With the seasonal equinox just behind us, it seems like a great time for Team RedlineNorth to review the 2013 Chevrolet Equinox. During a week of extreme weather differences we drove GM Canada’s tester on the highways and back roads of Southern Ontario.
Our first impressions of the Equinox are that it is a very safe, easy to drive and solid SUV. Designed as a true kid-hauler and grocery getter, the 2013 Equinox provides a ton of cargo room. With the seats pushed forward, cargo capacity is a generous 31.4 cubic feet and with the seats folded flat, cargo capacity increases to a massive 63.7 cubic feet. Similarly, the front seats provide ample head and leg room while the back seats provide a spacious amount of leg and hip room along with a nicely appointed centre fold down armrest.
Our 2013 Chevrolet Equinox review vehicle came in the LT (AWD) trim package which includes the following features:
- 3.0L DOHC V6 VVT with 264 HP @ 6950 rpm
- Torque – 222 lb. ft. @ 5100 rpm
- 6-speed automatic with overdrive and Driver Shift Control
- 6 airbags
- Leather heated driver & front passenger seats
- 8-speaker, 250-watt premium Pioneer® sound system with subwoofer
- OnStar® with 6 months of the Directions & Connections Plan, Turn-by-Turn Navigation and OnStarRemoteLinkTM
- Air conditioning, keyless entry, power windows, locks and mirrors, cruise control, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, USB port and auxiliary audio input jack, and Bluetooth: hands free phone and audio connectivity.
- Power rear liftgate
- Rear vision camera with display in radio screen
- GM’s new lane departure warning and forward collision alert system
- 17 inch painted aluminum wheels
- Trunk/storage space – 31.4 cubic feet with seats folded forward or 63.7 cubic feet with seats folded flat – based on GM Canada’s vehicle information
- Chevrolet MyLinkTM – includes personal media connectivity by Bluetooth® to vehicle audio system; voice-activated technology for audio, phone, phone book and music selection; Stitcher SmartradioTM app to listen to talk radio, podcasts and live radio through your smartphone; picture viewer; Playlist and Album Art powered by Gracenote®
- $31,025 CAD MSRP from GM Canada’s website as of October 2, 2012 ($26,445 for LS entry trim level) * Prices based on 2012 model
Interior appointments are of a high quality as our test vehicle came with a classic white leather seating package and the cabin included a very sleek dash and entertainment console. Our only compliant was around the quality of some of the plastic on the doors and dash.
The lane departure warning and forward collision alert systems were both used extensively during the test period and worked as advertised. We appreciated the ability to adjust the collision alert system tolerance from alerting the driver at three different distance settings. In addition, the inset convex portion of the side mirrors provided an additional angle of view while overtaking on the highway which is a nice feature. The rear vision camera system was also used extensively in parking lots and is a great option due to the limited rear view visibility. Finally, the hill start assist feature, while strictly not a safety feature, was welcomed when exiting underground parking garages and worked well with no perceivable rollback.
The Equinox engine felt responsive for an SUV, providing quick acceleration on the highway and overtaking with ease. We tested out the Drive Shift Control, which allows the driver to up and down shift at the touch of the button. However, like most ‘manual’ modes of automatic transmissions it didn’t really replace the feel of a manual transmission.
We drove the Equinox in both city and highway environments and our overall fuel economy average for the week was 11.9L/100 KM. The city driving really affected things as the 3.0 engine naturally gets a bit thirsty in Toronto’s stop and go traffic. However, we found the real time feedback on fuel consumption helped moderate our driving behaviour to maximize overall fuel economy.
The Equinox had a number of convenience features that helped round out the overall driving experience. We really appreciated the ability to automatically adjust the opening of the rear trunk between three quarters to fully open at the turn of a dial.
While real time fuel efficiency statistics such as, current range and average fuel economy are nice to have, they were somewhat buried within the menu system and required multiple button presses to access. It would likely be useful for this information to be displayed on the larger navigation screen.
Lastly, the arm rest storage space was more than ample and an interior light is provided to light up the console area to help you find what you are looking for. In addition, a USB port and 12 volt charging outlet are also included in the arm rest compartment.
With so many competitors in the tightly battled smaller SUV/CUV space, GM certainly has their work cut out to make sure they continue to get their slice of the consumer pie. However, the 2013 Chevrolet Equinox remains very strong among its peers and is definitely worth a look if you are in the market for a smaller SUV/CUV.
Some of the other nameplates in the segment which will challenge GM for buyers are the Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tuscon, Honda CR-V and Mazda’s CX-5.