The 2016 Chevrolet Equinox is a car-based compact crossover SUV that slots in between the smaller Trax and the larger, almost full-size Traverse. The 5-passenger Equinox is General Motors’ best-selling crossover SUV, with an impressive list of standard equipment for the price. It offers a full complement of safety gear, including six airbags, OnStar crash notification, anti-lock brakes and traction and stability control. The Equinox features a stylish interior, with ice-blue ambient lighting and upgraded materials. A segment-unique feature is its sliding rear seat, which can be moved fore and aft nearly eight inches to apportion rear-passenger and cargo space as desired. The rear seat is a 60/40-split and when folded flat ups the maximum cargo space to 63.7 cu ft. Available on LT and LTZ models is the excellent Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system with Bluetooth audio streaming and voice control. Onboard is OnStar 4G LTE with a standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot in the cabin for up to seven devices.
New for 2016 is a standard backup camera, a facelifted front grille, brighter projector-beam headlamps and a 7-inch color infotainment touchscreen.
The Equinox is a good choice for families looking for a reasonably priced, roomy and well-equipped 5-passenger crossover SUV with up-to-date infotainment and safety gear.
What We Like
OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot; sliding and reclining back seat; good fuel economy with 2.4-liter 4-cylinder; attractive interior design and materials; nicely weighted steering
What We Don’t
Hard seat cushions; harsh ride impacts; thick roof pillars create blind spots; shorter powertrain warranty
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The base engine is a 182-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with an impressive Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating of 22 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway on front-wheel-drive models and 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy on all-wheel-drive (AWD) versions. Optional on LT and LTZ trims is a very responsive 301-hp 3.6-liter V6 that EPA rates at 17 mpg city/24 mpg hwy for front-wheel-drive versions and 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy for AWD models. Some versions of the 4-cylinder engine are flex-fuel rated, meaning that they can use either unleaded regular, E85 ethanol or a combination of the two fuels. Flex-fuel models have a yellow fuel cap. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard with both engines.
Features & Options
The 2016 Equinox is available in base L, slightly upgraded LS, midlevel LT and premium LTZ trims.
Typical L fare includes air conditioning, cruise control, cloth seats, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, a backup camera, projector-beam headlamps, remote keyless entry, the OnStar communication system, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with a 7-in color touchscreen, Bluetooth for mobile phones, SiriusXM, iPod support and USB ports, a trip computer, a rear wiper/washer, auto headlamps, power driver’s seat lumbar and height adjustment, 17-in alloy wheels, hill-start assist, stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, a split-folding and sliding rear seat, an outside-temperature display and power doors, windows and mirrors. The L is only available with front-wheel drive.
The slightly upgraded LS brings carpeted rear floor mats and a compass, plus a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.
Moving up to LT nabs standard LED running lamps, heated exterior mirrors, Chevrolet MyLink infotainment with Bluetooth for streaming audio, text-message support, hands-free voice control and Pandora and Stitcher connectivity. More importantly, it can be upgraded with popular options not available on the LS, including a V6 engine, a power front passenger seat, a programmable power lift gate, auto air conditioning, a power moonroof, a navigation system, a universal home remote, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an 8-speaker Pioneer premium DVD audio system, fog lamps, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a rear park-assist system, leather seating, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote start, heated front seats and 18-in alloy wheels.
LTZ gains standard heated leather seats with memory, a power front passenger seat, a universal home remote, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with remote audio controls, auto air conditioning, a programmable power lift gate, a backup camera, remote start, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, fog lamps, a premium audio system, 18-in alloy wheels, a cargo cover and net, forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning, rear park assist and chrome-clad wheels.
As long as there are young families with child safety seats, pets, sports gear and all of the related trappings, compact and midsize SUVs and crossovers will be in demand. The 2016 Equinox didn’t suffer from the spate of safety recalls that touched many other GM models. To get a good idea of the Chevrolet Equinox’s price range, we suggest checking out the used car values at KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see which models are for sale in your area.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following safety recall for the 2016 Equinox:
A very small number of 2016 models may have an incorrect tire and wheel size/inflation pressure sticker. If the incorrect tires or wheels are installed or the tires are inflated to the correct pressure, there is an increased risk of a crash.
Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
NHTSA gave the 2016 Equinox a rating of four stars overall, with four stars for front impacts, five stars for side impacts and four stars in rollover performance.
The 2016 Equinox was an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick. IIHS gave the Equinox Good ratings for small- and moderate-overlap frontal and side impacts, roof strength as well as head-restraint and seat performance.
General Motors covered the 2016 Equinox with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty with roadside assistance and a 6-year/100,000-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.
Chevrolet certified pre-owned SUVs cannot have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be five years old or less. Every CPO Equinox undergoes a 172-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty, plus the transferable original 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain coverage is extended to six years and includes roadside assistance. Also included is a 2-year/24,000-mile maintenance plan.
Other Cars to Consider
2016 Dodge Journey — Not as polished or roomy as the Equinox, the Dodge Journey can carry up to seven passengers, as long as the rearmost pair is junior-size. The Journey excels in offering hidden storage compartments, with one under the front passenger seat cushion and two under the rear floor. Engine choices include a 173-hp 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and a 283-hp 3.6-liter V6.
2016 Ford Escape — The Escape is a top seller among 5-passenger compact crossovers. Starting in 2016 offers the improved Sync3 multimedia system with an 8-in touchscreen and a hands-free lift gate that operates with a simple foot wave under the bumper. Engine choices include a 168-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder as well as 173-hp 1.6-liter and 231-hp 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbo fours.
Even though the 2016 Chevrolet Equinox is bigger and heavier than most of its compact-crossover competition, it’s one of the better handling examples out there. It’s stable on the highway, and the precise steering and lack of body lean in corners help it perform admirably on curvy roads. The ride, however, may be stiffer than some prefer, with bumps and ruts in the road intruding into the otherwise very quiet cabin.
Look for an Equinox LT or LTZ with a nice level of options, such as heated seats, a power driver’s seat, the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system and navigation. The premium-level seats have a more comfortable shape, and leather seat trim holds up better than cloth. The peppy, fuel-efficient base 4-cylinder is all that most buyers will need, but the 301-hp V6 is entertaining to drive if you don’t mind more frequent fuel stops. Unless you live in the mountains, front-wheel drive offers sufficient winter-weather traction. Go for a Chevrolet certified used car when available, and check with the dealer to make sure that any applicable safety recalls have been done.