I must be getting old, because I found a second SUV I could live with after years of detesting the vehicle type. My regular work van is in the shop for repairs, so my bosses got a hold of a temporary vehicle—a 2013 Chevrolet Equinox. This is a decent-sized car/truck combination that hauls like a truck but rides and feels like a car—a very good one. The suspension is tight and dampens most road hazards until it feels like you’re floating above the road. That feeling is helped by anti-roll bars and gas shocks front and rear, and a smooth 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive.
Power comes from a 182 HP in-line four cylinder engine that is willing and able. You won’t leave any rubber on the road (which should be a let-down for our younger drivers) but it will definitely surge where you’re pointing it with gusto. Part of the neat dashboard includes a miles-per-gallon meter which keeps you updated about average mileage over the last 50 miles. On my route, a long combination of city and highway driving at up to 70 miles per hour, I averaged 27.8 miles per gallon, which I think is pretty decent for a vehicle this size that’s not exactly aerodynamic.
On the subject of dashboards, here is the one thing I found annoying: the odometer is hidden near the bottom of the cluster and is invisible until you look over the steering wheel/column, with said odometer sitting between the secondary transmission gear indicator on its left and compass reading on the right, below the MPG indicator. The cluster has a large tachometer on the left (which houses the left turn signal indicator) and a similar-sized speedometer on the right which has the right turn signal indicator built in. Small but highly legible coolant temperature and fuel gauges are located near the top of the center cluster.
This beauty had many amenities on board, including cruise control and remote radio controls on the steering wheel, power windows, door locks, and mirrors, air conditioning, and a killer audio system from Pioneer that included a CD player and four speakers. A large (about 6 inch screen for the audio system [adorned with a small hood to keep the sun off it]) turns into a high resolution back up monitor when you shift in reverse. The radio was XM-ready but not enabled, so all you could get on XM was their preview channel. There was also a large moonroof with manually operated sunshade. The inside mirror had “OnStar” assistance controls.
The seats were a high-quality cloth style material that looked like it can take a pounding, being adequately-sized and comfortable, and the interior trim was both pretty and tough-appearing. Compared to Japanese or European cars, there was a shortage of cup holders (I counted four). The center console tray had an armrest-cover that lifted to reveal a cleverly hidden USB port and audio device output connector. The key fob had the door lock-unlock controls, and the key itself swiveled manually in and out of the side of the fob at the touch of a small button, much like the old Mercedes or Audi key fobs of the 1990s.
Put all this on 17-inch wheels and add an 18.8 gallon fuel tank plus 63.7 square feet of cargo space and you have one hard-to-beat combination anyone can fall in love with—even me. I highly recommend this 22MPG city/32 MPG highway cruiser for anyone wanting a good solid ride, decent mileage, and envious looks from your friends (and strangers, too). I would buy one of these, and that’s something I never thought I’d hear myself say about a Chevy.