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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
'Good,' frontal offset; 'good,' side impact; 'good,' rear impact; 'good,' roof strength; Top Safety Pick
Four stars overall; four stars frontal; five stars side; five stars side pole
The safety credentials of the 2013 Chevrolet Equinox are pretty great, considering its crash-test ratings and feature set, but difficult outward visibility keeps it from being perfect.
Crash-test results for the Equinox have been good--and almost the best they get. In the federal government's all-new crash-test and ratings system, the Equinox earned four stars overall, with a four-star score in frontal impact and five stars in the side test. In addition, it achieved top five-star results in NHTSA's tough new side-pole test. And in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests, the Equinox achieved top 'good' test scores in all categories—culminating in another Top Safety Pick Award for 2012 (and we anticipate a repeat performance in 2013).
In addition to head-curtain side airbags and pelvic/thorax seat-mounted side airbags, the Equinox comes with standard four-wheel disc brakes, StabiliTrak electronic stability control, and GM's OnStar emergency and concierge services.There is one safety downside in the Equinox, and it depends on your height and driving position. With a thick rear pillar, rearward visibility in the Equinox (for changing lanes, or reversing) can be truly appalling. Large blind-spot mirrors (a new standard feature) help work around that, although the rear-seat headrests don't remove or fold down to open up vision in the rear-view mirror. A rearview camera system is included in all models LT and above, and that helps with the low-speed situations. Lane departure warning and forward collision warning alert systems (though still not a blind-spot system) are available more widely on four-cylinder and V-6 models, and standard in the LTZ.
Outward visibility is about the only issue; otherwise the Equinox is one of the safest picks in its class.