Chevrolet entered the compact car-based SUV game with the Equinox. Consistently a best-seller for General Motors, the Equinox somewhat blurs the lines between compact and midsize SUVs, offering buyers more space and power than some rivals without being as expensive as larger competitors from the next class up.
2010 to Present: Chevrolet Equinox
The second-generation Equinox was released in 2009 for the 2010 model year. On an updated version of the previous platform, the new Equinox sported smoother styling, a totally revamped interior and new powertrains with superior fuel economy.
For the first time, the Equinox came standard with a four-cylinder engine, a 2.4-liter unit with 182 horsepower and the promise of up to 32 mpg on the highway. A 3.0-liter, 264-horsepower V6 was also available. Both engines came only with a six-speed automatic transmission, and with standard front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive.
Base LS models are equipped with full power amenities, as well as GM’s OnStar telematics system and alloy wheels. LT models typically have rear privacy glass, a power driver’s seat and Bluetooth, while the top LTZ boasts leather upholstery, automatic climate control and a power liftgate.
Bluetooth and a USB port were made more widely available for the 2011 model year. In 2012, a backup camera was made standard on all but the base Equinox LS, and lane departure warning was a new option. For 2013, the 3.0-liter V6 option was dropped in favor of a 3.6-liter unit with more power. Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system was also introduced.
The Equinox went largely unchanged for 2014 and 2015, save for the introduction of an updated OnStar telematics system with 4G LTE and a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot for 2015. For 2016, the Equinox got a mild facelift with a new grille and lights and some interior styling revisions and new wheels. A new L trim is the base model, too.
The Equinox can be cross-shopped against a number of compact SUVs, including the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, and the similar GMC Terrain.
Earlier Chevrolet Equinox Models
The Equinox was introduced in 2004 as a 2005 model, essentially replacing the old Suzuki-based Tracker as Chevrolet’s smallest SUV. Using a car-based platform, it was available in front- or all-wheel drive configurations, and came with a 185-horsepower, 3.4-liter V6 and a five-speed automatic transmission. A special interior feature was the rear seat’s ability to slide fore and aft for either more cargo space or more legroom. Trim levels were LS and LT, all coming with alloy wheels, air conditioning and power amenities. Options included side air bags, leather upholstery, GM’s OnStar telematics system and satellite radio.
For 2006, anti-lock brakes became standard. In 2007, stability control, four-wheel disc brakes and an auxiliary input for the radio became standard, while navigation was a new option.
The Equinox line added two new models for 2008. The LTZ features pretty much all of the LT’s options as standard equipment, as well as chrome wheels and an upgraded stereo. The new Sport featured a 3.6-liter, 264-horsepower V6 and a six-speed automatic, along with larger wheels and a body kit. All Equinox models got a firmer suspension.
Side air bags became standard in 2009, while Bluetooth became available as the Equinox awaited a redesign.