By Hope S. Philbrick
This trunk holds a ridiculous amount of shoes.
As a professional traveler, I pride myself on being able to pack light. When I fly, I’m strictly carry-on only (in part because I’m anti hidden fees). Road trips, however, do allow packing extras for contingencies, especially when the trunk is as spacious as this 2019 Chevrolet Equinox FWD LT 2.0T. Uncertain of the weather and what certain activities might entail, I tossed what seemed like an excessive number of extra shoes into the trunk and still had space to spare.
I prefer to break long road trips into segments, but my schedule didn’t allow for extra overnights so I drove from Atlanta, Georgia to Parkersburg, West Virginia in one day. Google Maps estimated it would be about a nine-hour drive.
Google Maps offered three possible routes, all roughly the same estimated timeframe: one up I-75 through Knoxville TN, one up I-85 through Charlotte NC, and one up 23/41/81/77 through Asheville NC. Based on my vast road-tripping experience, I thought the route through Asheville would be the prettiest and least crowded with semi-trucks, so I chose that route. (It was such an enjoyable drive that I took the same route home.) Before pulling out of my driveway, I tried to program that specific route into the car’s GPS system. This Equinox does have a map GPS (not just a turn-by-turn), but it only seemed to show one route option. So I called my friends at OnStar who confirmed that “the car GPS has pre-programmed routes, so you cannot choose.” So I tapped into the third tech option: I connected my phone to the car Wi-Fi and used Android Auto so the car could simply use Google Maps instead of its own GPS. (On the way home, I didn’t bother with that: I just clicked Asheville NC as my destination from Parkersburg WV into the car’s GPS and then Atlanta GA once I reached Asheville. The car’s GPS map was easy to read and utilize once I figured out how to force it to route me the way I wanted to go.)
The ride was lovely—and perhaps I’ve driven a bit too much given that at one snarl of highway intersections I knew without even looking at a sign that if I wanted to get to Sevierville TN I’d turn right—with clear, sunny skies, minimal traffic (it helps to leave Atlanta at 7 a.m.), and pleasant vistas.
And then, of course, as weather tends to do, everything changed. As I drove north through Virginia, the skies started to gray. As I crossed into West Virginia rain started to fall. And then, just as I reached the most mountainous, most challenging part of the drive, a thunderstorm burst into high gear. Loud booms, bright crooked flashes. The thunderstorm was so boisterous it was as if the Appalachian Mountains were throwing an extreme welcome party. At first, the driving conditions weren’t too bad, and I was grateful to be in the Chevy Equinox since it handles even mountain roads with ease and is loaded up with safety tech that my personal tin car of a car lacks. I slowed down, as did most of the drivers around me. But then all the drivers who had been several miles back caught up to us and barreled past at crazy speeds. The rain got so heavy that I literally could not see past the windshield, so I pulled off onto the shoulder to wait until it let up. Semi-trucks kept barreling past; I still wonder how they could see the road. Eventually, the storm let up enough that I pulled back onto the highway. It continued to rain, but not quite as bad, so I was able to keep going. Outside Charleston WV the rain dispersed. Just my luck, the worst weather occurred only during the most difficult part of the drive, but I felt safe in the Chevy and knew that OnStar would be ready to help if needed.
The ride up took about 11 hours, thanks to the weather, but I never got bored thanks to SiriusXM. Whenever I pulled over to take a break, I could easily check email thanks to the car’s Wi-Fi—which worked even at times when T Mobile had a hard time finding a signal in the Appalachians.
I also never got uncomfortable, thanks to the seat adjuster with its driver 8-way power and 2-way power lumbar support. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is comfortable to grasp and helps prevent callouses.
The interior of the Chevy Equinox was easy to keep clean, thanks to the premium cloth seats. My personal car has a velour-like fabric that acts like a stain magnet, but this fabric seemed super durable and stain-resistant. (I did not purposefully spill anything to test this belief, but the fabric feels like it’s as strong as jeans and as stain-resistant as plastic.)
The ride back to Atlanta took about 9 hours and was thankfully free of weather drama. By then the Chevy Equinox felt like a trusted friend that I started to miss as soon as I handed back the keys.
Favorite Features: Chevy Equinox
During our drive, these are the features that we discovered and liked best…
- Smooth ride!
- Very comfortable seats! (Driver 8-way power with 2-way power lumbar)
- Premium cloth seats—comfortable, stain resistant
- Gorgeous Pacific Blue Metallic exterior paint
- Rear split-folding seat
- 4 USB ports
- Keyless open & start
- Rear vision camera
- Large cargo space!
- Power adjust mirrors
- 6-speaker audio system
- OnStar services
- SiriusXM radio
- Driver & passenger heated seats
- Dual-zone A/C
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel
- Lane change alert with blind zone alert
- Rear cross traffic alert
- Rear park assist
- 120-volt power outlet
- 8-inch HD color touchscreen
- The myChevrolet Mobile App turns your mobile device into a virtual command center
The sticker price of the 2019 Equinox FWD LT 2.0T that we test drove is $33,625. Fuel economy is listed as 29 mpg highway/22 mpg city.
Visit Greater Parkersburg WV
5 Fun To-Dos:
- Indulge at Holl’s Chocolates—Swiss chocolates
- Explore Blennerhassett Island—historic mansion, horse-drawn carriages, gorgeous greenery
- Shop Berdine’s 5 & Dime—nostalgic treasure
- Tour Henderson Hall—truly amazing antiques!
- Kayak North Bend State Park—home to the nation’s largest population of red-headed woodpeckers
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion. Thanks to Chevrolet for use of the 2019 Equinox FWD LT 2.0T featured in this article. Thanks to Parkersburg WV for hosting my visit.