2015 Chevrolet Equinox - The first generation Equinox, launched back in 2005, arrived to the market way after the well established competitors like the Honda CR-V, Toyota Rav4, and Ford Escape. On top of that, what did end up arriving turned out to be a sort of half-finished lackluster competitor filled with teething problems, not GM's finest accomplishment. Well, a new, totally revamped, Equinox arrived for 2010, and this one isn't trying to play catch-up.
The Equinox starts at $26,405 and for that you get a 182hp 2.4L 4 cylinder engine, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with front-wheel drive. The base LS model comes with all the usual features you would expect, but if you want niceties like heated leather seats, power lift-gate, and navigation, you'll have to opt for the pricier LT and LTZ models which can drive the price well past 30 grand. All-wheel drive and a 3.0L V6 engine are available, and either will add about $2,000 to the total.
My test car was a mid-range LT model with the 4 cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. I found the Equinox to be a well designed vehicle inside and out. The interior is very spacious and practical. Five people can sit in relative comfort, thanks to the adjustable rear seats, and there will still be enough room for a good amount of cargo in the trunk. The design is starting to look and feel a little dated, however, when you compare the Equinox with its fresher competitors.
Out on the road, I found the Equinox to be a very quiet, comfortable rider, though handling is certainly not its strong suit. For the vast majority of buyers, however, it should do just fine, as will its standard 4-cylinder engine. I found the 4's power to be adequate in most situations, and it returned decent fuel economy with an average consumption of just over 11.0L/100km in mixed city and highway driving.
The Equinox seems to have finely rid itself of its foibles and appears to be a worthy competitor to the well established small crossovers. That improvement comes at a price, however, which is the Equinox's biggest downfall. It is pricier on all levels than the segments best-sellers, the excellent Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4. With the right sales incentives, however, the Equinox is certainly a worthwhile option.