Redesigned SUV deserves respect amid sea of rivals
There’s a seemingly endless list of SUVs out there to choose from, in case you haven’t noticed. But a handful of them rise to the top of the sales charts every year, and for good reason, as they’re the real deal.
One of those is the Chevy Equinox, which underwent an attractive redesign for 2018 and sees only minor changes for the 2019 model. I’m here with a full report on what it has to offer and how it holds up to the competition.
While most SUVs aren’t too thrilling to look at, the Equinox’s look is one of the better designs in class, and my test vehicle was helped along by its sharp “Orange Burst Metallic” paint scheme.
The Equinox is classified as a compact SUV (the Trax being the subcompact in the Chevy family, the Traverse the midsize). I found the space situation in the Equinox to be roomy, but not a class leader. You get a grand total of 63.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded down.
Inside the Equinox, the materials used were of decent quality, but nothing overly special or luxurious. I was a fan of the overall setup inside, with plenty of headroom and legroom all around, and buttons and controls all well-placed for easy use.
You do get some creature comforts and tech boosts in the design. My test vehicle included leather-appointed seat trim, heated front seats, dual zone auto climate control, 6-speaker audio system, wireless phone charging, 6 total USB ports and an AUX input.
When it comes to engines, it’s good to have options, and you have three versions of the powerplant.
The Equinox I tested had a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbo engine; paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Numbers were 252 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque.
Also offered is a 1.5-liter
Vehicle: 2019 Chevy Equinox
Price as tested: $39,135 Best feature: Overall ride quality, strong tech and safety features
Rating: 4 out of five stars Who will want this vehicle?: SUV buyers looking for a solid domestic option turbo four (170 hp, 203 lb.-ft.); and a 1.6-liter turbo diesel (137 hp, 240 lb.-ft.). Better fuel mileage (28 city/38 highway) comes with the diesel option.
Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is an option. Towing capacity maxes out at 3,500 pounds.
The 2.0 turbo motor is peppy when you want it to be, and a Sport mode can be triggered to boost the fun of your ride. Even when you’re not in Sport mode, the Equinox offers a silky smooth ride and overall impressive handling. You always feel in control and there’s never severe sluggishness.
Reports on the other two engines are less enthusiastic. So if power is important to you, keep that in mind when choosing.
There are other SUV competitors that are more fun to drive than the Equinox ((Mazda CX-5, for example), but overall it competes very well in drive quality against most of its competition, including big-volume sellers like Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue and Honda CR-V.
Families want to feel safe in an SUV, and that’s where the Equinox shines.
First off, it has nearly perfect government safety ratings, five stars overall and five stars in all but one individual category.
The updated infotainment system in the Equinox is impressive and works well both via voice and touch controls.
The laundry list of safety equipment on the Equinox includes: Anti-lock brakes, stability control and traction control, tire pressure monitor and a bevy of air bags.
Teen Driver settings let you monitor how your kids are driving the vehicle and encourage safe driving habits, a feature that many parents are thankful for.
Among the many helpful safety features in play on the Equinox are: Rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert and lane change alert with side blind zone alert.
You get LED headlamps, LED daytime running lights and LED taillamps. Onstar services are offered, as is a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot capable and Sirius satellite radio free for 3 months.
One optional package that provides an impressive cast of safety and comfort characters is the Confidence and Convenience II package, which runs just over $2,000. It includes: Ventilated driver and front passenger seats, Heated rear seats, Heated steering wheel, Lowspeed forward auto braking, Forward collision alert, Lane keep assist with lane departure warning, Following distance indicator, Safety alert seat, and adaptive cruise control.
Official fuel numbers on the Equinox are 22 city/28 highway/24 combined. I found those numbers to be accurate in my real-world testing, averaging about 25 mpg.
Compared to the vast array of SUVs in this compact category, this is about mid-pack. The best ones average in the upper 20s, so the Equinox is a few mpg behind. Choose the diesel, and you’ll beat everyone though.
Price, bottom line
The Equinox comes in L, LS, LT and Premier trim levels. My test vehicle was an AWD Premier model, and it’s total came in just over $39,000. Base price starts about $24K for the L trim level, but most buyers will land in the middle of that range with the LS or LT varieties.
While it could be argued that the pricing is a bit high on the Equinox, there’s no denying that it’s a strong vehicle that is quick when it needs to be and well-designed for the versatility that SUV buyers need.
Numbers don’t lie, and unlike the sedan side of the business, GM has a lot to be happy about in their SUV lineup, including the 2019 Equinox.