While the Chevrolet Equinox is not a bad vehicle, the competition has left it in the dust. Like its twin, the GMC Terrain, the Equinox splits the difference between small SUVs such as the Toyota RAV4 and midsized models like the Ford Explorer. While they're nice and roomy inside, the Equinox and Terrain are less efficient than other five-passenger SUVs and burn as much gas as larger, seven-passenger models.
The 3.6-liter engine, shared with many other General Motors products, supplies quick acceleration times at the test track, but manages to still feel sluggish in routine driving, with its unrefined and slow-shifting six-speed automatic transmission doing no favors. With 18 mpg overall, fuel economy from the V6 falls short of much more capable and roomy SUVs, like the Toyota Highlander and Hyundai Santa Fe. Four-cylinder models have an overworked 2.4-liter engine, which returns 21 mpg. Again, that falls far short of rivals like the Toyota RAV4 or Subaru Forester, which approach 26 mpg overall. Handling and ride are decent but ordinary.
At least the roomy rear seat and easy access make this package practical. The interior looks snazzy on the surface, although it's constructed of cheap-feeling materials. For nearly $37,000, our top-trim LTZ lacks some common amenities you'd expect for the price, such as push-button ignition and dual-zone climate control. And the Ford Escape Titanium and Acura RDX are plusher and more enjoyable to drive for similar money.