2014 Chevrolet Equinox AWD 2LT
The 2014 Chevrolet Equinox quite literally stretches the definition of a compact SUV. We debated whether to include it, but in the absence of any other contender from General Motors, and given its annual sales of over 200,000 units, we decided that its overall length of only five or so inches more than the Jeep or the Nissan wasn't a huge deal and so the Equinox belonged in the mix. Its size could have been an advantage, but it didn't really turn out that way.
Granted, the Chevy does have an exceptionally large back seat, able to accommodate the lankiest teenagers, with huge doors that make for easy access. But roomy back seats are pretty easy to come by in this group, and the Jeep Cherokee and Subaru Forester both claim greater rear-seat legroom. Surprisingly, the Chevy's cargo hold was actually one of the smallest (with the rear seats up), although it can be made larger by sliding the rear seat forward. Intrusions on both sides crowd the space, and the rear seatbacks do not fold flat. The interior of our 2LT test car had a lively two-tone color scheme but it couldn't disguise the cheap materials. Fat pillars afforded the worst visibility of any car here and made the cabin seem oppressive despite its size. Interestingly, although the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox is one of the oldest models in the group, its touch-screen navigation interface ($795) is attractive and modern -- one of the best in the test.
Given the size of the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox, its substantial curb weight of 3777 pounds (the second highest of the group) is not exactly a revelation. Nor was it a surprise that the Chevy's 2.4-liter four-cylinder (with 182 hp and 172 lb-ft) struggled to move it. The Equinox is slow. And, unfortunately, there's no reward at the gas pump, as its 20/29 mpg EPA ratings are the worst of our seven contenders.
Chevrolet also offers the Equinox with a 3.6-liter V-6. With a substantial 301 hp, that would definitely be our choice over the four-cylinder. And it's not as if the Equinox has no redeeming qualities. The ride is quite good, the chassis is tied down, and even the electric power steering is nicely weighted. As associate editor David Zenlea noted, "GM does a great job tuning the primary controls."
Overall, though, bigger did not equal better for the Equinox. Its performance, fuel economy, and visibility all disappointed. Said Floyd: "As we've seen with the Corvette and the Cadillac CTS, GM can absolutely do better, and in order for the Equinox to be competitive with buyers other than the A-plan set, it needs to revamp the Equinox soon."
2014 Chevrolet Equinox AWD 2LT
|MSRP (with destination)||$30,500|
|Price as Tested||$33,740|
|Engine||2.4-liter DOHC I-4|
|Horsepower (hp)||182 @ 6700 rpm|
|Torque (lb-ft)||172 @ 4900 rpm|
|Fuel Economy (city/highway/combined)||20/29/23 mpg|
|CHASSIS AND MEASUREMENTS|
|Front suspension||Strut-type, coil springs|
|Rear suspension||Multilink, coil springs|
|Brakes f/r||Vented discs|
|LxWxH||187.8 x 72.5 x 66.3 in|
|Track f/r||62.9/62.1 in|
|Curb weight||3777 lb|
|Cargo (behind second/first row)||31.5/63.7 cu ft|
|Legroom (first/second row)||41.2/39.9 in|
|Headroom (first/second row)||40.9/39.2 in|