There have been a lot of new Chevys rolling through our parking lot lately; from high performance hot rods, to heavy duty haulers. Well, time now to turn our attention to the brand’s top seller that’s not named Silverado. It’s the Equinox crossover. So, what does this revised two row compact bring to the utility loving world?
We already know that there’s an all-new Equinox just around the corner; as this 2nd generation, launched for 2010, is coming to a close. But just to keep buyers happy until it does, this 2016 Chevrolet Equinox gets some notable updates.
Those revisions vary by trim level, but all receive a freshened face, with new projector beam headlights and reconfigured dual-port grilles; LT and LTZs get added chrome trim.
All DRLs are new, but again LT and LTZs get a nicer LED treatment. LTZs add fog lights.
All levels get a revitalized rear as well, with LTZs adding chrome trim to the lower fascia. In addition, V6 models have chrome exhaust outlets. New aluminum wheels are 17s on all but LTZ, which get 18s.
Inside, the good news is more for lower trim levels where materials have been improved, and the 7-inch touch screen display radio with back-up camera is now standard.
Otherwise, the same comfortable, spacious cabin carries over. There’s plenty of room for rear seat passengers, but seats are hard and flat, and hard plastic panels are still too obvious.
Physically larger than most of its compact crossover competitors, you’d think cargo capacity would be a stronger selling point. But newer rivals like CR-V and RAV4 now best the Equinox’s 31.5 cubic-ft. behind the rear seats, and 63.7 cubic-ft. with seatbacks folded.
A power lift gate is part of the Enhanced Convenience package and we highly recommend it.
A 2.4-liter I4 is still standard in all trim levels. Output is 182-horsepower and 172 lb-ft. of torque. A 301-horsepower V6 is available in upper trim levels; and allows for towing up to 3,500-lbs.
All-wheel-drive is available on everything but base trim; and transmission is a 6-speed automatic.
Our top of the line LTZ tester sported standard 4-cylinder power and all-wheel-drive. While it felt like a fine combo going to the track, not so much once we got there.
It took a lengthy 9.3-seconds from 0 to 60 miles-per-hour; and 17.0-seconds to clear the ¼ at 82 miles-per-hour. Everything about it is slow; and compounding things, engine noise is excessive at full throttle.
Through our tight cone course there was plenty of “safety minded” understeer, with lots of body roll.
Panic stops from 60 averaged 131-feet. Now that’s not terrible, but pedal feel left much to be desired.
So, not at all a sporty feeling ute. But, to be fair, the Equinox has never been about corner-carving, but rather for getting your kids to soccer practice on time and safely.
Speaking of safety, Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are added features for LT and LTZ trim.
There’s also Forward Collision Alert available on LTZ’s, and we found it very eager to chime a warning. But, it won’t apply the brakes for you. No doubt the next gen. Equinox will rectify that.
Miles away from the track, the Equinox displays excellent road manners. Ride is smooth without feeling soft, and noise levels good; even compared to newer rivals. It does all a CUV should do competently and dependably. That’s why Equinox still sells so well so late in its design cycle.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 20-City, 29-Highway, and 23-Combined. Our average was right on, at 23.0 miles-per-gallon of Regular. The Energy Impact Score is 14.3-barrels of annual oil use with CO2 emissions of 6.3-tons.
The final update for ’16, is streamlining of trim levels and a pricing increase of $500. Now ranging from a base L at $23,495 to top-level LTZ for $30,635. All-wheel-drive adds $1,750 more; the V6, $1,500. But in typical upsell fashion, you also have to add Enhanced Convenience and Technology packages if you want that V6.
Overall Equinox changes are indeed fairly significant and well done, and judging by public reaction, more than enough to let this CUV continue on a bit longer. So, if you’re the kind of buyer that would rather pick a well-seasoned choice, and be able to haggle for a bargain in the process, when it comes to mainstream compact crossovers, the 2016 Chevrolet Equinox is a fine choice.
Engine: 2.4 liter I4
Torque: 172 lb-ft.
Transmission: 6 spd automatic
0-60 mph: 9.3 seconds
1/4 mile: 17.0 seconds @ 82 mph
EPA: 20 mpg city / 29 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 14.3 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 6.3 tons