- Spacious second-row seating
- Good crash-test scores
- Equinox Sport’s perkier V-6
- Quality of the interior
- Questionable handling
- Coarse standard engine
- Lackluster fuel economy figures
With mediocre handling and fuel economy, the 2009 Chevrolet Equinox isn’t that appealing, but it still offers superior cabin space.
The aging 2009 Chevy Equinox shares its platform with the Pontiac Torrent, both of which offer a spacious interior and excellent safety ratings.
Acceleration is strong in either version of the Equinox, as this compact model only offers V-6 engines, but fuel economy suffers. The standard model 2009 Chevrolet Equinox has a 3.5-liter V-6 with a five-speed automatic transmission and an EPA-rated 24 mpg on the highway, while the Equinox Sport is endowed with a 3.6-liter V-6, variable valve timing, and a six-speed automatic transmission. EPA city ratings stand at 16 or 17 mpg city for either engine.
The base powerplant is made in China and used in Buicks sold there; it isn't particularly impressive and can’t draw much excitement out of the five-speed automatic transmission, but overall acceleration is quite strong. The mightier 3.6-liter V-6 brings a slight mileage penalty to the 2009 Chevrolet Equinox, but it’s much smoother and more refined—and especially more responsive for passing with its six-speed automatic transmission, which includes tap-shift controls for semi-manual gear changes. By the numbers, it's a more enthusiastic performer capable of accelerating to 60 mph in about 7 seconds. The Equinox is either front-wheel drive or, when specified, all-wheel drive.
The 2009 Chevrolet Equinox just isn’t much fun to drive; its steering feels vague, and the road manners of the independent suspension are anything but athletic. The Equinox isn’t a sloppy mess, but there’s no joy when cornering the vehicle, and the tires on standard models howl at the slightest corners. The Sport model doesn’t handle much better, but in addition to the perkier engine, it feels the part more, with a tuned exhaust note, 18-inch wheels, and body-color trim, though it loses its roof rack in the Sportification process.
To GM's credit, the company has improved the art of crafting high-quality cabins like the one in the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. The Equinox, however, was designed before that became the case. The shapes are fine—it's the textures and action of the switches that disappoint. Thick windshield pillars don't help visibility, either. The 2009 Chevrolet Equinox has been around for a few years, and while its crossover wedge shape isn't unattractive, it's starting to look its age. Inside, the Equinox needs to issue a moratorium on cheap plastic.
The most impressive element of the interior's accommodations is the vast amount of rear seat hip and legroom. Chevy has put the rear seat on sliding tracks so that it moves forward and back up across an eight-inch range. The rear seat's back folds forward in a 60/40 split, and the right front passenger seat folds flat into a table. There is no third-row seat, but the 2009 Chevrolet Equinox sports an adjustable cargo shelf in back. Behind the seats, though, the cargo area is about the size of that in the smaller Ford Escape. Built around a front-wheel-drive powertrain and carlike unibody, the Equinox has a completely flat floor that is also relatively low and combines to amplify the feeling of spaciousness.
Head curtain side-impact airbags with rollover protection sensors are now standard, and so outfitted, the 2009 Chevrolet Equinox gets five-star crash ratings for front and side impacts.
XM Satellite is now standard, and Bluetooth connectivity is a new option for 2009 on the Chevy Equinox, which comes with keyless entry and cruise control even in base LS trim.