2014 Chevrolet Equinox Review and Prices
The 2014 Chevrolet Equinox is the best crossover for you if you want a very popular crossover headed for a major transformation.
The 2014 Equinox is likely to add an electric-motor-assisted four-cylinder engine to its powertrain lineup. It could also be in line for some styling updates if Chevy maneuvers to keep this midsize SUV fresh as it closes out a successful second-generation design. But an all-new Equinox is in the wings. It’ll be notably smaller than today’s model, and more fuel-efficient, too. Sources differ about its timing, however: some have it arriving during 2014 as a 2015 model, others peg it for a 2015 introduction as a 2016 model.
Should you wait for the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox or buy a 2013 Chevrolet Equinox? Buy a 2013 Equinox to get a nice selection of features, including a new V-6 and expanded convenience items added for that model year. Buying a 2013 Equinox would let you doge inevitable annual price increases, too. But you might not have an Equinox with the latest styling touches, or the “eAssist” engine option. For most buyers, the possible appearance changes are more relevant. They’d help the 2014 Equinox look up to date for slightly longer, and that could strengthen resale value.
2014 Chevrolet Equinox Changes back to top
Styling: If the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox receives a makeover it could well go beyond the typical midcycle facelift. Instead of merely a new grille insert and maybe different taillamp lenses, the 2014 Equinox could get a reshaped hood and fenders to go along with a fresh nose and new front and rear fascias. Expect a more aggressive look overall, perhaps one that echoes the fresh brand face on display in the all-new 2014 Chevy Impala sedan. Inside, expect different seat fabrics and color combinations and mildly revised gauges and switchgear.
This second-generation Equinox hasn’t changed appearance since its model-year 2010 introduction. Since then, it’s become America’s No. 1-selling midsize SUV.
Whether Chevy updates the look for 2014 or believes the current styling strong enough to sustain Equinox to its model-year 2015 (or 2016) transition, this crossover’s basic profile and dimensions won’t change until its next full redesign.
The 2014 Chevrolet Equinox will again be around the median for a five-passenger midsize crossover SUV. Its wheelbase will remain longer than that of such rivals as the Ford Edge, Kia Sorento, and Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. That’s important because wheelbase is the distance between the front and rear axles and largely determines a vehicle’s cabin size.
Indeed, the 2014 Equinox will again have spacious passenger accommodations, highlighted by generous back-seat legroom. The rear bench will again slide fore and aft to favor rear passenger space or cargo room. Maximum cargo volume would, however, remain average for the class, at about 64 cubic feet with the 60/40-split rear seatbacks folded and some 32 cubic feet with them upright.
The 2014 Equinox will again share its architecture with the GMC Terrain. These are crossover SUVs because their structure unites body and frame into a single structure, like that of a car. Truck-based SUVs, by contrast, attach their body to a separate frame, a weightier, less fuel-efficient design but one better suited to heavy-duty hauling and towing.
Chevy could tinker with the 2014 Equinox model line by adding a trim level, but we’d expect a return of the base LS, volume-selling 1LT, better-equipped 2LT, and top-of-the-line, leather-upholstered LTZ.
Mechanical: The 2014 Chevrolet Equinox should reprise a 182-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder as its base engine. Expect the LT and LTZ models to again be available with a 301-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6. Starting with model-year 2013, this engine supplanted a 264-horsepower 3.0-liter as the optional V-6.
Expect Chevy to make the 2014 Equinox available with a third choice: GM’s fuel-saving eAssist system. First seen in the 2012 Buick LaCrosse and Regal sedans and then in the all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, eAssist employs a 15-watt electric motor to augment a 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and six-speed automatic transmission.
This is a so-called micro-hybrid or mild-hybrid system. The electric motor never actually powers the vehicle on its own, as would the full-hybrid system in, say, the Toyota Prius. The eAssist system saves gas by assigning the electric motor some of the work during acceleration or light-throttle cruising. The system also automatically depowers the gas engine at idle to help preserve fuel.
Relative affordability is an eAssist asset. Expect it to add about $2,000 to the cost of a model-year 2014 Equinox, less than half what a full hybrid system might add. As for fuel economy, the Regal with eAssist rates 25/36/29 mpg city/highway/combined versus 19/31/23 mpg for the four-cylinder Regal without eAssist. An eAssist Equinox should post a similar fuel-economy-ratings gain of 8 percent or so.
The base four-cylinder and V-6 would also employ six-speed automatic transmissions, both featuring a floor shift with a separate mode for manual-type gear selection. The transmission used with the base four-cylinder would also continue a selectable “Eco” mode that adjust shifts to promote fuel economy.
In typical crossover fashion, the 2014 Equinox would continue with a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel-drive (AWD) – at least with the base four-cylinder and V-6. Chevy may decide the extra weight of the AWD system is no compatible with the eAssist’s goal of maximum fuel economy.
Front-drive should provide adequate traction, but the superior snow-and-gravel-surface grip of AWD is one advantage to buying a crossover. Even with AWD, though, the 2014 Equinox, like most crossovers, won’t be designed to take on serious off-road duty.
All 2014 Equinox models should again come with alloy wheels as standard. Expect LTZs with the V-6 to be available with a choice of 18- or 19-inch-diameter wheels. LTs should again offer 18s in place of the 17s otherwise standard on this SUV.
Features: Chevy bolstered Equinox’s features roster for model-year 2013 by making available a dual-screen rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a power front passenger seat, among other items. It could shuffle some standard or optional equipment for model-year 2014, but major additions are not expected.
Returning as standard or optional depending on the trim level will be heated front seats, leather upholstery, premium audio arrays, rearview camera, remote engine starter, GPS navigation system, and a power liftgate that can be set to open at two heights. Bluetooth hands-free mobile-phone linking should return as standard across the board. Expect Chevy dealers to continue to offer a device that turns the Equinox into a rolling Wi-Fi hot spot for connecting portable devices to the Internet.
Also returning as standard across the 2014 Equinox line should be GM’s OnStar assistance that can automatically call for help in a crash, remotely unlock the doors if the keys are inadvertently locked inside, and help the police locate the vehicle if it’s stolen. Other standard features will likely include power locks, mirrors, and windows, air conditioning, a CD audio system with XM satellite radio, a digital compass, and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel.
Safety features will again include GM’s’ Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning crash avoidance system. This provides audible and visual warnings if sensors determine a crash is possible or the Equinox is inadvertently crossing highway lane markers. If a frontal collision is imminent, the system also pre-charges the brakes to quickly engage at full force. On the 2013 Equinox, this feature was limited to the LTZ and 2LT models, where it was standard. We’d urge Chevy to broaden its availability to other models in the 2014 Equinox line.
Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system should also return; for 2013, it was standard on the LTZ and optional on the 2LT. MyLink comes paired with the navigation system and expands hands-free control of songs and playlists stored on mobile devices and enables smartphone-streamed Pandora Internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio services.
2014 Chevrolet Equinox Prices back to top
Prices for the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox were not announced in time for this review but don’t expect them to rise substantially from model-year 2013 levels. Chevy aims to maintain market share in segment filling with fresher designs than the Equinox. Price increases that crimp sales are not part of the strategy.
That suggests a 2014 Chevrolet Equinox base-price range of about $25,200-$33,800. (Estimated base prices in this review include the manufacturer’s destination fee; Chevrolet’s fee for the 2013 Equinox was $825.)
Add about $1,750 to those base prices for AWD. And expect the V-6 to add $1,500-$1,900 to the cost of an LT or LTZ model, depending on whether Chevy again requires it to be bundled with an uplevel audio system.
Among key options for the 2014 Equinox, expect the navigation with Chevrolet MyLink to again cost around $795, the dual DVD system around $1,295, and a power moonroof $900. Leather upholstery has been an $800 option for the 2LT model.
2014 Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Economy back to top
EPA fuel economy ratings for the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox were not available in time for this review but expect ratings for the base four-cylinder and V-6 to match model-year 2013 numbers.
That would have the four-cylinder 2014 Chevrolet Equinox rated at 22/32/26 mpg city/highway/combined with front-wheel-drive and 20/29/23 mpg with AWD. Such numbers would again make this one of America’s highest-mileage, non-hybrid five-passenger midsize crossovers.
With the eAssist four-cylinder powertrain and front-wheel drive, those ratings could increase to 24/33/28 mpg city/highway/combined.
Expect the 2014 V-6 Equinox to again rate 17/24/20 mpg with front drive and 16/23/19 mpg with AWD. That should again be competitive among midsize, five-passenger V-6 crossovers.
2014 Chevrolet Equinox Release Date back to top
The 2014 Chevrolet Equinox should be in showrooms by autumn 2013.
What's next for the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox back to top
Whether it comes in model-year 2015 or 2016, the next all-new Equinox will be a dramatic departure from both the first-generation 2006-2009 model and today’s second-generation design.
Sources say it’ll transition from the current midsize platform to the under-skin structure of the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze compact car, which is due for model-year 2015.
Equinox would remain a five-passenger crossover, but would shrink enough to compete directly with such compact crossover as the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape. It would also enjoy reduced vehicle weight, allowing the use of smaller-displacement engines. Both are huge factors in reducing fuel consumption. It’s unlikely a V-6 would be part of the future powertrain program.
Chevy would probably rely on a Cruze-like engine lineup of naturally aspirated and turbocharged gasoline four-cylinders of around 140-160 horsepower. An intriguing possibility is the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine slated for the 2014 Cruze. In European tune, this engine is rated at 161 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque.
2014 Chevrolet Equinox Competition back to top
Ford Edge: With the 2014 Equinox remaining a midsize five-passenger crossover, its closest rival at Ford would be the similarly configured Edge. The Edge, however, is slated for a model-year 2014 redesign. It’ll have new styling and transition from the platform used by the 2010-2012 Ford Fusion midsize sedan to the one introduced with the 2013 Fusion. Don’t expect a huge change in Edge dimensions. But it could follow the 2013 Fusion’s lead and eschew available V-6 engines for an all-four-cylinder selection, including turbocharged and hybrid choices. With the Escape carrying Ford’s compact-crossover flag and the seven-seat Explorer as its family-oriented midsize SUV, the 2014 Edge should again aim slightly above the Equinox in price. And it’ll chase a slightly different demographic that includes young urban professionals, for example.
Subaru Outback: OK, it’s more of a pumped-up station wagon than a high-riding crossover. But this five-seater is a thoughtful Equinox alternative, thanks to a smart design that provides more passenger volume, cargo space, and ground clearance than the Equinox. AWD is standard and the 2014 Outback will return a choice of four- and six-cylinder engines of comparable real-world performance and fuel economy to their Equinox counterparts. Estimated 2014 Outback base-price range is $25,000-$33,500.
Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe Sport: Kia is the corporate cousin of Hyundai and both South Korean brands field an Equinox competitor. Kia’s version, the Sorento, outsells Hyundai’s Santa Fe Sport. They share a platform and basic dimensions, though Sorento squeezes in a child-sized third-row bench to qualify as a nominal seven-seater. The Santa Fe Sport was redesigned for model-year 2013 and Sorento is re-engineered for 2014. Both offer a 190-horsepower four-cylinder, but the Kia is available with a 290-horsepower V-6 while the Hyundai’s uplevel engine is a 264-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder. Both have an estimated 2014 starting price of $26,000, with the top-line Santa Fe Sport likely to start around $31,000 and the top-line Sorento around $32,500. Solidly built, fine values for the money, both represent formidable competition to anything in the midsize-crossover category.