The only changes in store for the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox are a few new exterior paint colors and standard eighteen-inch, chrome-clad aluminum wheels for the Equinox LTZ...more
The 2014 Chevrolet Equinox may be a compact crossover, but it's a rather big feather in General Motors' cap. Since the second-generation Equinox (and its cousin, the GMC Terrain) launched in late 2009, GM has struggled to keep pace with public demand. In 2012, the Equinox was the third-best-selling Chevrolet nameplate. An update for the 2013 model year introduced no new styling changes but added Chevy's MyLink infotainment system to the cabin. The update also replaced the top-tier engine: the 3.0-liter V-6 was replaced with a direct-injected 3.6-liter V-6, similar to that used in the larger Traverse. The base engine remains a direct-injected 2.4-liter four-cylinder. Regardless of the engine ordered, the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox sports a six-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional.
Chevrolet has long had its toes in the compact SUV/crossover market -- remember the Tracker? -- but the current Equinox is far removed from its previous efforts in this segment. Even after four years on the market, the Equinox feels fairly fresh and stylish, traits that could never really be said about the first-generation Equinox.
Will that success continue? It's hard to say for certain. The 2014 Chevrolet Equinox is now roughly halfway through its life cycle, and it plays in a segment that seems to welcome new competitors on a daily basis. The Chevy may still look handsome inside and out, but it's starting to become outgunned by some serious rivals. Case in point: the Equinox is a bit larger and heavier than its rivals, but its enlarged footprint doesn't necessarily equate to best-in-class interior space. Passenger volume, some 99.7 cubic feet, trails the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, and Mazda CX-5, among others. The Equinox manages to beat the Kia Sportage in cargo space both with the rear seats up and down, but it lags behind the Escape, RAV4, CX-5, and CR-V.
Although the exterior design no longer strictly adheres to Chevy's corporate design language, its swept-back form is attractive -- and, at 0.36 cD, quite aerodynamic. The interior is finished with attractive (but occasionally hard) plastic trim and accented with cool blue highlights and ambient lighting. Controls are placed high on the dashboard, although some audio controls are a little too small for easy reading.
The Equinox isn't exciting, but it drives rather well. It delivers a comfortable ride, and extensive insulation and an active-noise-cancellation system leaves the interior rather quiet. The 3.6-liter V-6 is the most powerful engine in the segment and allows the Equinox to tow up to 3500 pounds, but it is both expensive ($1500) and, with a 17/24 mpg city/highway rating in front-wheel-drive form, a bit thirsty. The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder delivers adequate power and performance and EPA ratings of up to 20/29 mpg city/highway. Those figures aren't horrible, but much like the rest of the 2014 Equinox, they're not at the top of the class, either.
- Ford Escape
- Honda CR-V
- Mazda CX-5
- Toyota RAV4