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Chevrolet has some good SUVs on the market. However, if you want to save money, finding a cheap used option will bring you the best results. The model we’re looking at here is the Chevy Equinox, one of the best-used cars you can find, but you’ll want the right model year. U.S. News has created a list that shows which vehicles rank the highest. We’ll stick with the top three Equinox SUVs that fall under the $15,000 range. 

Best used Chevy Equinox model years

The Chevy Equinox is a popular SUV, but it has seen some problems throughout the years, especially with the 2010 to 2013 models. However, there are a few versions that offer reliability as well as plenty of useful features. If you’re in the market for a used model, you should check out the 2009, 2014, and 2016 models. Features you’ll get will vary, depending on what you find, but here is a general list of items you could get with each version.

2009 Chevy Equinox

This used Chevy Equinox falls in the 14th spot on the list, tied with several other vehicles. It isn’t really a surprise that U.S. News likes this model so much. For a price range of $4,909 to $5,795, you get a lot. 

First, it comes with a 185 hp V6 standard, but you can opt for another six-cylinder variant that produces 264 hp. These engines are powerful, but it gets average fuel economy ratings of 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway on the front-wheel drive version. 

Cargo space is nothing to laugh at since you get 35.7 cu-ft behind the rear seats and a maximum of approximately 67.1 if you fold down the back seats. As for features, the base model comes with a CD stereo system, satellite radio, an input jack, and cloth seats. The higher trims add a Pioneer stereo, leather seating, and heated front seats. If you choose the Sport trim, you get lateral support seating and sport-tuned suspension. 

2014 Chevy Equinox

Chevy’s 2014 model and six other vehicles are in the twenty-seventh spot. This model is priced in the $10,647 to $13,470 range. The driving dynamics, roominess, no safety recalls, and perfect reliability score makes this version so good. 

Powering it up are two engine options. You get either a 182 hp four-cylinder or an optional V6 that generates 301 hp. Both are paired with a six-speed transmission. This gives you fuel economy ratings of 20 mpg on city roads and 28 mpg when traveling on the highway with the four-cylinder version. The six-cylinder offers 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.  

As for features, you can expect to find a six-speaker radio, auxiliary input jack, and USB ports on the base model. Stepping up from there is the 1LT version, which offers a rearview camera, a 7-inch touchscreen, MyLink voice-activated infotainment system, and heated side mirrors. 

The 2LT model adds automatic climate control, remote start, heated front seats, and an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat. The highest trim, the LTZ, gives you a power liftgate, forward collision alert, lane-departure warning, rear park assist, and driver’s seat memory settings. 

2016 Chevy Equinox

A black used Chevy Equinox parked indoors.
Chevrolet Equinox | Getty Images

The last model is the 2016 Chevy Equinox version. This one lands in the thirty-fourth spot on the list, and about six other vehicles. The price range you can reasonably expect to pay for this model is $12,651 to $17,187. Like the 2014 version, it impresses with its roominess, versatile seats in the back, smooth driving dynamics, and quiet ride. It also has a perfect reliability rating, which is good if you’re in the market for a car for your teen

Under the hood is a four-cylinder engine producing 182 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque. You can opt for the V6 model, which generates 301 hp. Both are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. With this model, you can expect to get approximately 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway with the four-cylinder version. The six-cylinder offers quite a bit less. You get about 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.

When it comes to features, you can expect keyless entry, power mirrors, AM/FM stereo, and a tire monitoring system with the base model, the L. The next trim is the LS, which offers a backup camera, MP3 player, cloth seats, and smart device integration. Upgrading to the LT will add a power liftgate, a navigational system, and a sunroof. The top trim, the LTZ, offers leather seating, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, automatic climate control, and heated front seats. 

If you’re looking for a good used American-made Chevy Equinox model, there are three excellent choices to pick from that will fall under $15,000. The 2009 model will be the least expensive, with lots of features, while the 2014 version offers a perfect reliability score and roominess. The 2016 model will come with the highest price tag, but you will get impressive driving dynamics and plenty of features if you can find one in the upper trim range. 


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