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The 2014 Chevrolet Equinox offers up plenty of what matters to parents and families—like flexible seating and cargo space, plus impressive maneuverability and reasonably good fuel efficiency.
Size it up for a moment, and you won't be surprised why vehicles like it have become the family sedans of today. And among all the compact (to mid-size) crossovers, the 2014 Equinox is one of the better picks; whether purposed for carpool duty, weekend family getaways, or commuting and errands, it's fully up for such versatile use—with an affordable price, a spacious interior, plenty of safety and tech features, and more refinement than you might expect.
With crisp, somewhat sporty styling, and proportions that line up partway between Chevy's trucks and cars, the Equinox looks like it should: handsome but inoffensive. Inside, the look is a little jazzier, with vents flanking the radio and climate controls and more of the look that Chevrolet cars have recently been given.
Our recommendation for most Equinox shoppers remains the fuel-efficient (and lower cost) four-cylinder models. With 182 horsepower, the 2.4-liter four idles smoothly, albeit with a somewhat clattery direct-injection sound, and once underway it's agreeable and unobtrusive. The combination comes with a stellar 32-mpg highway rating, too. The Equinox doesn't track as confidently on the highway as we'd like, but this is first and foremost a family vehicle. Yes, the 3.6-liter V-6 is strong and smooth, but it's also far thirstier in real-world driving -- and frankly more than most cost-conscious moms and dads are going to need.
The 2014 Chevy Equinox feels designed for the ins and outs of family use, from the seating layout to the up-close details. There's an excellent carlike driving position, while the cross-stitched dual-tone perforated leather in top LTZ models feels quite luxurious. Back seats have enough space for two adults to sprawl out into, with decent legroom, and the seatbacks are adjustable for rake. And there's space for smaller items, weekend finds, and grocery bags between the two deep cargo wells in back, the deep center console, the retractable cargo cover, and stretchy net.
The Equinox has been a consistent top performer in crash-tests and safety ratings. It hasn't yet been tested in the new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety small overlap frontal test, but it's been named an IIHS Top Safety Pick and it's earned top four- and five-star results from the federal government. Four-wheel disc brakes, StabiliTrak electronic stability control, head-curtain side airbags, and pelvic/thorax seat-mounted bags are all included as standard equipment in the Equinox, a rearview camera system is offered in most models, and lane departure warning and forward collision warning alert systems are standard in the LTZ and optional on the LT. Unfortunately neither of those systems completely makes up for one Equinox inadequacy: The thick rear pillar can make outward visibility challenging.
Considering its very affordable pricing, the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox has a very impressive set of the features that matter to price-conscious parents. There's a solid, effective set of connectivity and infotainment features, plenty of traditional convenience features thrown in, and even some optional high-tech active-safety features if you're willing to add a little to the bill. GM includes a touch-screen audio system with a USB port across most of the lineup, and the voice-activated, touch-screen-based MyLink Connectivity system is an option. The MyLink package includes smartphone connectivity, integrated Pandora and Stitcher app compatibility, and hands-free controls.
For 2014, the Equinox LTZ model gets new chrome-clad wheels, while there are a couple of new exterior colors for the lineup.