To do a road trip you need two key things: An open road and a vehicle to carry you on it. Everything else, as they say, is gravy.
We’ve been test driving Chevrolet vehicles for years for articles and social media stories, so when we told the folks at Chevrolet that we were planning the Great Big Summer Road Trip they jumped in with a suggestion: Why not drive a 2015 Cheverolet Equinox on the adventure? We made sure to check out the vehicle at a local dealership before saying yes.
Why look a gift horse in the mouth? Because 30 days in a car together with family is a long time if you’re all uncomfortable. We wanted to make sure it fit what we needed it to do on this trip.
And after a careful review? It most certainly does.
From the built-in 4GLTE wifi that allows me to share from the road to the high safety standards (It has been an IIHS Top Safety Pick every year since 2010) the Chevrolet Equinox had the sorts of things we were looking for in a road trip vehicle.
Perhaps it’s best feature is that it isn’t our regular family vehicle. There are no pen marks on the seats, milkshake stains on the floor or foot prints on the back of the passenger seat (How and why do they do that?!?).
Because it’s a brand new vehicle, wear and tear are less of an issue but before you head out on any road trip there are some key things you’ll want to double check on your own car. And if you’re thinking of renting (or buying) a vehicle and you’re a road-tripping family you may want to keep these things in mind before you decide on your final choice.
Road Trip: The Vehicle|The Safety Checks
The Wheels – Hot weather can have an effect on your tires. Check them monthly – and definitely ahead of a road trip – to make sure they are up to snuff. Among the things to consider: Rotating them regularly and knowing the recommended air pressure. Tip: Check the tire pressure when the tires are cold. The heat of a recent drive can give a false reading. Good pressure means you’ll save on gas and be less likely to have a blowout on the road.
The Fluids – Don’t let your car dehydrate in the summer heat. Everything from the windshield washer fluid to the engine coolant needs to be maintained at appropriate levels. If your car isn’t “thirsty” it’ll run more efficiently.
The Windshield Wipers – Being caught in a rainstorm with wipers that aren’t clearing the rain is dangerous. At home simulate rain on the windshield with a spray bottle and check the wipers for effectiveness. Remember to check out rear wipers too. If they are dragging or failing to clear the liquid, replace them.
Road Trip 101: The Vehicle | The Comfort Checks
People Space: Even when all you’re trying to do is get the family to soccer practice or pick up some groceries, comfort matters. On a road trip? It’s essential. You don’t want to give the kids any reason to start bickering in the backseat. Bring the whole family with you when you go for a test drive. Take a good look at how everyone is fitting in and consider how quickly those little legs will grow.
Trunk Space: Although I believe in packing light, the place where it can be the hardest is on a road trip. Take a good look at the cargo area and be realistic about the way you will use it. And remember the lighter your load the better your car will do on mileage. Before a road trip, take the time to clear out the trunk and remove the items you won’t need.
Tech: Remember when all your car did for you was provide a way to get from point A to point B? That’s so last decade. The Equinox we’re driving has a 4GLTE hotspot built in! And there’s more: Eighteen storage areas — including a center armrest big enough for a laptop computer and a sliding rear seat that offers up to 39.9 inches of rear-seat leg room (more than other cars in its class).