— There's a weird thing about car guys like me.
cylinders are under the hood. If an engine makes lots of noise, that's
It's no surprise, then, that the last time I drove a Chevy Equinox, I
was giddy about the fact that it came with a 301-horsepower V6 engine.
More horsepower equals more happiness. That's how the car-guy brain works.
This week, though, I drove a different Equinox that came with the
standard, 2.4-liter engine that makes 182 horsepower.
And I felt like the only person on Planet Earth who would have been
made or whether it came with the monster V6 that's a new offering this
year. Everybody I talked with did ask the same question, though: "What
kind of gas mileage does it get?"
a four-cylinder Toyota Camry or Honda Accord. They're both rated at
roughly 35 mpg.
sedan, that's absolutely remarkable. It has two rows of spacious
seating, lots of leg and shoulder room, a high, king-of-the-road
driving position, and an SUV-style cargo area in back. Why it doesn't
get gas mileage in the 20s is a mystery.
good fuel economy using direct injection and variable valve timing —
the current benchmarks for what constitutes a modern engine in this
transmission that's programmed to shift at the right time for optimum
gas mileage with a special "Eco" mode.
prefer the 301-horsepower engine over the four-cylinder base model.
Yes, the V6 is a $1,500 option on the higher end trim packages. And
yes, it drops the gas mileage all the way down to 24 mpg on the
highway and 17 mpg in city driving.
For those who have more brain cells than I do — virtually everyone, I
suspect — the base engine makes a lot more sense because it's going to
save you a ton of money.
version, you'll have one of the most fun-to-accelerate family vehicles
on the road. And with the 182-horsepower version, you'll have a
crossover that's wonderfully efficient and logical.
What was tested?
2013 Chevrolet Equinox FWD LTZ ($30,515). Options: 18-inch chrome
wheels ($1,000), MyLink radio with navigation ($795), paint upgrade
($325). Price as tested (including $825 destination charge): $33,460
Why buy it?
Its efficient four-cylinder engine helps it get gas mileage comparable
to mid-size sedans. It's a solid, practical, proven crossover.
The 301-horsepower V6 engine is a whole lot more fun, but it hurts the
gas mileage dramatically.