New & Used Chevrolet Equinox: In Depth
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The Chevy Equinox is a five-passenger crossover utility vehicle with available all-wheel drive and a range of efficient four-cylinder and V-6 engines. The Equinox competes with the Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4.
See our review of the 2015 Chevy Equinox for more information, including options, prices, gas-mileage ratings, and specifications. Also check out The Car Connection's coverage of the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox.
While the two share no body panels, under the skin the Chevy Equinox is nearly identical to the GMC Terrain. Both vehicles are made by General Motors, and differ mostly in styling, interior, features, and options. For the 2015 model year, the Equinox is updated with 4G LTE connectivity through its OnStar telematics system. A built-in WiFi hotspot is also made standard.
The current-generation Equinox debuted for 2010. Power comes from either a 182-horsepower four-cylinder or a 301-horsepower V-6. Both are mated to six-speed automatic transmissions with front-wheel drive standard and all-wheel drive offered as an option. Ride quality in the Equinox is good, the handling is secure if not exciting, and the latest Equinox offers more feature content than the model it replaced. The EPA rates the Equinox at 32 mpg highway with front-wheel drive and the four-cylinder, keeping it competitive even with newer crossovers that have arrived since it was introduced.
At the same time, it retains an exceptionally roomy second-row seat, which slides on a track to increase passenger foot room or to boost cargo space in the rear. There is no option for third-row seating, however. Competitive but slightly larger vehicles such as the Dodge Journey and Kia Sorento offer a third-row seat as an option.
The Equinox has seen few major changes in recent model years, although it has received some of the latest connectivity and active-safety features. Those include lane-departure warning and forward collision alert, plus Chevy's MyLink system, for easier hands-free calling or media access. In 2013, the Equinox introduced a combination of MyLink and touch-screen navigation, while a new 301-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 replaced the 3.0-liter V-6 as the top-level powertrain. A replacement for today's Equinox and Terrain crossovers will likely arrive for the 2016 model year.
With many new luxury features added to the latest Equinox, this is a model that can be a bargain in its base form. Yet it's relatively easy to push its $22,500 base price up near $30,000--where a seven-passenger Chevrolet Traverse wagon might make more sense.
A new Equinox is expected for the 2016 model year, along with new versions of the Terrain and the more luxurious Cadillac SRX. They should once again share a platform, with the Cadillac getting some extra refinements to the chassis and body structure as it does now. Don't expect the formula to change much, although a small size increase and improved efficiency are almost a given.
The first-generation Equinox debuted in 2005, one of four then-new crossover vehicles that used the same underpinnings. Only the Equinox survives; the other three have passed into history (they were the Saturn Vue, Pontiac Torrent, and Suzuki XL7). That 2005 Equinox was positioned as a 'just right'-sized crossover utility vehicle--a little larger than compact crossovers like the Ford Escape, but a little smaller than three-row mid-size entries like the Toyota Highlander. The first generation of the Equinox was offered with front- or all-wheel drive, and four- or six-cylinder engines, through the 2009 model year. While reviewers appreciated the interior room of the first Equinox, its antiquated, coarse V-6 engine and bland styling were outdone by competitors from Honda, Ford, Toyota and Subaru. In 2008, Chevrolet added a smoother, more powerful V-6 to the Equinox lineup (and to the Pontiac Torrent as well).