Are you a first-time buyer looking for a stylish vehicle at a low price that fits your lifestyle and offers tons of next-gen tech? If you’re one of the legions of shoppers who’ve spent hours hunched over your laptop scrolling review sites and Google images to find a cute crossover at a price you can afford, only to come up empty-handed, you’re not alone. Most compact SUVs embrace the same yawn-inducing vanilla styling splashed with a predictable palette of exterior colors.
The absence of affordable and stylish utes is enough to leave buyers feeling hopeless. Many resign themselves to the ubiquitous style favored by most automakers, then choose a color that falls flat while convincing themselves they’re satisfied because of their low monthly payment. Luckily, Chevy feels your pain. Enter the 2024 Chevy Equinox. Designed to shake up the tired compact SUV narrative, this refreshing little SUV proves that cool and affordable can coexist. Hundreds of thousands of buyers can’t be wrong: year after year, the Equinox leads the competition. But how can a mass-produced SUV still earn big style points?
The Equinox is all about the sum of its parts. From sleek lines featuring angles and curves more aligned with high-end European imports to the impressive array of in-vehicle tech that includes smartphone integration and robust connected services, the Equinox’s appeal is especially aligned with young, first-time buyers’ needs. The Equinox reminds struggling first-timers that it’s OK to demand a ride that reflects your unique lifestyle and personality: one that stands out from a sea of vanilla alternatives.
Affordability at the Expense of Style: How Entry SUVs Miss the Mark
In the ever-expanding compact SUV segment, escaping the vanilla formula initially seems daunting. The industry’s propensity for cost-effectiveness and mass appeal almost always comes at the expense of uniqueness, as evidenced by the list of humdrum compact SUVs. Most buyers have trouble telling them apart. Sure, these SUVs are reliable and affordable, but they fall short of many buyers’ hopes when it comes to style.
You don’t have to be a car enthusiast to notice the trend toward a “cookie cutter” design. Boring and uninspired is the headline for the compact SUV category, largely because carmakers opt for mass appeal over edgy design, clinging to long-standing nameplates and minimizing updates across generations. In many cases, a risk assessment determines that it’s safer to maintain the accepted status quo rather than roll the dice on a fresh design.
Chevy deviates from this formula with the Equinox. Infusing it with style tweaks, and interior and exterior enhancements, different is the Equinox’s unique value proposition. Bucking the vanilla trend with a bold exterior design helps buyers break out of the epidemic of sameness, as does the Equinox’s eight available exterior colors and an array of special edition versions, like the Midnight Edition, with an all-black theme that includes the wheels, grille, and even the Chevy bowtie logo.
The affordability trap leads many compact SUV manufacturers down a dark path of dullness with a price-only narrative that’s off-putting to style-conscious buyers. In a 2021 Daily Mail article, legendary automotive designer Leo Pruneau blames computer-aided design, stating that the lack of hands-on design time results in SUVs that meet a standardized set of criteria rather than emerging as the creative product of an artisan that took the time to infuse the “five elements of good design,” which he identifies as lines, surface, proportion, composition, and taste.
Sleek and Sublime: The Equinox Shakes Off Vanilla Styling
Boxy is boring. Chevy understands this simple design trap and reflects its understanding in the 2024 Equinox’s obvious curb appeal. Sculpted side panels catch the light, reflecting a wave pattern that suggests movement. A gentle slope in the roofline draws the eye across the Equinox’s side profile, while the snub-nosed, slanted grille framed by thin, flush-mounted LED headlights gives off a modern feel.
Inside, Chevy prioritizes ergonomics while peppering the cabin with less obvious features, like the hidden storage compartment beneath the rear cargo area. Though not necessarily stylish, intuitive additions like the extra storage space support active lifestyles, in this case, offering a discreet space for hiking gear, shopping bags, or extra luggage on your next weekend road trip.
First-time buyers appreciate thoughtful design even when the design element is practical. Chevy understands the importance of innovation as a subset of style, and the automaker doesn’t reserve its most popular features for the top-of-the-line trims. The base Equinox LS keeps the cabin quiet with standard Active Noise Cancellation, so road noise stays outside where it belongs.
Style exists in the form of customization on the 2024 Chevy Equinox. Base LS buyers can opt for the available Chrome Package, which adds a cool chrome grille, black bowtie emblems, chrome side mirror caps, and a unique patterned matte chrome protective strip along the rear bumper. Premier trim buyers can choose the Redline Edition, which adds pops of cherry red in unexpected places, like the wheels, side mirrors, and Equinox badges.
Beyond the Basics: Why Nex-Gen Tech and Cushy Interiors Matter
All drivers benefit from the latest version of the industry’s in-vehicle connected services and semi-autonomous driver-assist technology, but younger drivers seem to gravitate to features that facilitate automation, create opportunities for device integration, and provide gateways to access content within smartphone apps like Spotify. Entry vehicles that opt for generous arrays of advanced technology are rare, but when given a choice, first-timers will choose a model that keeps them connected.
Today’s vehicles extend the role of technology and connected services to include not just entertainment and convenience but safety. The 2024 Equinox embraces driver-assist safety technology via Chevy Safety Assist. Though not all Equinox trims benefit from a full range of Chevy’s available tech, six of the most proven systems, including Forward Collision Alert and Automatic Emergency Braking, are included across the trim range.
As for infotainment, only the Premier trim defaults to the larger 8-inch multi-functional infotainment touchscreen. The base LS gets a smaller, less robust 7-inch version with no upgrade available, and the LT and RS offer it as an option. Luckily, even the priciest Equinox comes with an attractive low starting price, so opting for a fully equipped Equinox is achievable for more buyers.
Other tech highlights include a robust connected services suite and standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, which is a feature not typically included on entry-level trims. Rounding out the Equinox’s on-point tech array is an available wireless hotspot that buyers can activate with a subscription, along with an available premium 7-speaker Bose audio system and connected navigation that offers real-time traffic updates.
First-Time Buyers; Don’t Settle for Vanilla
Forget boring; skip the queue for a vanilla SUV and head straight to the VIP line! It is possible to find an affordable first vehicle that speaks to your style and needs without the headache of budget creep. Vehicles like the 2024 Chevy Equinox demonstrate how automakers are addressing young buyers’ needs. The market may be flooded with lookalike crossovers with bare-bones interiors, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck buying one.
In this hyper-connected world, driving a tech-forward vehicle is high on young buyers’ lists. It’s not just about convenience; it’s finding a vehicle that seamlessly integrates your digital life with your on-road experience. Chevy’s commitment to building future-ready vehicles at all price points should reassure first-time buyers. Once premium tech features, like wireless smartphone connectivity, are now standard on entry models like the Equinox. Yes, you can find your cool with a vehicle like the 2024 Chevy Equinox, blending affordability, connectivity, and style.