There are some things about the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox that may surprise you. First, when it comes to gas-powered SUVs, its four-cylinder fuel economy is near the top of the segment, with an impressive 32 mpg on the highway. Another thing you may not have known: despite the current generation being on the market since the 2010 model year-it's due for a major update-sales of the Equinox were up over the past two years with little fanfare.
It has been a while since we last drove the Equinox, so this was an opportunity to appreciate the refresh it received for 2013. The biggest change was replacing the optional 3.0-liter V6 with a 3.6-liter V6 with direct injection and 37 more horsepower, but the same fuel economy (17/24 with front-wheel drive). The improvement in acceleration is immediately noticeable, as the Equinox moves enthusiastically from a stop and passing power is plentiful. The ride is more firm than cushy, but certainly comfortable.
Like the engine bay, the cabin also benefited from some sprucing up in 2013. The addition of MyLink makes it easy to connect a phone, use the navigation system and toggle between audio sources. One thoughtful touch is that the button for the child door locks is at the bottom of the center stack. However, there are some letdowns in an otherwise attractive cabin. There are hard plastics on the dash and doors, and a plastic piece that works like a sunshade over the nav screen wiggled more than it should. We expect these things, plus the numerous buttons that overwhelm the center stack, will be different for the next-generation Equinox. The interior is highly versatile, with a sliding second row that makes it easy to adjust for people that are different heights, or when you need to carry bulky cargo.
Our top-of-the-line tester priced out at $37,450 though, which seems a bit pricey for a 5-passenger 2-row vehicle -- especially considering you can get a base model 3-row Toyota Highlander for less money. But overall, the Equinox has aged well. It is still a very versatile vehicle with attractive looks and the ability to carry people and gear with ease.
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