When you’re looking around the lot at your local used Chevy Equinox dealer, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the variety of options at hand. The Equinox has been around since 2004, so this SUV has seen its fair share of changes and updates over the years. It should come as no surprise that many of these changes have to do with the vehicle’s tech features. The 2005 Equinox had a standard CD player and required an upgrade to get MP3-player capability, whereas the 2023 Equinox provides wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard features—and that’s not even getting into the innovations made in safety tech.
Since the lineup of standard and available features changes so much from year to year, it can be confusing for those shopping for a used model to know where to find what they’re looking for. But once you know what to look for, finding a pre-owned Equinox that checks all your boxes is a walk in the park. The key is to be well-informed so that you know what to keep an eye out for and what to ask about when your dealership presents you with options. So let’s take a look at some of the best features available on the Equinox over the past few years: what they’re called, what they do, and what model years you can expect to see them on. Armed with this information, you should be ready to start shopping.
If you want to get the look and feel of a modern car, then you’ll want to find a model with an infotainment system. As the name suggests, this system lets you access both entertainment (like music and podcasts) and vehicle information (like diagnostics and settings). A touchscreen has been a standard feature on the Equinox as far back as the 2016 model year, so you don’t have to get a model that’s only a year or two old to switch between features with a simple tap or swipe.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are popular features that allow you to connect your smartphone directly to your vehicle’s interface. That way, you can use the touchscreen in the dash of the Equinox to access your navigation app of choice, switch between your favorite musicians and podcasters, answer calls, or even use text-to-speech and voice commands to listen to and respond to text messages hands-free. These features became standard on the 2018 Equinox, so if you stick to that model year or newer, you’ll definitely be able to use your apps on the go.
GM’s OnStar service became a standard feature on the Equinox for its 2015 model year. This means that models from this year or later have a 4G LTE onboard Wi-Fi hotspot that can be enabled with a monthly subscription. Of course, this means that you can use your laptop or other internet-connected devices on the go, whether you want to keep the kids entertained in the backseat during a road trip or need to get a little work done while out and about. It also allows you to download apps directly onto the vehicle’s infotainment system to use without a smartphone.
Driver assistance features have been getting more and more popular in recent years. These systems can help you stay aware of your surroundings through warnings and alerts and can even take direct action in some circumstances, like braking automatically to avoid a forward collision or applying corrective steering to prevent you from swerving out of your lane. If you want to make sure that you’re getting a vehicle that comes with things like forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and automatic high beams, then you can look for a model no older than the 2020 Equinox, when these features became standard.
But if you’re looking at older models, you might still be able to find some driver assistance tech. Chevy first made collision warning and lane-departure alerts available on the Equinox for its 2013 model year. However, they were optional features not included on all models. So if you’re looking at a much older Equinox, you’ll want to check if the individual vehicle you’re looking at had opted for these safety features. Other features are still optional as of the 2023 model year. So if you want to get adaptive cruise control, which slows down and speeds back up to maintain a set distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, you’ll need to double-check on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis, even if you’re looking at a newer Equinox.
The Equinox is a popular vehicle for families, which means it often ends up being used to teach teenagers the rules of the road. Used vehicles are a good choice for young drivers because it won’t matter too much if they get a scratch in the paint or a small ding while they’re learning. However, you don’t want to get a model that’s so old it’s not up to current safety standards.
The 2019 Equinox is the first model of this SUV to come standard with GM’s Teen Driver feature. This technology helps to promote good habits while your teenager is behind the wheel and gives you the information you need to keep track of their progress. The exact details can vary from model to model (for example, if your Equinox is equipped with driver assistance features like forward collision warning or lane departure alert, then you can prevent them from being turned off while your teen is driving), but any iteration of Teen Driver can be a big help in coaching your child.
Teen Driver lets you set a speed alert, a speed limiter, and an upper limit for the audio system’s volume. You can also turn on features like ‘buckle to drive’ and ‘seat belt audio mute,’ which remind and encourage drivers and passengers to wear their seatbelts. You can pair the Teen Driver settings to a particular key fob so that they’ll only be active when your teenager is behind the wheel. Once they’re licensed and able to head out on their own, you can check in on their solo drives with the in-vehicle report card.
Some Final Thoughts
Knowing the model year when a feature became standard can be a great guideline to help you narrow down your options while shopping. However, you should always ensure that the vehicle you’re looking at comes with all of the features you want before you commit to buying. Because of supply chain issues, some recent vehicles were produced that didn’t have a full lineup of tech features, even ones that were standard across the lineup. And sometimes, owners will customize their vehicles, adding or removing things like audio system components and other accessories.
Luckily, many dealerships make it very clear at a glance what features are available on their used vehicles. Often, you can not only check what tech is included for each vehicle one at a time, but you can even filter your search results by various features on a dealership’s website. That makes it easy to just look at options with the tech you want, so you won’t waste time on models that don’t suit your needs.
Whether you’re browsing online or heading onto a used car lot in person, it’s always best to prepare a checklist ahead of time to know what you’re looking for and which features you’re not willing to live without. A little preparation can go a long way in helping you choose a model that will keep you satisfied through the years to come.