2019 CHEVROLET EQUINOX ESSENTIALS: MIDDLE LANE MACHINE

What is it: The Chevy Equinox is a small sport utility vehicle that pretty much defines “mainstream automobile” in today’s world. The Premier in the name signifies you purchased the top-trim Equinox, above the L, LS, and LT models. Many options on other trims come standard here, while top-level things like premium audio systems are only offered on the LT and Premier.

Highlights: Changes to the Equinox for 2019 are incremental and mostly revolve around available packages and features. One I like is that four USB ports come standard and two more are available as options. Premier Equinoxes also now have an options package called Confidence and Convenience II for $2,145 that adds more comfort stuff for the Snow Belt, like a heated steering wheel, and for the Sun Belt, like ventilated seats, as well as adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.

Our Opinion: My favorite automotive convenience in the winter here in Michigan is remote start. As long as you have line of sight with your car, stay inside, start it with the key fob, let the car warm up while you stay warm and when it’s time, head off on your merry way. This Equinox has remote start, and as I write this, it’s minus-13 degrees outside. Good first impression.

And lots of good keeps coming. I dig having the heated seats and steering wheel and appreciate dual-zone automatic climate control. The seats adjust all the ways I need to get comfortable, and powering my phone was easy peasy. The power lift tailgate proved useful as well. Generally speaking, the Equinox is very convenient to use and makes the humdrum tasks of life easy to accomplish.

But this is not a car for enthusiasts. Driving the Equinox is fine, but bland, not engaging. Not as much fun as a Honda CR-V and nowhere near a Mazda CX-5, but that’s fine since it’s not what Chevrolet intended. This is for straight-up consumers, folks who look at cars like they do dishwashers and televisions. That comes across in the styling, as well, and the orange burst paint is perfect for your kids to spot you at the school pickup point.

The Equinox isn’t slow, either. The 2.0T stands for 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four, which makes 252 hp at 5,500 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque between 2,500 and 4,500 rpm. And the nine-speed automatic transmission means that peak power is never far away. Keep your right foot away from the firewall and you can achieve 22 mpg city, 28 highway, 24 combined. That’s not bad, but pales in comparison to 1.6-liter turbo diesel fuel economy, which manages 39 mpg highway with front-wheel drive, and it’s also behind the 1.5-liter gasoline engine that squeezes 32 miles from one gallon on the highway. No matter, the 2.0-liter is faster. My only real gripe about the Equinox is the lack of refinement. The engine is quick but buzzy; it’s not loud, mind you — it’s easy to carry on a conversation — just not pleasant. And the styling is not for me.

All in all, the Equinox makes a great choice for using a crossover for all the things crossovers are used to do and less so when you want to enjoy the drive while you do them.

 

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