Over the past year, Chevy has decided to approach city commuting by designing vehicles ideal for urban environments. Vehicles like the 2016 Trax and 2016 Chevy Equinox are proof of that. But, what makes these vehicles good for city-driving? For starters, the vehicles need to be just as savvy and street-smart as the commuters driving them. But, it’s much more than that for the Equinox, an SUV that makes taking on the hustle and bustle of the city streets look easy.
Certainly the small/medium size of this SUV helps it navigate crowded streets, and the spritely/fuel-efficient engine under the hood provides reliable performance. Also, Chevy’s latest safety technology is a welcoming (and much needed) element for any city environment. Lastly, it may be smaller on the outside, but it has the interior of a larger SUV, which means more storage space and plenty of room to seat friends and family comfortably.
All of these great aspects are tied neatly together in a reasonable price and make the 2016 Chevy Equinox an affordable solution for city living.
The design of the Equinox got better for 2016, thanks to a redesign. The front-end has been restyled, and now matches the rest of the vehicle’s contemporary design. While the redesigned front-end looks great on all the trim levels, it’s much more noticeable on the higher trims.
Since the higher trims add chrome, the front-end’s new features are highlighted nicely. The first part to catch your eye is the dual-port grille, which is chrome-accented to make sure your eyes settle there first. Not only is the outside of the lower grille accented, but the lines that run on the inside are as well. It provides a nice contrast for the front end, and makes the paint color stand out more because of that.
Absent on the lower trims are the LED daytime running lamps, which are nestled right above the front bumper. In their places, however, are two black holes, which surprisingly, work well for a design technique. The halogen projector-beam headlights twinkle brightly thanks to the chrome accenting, and help to round off a successfully illuminated front-end redesign. The final touch? A character line that runs straight down the hood to the bumper. This beveled line gives the front-end a sense of balance and power, almost foreshadowing the engine that lies behind it.
The rest of the vehicle is just as handsome and bold as the front-end. The character line that runs down the front-end also runs up the hood and along the sides of the vehicle, providing the Equinox with just the right amount of definition needed for both a strong and luxurious look.
Successfully Sized for the City
Not only does the design look good, but it’s also the perfect size for the city streets. A vehicle like a truck or large SUV would be too much of a hassle to maneuver through the cramped streets, which is why the Equinox is only a small-mid-size SUV. In order to get a full understanding of the size of the Equinox, let’s compare the dimensions to that of Chevy’s full-size SUV: the Suburban.
The overall length of the 2016 Suburban is 18.7 feet, the width is 6.7 feet, and the height is 6.2 feet. For the Equinox, the length is 15.6 feet, the width is about six feet, and the height is five-and-a-half feet. Along with the length and width of the vehicle, the wheelbase is also crucial when it comes to city commuting and is 112.5 inches (9.4 feet) on the Equinox, and 130 inches on the Suburban (10.8 feet).
The wheelbase is the distance between the front and rear tires, and it determines how a vehicle handles. In a quick explanation, a shorter wheelbase means better steering/handling and a longer one means a more stable ride. Since the city isn’t full of rocks and rough terrain, it only makes sense that a vehicle with a shorter wheelbase would be more favorable.
Actually, a vehicle with smaller dimensions overall is preferred. Not only does that mean it’s easier to handle, but it’s also going to weigh less, which factors heavily into fuel economy.
An Ergonomically Designed Interior
Another great thing about the Equinox is the cabin. Just because the outside is more compact than a full-size SUV, doesn’t meant the inside is. Surprisingly, the engineers were able to keep the inside of the Equinox comfortable and roomy and with plenty of storage space to boot.
The generous amount of space and storage in the back is thanks to the Multi-Flex sliding rear back seats. This bench seat is able to slide either eight inches forward, eight inches backward, or fold down completely. When backward, it creates almost 3.5 feet of rear leg room. When it’s forward, you gain about eight inches of storage space. Or, if you need even more storage space, you can fold the seats flat in order to take advantage of 63.7 cubic feet of cargo space.
The Equinox, with the rear seats all the way back, has more second-row leg room than the Suburban, and over five inches more than the Suburban’s third-row leg room, which means this midsize SUV delivers a compact and city-conscious design, without having to sacrifice interior comfort and space.
Along with a redesigned front-end, the 2016 Equinox also saw the introduction of some state-of-the-art safety technology. Technology like Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Forward Collision Alert are now available, each one of which is much needed in a city environment.
Side Blind Zone Alert uses the mirrors to alert drivers when a vehicle is in their blind spot ahead of any lane change maneuvers. The Rear Cross Traffic Alert comes into play in reverse, and detects any traffic crossing behind the Equinox, which is helpful when you can’t see when backing out from a spot — like in a crowded parking lot. Finally, Forward Collision Alert will warn drivers if they are getting to close to a car or a frontal collision is imminent. This would be extremely helpful in bumper-bumper traffic, no doubt.
Along with these city-friendly safety additions, the Equinox also has many more, such as a standard rear vision camera, lane departure warning, and an OnStar automatic crash response system. All of which ensure that no matter where you are driving, you will be as safe as possible.
Spritely and Cost-Effective Performance
Finally, the spritely and cost-effective engine is a welcomed addition for this city-commuter. The standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine might not win drag races, but it’s the right size for this Equinox. The 182 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque is enough to effectively pass people on the highway or beat that yellow light (not that I’m condoning that type of action). This engine was designed to provide a lively ride while still saving money in gas. The EPA-rated 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway (26 mpg combined) is proof that the 2.4-liter accomplished that mission.
But, if you want something with some more power, then the 3.6-liter V6 with dual exhaust tips is available. It produces 301 horsepower and 272 lb-ft torque, and gives the Equinox an impressive 0-60 time of seven seconds flat. However, the fuel economy drops to 20 mpg combined, so be prepared to make a few more stops at the pump each week.
For the city? Stick to the base engine – 26 mpg combined on a SUV is way too good to pass up.
The Affordable Solution
The good looks, ideal size, ergonomic interior, state-of-the-art safety, and cost-effective performance are what make the 2016 Chevy Equinox great for the city. But, in order for it to be an affordable solution for urban commuting, it needs to offer more than just savings at the pump, which is why the starting MSRP is $22,600.
But, even the bare-bones base trim of $22,600 is a great deal, thanks to its good fuel economy, stellar leg room, and ample storage space.