When someone talks about a compact crossover SUV, the usual cars that come to mind are the Honda CR-V or Toyota Rav4 or Mazda CX-5. But the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox is not typically a car that pops into mind, at least not immediately. And yet, over the past few years it has outsold rivals such as the CX-5, the Hyundai Tucson, and its Detroit rival, the Ford Escape. So why isn’t it top of mind?
Engine – The Chevrolet Equinox used to be available with two engines. It had a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder with around 252 hp (188 kW). But for the 2021 model year, Chevy dropped it and all that’s available now is a 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder. This engine produces 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque (126 kW & 275 Nm). For a crossover SUV that tips the scales at 1,578 kg (3,478 lbs), the Equinox doesn’t feel particularly peppy. The speedometer increases at a gradual pace but it doesn’t feel like it has any sense of urgency when you put your foot down. Furthermore, the engine needs to rev when you’re merging onto a highway or going up a steep hill. Don’t be surprised if the tachometer needle hits 3,500 to 4,000 rpms. When accelerating from a stop light on a level road, the rpms will hit the 3,000 mark on occasion. For some reason that I can’t quite put my finger on, this engine feels underpowered for this crossover. When properly equipped, the Chevy Equinox can tow up to 1,500 lbs.
Fuel Economy – With such a small engine, the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox AWD is rated for 9.4 L/100km (25 MPG) in a city and 8.0 L/100km (29.4 MPG) on a highway. That is better city fuel economy than an AWD equipped Mazda CX-5 or Hyundai Tucson but about the same highway rating. However, the Toyota Rav4 and Honda CR-V are significantly better than all of them.
Transmission – Paired with this little engine is a 6-speed automatic transmission. The shifts are nice and smooth and are reasonably quick if you let the transmission do its own thing. If you decide to take over control, the transmission responds quite slowly.
Braking – The brakes on the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox are strong and the brake pedal provides enough movement for smooth and effortless stops. The brakes themselves don’t feel too grabby even when cold. The discs are coated with Ferritic Nitrocarburizing (FNC) which reduces surface corrosion. So they won’t have the rusted color after a rain shower.
Handling – The Chevy Equinox is an easy crossover SUV to drive. The steering effort is light at slower speeds to help with parking but it feels stable on highways. Body roll is managed well by the suspension and the steering responds quickly enough to the driver’s inputs. Front-wheel-drive is standard with AWD available on all trim levels. But the Equinox does not have the more advanced AWD system that can be found in the top RS trim of the Chevrolet Blazer.
Ride Comfort – The 2022 Chevrolet Equinox has a noticeably firmer ride than most of its competitors. It feels harsh as the crossover SUV drives over poorly maintained city streets. The suspension settles the body immediately after driving over a bump but in turn, the feeling of driving over said bump gets transferred into your bum.
Speaking of which, the seats also don’t do such a great job of providing comfort. They are relatively plush but the bolsters on the sides are too close together. It always feels as though they’re pushing into your sides.
Interior Space – The front seats offer about as much space as the rivals do. For my 6’4” height, there isn’t a position that feels as though I’m lacking any headroom or legroom. The rear seats also provide a lot of space for your legs and feet but headroom is a little bit less than the Honda CR-V & Hyundai Tucson. Behind the seats, the Chevy Equinox has one of the smallest cargo areas with all seats in their upright position. There’s just 847 L (29.9 cu-ft) of space whereas other similarly sized SUVs offer around 950 L to 1,050 L of space (33.5 – 37 cu-ft). But once you fold the second row down, the 2022 Equinox has 1,809 L (63.8 cu-ft) which is more than the Ford Escape or Mazda CX-5. But it is still less than the Tucson and CR-V.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The 2022 Chevy Equinox’s interior doesn’t have any rattles or squeaks from the trim pieces. Engine noise is subdued when cruising or gently accelerating from a stop. If you’re going up that steep hill or merging onto a highway, it is much more noticeable. But road noise from the tires is a little on the loud side at highway speeds.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – This is where the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox has a big advantage over the competition. It starts at just $26,498 CAD ($25,800 USD) for the LS FWD. From there the prices do go up but they’re still lower than similarly equipped competitors. This 2022 Equinox LT AWD is equipped to the tune of $36,583 CAD ($34,300 USD).
Gadgets – This particular Equinox is very well equipped with all the features that most people would want or need. It has an 8-inch touchscreen (7-inch is standard) with wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, satellite navigation, automatic climate control, a panoramic sunroof, surround view cameras, power liftgate, parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, heated steering wheel, and cloth upholstery. While leather is more premium, cloth doesn’t get as hot in the summers or as cold in the winters. Personally I prefer it. Leather is optional of course.
There should also be heated seats in the front (rear is optional) but because of the microchip shortage, the buttons are blank. Instead Chevy will give you a $50 credit. Thankfully, GM says that dealerships can retrofit the heated seats after delivery at no cost to the customer once the microchip shortage gets under control.
Interior Design – The look of the interior is straightforward and it gives the impression that it was made to please everyone. Climate and steering wheel controls are all physical buttons or knobs. The touchscreen is within easy reach and the infotainment system itself is one of the easiest to learn and to use.
The materials of the interior are on the cheap side though. The upper portions of the cabin are soft plastics while the lower portions are really hard plastics. I wouldn’t mind as much but the portion where my knee rests against the door is the hard plastic. As well, the armrests could use more padding.
Exterior Design – 2022 marks the mid-cycle update for the Chevy Equinox. The front and rear fascias have been changed to make the Equinox look a bit more modern. LED headlights are now standard across all trim levels because of the redesigned front. The tail lights can be LED but only on the higher trim levels. Apart from those changes, the rest of the body remains unchanged from this generation’s introduction in 2018.
Safety – The 2022 Chevy Equinox has basic advanced driver safety systems such as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision alert, lane departure warning with lane keep and auto high beams. There’s also a follow distance indicator but does anyone ever use that? It seems like there’s more and more tailgating these days regardless. For more driver aids such as blind spot sensors with lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, and parking sensors, you can get the Driver Confidence package 2 for just under $500 CAD.
My only complaint about these systems is that they’re too sensitive. At times through a corner, the lane keep system would think that I’m drifting out of my lane and I can feel it tugging on the steering wheel. But I’d be perfectly centered in the lane. As well, if there’s a parked car on the right side of a curve, the forward collision alert system would think that I’m about to rear end it.
The IIHS gave the Equinox good crash test ratings except for an updated side impact test in which it only received a Marginal score. As well, it received a poor score for seat belt reminders if the occupants unbuckled themselves.
Warranty – The 2022 Chevrolet Equinox is covered by a 3 year / 60,000 km new vehicle basic and 5 year / 100,000 km powertrain warranties.
Conclusion – In the end, it feels as though the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox was designed to be a jack of all trades. Like as though it was meant to be the best at everything. It has to be efficient, it has to be spacious, it has to be inexpensive, it has to have a lot of features, it has to be cost effective, the styling has to be inoffensive, and so on. A task like that is pretty much impossible to do. It doesn’t stand out in the most competitive segment of the automotive market.
But the sales figures speak for themselves. Over the last 5 years, Chevy sold – on average – a little over 280,000 Equinoxes in the United States per year. That’s better than the Mazda CX-5, the Hyundai Tucson, and the Ford Escape. I think this is largely down to the price of the Equinox. It undercuts the competitors and Chevy has promotions every month to entice potential buyers. So while the Equinox may not stand out in the crowded market, it is the most cost effective crossover SUV for the budget conscious family.
Thank you to Chevrolet for providing the vehicle. www.Chevrolet.ca