Real-World Review

2018 Chevrolet Equinox: Life Is a Highway

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author photo by Ally Sabath June 2018

A mere 260 miles between Atlanta and the Music City, I ventured off to Nashville in the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox with one intention: to see what it's like to take a road trip in the freshly updated Equinox. Well, that, and to see some great live music. With a full tank of gas and an estimated combined fuel economy of 24 miles per gallon, I was already feeling optimistic. Little did I know that this car would not only blow my expectations out of the water, but also provide me with one of my greatest memories.

My friend Megan and I laughed while sharing stories we've made on the road. We both come from large families, so you can bet your bottom dollar that we drove everywhere. "Oh, the number of fights that could've been prevented if we had this car growing up," said Megan while discussing all the features the car has.

Both of us agreed that we wouldn't change those memories for the world, but it would've been nice to appreciate the family time a bit more. I'm sure many can relate to family road-trip fights triggered by things like whose phone had the least remaining battery, who gets to pick the movie or who would be stuck sitting in the back seat with all the luggage and the dog breathing down their neck.

As I enter the tough world of "adulting," I find myself overwhelmed with new experiences, morning traffic, an increased addiction to coffee and new expectations of cars. I recently just upgraded to a 2010 Ford Escape, and I felt posh just having Bluetooth and heated seats. Yes, I'm a simple gal. I admit, my used Escape is nothing fancy -- but it's priced right for someone like me who's about to enter the workforce with my first "real" job. Truthfully, that puts the Equinox a little out of my price range. The base model is a reasonable $23,500, but a Premiere model is over $30,000. It's worth considering a middle version of the Equinox if you're on the fence between a new or used car. But the Equinox isn't the only game in town. There are SO many SUVs to choose from today. The Nissan Rogue is very good, and so is the Kia Soul. Still, Chevrolet alone has six crossover/SUVs from the $21,000 Trax, the newly reintroduced Blazer and the $50,000 (or more) Suburban.

Hello Darlin'

I'm not going to lie, when I laid eyes on the Equinox my first thought was, "Wow, that's orange!" There was no doubt that finding the car in a large parking lot was going to be the easiest part of my day. Let's just put it this way: If anyone was going to make orange look good, Chevy could. "Legally Blonde" had it wrong. Orange really is the new pink.

As I repositioned the driver's seat to accommodate my short legs, I sat and took in the smell of the fresh leather seats. Not only did it make the car look more sophisticated, it also gave me a sense of relief. Have you ever tried to clean an ice-cream stain out of cloth seats? Not easy. Leather is the way to go.

I was also extremely satisfied with the size of the car. A big concern I have when road tripping is the embarrassment that comes with taking up too much space in the car with all my luggage. The cargo space was more than enough to handle my whole wardrobe that I felt the need to pack. The hands-free power liftgate really came in handy when I had no hands to open the trunk.

Welcome to the Future

Pairing my iPhone to the car took no time at all. Not to mention the Apple CarPlay was a breath of fresh air. With the Hands-Free Georgia Act taking effect July 1 (and many states having similar laws), having your phone's functions mirrored in the car's infotainment system is a great way to avoid any temptation to touch your phone. Everything you need is on the screen.

On my way to Nashville, I decided to try out the Teen Driver feature. I couldn't help but think about all the "oopsies" that could've been prevented if my high school ride had been equipped with something like this. Parents can set basic features such as maximum speed alert and limit the maximum volume on the audio system. Checking my report card when we made it to Nashville gave me some insight on what I could improve on with my driving.

"This thing has Wi-Fi? Dang, it really does have it all!" exclaimed Megan when I was telling her about all the car's features. This really came in handy, since she's taking summer classes at the University of Georgia and she realized she forgot to submit a homework assignment. After an easy connection, she was able to get on her laptop, finish the assignment and turn it in.

Okay, one last feature that I fan-girled hard over was the Side Blind Zone Alert. It's a small feature that many don't think about, but it's a useful one. Nothing shakes you up more than when you turn your head to check your blind spot and you steer out of the lane. Kind of defeats the whole purpose of defensive driving. This feature is now at the top of my list of "must-haves" when I start shopping for a new car.

Crazy Town

Being that it was my first time in Nashville, I really wanted to adventure around the city. Our first stop was the Parthenon (recreation) -- a beautiful tourist destination that we enjoyed for about 15 minutes before we jumped back into the car to enjoy the dual-zone automatic climate control. Kid you not, it was 95 degrees outside.

Destination number two was the Gulch. We spent about 45 minutes driving around looking for a parking spot. Of course, the only one we managed to find was a tight spot that required parallel parking. I would consider myself a great parallel parker, but this one had me stumped. The rear and 360-degree surround vision cameras helped me park flawlessly.

And of course, what's a trip to Nashville without walking down Broadway? Lucky for us, it was only a 5-minute walk from our hotel. We headed toward the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage to enjoy some music and check out all the Chevrolet cars displayed. You'd think that Chevy owned the street!

I Lived It

I went into this week not knowing what to expect. All I knew was that I was going to drive an SUV to Nashville. I left Atlanta a simple car gal and came back having some new standards. From Apple CarPlay to Side Blind Zone Alert to 360-degree cameras, the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox made this trip easy and safe. To be completely honest, Chevrolet had never previously crossed my mind when thinking about cars I might be interested in. Honda and Toyota always felt like the gold standard of cars to me. After this experience, Chevrolet is added to my list of trustworthy vehicles. Now, I am currently starting a piggy bank fund for the Equinox and donations would be greatly appreciated.

To gain access to this information, Autotrader attended an event sponsored by the vehicle's manufacturer.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Chevrolet Equinox: Life Is a Highway - Autotrader