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Back in 2014 I leased my eldest son a 2014 1LT RS Black on black Cruze with technology and driver packages. It's been a great vehicle for him. He loves it. He's in college 150 miles from here and I have no fears in the reliability of the car or the strength of the GM warranty if needed. We got a great deal and it's been well worth it.

The time came for us to hook up my youngest with a car. I thought the choice was easy. Lease another LT1 Cruze. We test drove a 2016 that was very similar to our 2014. It was nice and we were close to working up a deal when my son suggested he would pay the difference to step up to a 2016 LT FWD 4 cylinder Equinox.

My buddy is one of the sales managers at our dealership and got us a swinging lease. Along with some incentives and programs and GMS we drove off with a 36m/36k lease at $270 bucks per month. Not a dime out-of-pocket and GM picked up the first payment. That also includes a $5000 excess wear warranty that added 1650 more miles to the lease limit. The MSRP with destination and excess wear warranty was a about $ 30,500.

It's not perfect, but for a 20 year old living 3 miles off campus and working 10 miles away a few days per week it's a pretty cool ride! The 4 cyl sounds good on paper (very similar to my Mazda CX-5) but it's a bit whiney and seems a bit stressed on hills. The gas milage is pretty good for a 2 ton sled. Everyone I've spoken to says the FWD is fine in the upstate NY snow and that the 6 cylinder (especially in AWD) is crazy thirsty.



Build quality is very good. Panels align and gaps are minimal and consistent. Closing the doors is a "thud". It has good technology and options. Seat are upright and comfortable. Controls are at hand and mostly redundant on the wheel or the touch screen. The vision all around is excellent. Back seats slide back and forth so rear leg room is stellar (even with the front seats all the way back). Brakes are strong and there's no fade. The design is a bit dated, but won't change until 2018. I won't be driving it much, but I could live with it as a daily driver. BTW, it's Black on black too.
 

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I liked the Equinox I had as a rental - an extremely usable size compared to some of the smaller CUVs like an Escape or CX5, but I hated the powertrain. It would be a pretty competent vehicle if it had a 4 cyl with more torque on tap.

But hey, at least you won't have to worry about them getting in trouble for speeding ;). And it should make a great college car - I borrowed my parents or friends SUVs many times to move stuff in college.
 
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