2016 Chevrolet Equinox Road Test Review
By Bob Plunkett
Chevrolet Equinox CUV gets a face-lift
and more safety gear
Focal point of the fresh exterior design for Chevrolet's 2016 Equinox crossover utility vehicle is the prominent front-end carved in bold lines with a stepped dome hood, dual-port grille filled with horizontal fins, reworked headlamp clusters with premium projector-beam headlamps and LED daytime running lights, some flashy chrome accents and sculpted front fenders bulging over big tires.
The 2016 renovation of Equinox -- first face-lift since the 2010 second-generation design -- includes the brash exterior styling, a revamped and enriched 5-seat cabin treatment plus new on-board accessories and more optional electronic safety devices.
The original Equinox debuted in Chevrolet's 2005 line stocking a V6 engine with front-wheel-drive (FWD) or all-wheel-drive (AWD) traction. The 2010 Chevrolet Equinox, completely redesigned with a choice of two fuel-thrifty engines, also offered FWD and AWD options.
Equinox 2016 extends the two fuel-thrifty engine options with FWD and AWD traction choices.
Equinox blends the best traits of a traditional SUV -- such as the tall stance and spacious cabin with flexible seating and generous cargo capacity -- with favored traits of a tightly constructed sedan, as it's easy to enter the low-rise cabin, easy to maneuver the vehicle around town in traffic and easy to park it on a crowded lot.
Equinox is constructed with an integral body-frame structure which compares to a front-wheel-drive (FWD) car rather than the conventional SUV's rear-wheel-drive (RWD) body-on-frame truck platform.
Unlike SUV wagons with a solid rear truck axle and crude leaf springs, Equinox has suspension components comparable to a smooth-riding car. The fully independent suspension features struts up front with tuned coil springs and direct-acting stabilizer bar. In back Equinox totes a 4-link design with coil springs and trailing arm, a stabilizer bar and hydraulic link bushings.
Steering is a rack and pinion design with variable assistance. With the base 4-cylinder engine aboard, an electric power steering (EPS) system replaces the hydraulic apparatus used with the optional V6. Brakes include a large disc at every wheel with linkage to an anti-lock brake system (ABS) plus StabiliTrak, GM's electronic vehicle skid control system.
New trims for the 2016 CUV line up as Equinox L, LS, LT and LTZ.
Chevrolet brings two high-tech General Motors engines to the 2016 Equinox featuring dual overhead cams (DOHC), electronic throttle control (ETC), direct injection (DI) technology and variable valve timing (VVT). The transaxle is a fuel-saving 6-speed electronically controlled automatic.
Standard plant for all trims is the Ecotec 2.4-liter cast aluminum 4-in-line engine which develops 182 hp at 6700 rpm and 172 lb-ft of torque at 4900 rpm.
The upgrade to a 6-cylinder engine for Equinox LT and LTZ models comes from a 3.6-liter aluminum V6 which delivers 301 hp at 6500 rpm with 272 lb-ft of torque at 4800 rpm.
Plan for the 5-seat cabin in Equinox shows a pair of bucket seats on the front row separated by a floor-mounted console. A bench on the second row splits and folds and also slides fore and aft by eight inches to vary legroom. Chevy labels this bench as a Multi-Flex seat. In the rear-most position the legroom is by far the best in class.
Cargo space in Equinox is also good. With the rear bench up, the flat-floored cargo bay has 31.5 cubic feet of stow room. With the back bench folded down, the bay expands to 63.7 cubic feet.
Equinox 2016 scores with fresh graphics for the instrument cluster, a new chrome-accented transmission shifter with Electronic Range Selector mode buttons relocated on top of the shifter handle, a revamped center stack with storage shelf added to cradle gadgets, redesigned cloth fabric seat upholstery on L and LS models and a new interior color scheme offered -- Saddle Up.
Further, a 7-inch Color Touch radio with Bluetooth phone connectivity and rear-vision camera appear on the standard equipment list for Equinox L and LS models, while new choices for electronic safety systems on LT and LTZ models include Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert devices.
We estimate the MSRPs for Chevrolet's 2016 Equinox line will extend from $25,000 to $34,000.