The Equinox is a pretty good compact SUV. It delivers a smooth ride and better than average fuel efficiency with a lower starting price than many rivals. However, there’s nothing that really makes it stand out in this very competitive segment.
The five-passenger Equinox was refreshed for the 2018 model year and gets some minor tweaks for 2019. It’s available in four trims: L, LS, LT and Premier. Starting prices range from $23,800 to $35,700 which is less than average for the segment. Front-wheel-drive is standard. All-wheel-drive is available on all trims except L. Several Advanced Driver Assistance Systems are only available on the Premier trim.
The base engine is a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque paired with a six-speed transmission. There’s also a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder paired with a nine-speed automatic that produces 252 horses and 260 lb.-ft., and a 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine that makes 137 hp and 240 lb.-ft.
My tester has the 2.0-liter turbo gas engine and it delivers peppy performance. While the Equinox isn’t as sporty as the Mazda CX-5, it’s no slouch. It stays planted when cornering with little body roll. Road and wind noise are kept to a minimum. However a large turning radius doesn’t make it easy to negotiate in tight city parking lots.
EPA ratings for my tester are 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway with a combined rating of 24 mpg. I got 24 during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The interior is similar to other Chevy vehicles. My top-of-the-line Premier trim features nice materials including soft-touch plastics and two-tone leather seating with top stitching. Front seats are comfortable and supportive. Passengers enjoy decent leg- and headroom in both rows of seating.
Standard features include rearview camera, cloth upholstery, six-speaker audio system, USB port, Bluetooth, the MyLink infotainment system with a seven-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Wi-Fi hot spot, and Chevy’s teen driver technology that lets you monitor your teen when behind the wheel. You can require seat belt usage, set a speed alert, a volume limit and more. The in-vehicle report card makes it easy to track your teen’s driving performance.
Available features include remote start, leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, eight-inch touch screen, navigation, seven-speaker Bose audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, additional USB ports, wireless phone charging, panoramic sunroof, and rear seat entertainment system.
Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system is user-friendly, although some functions require you to access sub-menus. There are redundant buttons and knobs for many common functions. The system responds quickly to voice commands.
Several driver assistance features are available including blind spot monitoring, rear parking sensors and rear cross traffic alert.
Features including forward collision alert, pedestrian detection and low-speed front automatic braking are only available on the Premier trim. The forward collision alert on my tester was quick to engage, even when I was not close to being in a crash.
The Equinox has less cargo space than many rivals. There are 29.9 cubic feet with both rows of seating in place and 63.5 cubes with the second row folded. The rear seats do fold flat so you can efficiently utilize the space. There’s also a large under-floor storage area where you can keep items out-of-sight. A power liftgate and hands-free liftgate are available. There are numerous cubbies and bins in the cabin for stashing small items.
Low starting price among compact SUVs
User-friendly infotainment system
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard
Teen driver monitoring technology is standard
Better than average fuel efficiency
Wide turning radius makes it tough to maneuver in tight spaces
Cabin materials not as nice as some rivals
Less cargo space than many competitors
Some Advanced Driver Assistance Features only available on top trim
My tester starts at $35,600. Confidence & Convenience II Package is $2,145 and includes eight-way power adjustable front seats with two-way power lumbar, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, low speed forward automatic braking, forward collision alert, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, following distance indicator, safety alert seat, intellibeam automatic high beam control headlamps, adaptive cruise control with stop/go, front pedestrian braking and HD surround vision camera. Destination charge is $995 bringing the grand total to $38,740.
While the 2019 Chevy Equinox may not have the best performance or nicest interior among compact SUVs, it’s certainly a decent vehicle and offers good value with a lower starting price than many rivals.