2016 Chevrolet Equinox Expert Review

3.5 Overall Score
Performance 3.3 Comfort 4.0 Styling 3.5 Value 3.7

Editor's Overview

Bigger than compact SUVs like the Honda CR-V, but smaller than a midsize like the Ford Edge, the 2016 Chevrolet Equinox is a compromise. This 'tweener crossover SUV offers a good-sized rear seat and V6 power, but with less cargo space than a full midsize.

You'll Like The 2016 Chevrolet Equinox If...

The 2016 Chevy Equinox is worth a look if your priority is a powerful, relatively inexpensive compact SUV that puts a priority on rear-passenger comfort. The 3,500-pound towing capacity in V6 models is pretty nice, too.

You May Not Like The 2016 Chevrolet Equinox If...

Although the Equinox is big on the outside, there isn't as much cargo space as you'll find in the Honda CR-V, and it's not as easy to use, either. If you want even more passenger space, plus good cargo room, a 2-row Kia Sorento might be worth a look.

What's New

The 2016 Equinox gets a new nose and tail, with projector-beam headlights in front and LED taillights in the rear. Also new is a revised center stack with a new storage shelf, blind-spot and cross-traffic alert, and enhanced interior fabrics.

Interior Features

The 2016 Equinox interior gets a mild update, with nicer cloth on lower trim levels, a new Saddle Up interior available on LT and LTZ, and a standard 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system. It's also comfortable and reasonably versatile. However, it's also small. For example, despite being nearly 10 inches shorter, the Honda CR-V boasts roughly six more cubic feet of storage behind the rear seat. On the other hand, the Chevy Equinox shines when it comes to rear-seat space. With well-bolstered seats front and back and lots of legroom for all passengers, it's easy to get comfortable.

Exterior Features

The 2016 Chevy Equinox is actually longer than the midsize 3-row Kia Sorento SUV, surprising because the Equinox doesn't look that big; if anything, you'd think it was on the small side. Credit soft curves and a narrow stance – it isn't any wider than any other compact SUV – for the illusion. This year the nose gets a new grille design, with chrome accents on the dual-port grille, and projector-beam headlights flanked by LED daytime running lights in LT and LTZ models. The rear also comes in for an update, with dual-element taillights, and chrome exhaust tips for V6 models.

Driving Impressions

Conventional wisdom says that the V6 engine in the 2016 Chevy Equinox makes it something of a hot rod compared to competitors like the Honda CR-V. It would, if the Equinox wasn't such a dense little machine; at nearly two tons, it weighs hundreds of pounds more than the Honda, canceling out a good portion of the power advantage. Hot-rod power numbers aside, the Equinox is a quiet cruiser, especially in the compact-SUV class, although the 4-cylinder introduces more thrash than we'd like to hear. Fuel economy is pretty good for the 4-cylinder model though, and while the Chevy Equinox goes about its day-to-day life with a comfortable ride, accurate but numb steering and little drama, that's fine for the majority of buyers in the compact-SUV market, which isn't exactly brimming with models that yearn for a twisty back road.

Pricing Notes

The base 2016 Chevrolet Equinox L starts with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $23,500, including the $895 destination charge. However, most buyers will likely opt for at least the Equinox LS, which starts at just over $26,000. Equinox LS, LT and LX models can add AWD for an additional $1,750, and the V6 is available on LT and LTZ models for an extra $1,500. A fully loaded LTZ will push the price well north of $36,000. However, 4-cylinder prices are competitive with the likes of the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape, none of which offer a V6 engine. Be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what the Equinox goes for in your area. At resale time the Chevy Equinox holds up well against many rivals, but below the strong residual values of the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Kia Sportage.

Notable Equipment

Standard on the base 2016 Equinox L model are things like a rearview camera, manual air conditioning, an audio system with a 7-inch touch-screen display, Bluetooth and USB, and of course power windows and mirrors. Also standard is cruise control, and a driver-information center between the gauges that monitors a variety of functions such as fuel economy and range. Chevrolet also includes its OnStar service that features 4G connectivity and Wi-Fi, and safety features like traction control, electronic stability control and multiple airbags, including those for rear outboard passengers.

Notable Options

All-wheel drive (AWD) is an option on LS, LT and LTZ Equinox models, while the V6 engine is only available on LT and LTZ models. You can upgrade the Color Touch infotainment system to a full-fledged Chevy MyLink system that includes navigation, but unfortunately Apple CarPlay is not available on the Equinox as it is on many other Chevy models this year. The LT has plenty of other options, like blind-spot detection and rear cross-path detection; the LTZ adds lane-departure warning and forward-collision alert. Other options include a power tailgate with a programmable height and a rear-seat DVD player.

Favorite Features

ADJUSTABLE POWER LIFTGATE

Whether you're short in stature, or if you just have a low-ceilinged garage, the adjustable power liftgate height available on the Equinox 2LT models and standard in the top-line LTZ will help this bigger-than-expected compact SUV fit into your lifestyle.

REAR-SEAT LEGROOM

Not only does the 2016 Chevy Equinox have excellent rear-seat legroom, its rear seat slides fore and aft as well. That means there's plenty of room for rear-seat passengers to stretch out, and it makes it a lot easier to get a child seat in and out as well.

Under the Hood

All 2016 Chevy Equinox models come standard with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder that puts out 182 horsepower. With 3,700 pounds of compact SUV to haul around, it's at best adequate, but fuel economy is pretty good at up to 32 mpg. If you need more power for either towing or just passing, the 3.6-liter V6 with 301 horsepower available in LT and LTZ models does a better job, but don't expect a hot rod. Both engines come with a 6-speed automatic transmission, and both run on regular gasoline. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard with either engine, with all-wheel drive an option for those who want a little extra peace of mind on slippery roads.

2.4-liter inline-4

182 horsepower @ 6,700 rpm

172 lb-ft of torque @ 4,900 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 mpg (FWD), 20/29 mpg (AWD)

3.6-liter V6

301 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm

272 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg (FWD), 16/23 mpg (AWD)

Editors' Notes

Despite external dimensions that seem more midsize than compact – it's about as long as a Ford Edge – the 2016 Chevrolet Equinox is a compact SUV that competes against the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape. It seats five, and offers up a good-sized back seat, albeit at the apparent expense of cargo space, which trails even smaller compact competitors. There's a refreshed nose and tail this year, plus a few interior enhancements and modern features like blind-spot warning and cross-traffic detection. But it does little to liven up the driving experience, which is comfortable and quiet, and benefits from an available 301-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 with a 3,500-pound towing capacity. The 4-cylinder model isn't as peppy, but gets 32 mpg.

Road Test Video Reviews

2016 Chevrolet Equinox Owner Reviews

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How Many SUVs Get Over 30 MPG?

2016 Chevrolet Equinox LS

Overall I like my Chevrolet Equinox. The vehicle has a lot of perks for the price of the small SUV. The hands free calling feature is a definite plus. The size of the vehicle is perfect. I am a traveling musician and it holds all of the equipment I need and there's room left for others to ride with me. As far as performance goes I have never had any issues with the vehicle. One thing I really love is that it is a small SUV and I average around 32 mpg. The problems I have with this vehicle are very minimal. For example, at times the USB port doesn't work like it should. It's not a deal breaker. Though, recently, I have had a problem with the heat coming on when it is supposed to be cold air. It's a small inconvenience and it doesn't blow heat for very long. Another thing is the towing capacity is 1500 lbs. I wish it had a larger capacity, but the model I have in a 4 cylinder, which is why it does get really good gas mileage. I believe the 6 cylinder model has a 3500 lb. towing capacity. Overall I love the vehicle and if I went back in time knowing what I know now, odds are, I would make the same purchase.

- Jaime C

My equinox fits all of my family needs.

2016 Chevrolet Equinox L

I enjoy my equinox simply because it is a family vehicle. Our family is expanding and it holds us all comfortably for now. It is compact enough to drive daily and not have to spend a ton on gas but just large enough to go grocery shopping and bring the entire family along. The only thing I do not enjoy is that there is no rear vent for air flow to the back of the car. So in the summer I have to make sure I allow the car to run with the ac on max until it cools before we get in so that the babies do not overheat while waiting for the car to cool. Since I have had the car I have not experienced any major mechanical problems other than having to replace the battery which was still under warranty. The features I enjoy most are the OnStar and XM services. Although I have to pay for both they are rather inexpensive and I get a diagnosis report for my car every month and everyone in the car has their stations saved and ready when we are traveling. Overall I love my car. As our family continues to expand we may have to upgrade to a larger family vehicle but for now this one suits us great.

- Destin L

The Chevy Equinox - almost perfect

2016 Chevrolet Equinox

The car has very many wonderful features. It is very comfortable for me to get into as I am short and have arthritis issues. The vehicle gets great gas mileage averaging around 25 miles to the gallon. The back up camera is awesome. The few issues I have with it. I wish that the back seat folded down flat or flush with the floor instead of being at an angle. I wish that the horn was thumb activated instead of it being the center of the steering wheel. I have had some electrical things popping up like the low fuel indicator is not working, sometimes the air temperature is 20 or 30 degrees off from actual temp and sometimes the back up camera doesn't shut off after the car goes into drive which is very distracting seeing everything behind you when you are going forward.

- Paula L

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