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2017 Chevrolet Equinox: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader January 2017

In the competitive 5-passenger compact SUV market, the 2017 Chevrolet Equinox is beginning to show its age, and that's okay, as an all-new 2018 model is set to debut sometime midyear. For now, the Equinox carries over with few changes, still a good match for the Ford Escape, Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4, but definitely lacking the sophistication and styling of newer SUVs like the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5 and Kia Sportage.

Alongside its GMC counterpart, the Terrain, the Equinox is well-rounded, with equal measures of quality, functionality and driveability. It's one of the few compact SUVs to offer the option of a V6, and its list of available features is fairly well rounded. With the Equinox, you get a jack-of-all-trades, but -- as the rest of the saying goes -- a master of none. For a family-centric people mover, that can be a good thing.

What's New for 2017?

The Equinox carries over with only minor cosmetic changes. A new Midnight Black package bathes the Equinox's exterior, interior and wheels in black, making for a very sinister family wagon. In keeping with other Chevrolet models, the LTZ trim is renamed the Premier.

What We Like

Quiet and comfortable ride; impressive fuel economy rating for base engine; refined look and feel; sliding rear seat; good storage space

What We Don't

Vague steering feel; poor performance with 4-cylinder engine; busy control layout

How Much

$23,995 - $39,000

Fuel Economy

Drivers can get the 2017 Chevrolet Equinox with one of two engines. Standard is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder that makes a sufficient 182 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque. It sends power through a 6-speed automatic transmission. The estimated fuel economy from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is 22 miles per gallon in the city and 32 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive and 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy with all-wheel drive.

If you're interested in more power, an optional 3.6-liter V6 is available for upper-level trims. It's a muscular engine, putting out 301 hp and 272 lb-ft of torque -- more than any other compact crossover. V6-powered Equinox models are rated at 17 mpg city/24 mpg hwy with front-wheel drive, while that rating falls to 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy with all-wheel drive.

Standard Features & Options

The Equinox is offered in four trim levels: the base-level L, midlevel LS and LT, and upscale Premier.

The base-level Equinox L ($23,995, FWD only) includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a 7-in center touchscreen, a backup camera, GM's OnStar system with 4G LTE Wi-Fi, automatic headlights, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a USB port for music. It's also only offered with front-wheel drive and the crossover's 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine.

Upgrade to the LS ($26,405, FWD) ($28,155, AWD) and you get satellite radio, a compass and more options -- including all-wheel drive and an additional towing package.

Next up is the LT ($27,645, FWD) ($29,395, AWD), which adds the new LED daytime running lights, along with Bluetooth audio and Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment interface, which includes infotainment apps and voice control.

Finally, the Premier ($30,935, FWD) ($32,685, AWD) touts 18-in alloy wheels, a remote starter, rear parking sensors, leather upholstery with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, automatic climate control and a power driver's seat with memory.

As for options, the Equinox offers a lot. The V6 engine can be added to the LT and Premier, and many of the Premier's standard features can be added to the LT as options, while both models also offer a power lift gate, a power sunroof, a blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert and a navigation system. Only the Premier offers forward-collision alert, a lane-departure warning system and a power passenger seat.

Safety

Besides six airbags, including 2-row head curtains, the Equinox comes with OnStar, which can alert emergency personnel in the event of an accident. It also includes a standard backup camera, and, depending on the trim, can be equipped with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, a forward-collision alert system and blind spot monitoring.

In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests, the Equinox earned a 4-star overall rating composed of a 4-star frontal crash score, a 5-star side-impact score and a 4-star rollover score. In crash tests conducted by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Equinox earned a Good score in all its crash tests and a Basic rating in the accident-avoidance and mitigation test.

Behind the Wheel

Where power is concerned, the 4-cylinder Equinox is adequate for daily driving -- though it's not as peppy as other 4-cylinder rivals, like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. The 2.4-liter engine operates smoothly and without much drama, but it will labor a bit under hard acceleration and when the Equinox is loaded down with passengers and cargo.

With the V6, the Equinox is much more spirited. It enjoys quick throttle response and very good acceleration. Building up to highway speeds or making an aggressive left-lane pass is no problem.

As for handling, the Equinox is unexceptional at best. It's not particularly confident in corners, and the steering doesn't feel very well connected. This little compact crossover is by no means a driver's car, but it never promises that. Most buyers in this segment aren't looking for one anyway.

What they're looking for is a comfortable and quiet ride for daily commuting and weekend outings with the family. And that's just what the Equinox delivers.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Ford Escape -- The Escape has been improved this year with more high-tech features (such as an automatic parking system) and better fuel economy, but it lacks the versatility of a sliding rear seat. The latest Escape is more refined than the Equinox.

2017 Jeep Cherokee -- The Jeep Cherokee offers impressive refinement, two highly competent powertrains and a long list of standard and optional equipment. The Trailhawk model is a truly off-road-capable SUV to which the Equinox has no answer.

2017 Mazda CX-5 -- The Mazda CX-5 is all-new this year, boasting reasonable pricing and an impressive driving experience and prioritizing nimbleness, equipment and fuel economy above all else. A diesel engine option will join the lineup later in the model year.

Used Chevrolet Traverse -- The Traverse is a 3-row crossover that takes the Equinox's smoothness and comfort to a higher level. Prices are higher, though, so you may have to consider a used model.

Autotrader's Advice

We think the most sensible Equinox is an LT model with a few options. That way, you'll get everything you need without getting too caught up in the pricey luxuries of the Premier. You can also choose between front- and all-wheel drive and 4- or 6-cylinder engine, depending on your priorities.

Find a Chevrolet Equinox for sale

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Used 2017 Chevrolet Equinox AWD LT
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Used 2017 Chevrolet Equinox AWD LS
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Used 2017 Chevrolet Equinox FWD LT
Used 2017 Chevrolet Equinox
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Chevrolet Equinox: New Car Review - Autotrader