Up until it’s redesign three model years ago (in 2010), Chevy’s lackluster Equinox was frequently ridiculed by everybody else in the segment (Toyota Rav4, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, and many others). Then, the compact-crossover grouping received a big, big shock: The Equinox was redesigned (gasp!), and brought along a nearly identical twin, the chunky-yet-spunky GMC Terrain. Unfortunately, both vehicles are so underpowered that a Yugo could get to 60 mph as quickly. So, GMC and Chevy decided to up the ante. The Terrain Denali and the Equinox LTZ now have the GM family’s stellar 3.6 liter V6. The engine has 301 horsepower and a barely-adequate 272 lb-ft of torque.
On the the subject of fuel economy, you can almost laugh that off, get a Prius v and a pickup. The Equinox LTZ with front-wheel drive gets 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway. If you need all-wheel-drive, the LTZ with all-wheel-drive gets a scary 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway. Oh, and the front-wheel-drive model is faster to 60 mph at 6.8 seconds (add four-tenths of a second to the chunkier all-wheel-drive model. I won’t even start on the Terrain.)
The Equinox and Terrain now are easier to drive on bumpy roads due to some new suspension trickery – it shares the same dual-flow dampers that the larger Chevy Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave have. This means that the Terrain and Equinox bob and weave a lot less on less-than-ideal surfaces. Plus, it gives the driver a much better perception of grip when hurtling into a corner.
Overall, the relatively large Equinox still has a lot of interior noise, an upshift-happy transmission, and very bad rear visibility. Plus, it wouldn’t hurt to lose a bit of that flab, Chevy. But, the revised Equinox has a much bigger kick in the pants and is an effortless interstate cruiser. Car & Driver had a chance to test the “old” 3.0 liter V6 against the “new” engine, and found that the new Equinox is a bit easier to drive.