Is it the Vernal Equinox or the Autumnal Equinox? Neither it's the 2019 Chevrolet Equinox!

Did you ever wonder where vehicle names come from? Some evoke a positive image like Corvette - a small warship. So the Chevrolet Corvette is a small (2-seater) warship (sports car). Makes sense right?

But Equinox? Equinox is a time of the year, the time when the days and nights are of (almost) equal length. So what exactly is Chevrolet hoping the name Equinox will conjure up in our minds? I know, I know, sometimes a name is just a name and has no meaning.

What the Equinox is is a mid-size SUV. Now in my mind there are way too many SUVs but they are what the vox populi seem to want. (Of course this brings up the discussion on whether people drive the market or does marketing drive the people.)

The problem for every auto maker is how to make their vehicle stand out in a crowd. With an SUV I think it's especially difficult. Every single SUV is essentially two boxes - a big one for people and cargo, and a smaller one for the engine (and in FWDs the transmission). There are styling differences for sure but every single SUV is a two box design.

Another negative for the auto makers (and a big plus for buyers) is that there is really no dogs, no truly bad vehicles. I can tell you that this model or that model has great reliability but the range between the worst and best is very narrow. The worst vehicle today would be the absolute best even ten years ago.

Which brings me back to the 2019 Chevrolet Equinox. Chevrolet builds six SUVs. From smallest to largest they are the Trax, Equinox, Blazer, Traverse, Tahoe, and Suburban.

The Equinox is slightly larger than the Ford Escape and slightly smaller than the Ford Edge. But for one measurement it is about perfect for me; it could sit just a tad lower. Ground clearance is a generous eight inches (with the 18" wheels of the test vehicle) and I doubt that even 5% of Equinox owners will ever go off road or venture through eight inches of snow. (No I don't expect Chevy to build an Equinox just for me.)

Uniquely in this class of SUV Chevrolet offers three engine choices. There is the 170 hp/203 lb-ft, 1.5-liter four, a 252 hp/260 lb-ft, 2.0-liter four, and a 137 hp/240 lb-ft, 1.6-liter diesel. All three are DOHC and turbocharged engines. The 1.5 and diesel use a 6-speed automatic and the 2.0 has a 9-speed. There is no manual transmission offered. The test Equinox was equipped with the 2.0-liter.

The reason for a SUV, any SUV, is space. The Equinox seats five comfortably. There is ample cargo space behind the rear seat (29.9 cubic feet) and even more if the rear seat is folded down(63.5 cubic feet).

As vehicles get better and better it gets harder to find nits to pick. A very minor nit is the monochromatic interior. It was all black or charcoal gray. Another minor issue was that the 8" information screen was difficult to read in sunlight (okay maybe this one is on me as I didn't drag out the owner's manual to see if there was a brightness adjustment).

I thought the engine response was a little lazy off idle. I don't know if it was a slight turbo lag or in the throttle response programming. Once the motor was turning over 1,000 rpm it was much more responsive. On the plus side I exceeded the EPA highway fuel economy figure of 28 mpg by over 2 mpg! Very impressive especially for a vehicle that weighs 3,600 lbs +/-.

Base price for a base FWD, 1.5-liter Equinox is $26,095. The list for the test Equinox is $31,400. Options (there's always options) added $4,185, and with the destination charge the total was $36,550.

From my perspective the biggest challenge the Equinox faces is that it doesn't stand out in a crowded field.


Popular Posts