be a Chevrolet.
Aside from the Silverado 1500 pickup truck, Chevrolet sells more Equinoxes than any other model. In fact, the Equinox alone outsold the entire Buick lineup in the First Quarter of 2023.
One cannot ignore Chevrolet’s popularly sized SUV. Neither will I.
I first encountered the current generation Equinox back in 2017 during the spring equinox near Greenville, South Carolina. They had their media drive at the time, and I thought this vehicle had potential. Obviously, it has sold more than “well.” Since then, it had a revision that sharpened some details on the exterior. It also added and shuffled a few details – including adding the RS trim and settling on the 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine as its sole power source.
After all this time, I wound up with a 2023 LT model thanks to a spin on the Rental Car Roulette. Took me long enough to do so…
For starters, it looked better than it did in 2017. The front end looks sharper with its LED lighting units and placement of the Bowtie on the grille. One may complain that it be still “behind the times,” but if it still sells – who cares?
The profile has always intrigued me. It is the C-pillar that distinguishes it from its competitors, as the roofline slopes slightly downward towards the liftgate. The side glass finishes it off. LED taillamps crown the rear end. Since I drove a pretty basic LT model, it only sported the 17-inch alloy wheels. I would argue that a taller tire wall softens the ride and protects the wheels from curb rash. I’m sure you would rather have something fancier – like an RS or Premier model.
The "basic" theme continues inside – and, again, I emphasize that it is not a bad thing by calling it “basic.” Being basic helps in keeping things very straightforward. The driver gets two easy-to-read analog dials and a digital information screen. Above the screen are the fuel and temperature gauges. In all, this instrument cluster makes life easier for drivers. All around are GM standard controls – including an actual shifter.
I appreciated having two knobs and logical controls for the infotainment system. You have a decently sized touchscreen, which offers plenty of options for playback and connectivity. This LT model also had wireless smartphone mirroring.
Seats are in a two-tone cloth upholstery. The front seats offered comfort and support without fatigue. Although the upper backrest stuck out more than I’d prefer. Rear seat room is very good overall with more than. Enough leg and head room. Cargo space is also very good. It starts with 29.9 cubic feet with the rear seats up, expanding to 63.9 cubic feet all the way to the back of the front seats.
As I mentioned before, every Chevrolet Equinox is powered a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine putting down 175 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque. On this rental, this engine is connected to a six-speed automatic transmission sending power only to the front wheels.
I do not think this is just an adequate driveline. It does a good job keeping up with traffic, as well as accelerating when necessary. However, it is very content with just going about its business without a care in the world. That driving behavior translated into a 30.5 MPG fuel economy average in my care.
Those 17-inch wheels and tires helped in making the Equinox livable. The ride quality is smooth and comfortable. In turn, handling was just fine yielding no drama around evasive maneuvers.
This is all part to a pretty good steering system. On-center feel is good and offers plenty of wheel control. Turning radius is also quite good. As for the brakes, the pedal felt solid and stopping power is on point, I experienced solid stops in normal and panic situations.
Oner reason why the 2023 Chevrolet Equinox is popular is its price. Starting from $26,600, you have the choice of four trim levels – the LT being the most popular of them all. If you were to buy a front drive LT with this basic specification, that would equal a sticker price of $29,095.
There are a few things to note. One, if you’re looking for a new Equinox, the 2024 model year units should be arriving with a price increase. Two, don’t be afraid to play with the package and option lists to get something you really want. In one case, I decided to specify an LT with all-wheel drive and a couple of upgrades for just over $35,000.
However, I also specified a higher trim model – a Premier – with plenty of upgrades on top of this loaded vehicle. I just scaled over $40,000 – right about where higher trim models from the competitors in its class usually sell at.
If you look at just price and value alone, then you’re not getting the full picture with the Chevrolet Equinox. All you have to do is to simply look around. Count the number of Equinoxes in proximity to Chevrolet dealers – even in small towns. Then, you will see why these compact SUVs are as popular as they are.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle was rented by Victory & Reseda
All photos by Randy Stern