2016 Chevrolet Equinox Rating Breakdown
2016 chevrolet equinox
EPA est City/Hwy
20/29
Starting at
$27,160
Engine
Ecotec 2.4L
Power
182 hp

Starting at

$27,160

Engine

Ecotec 2.4L

Power

182 hp

City/Hwy

20/29

Seats

5


2016 Chevrolet Equinox

- The Car Connection
The Car Connection Expert Review
Bengt Halvorson

Bengt Halvorson

Deputy Editor

DISLIKES
  • Outward visibility isn’t great
  • Lackluster premium audio option
  • Has the interior purged its cheap bits yet?
chevrolet equinox 2016

MSRP Starting From

$27,160

The Equinox gets a light refresh inside and out; it already was a handsome crossover SUV.

The minor styling update bestowed upon the 2016 Equinox brings the model out of the anonymous crowd slightly, with a more modern front-end look and a better tie to the latest Chevy designs.

Chevrolet vehicles have been given a new dual-port grille design over the past couple of years, and now the Equinox steps in with the rest of the lineup; accompanying the new grille is a more sculpted lower front fascia design, as well as new reflector-style headlamps on all models, with LED running lamps on the LT and LTZ. The top LTZ gets new fog lamps, while V-6 models get chrome exhaust outlets; additionally new wheels, revised lower fascias, and more brightwork all around serve to update the look. The taillights adopt a two-square look like most other Chevy models, and there's new chrome trim on the tail for LTZ editions. Otherwise the Equinox continues with essentially the same handsome sheet metal and profile it's had since 2010—which has aged quite well, considering.

The Equinox sports more than a passing resemblance to its larger sibling, the three-row Chevrolet Traverse. But Chevy's compact offering turns up truckier styling cues to show a slightly rugged, utilitarian character in its exterior sheetmetal. Still, the Equinox doesn't look out of place when compared to Chevrolet's line of sedans.

As for the interior, the 2016 Equinox gets an equivalent brightening, with new chrome shift buttons, new graphics for the instrument panel, and a redesigned center stack with a new storage shelf. Fabrics have been upgraded on the L and LS models for a better feeling of quality and there's also a new Saddle Up interior color.

The Equinox gets a light refresh inside and out; it already was a handsome crossover SUV.

Don't expect sportscar responsiveness; the Equinox is frugal in four-cylinder form, perky with the V-6.

The Equinox's long-awaited update for the 2016 model year—it's been on sale in this form since 2010—surprisingly didn't make any adjustments to the mechanicals. Chevy's small crossover soldiers on with acceptable dynamics and mid-pack power and efficiency from either the base 4-cylinder or optional V-6.

Direct injection and variable valve timing make the Equinox's the base 2.4-liter inline-4 a high-tech choice in the segment. And with 182 horsepower on tap, real-world performance is spot on—and beyond what its nine-second 0-60 mph time might suggest. The 2.4 suffers from more direct-injection tick than comparable DI engines, but that tech provides power to motivate the Equinox when fully laden with passengers and cargo; it's a very small price to pay for performance and efficiency.

It makes A 301-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 is the upgrade engine. Significantly thirstier than the base four, it still might be worth considering if you plan on hitting the Rockies or towing ATVs and the like. It's one of the only 6-cylinder crossovers left in this segment, as many others have switched to turbocharged 4-cylinders and even naturally aspirated fours alone.

The engine choice, along with a choice between front- and all-wheel drive with either powertrain, should give most shoppers what they want for their family needs.

The two six-speed automatic transmissions feature short lower gears and much taller upper gears to find a balance between off-the-line performance and freeway fuel efficiency. But gear changes are met with jerky hesitation at times, especially when climbing a grade or managing the stop-and-go of rush-hour traffic. Should you elect to swap cogs on your own, the Equinox's shifter is home to a rocking plus-minus switch instead of the ubiquitous, and preferred, steering-wheel-mounted paddles/buttons or selectable shifter gate.

Don't expect sportscar responsiveness; the Equinox is frugal in four-cylinder form, perky with the V-6.

The Equinox has great interior space, and a sliding second-row seat that flexes its cargo and passenger room.

The Chevrolet Equinox is a nice-sized, versatile crossover option for families that don't need a third row of seats. It's more manageable in tight parking lots than the larger, three-row Chevy Traverse crossover, and it's more spacious than most compact crossovers on the market today.

A neutral driving position provided by an upright, supportive driver's seat is not unlike one in a family sedan. LTZ models add luxury touches, such as leather, dual-tone seats with exposed cross-stitching. Moving to the second row, a seat with adjustable seatbacks, good headroom, and acceptable legroom provide enough space for two adults to sit comfortably on longer trips.

Cabin and materials and trims are, with a few exceptions, far from bargain-basement—although a few odd cheap-feeling details here and there have let it down in previous versions. The 2016 model's interior refresh improves or removes some of those surfaces, which is a welcome change. The 2016 base models—L and LS—receive improved seating fabric, something we found lacking previously. And the remodel has streamlined the look of the interior, jettisoning some of the distracting trim pieces while adding a handy shelf in the center stack.

The level of cabin refinement and quiet in the Equinox is perhaps closer to Buick or Cadillac standards, so you're likely to be pleasantly surprised. Thanks to a clever noise cancellation system that actively helps eliminate coarse sounds and even mild vibrations, 4-cylinder models are nearly as quiet and refined as V-6 models once you're underway (you do hear the clatter of the four a bit more at idle, however). Wind noise is well shut out, with triple door seals and glass with integral sound damping.

The Equinox's well suited for family vacations, with a comfortable ride and storage space for nearly anything you'll bring along. A retractable cargo cover, stretchy net, and two deep cargo wells all keep items in place and out of sight, and there's a deep center console for electronics and purses. The only downside, we think, is that the cargo floor is just a little too high—or at least higher than we might expect.

The Equinox has great interior space, and a sliding second-row seat that flexes its cargo and passenger room.

Crash-test scores have been good, not perfect, with the latest Equinox.

We are happy to report that Chevy has made a rearview camera standard on all trim levels for 2016, which somewhat alleviates our previous complaints about the poor rearward visibility. The 2016 models also get newly optional active-safety items that bring the Equinox in line with its competitors.

The 2016 Chevrolet Equinox earned a Top Safety Pick designation from the IIHS thanks to its "Good" ratings on all crashes, including the notoriously difficult small overlap front crash. Federal safety officials have given the Equinox similar—but not stellar—marks as well: the Equinox managed a four-star overall rating, including four stars on frontal- and rollover-crash protection.

StabiliTrak stability control and four-wheel disc brakes keep you out of harm's way, while a full complement of airbags--including head-curtain side and seat-mounted pelvic/thorax bags--protecting you from the unavoidable come as standard equipment in the Equinox. A rearview camera is now standard kit for 2016, too.

Blind-spot monitors and cross-traffic alerts are now available on LT and LTZ models, and both forward-collision and lane-departure warning systems are offered as part of a safety package. As we've noted in the past, the one safety inadequacy pertains to outward visibility, which can be challenging due to the thick rear pillars. Oversized blind-spot mirrors try their best to counter this, but we recommend you pay close attention when merging and changing lanes.

Crash-test scores have been good, not perfect, with the latest Equinox.


NHTSA 5-Star Safety Rating

2016 Chevrolet Equinox Models

Overall Rating

4/5

Overall Frontal Barrier Crash Rating: (4/5)
Overall Side Crash Rating: (5/5)
Overall Side Barrier Rating: Not Rated
NHTSA Roll-over Resistance Rating: (4/5)



Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Ratings

2016 Chevrolet Equinox Models

Side Impact Test Good
Roof Strength Test Good
Rear Crash Protection/Head Restraint Good
IIHS Small Overlap Front Test Results Good
IIHS Moderate Overlap Front Test Results Good

The Equinox is well-equipped; this year, it adds Bluetooth and touchscreen radios to base models.

The Equinox continues to be a good value among crossovers of its size. The features list is long: intuitive infotainment, convenience features aplenty, and even some active safety measures, too. For 2016, most models see an upgrade to their standard equipment, and there are also some new options.

The lineup has been streamlined for 2016, with four models available: L, LS, LT, and LTZ. All models now come with a touchscreen infotainment interface; L and LS get a 7.0-inch color touchscreen with Bluetooth phone pairing, while the LT and LTZ continue with Chevy's MyLink head unit, which adds smartphone-streaming and other features. MyLink includes voice activation for easier connectivity for hands-free calling or media access, as well as integrated Pandora and Stitcher app compatibility, and hands-free controls, plus the allowance for a connected navigation system.

Standard equipment even on base Equinox L models includes air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors, the aforementioned touch-screen head unit, and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel.

The LS adds the option for all-wheel drive and some other minor convenience items. A rear-seat entertainment system, a navigation system, leather seating, heated seats, steering-wheel audio/phone controls, a sunroof, 17-inch wheels, and remote start are options on the LS.

LT models add standard 17-inch aluminum wheels, keyless ignition, an anti-theft system, one year of OnStar service free, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio controls. They also add MyLink for infotainment.

Top-of-the-line LTZ models get perforated-leather upholstery, memory seat settings, automatic climate control, a universal remote, and both forward collision warning and lane departure warning—both useful features that might help avoid an accident. Blind-spot monitors and rear cross-traffic alert systems are available on the LT and LTZ models.

New for the 2015 model year, the Chevrolet Equinox uses an OnStar system with a 4G LTE data connection. It can be configured to establish an in-car wi-fi network with that connection, and Chevy includes a three-month/3 GB trial with each new vehicle.

The Equinox is well-equipped; this year, it adds Bluetooth and touchscreen radios to base models.

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4.5

Equinox SUVs with a 4-cylinder get excellent EPA ratings; even the V-6 has decent fuel economy ratings.

The 2016 Chevrolet Equinox carried over mechanically unchanged from 2015 so ratings haven't changed year-over-year.

The Equinox's ratings by the EPA of 22 mpg city, 32 highway, 26 combined for the base 4-cylinder model with front-wheel drive make it one of the better non-hybrid crossovers in terms of fuel economy. Stepping up to all-wheel drive, mileage drops to 20/29/23 mpg, which still good for a comfortably sized crossover. All 4-cylinder models come with an "Eco" button that activates a mode with more conservative air-conditioning operation, earlier torque-converter lockup, and different shift points.

The V-6 model of the Chevrolet Equinox remains thirsty, but it has ample torque to move you around town. We recommend the 4-cylinder for all but those who need to tow with their Equinox occasionally. EPA ratings for the 301-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 are decent but unimpressive, for those who care about mileage: 16/23/18 mpg with all-wheel drive and 17/24/20 mpg with front-wheel drive.

Equinox SUVs with a 4-cylinder get excellent EPA ratings; even the V-6 has decent fuel economy ratings.


Fuel Economy Information

Ratings Based on 4 cyl, 2.4 L, 6-Speed Shiftable Automatic

23

Combined

4.3 gals/100 miles

20

City


29

Highway