You’re shopping for a new SUV, and maybe you’ve heard about the Chevy Equinox. I mean, it is one of the top-selling vehicles in its class, so it’s likely it may have come across your radar during your car-shopping research. But if you’re opting to buy an SUV and you seem way out of your depth on what to look for, or maybe you’re a parent helping your teen shop for their first car, there are some things you should consider when eyeing something like the 2022 Chevy Equinox.
Some people are more about diving head-first into the experience and learning how to swim later, while others want as much information as possible before wading into the water. Regardless of where you stand on buying a new vehicle, someone who isn’t familiar with the process of owning a vehicle might need a little bit of help in at least being pointed in the right direction. This way, their first time stepping into a dealership to sign on the dotted line will be one they remember for all the right reasons.
Know What Trim Works For You
The 2022 Chevy Equinox is available in four different trims. The 2022 model year adds the all-new RS trim to the line-up, which wasn’t available for the 2021 model year. This new trim comes with a black exterior and 19-inch dark alloy wheels for a sporty look. The exterior is matched with a black interior that includes red-stitched trimming to highlight a visual contrast within the cabin. But is this new RS trim right for you?
This goes back to what you’re looking for out of a compact SUV. If you want a sporty trim with an aggressive interior and an exterior that highlights the lines of the Equinox, then the RS is a good option. However, if you’re looking for something that fits a more fiscally responsible budget, then the RS may not be the way to go since it adds about $4,000 extra to the total costs of the Equinox. As a first-time buyer, adding that much to the total package is probably not what you want.
In the same way that the RS trim probably isn’t a good option for first-time buyers, the even more expensive Premier trim would basically make that bad idea even worse. While the Premier trim offers some amazing luxury futures for the compact SUV, most first-time buyers have very little business even eyeing the top-of-the-line trim for the Equinox unless it specifically falls within your budget. In that case, splurge away. But for shoppers who don’t need all the bells and whistles of a top-of-the-line trim, they can save themselves nearly $5,000 by going with something more suitable and economical.
The two trims definitely worth checking into for those buying an SUV for the first time are the LS and the LT. Those are the base and second trims that not only contain all the basics but also offer additional options for those who want to expand on them with extra amenities. If you just want all the basics right out of the gate without any fuss or worries, then the LS trim is your best bet. It comes with all the standard safety, performance, and infotainment features you could ask for, from the Chevy Safety suite to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. If you want to upgrade with additional packages, the LT trim opens up the availability to scale up your experience if your budget allows for it.
Front-Wheel Drive or All-Wheel Drive?
If you’re buying a vehicle, you will have to make a decision on the drivetrain. In the case of the Equinox, do you go with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive? If you’re not entirely familiar with the process of drivetrains, it might seem confusing at first. But the general gist boils down to how power is routed through the vehicle’s axles and how it changes the way the vehicle handles under certain driving conditions.
If you occasionally take to off-road trails or drive in high-altitude areas, all-wheel drive might be a better fit for you. If you just need something for commuting purposes, then front-wheel drive will get you there and back with no problems. Another thing to keep in mind is that all-wheel drive systems are more expensive than single-axle drive systems, so expect to pay a difference of anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000.
While all-wheel drive systems can help provide a smoother ride and more control with handling, they also guzzle more gas. So if fuel economy is a concern and you want to consider the long-term costs of maintaining and driving an SUV, front-wheel drive will net you slightly better fuel economy. In the case of the 2022 Chevy Equinox, the differences are minor but still noticeable, with all-wheel drive topping out at 25 miles per gallon in the city and 30 miles per gallon on the highway. The front-wheel drive system nets you 26 miles per gallon in the city and 31 miles per gallon on the highway.
You Don’t Need to Buy Packages to Get What You Need
With many models, you will discover that you need to spring for a higher trim and extra packages to get the features you need. But if you’re looking to buy a new 2022 Chevy Equinox as your first vehicle, keep in mind that even the base trim still gives you everything you need. While luxuries that you may want, such as roof racks, power passenger seats, a panoramic sunroof, and adaptive cruise control, are optional features, the base model Equinox is loaded with all the necessities.
If you do want some added features, consider where you plan to drive the Equinox and what your leisure or professional driving destinations might be, and then sculpt any optional packages around that. For instance, if this is the first SUV you’re considering purchasing, but you’re a stickler for biking and heading out to trails to ride frequently, then the Hit The Road package might be something worth considering. Why? Because it comes with molded assist steps and the aforementioned roof rack with cross rails, perfect for mounting a bike rack.
If you live somewhere cold or where the weather drops to ridiculously low levels, another optional package to consider is the engine block heater, which is available for all the trims. It helps with cold starts and getting the vehicle up and running during those freezing mornings or chilly nights. Alternatively, if the opposite is true and you spend most of your time driving in warm or hot weather, there’s really no point in buying an engine block heater.
Features Versus Price Points
Always keep in mind that if you’re buying with your budget being a prime factor, then work from the trim that best suits your budget first. Maybe you like certain features from the RS or Premier trim, but they sit outside what you can actually afford? Well, consider if those features are essential for your driving needs or if you can do without them.
Also, consider how long you plan on keeping the vehicle. If you’re leasing maybe, you can get away with going with an upper-end trim to see how you like it and if it’s something you would want to own for a longer period of time. If you’re opting instead to buy because you don’t want to deal with leasing options, think about the trim features and if you would be satisfied with a vehicle that comes with certain standard features on a long-term basis.
There is always going to be a give and take when it comes to buying a new vehicle. The good part about the 2022 Chevy Equinox is that even the base LS trim is quite accommodating with all of the standard amenities, from infotainment to safety. So as someone working with a strict budget looking to buy without being overwhelmed with options and accessories, the LS is a great way to go. If you want certain optional features with Equinox, and you have some leeway in your budget to do so, the LT will likely be right up your alley.