Test Drive Notes Library
- Refined. When we first got into the Equinox and drove it, our first thought was: This is now a serious competitor for the Honda CR-V. The Equinox we drove had the optional 2.0-liter, 252 hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which provided great pep. The nine-speed automatic transmission didn’t call attention to itself, which — trust us — is a compliment.
- Quiet and comfortable. The old Equinox, which was some 400 pounds heavier, 12 years less refined, and was neither particularly quiet nor comfortable. The new one is both. It has very good sound insulation, a calm ride, and the suspension leaves your kidneys completely undisturbed, city or highway. It’s a softer, more comfortable ride than the CR-V.
- Easy handling. The Equinox is easy to maneuver, and while it emphasizes comfort, there’s not a lot of body lean or pillowiness. It’s no drama, in the positive sense.
- Roomy. There’s good room inside the Equinox, front and back. Adults who have to ride in the back of your Equinox will thank you for buying the Equinox over the Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape. With the rear seats folded down, there’s a whole lot of cargo room, too.
- Safety. While they are only available on the top trim models, at least you can get up-to-date safety features on the new Equinox. Our test FWD Premier version came with city-speed forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking. Blindspot detection and rear cross traffic alert were standard equipment on the Premier trim, and are available as options on mid level Equinox. Equinoxes? Equinoxi? Someone from Merriam-Webster, get in touch with us.
- Good touch-screen system. GM’s home button gets you to what you need quickly. We found the system intuitive and easy to use. It also has Apple Car Play and Android Auto if you are phone-centric. Plenty of USB ports make life easy for people who like to plug in.
- Visibility. A large front windshield, good sized front-windows, and a high seating position, makes front visibility pretty darned good. Rear visibility, typically these days, is not as good—although the Equinox’s rear window is larger than many these days. A standard backup camera is useful and necessary.
- Volume buttons on the back of the steering wheel. Chevy has recently joined Fiat Chrysler and Mini in moving the steering wheel volume buttons to where God intended them — on the back side of the steering wheel, where your index and middle fingers naturally rest. There’s nowhere better for them. Hands never leave the wheel, and the driver never has to search for the volume control…which is still one of the most commonly used controls in a car.
Test Drive Notes Library
- Price. We said that during our first drive in the Equinox, we concluded that Chevy had finally created a real competitor for the Honda CR-V. Then we got a look at the price tag. It's a good $4,000 to $5,000 more expensive, all loaded up. While the top of the line Honda CR-V Touring models tend to sell for about $35,000, our loaded Equinox listed for $39,660. Chevy has traditionally sold on value. Here they’re trying to make a superior car and get a premium price for it. We’ll see what happens, and whether discounting is necessary.
- Fuel mileage. The all-wheel-drive Equinox, with the upgraded 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine is rated at an EPA 24 mpg overall (22 city/28 highway). It also calls for premium fuel. The Honda CR-V, by comparison, with it’s upgraded 190 hp 1.5-liter four-cylinder and CVT rates at 29 mpg overall (27 city/33 highway). The CR-V’s engine is less powerful, but we found it powerful enough. The Equinox also offers a base engine of 170 hp 1.5-liter engine with a six-speed automatic that comes closer to the CR-V in fuel mileage: 26 mpg overall (26 city, 30 highway), but we didn’t drive the Equinox with the 1.5-liter engine, so we have no opinion on whether its performance is adequate.
- Looks. Let’s stipulate that a lot of people like the looks of the new Equinox. And, for the most part, it looks like a modern crossover. So we may be outliers here, but the exterior styling treatment of the rear cargo area feels to us like it’s trying too hard to be stylin'. Most people will probably like it, or not care. So feel free to discount our opinion as completely subjective. If you’ve seen pictures of what we look like, feel free to discount our opinion about anything related to looks. But we should also note that - in our humble opinion - the appearance of our test Equinox was not enhanced by it’s “Astroturf Green” paint job (Chevy calls it Ivy Metallic)
- Safety Extra. City-speed forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking are standard on only the highest trim all-wheel-drive versions of the Equinox. They’re optional on the highest trim front-wheel drive models. They’re unavailable on lower- and mid-level trims. Highway speed automatic braking is simply not available on any Equinox. While these life and car saving features on now making their way, slowly but surely, through the market, we have to commend those manufacturers that make them standard equipment…like Toyota has done on its entire RAV4 line, and tsk tsk those, like Chevy on the Equinox (and Honda on the CR-V) that put them out of reach of all but high-end buyers.
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