The Chevrolet Equinox is the brand's first crossover, debuting in 2004 as a 2005 model. Currently in its second generation, the 2012 Chevy Equinox is touted as a compact crossover by General Motors, though it's closer to a mid-sized vehicle in the category. Given that virtually every so-called "compact" crossover has grown since their introduction in the early 1990s with the debut of the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V "cute utes," it's more a matter of sematics and splitting hairs than any genuine difference.
The 2012 Chevy Equinox is offered in three models, each building in standard features and equipment on the previous model with some, like the active noise cancellation system, navigation, and rear-DVD entertainment, considered a value at this segment and price range. Not unexpected, the interior of the Equinox is quite roomy and this is enhanced by rear seats' Multiflex system which allows them to recline and slide to and fro up to eight inches. The 2012 Equinox's 63.7 cubic feet of maximum cubic cargo space is less than its rivals.
Body style: Crossover SUV
Engines: 2.4-liter inline-4, 3.0-liter V-6
Transmission: six-speed automatic
Models: LS, LT, LTZ
In 2011, the various models received more standard features and equipment while the optional 3.0-liter V-6 engine can now use E85 fuel. For 2012, all Chevy Equinox models now have standard blind spot mirrors, while each gets additional equipment like standard 17-inch wheels on the Equinox LS and 18-inch wheels rolling under the LT and LTZ trim. Chevrolet is introducing its all-new MyLink Connectivity system this year on the Equinox.
The 2012 Chevrolet Equinox appears as a mid-size crossover, straddling the line between smaller vehicles like the Hyundai Tucson and bigger ones like the Hyundai Santa Fe. Marketed as a compact crossover by GM, the Equinox was all-new for the 2009 model year, and except for new wheels, the exterior changes to the Chevrolet Equinox carry largely unchanged into the new model year.
Competitive hard plastics dominate the interior of the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox, especially on the inner door panels, dash, and center stack. On the other hand, the cloth and, for the more expensive models, leather of the seats is attractive and feels durable and comfortable. Visibility around the Chevy Equinox is competitive, and the speedometer, tachometer, and other gauges are large and easy to read for the driver. The buttons for the climate controls and the infotainment system located on the center stack are numerous and look alike, though, making it easy to accidentally change the temperature instead of the radio station.
Performance & Handling
The 2012 Chevrolet Equinox is a daily people mover, with engine noise virtually non-existent and low road and wind noise. The Chevy Equinox's 2.4-liter engine provides adequate power when accelerating or passing other vehicles on the road while providing excellent fuel economy. The 3.0-liter engine, of course, provides considerably more power at the expense of fuel economy. Handling is, as expected, carlike for a crossover SUV with steering light enough to maneuver in tight spots like a full parking lot. All but the largest road imperfections are nicely damped by the 2012 Equinox's suspension.
The 2012 Chevrolet Equinox is solid for a crossover in safety, protecting driver and passengers with six airbags, including front and side driver and passenger airbags and curtain side airbags. The Chevy Equinox is equipped with standard four-disc brakes; StabiliTrak electronic stability control (ESC); and traction control. GM's OnStar alert, diagnostic, and navigation system is also standard on the 2012 Chevy Equinox.
EPA Fuel Economy
Chevrolet Equinox LS, LT, LTZ (2.4-liter) front-wheel drive: 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway
Chevrolet Equinox LS, LT, LTZ (2.4-liter) all-wheel drive: 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway
Chevrolet Equinox LS, LT, LTZ (3.0-liter) front-wheel drive: 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway
Chevrolet Equinox LS, LT, LTZ (3.0-liter) all-wheel drive: 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway
- Fuel economy (inline-4)
You Won't Like
- Center stack controls
- Low cargo space
If You Like This Vehicle
- Ford Escape
- Honda CR-V
- Hyundai Tucson
- Toyota RAV4