Finding the lowest-priced SUV often hinges on one word; affordability. When price-conscious buyers hear the term “affordable SUV,” the first thing that comes to mind is often the sticker price or Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). Some buyers also believe that whittling down the purchase price is the fastest path to getting to the best possible deal. While both are accurate, ending up with a truly affordable SUV requires exploring multiple variables that stretch beyond the price you pay at the dealership.
Affordability encompasses everything from a vehicle’s warranty, reliability ratings, and fuel efficiency, to resale value and the availability of qualified mechanics to perform required maintenance and repairs. Chevy understands the “macro” meaning of affordability, as evidenced by the value-oriented 2024 Chevy Equinox. With its competitive MSRP, intelligent trim lineup, and robust warranty and reliability ratings, the automaker’s best-selling compact SUV offers price shoppers a compelling value proposition that pays dividends throughout the ownership experience.
The triumvirate of affordable pricing, above-average fuel economy, and low owner maintenance costs shows up routinely throughout the Chevy lineup but mostly across its popular SUV and crossover nameplates. Many compact SUV buyers are first-timers, families on a budget, or commuters looking to save at the pump. By building the 2024 Equinox for durability and fuel efficiency, Chevy tees up an ideal solution for a bucket of buyers whose chief concern is price.
What to Know Before You Buy
In the digital age, there is no shortage of vehicle purchase guides and sites devoted to sharing “hidden secrets” for haggling with dealers, but savvy buyers should sidestep the noise and focus on a few simple research goals. First, visit the automaker’s website to view the vehicle you want and get familiar with the available trims and packages to dial in the trim that fits your price point. Second, read reviews from reputable sites like Car and Driver and MotorTrend. Third, check for rebates, investigate fuel economy ratings, and determine the vehicle’s resale value. Let’s take a closer look at these important aspects.
The Manufacturer’s Website
When examining fuel economy, a quick visit to Chevy’s website reveals that the 2024 Chevy Equinox offers 26 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway. Scroll further, and the site includes details on the four available Equinox trims; the base LS, the LT, the RS, and the Premier, including starting price and key standard features. It’ll take you no more than five minutes.
Bring up Car and Driver’s review of the 2024 Equinox and listed first under its highlights is “Great value versus rivals.” Already, buyers can discern that leading industry review sites report that the Equinox tops the competition for overall value. U.S. News and World Report cited the Equinox’s “Good fuel economy” as a pro. Reviews like these give buyers context clues that help inform their purchase.
Data Deep Dive
Fuel economy ratings and warranty details can be found on the manufacturer’s website but use sites like Vroom and Kelley Blue Book to determine resale value. You can also contact your local dealer to ask for a range based on lease residual values and other factors. Many buyers mistake the dealer for an adversary during the purchase process when most dealer sales professionals are looking for long-term relationships with their customers and referral opportunities, so they’re incentivized to ensure you’re completely satisfied with your purchase. When you’re missing a piece of the car-buying puzzle, trust your dealer to fill in the blanks.
Cost-of-Ownership: Why Fuel Economy Matters
Nothing frustrates new car owners more than experiencing a lower-than-expected fuel economy rating. Many factors impact fuel efficiency, including weather, elevation, and driving style, but typically, buyers should expect to achieve the average ratings cited by the manufacturer because they’ve been independently verified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The Equinox’s fuel-sipping manners come from an efficient 1.5-liter turbocharged engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. At 3,465 lbs, it’s a lightweight crossover that isn’t burdened by heavy architecture. Still, drivers are ultimately responsible for achieving optimal fuel economy. Actions like regularly checking to ensure your tires are properly inflated, staying on top of regularly scheduled maintenance, and driving the speed limit can all positively impact fuel efficiency.
According to Nerd Wallet, the average car owner pays over $10,000 yearly in ownership costs. Driving a single mile costs drivers around 18 cents, leading to annual fuel costs of just under $3,000. Choosing a vehicle like the 2024 Chevy Equinox puts you ahead of the curve, especially since the EPA considers any vehicle with a fuel economy rating of 22 MPG or more “fuel efficient.” Bottom line; fuel economy ratings are estimates. How you drive greatly impacts how much you’ll spend at the pump, which affects affordability.
Maintenance: Before and After the Warranty Phase
There’s a subset of vehicle buyers; some call early adopters. These folks have a big appetite for risk, often trying new models and powertrains before mass adoption. While the upside might mean discovering a hidden gem, typically, these buyers end up inconvenienced by unforeseen maintenance issues and other pitfalls. Early Tesla owners, for example, struggled with electrical issues, problems with the hands-free driving technology, and catastrophic battery failures, not to mention the lack of working charging stations that left many stranded on the side of the road.
Being risk averse doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on owning a vehicle with fun-to-drive attributes and curb appeal; in fact, vehicles like Chevy’s best-selling Equinox offer reliability alongside sporty styling and impressive ride handling. The 2024 Equinox receives kudos from Car and Driver for being “easy to drive” and delivering “accurate and direct” steering, but overall, the biggest benefit of choosing a high-volume model like the Equinox is consistency and reliability.
Reliability translates to low ownership costs for Equinox owners. Chevy’s generous factory warranty includes a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain limited warranty that covers major vehicle components like the engine and transmission. As a bonus, Chevy throws in a free first maintenance visit that covers the cost of a multi-point inspection, an oil change, and a tire rotation for another $100-plus savings.
Simple and Straightforward Equals Affordable and Hassle-Free Driving
The most affordable vehicle is the one that optimizes three factors: price, fuel economy, and ownership cost, and, in life and car-buying, often the most practical decisions yield the most fruitful results. For some who value the latest tech and flashy gimmicks, practical might be synonymous with boring, but for crossover buyers looking to purchase the most affordable SUV, opting for a known entity like the 2024 Chevy Equinox makes financial sense.
Buyers don’t need a PhD-level knowledge of the complex calculus to determine a vehicle’s value proposition. A few hours of simple research are all it takes to gather the salient facts necessary to make a good decision. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to “follow the pack” and choose a vehicle that others with the same purchase goals already trust. For compact crossover shoppers struggling to decide, consider this: on average, more than 200,000 buyers choose the Equinox every year.
Perhaps it’s the Equinox’s low MSRP that draws buyers in at first, but consumers are savvy; no vehicle can sustain impressive sales figures year after year unless it achieves a sustainable level of high owner satisfaction. For price shoppers looking for affordability, the 2024 Chevy Equinox might just tick all the boxes. Now the only thing that’s left after researching this standout Chevy SUV is to experience it for yourself.