The 2017 Chevrolet Equinox is a solid compact crossover SUV. What it lacks in advanced powertrains, it makes up for in available tech.
The Chevrolet Equinox has struck the right chord for many compact crossover buyers. It offers a range of powertrains, including front- or all-wheel drive; it can be fuel efficient; and it's relatively large.
We think it's getting a little tired, which is why it scores a 6.5 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
But a new Equinox is on the way for 2018, so stay tuned since the 2017 is scheduled to be a short model year.
Chevrolet Equinox styling and performance
It has been a sales success for Chevy, so why fix what isn't broken?
Answer: they haven't. This year, the 2017 Chevy Equinox carries over largely unchanged from last year. For 2016, the model received important safety equipment and a light "fluff and buff" from the automaker: a front-fascia here, a little chrome there—nothing controversial. The effect is a brighter, slightly better look for the Equinox.
The Equinox's selection of engines and drivelines is a copy-paste from last year, which is totally fine by us. Its base 2.4-liter inline-4 with direct injection boasts a 32 mpg rating from the EPA, making it one of the most fuel efficient compact crossovers money can buy. It and the optional 3.6-liter V-6 are paired to six-speed automatic transmissions. All-wheel drive is available on every trim, except the base L.
To us, the Equinox reads from the outside more like a scaled down version of the big Chevrolet Traverse, which isn't a bad thing. The Equinox is a little chunkier, perhaps with a few more styling elements stolen from Chevy's trucks and wedged into its more upright flanks. The Equinox is still distinctly more car-like than truck, and fits alongside the brand's sedans with good-looking proportions and sharp, careful details.
Chevrolet Equinox comfort, safety, and features
Classed as a compact SUV, the Chevrolet Equinox is slightly larger versus other vehicles in the segment, translating to a great balance between cargo and passenger utility for those seeking a bit more space. The plus sizing also makes the Equinox an ideal family vehicle, enhanced further with a sliding second-row seat. You'll have 31.4 cubic feet of space in the cargo area if you leave the rear seats in their upright and locked positions, but that increases to almost 64 cubic feet if you drop down those second-row seats.
Front seats provide an excellent, car-like driving position, while back seats offer enough space for two sprawling adults. Additionally, the seat backs are adjustable for rake, bringing even more comfort to second-row passenger. You also get plenty of cubbies for smaller items, as well as a deep center console and two wells, a retractable cargo cover, and a stretchy net for grocery bags between the two deep cargo wells in back. Chevrolet offers tablet holders that attach to the rear of the front seats.
The Chevrolet Equinox was designated as a Top Safety Pick last year by the IIHS. In testing, the agency gave the crossover top "Good" scores in all categories, including its small-overlap crash test. The IIHS only gave the optional crash-mitigation systems in the Equinox a "Basic" score.
Federal testers weren't as kind. This year, the Equinox managed a four-star overall rating, including four stars on frontal- and rollover-crash protection. We expect both ratings to carry over into 2017.
We are happy to report that Chevy has made standard a rearview camera on all trim levels for 2016, which somewhat alleviates our previous complaints about the poor rearward visibility. The 2016 models also received newly optional active-safety items that bring the Equinox in line with its competitors. We expect many of those features to become more available for 2017.
According to the EPA, the base inline-4 manages 22 mpg city, 32 highway, 26 combined when paired with front-wheel drive. Those numbers make the base Equinox one of the better performing non-hybrid crossovers in the segment. Make the move to all-wheel drive (AWD) and those numbers drop to 20/29/23 mpg. Four-cylinder models are equipped with an "Eco" button that dials back accessory power draw such as air-conditioning operation, optimizes shift points for better fuel economy, and locks up the torque converter earlier for efficiency.
The EPA rates the 3.6-liter V-6 at 17/24/20 mpg for front-wheel-drive versions. We expect far more V-6 buyers will opt for AWD, which is rated at 16/23/18 mpg.