2024 Chevy Equinox RS Adds Sport To Parental Practicality

By Casey Williams

My family tends to buy the same car over and over again – especially if it’s a good one. My 92-year-old grandmother drives a full-size GM sedan, just as she has since the 1950s. My other grandmother went through a sequence of Mercedes during more than three decades. After driving two Chevy Equinox crossovers, want to guess what my parents bought? Yep, another Equinox. Given my time with the updated 2024 Equinox RS, I find little argument with their choice.

My parents chose the fancy-pants Premier edition with all of its Cadillac-grade fittings, but our RS is probably the more fitting choice for those of us under fifty. A refresh last year gave it squintier headlights and smoked taillamps, but the RS aims to imbue a little Camaro onto Chevy’s compact crossover. Black chrome grille trim, dark window outlines, black logos, and 19” Dark Android alloy wheels give it a brooding sinister aesthetic that will add a touch of healthy anger to your morning drive.

You could be forgiven for thinking you got the luxury package when you slide inside, but red stitching on the leather seats, thick leather-wrapped steering wheel and dash confirm this is the RS. Those seats and steering wheel are heated, and dual-zone automatic climate control keeps everybody comfortable. Add to that Bose audio, dual-pane sunroof, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to seamlessly connect devices. Safety is enhanced by adaptive cruise, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and rear cross path detection. I feel better knowing my parents are protected.

Previous generations of Equinox split the difference between compact and mid-size, but with the Blazer now in the line-up, the Equinox is a might smaller to better compete with the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Ford Escape. Three-across seating is less comfortable in the rear, and cargo space is tighter, but there’s still plenty of room for four and their gear under the power hatch. Fold down the rear seats to throw in bikes and an all-day IKEA haul.

Compared to the non-turbo four-cylinders in my parents’ previous two versions, this one is considerably more engaging to drive. Credit the 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivering a peppy 175 horsepower and 203 lb.-ft. of torque – all routed to the all-wheel-drive system through a six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy rates a relatively frugal 24/30-MPG city/highway.

The Equinox RS does not bottle lightning for ripping 0-60 mph sprints, but the small turbo does a good job of keeping a head of steam in the left lane with enough torque in reserve for rising hills and freeway onramps. The four-wheel independent suspension, firm steering, and narrow track make the Equinox feel much smaller and sportier than it actually is while rumbling over rough pavement with nary a squeak, creak, nor rattle. Its compact size also makes it easy to park in tight downtown and suburban garages.

My parents do like their Equinox. It offers nearly mid-size space with compact fuel economy and the practicality to make it fit their daily lives – whether heading to dinner, driving to the Smokey Mountains, or carrying their grandkids’ gear. Base models start at $26,600 with our RS coming to $38,220. If you want to pay less, also consider the Chevy Trailblazer and Chevy Trax. Competitors include the Ford Escape Titanium, Subaru Forester Sport, Hyundai Tucson N Line, and Honda CR-V Touring.

Storm Forward!

Send comments to Casey at AutoCasey@aol.com; follow him on YouTube @AutoCasey.

2024 Chevy Equinox RS Five-passenger, AWD Crossover

Powertrain: 1.5-liter T4, 6-spd trans

Output: 175hp/203 lb.-ft. torque

Suspension f/r: Ind/Ind

Wheels f/r: 19”/19” alloy

Brakes f/r: disc/disc

Must-have features: Style, Turbo

Fuel economy: 24/30 mpg city/hwy

Assembly: Ramos Arizpe, Mexico

Base/As-tested price: $26,600/$38,220