2013 Equinox New Car Test Drive
The Chevrolet Equinox has pricing and features of a compact SUV, but it's slightly larger than its direct competition, closer in size to a midsize and it has features not expected in its price class.
Front-wheel drive is standard, optional all-wheel drive adds winter weather capability. Equinox offers a choice of four-cylinder and V6 engines.
The standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder uses direct injection for more power and better fuel economy. It's smoother than most four-cylinders and we think it's a capable engine. The 2013 Equinox with the 2.4-liter engine and front-wheel drive gets an EPA-estimated 22/32 mpg City/Highway; the 2013 Equinox AWD is rated at 20/29 mpg.
For 2013, a 3.6-liter V6 replaces the previous 3.0-liter V6, adding 14 percent more horsepower and 22 percent more torque while delivering virtually equivalent fuel economy. The numbers are 301 horsepower and 272 pound-feet of torque. The 2013 Equinox with 3.6-liter V6 is EPA-rated at 17/24 mpg City/Highway. With all-wheel drive, the 2013 Equinox AWD is rated 16/23 mpg. Regular gasoline is recommended for all Equinox models; more-expensive Premium is not needed. We found the more powerful V6 makes upgrading to the bigger engine worthwhile.
The 6-speed automatic transmission is updated, also, which benefits all 2013 Equinox models with a smoother driving experience than before.
The current model is the second-generation Equinox, which was launched as a 2010 model. 2013 Equinox models come with some new features, including an eight-way adjustable front passenger seat and a universal garage door opener. The 2013 Equinox LTZ is available with Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert, which can help the driver avoid an accident.
Equinox offers good ride quality, absorbing sharp bumps without disrupting passenger comfort, whether with the 17-inch or 18-inch wheels. The Equinox is not sporty, but its handling is on par with that of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.
Interior roominess is one of its major strengths. Equinox has plenty of room for up to five passengers and their cargo. The front seats are comfortable and supportive, and they have 10 inches of travel, so drivers of all sizes will fit. The useful MultiFlex rear seat offers eight inches of travel, so tall passengers can ride in back or the driver can push the rear seat forward to carry more cargo.
Equinox has an attractively designed cabin, but the sea of hard plastics and the lack of noise isolation impart a cost-cutting feel. There are some nice amenities, though, including ice blue ambient lighting, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power liftgate, and a dual-screen rear DVD entertainment system. Chevrolet's MyLink touchscreen infotainment system is also available; it provides a link to apps through smartphones.
A roomy cabin and a reasonable pricing make the Chevrolet Equinox an attractive alternative to smaller compact crossover that cost about the same. Buyers get some nice amenities not expected in this price range.
The 2013 Chevrolet Equinox comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. A 3.6-liter V6 is optional ($1,500). All models come with a 6-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive comes on AWD models.
Equinox LS 2WD ($23,755) and Equinox LS AWD ($25,505) come with cloth upholstery; driver?s seat power height and lumbar adjustment, air conditioning; cruise control; tilt/telescoping steering column with audio controls; AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo; auxiliary input jack; XM satellite radio; USB port; Bluetooth wireless cell-phone link; power windows, locks and mirrors; remote keyless entry; four-way power driver's seat; MultiFlex 60/40 split-folding rear seat; floor mats; driver information center; six months of the OnStar Directions and Connections plan; automatic headlights, and P225/65R17 tires on painted alloy wheels.
Equinox 1LT 2WD ($25,400) and 1LT AWD ($27,150) get upgraded cloth upholstery, rear privacy glass, heated mirrors, MyLink infotainment system, rearview camera, roof rails, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Equinox 2LT ($27,270) and 2LT AWD ($29,020) get automatic climate control, eight-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, 250-watt Pioneer audio system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote engine starting, and fog lights.
Equinox LTZ ($30,515) and LTZ AWD ($32,265) upgrade to leather upholstery, eight-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, universal garage door opener, rear cargo cover, memory for the driver's seat and mirrors, rear park assist, automatic headlights, power rear liftgate, and chrome exterior trim. New for 2013 are Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert.
Options include leather upholstery ($800); navigation system ($795); Trailering package ($355) with a four-pin wiring harness and a trailer hitch receiver; rear DVD entertainment system ($1,295) with a screen in the back of each front seat and a USB port; power rear liftgate ($495); sunroof ($900); a Protection package ($590) with Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and rear park assist; 18-inch alloy wheels with P235/55R18 tires ($1,000); and 19-inch wheels with P235/55R19 tires ($1,250); a Pioneer sound system ($395).
Safety equipment includes dual threshold front airbags, curtain side airbags, front side airbags, tire-pressure monitor, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, hill start assist, traction control, and GM's StabiliTrak electronic stability control. All-wheel drive enhances stability in slippery conditions.