The 2013 Chevrolet Equinox is right in the middle of the market for family crossovers. A half-step larger than true compact models, but more manageable than the likes of the full-size Chevy Traverse, the Equinox manages to combine a roomy interior for five, with a relatively quiet cabin and materials and trims that, with a few exceptions, feel far from bargain-basement.
Up front, the seats are better and more supportive than those in a lot of small crossovers, and the driving position is excellent--a combination of upright yet carlike. Cross-stitched dual-tone perforated leather on upscale LTZ brings a luxury touch as well. Back-seat passengers will be comfortable, too, as there's adult-size space, including good headroom, a seatback that's adjustable for rake, and decent legroom.
Four-cylinder models feel nearly as smooth and quiet as those with the V-6, thanks to a clever noise cancellation system that actively helps eliminate coarse sounds and even mild vibrations. Door openings with triple seals and glass with integral sound damping further quiet things down inside, helping create a driving experience that's surprisingly close to that of a Buick or Cadillac.
With a settled, stable ride and plenty of stow space for larger and smaller items, the Equinox makes a good family vehicle for highway trips and vacations. A retractable cargo cover, stretchy net, and two deep cargo wells all help keep items in place and out of site, and there's a deep center console for electronics and purses. A somewhat high cargo floor is one downside, though.
The other beef with the interior is that, in terms of trims and materials, it's so close to a premium-brand execution but let down by a few odd bargain-bin details here and there. While we're fans of cloth seating, generally, we're not so fond of the base seating in the Equinox. And there are small things, like the thin, jagged plastichrome trim at the edge of the big storage bin (top and center on the instrument panel) that remind you this is a vehicle designed for a price point.