The Chevy Equinox is one of the finest affordable compact SUVs on the market today. It’s always had a way of feeling accessible while still delivering performance and comfort. Over the years, it has evolved and gotten better with time, offering those who already love the Equinox more incentive to stay in the family. Since its debut in 2005, Chevy has redesigned the Equinox in 2010 for its second generation and 2018 for its third. Today’s third-generation Equinox is smaller and lighter than ever but still sturdy enough to meet the needs of anyone shopping at their local Chevy Equinox dealer, who is in the market for one of these impressive vehicles. Let’s take a deeper look at the evolution of this dynamic SUV that led to its current model build.
The Equinox’s Complex Evolution
When Chevy first launched the Equinox in 2005, it was their first venture into crossover/compact SUV territory. Petite with a sedan–like driving experience, it first launched with a 3.4L V6 engine, pushing out 185 hp. Front-wheel and all-wheel drive versions were available, suitable for drivers living in both warm and snowy climates. Three years later, Chevy decided to expand their ambitions with the launching of the Equinox Sport model—a tougher 3.6L V6 powertrain capable of producing 264 hp. To match the enhanced capabilities of the engine, they incorporated a lower ride height and introduced new safety features and an upgraded cabin. The stronger engine invited a new segment of customers and persuaded Chevy to continue the model.
The second generation, released in 2010, saw even more improvements to the powertrain and aesthetic. The redesign featured a standard 2.4L engine with the option to upgrade to a 3.0L V6 that produced 264 hp. Both engines could be configured as front-wheel or all-wheel drive, and both had a six-speed transmission. Chevy, being mindful of rising fuel costs, developed the second generation 2.4L engine to get an estimated 20 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway. To complement the improvements to the engine, Chevy also stepped up their interior game. The 2010 model featured a backseat bench that could slide both forward and backward, a crucial feature for anyone prioritizing cargo space and flexibility. Other improvements were made to make the driver’s life easier, such as touchscreen navigation and a power liftgate.
Two years later, in 2012, Chevy focused on adding new safety tech. The 2012 Equinox came loaded with available features such as a backup camera, lane departure warning, and front collision warning. Those looking to the Equinox as a family vehicle could now have the peace of mind those safety features brought. Now, a driver could have room for larger belongings like sports equipment in the car and the reassurance of a feature like lane departure warning. The second-generation improvements kept rolling off the assembly line. In 2013, the engine got a serious upgrade—a 3.6L V6 capable of unleashing a monstrous 301 hp. Finally, in 2016, Chevy made the backup camera and touchscreen infotainment center standard across all models.
Today’s Third Generation Equinox
When Chevy took the task of redesigning the Equinox in 2018, it was during a time when SUV sales were steadily climbing to their all-time popularity. In order to compete effectively with other compact SUVs in the market from Toyota, Subaru, Ford, and others, Chevy went back to the drawing board. The third generation was built significantly smaller and lighter than its predecessor and once again offered front-wheel or all-wheel drivetrains. Instead of just the optional V4 or V6, it now offered a wider variety of four-cylinder options. The Equinox came out with a 1.5L or 2.0L turbo gasoline engine and a 1.6L turbo-diesel. The front end became rounder, and the overall appearance became more compact and sleek. Meanwhile, the cabin’s improvements focused on making technological advances standard. Each model would come with user-friendly multimedia. The touchscreen infotainment center was standardized and compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Fast forward to 2022 and Chevy’s release of four assorted new and improved models that are visually appealing and easy to drive. The 2022 lineup features the LS, LT, RS, and Premier. That being said, many features come standard on all four. Every model includes enhanced interiors and fresh wheel designs. Chevy Safety Assist is standard on all models and includes automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, forward collision alert, and IntelliBeam following distance indicator. Every model comfortably seats five passengers and offers 60/40 split-folding rear seats, as is common in many compact SUVs in its class. Finally, the cargo space is an impressive 63.9 cu.ft. when the rear seats are folded down. Let’s explore what changes from trim to trim.
The LS Equinox can be configured in front-wheel or all-wheel drive like the other models. It’s outfitted with modern LED headlamps, outside heated power-adjustable manual-folding mirrors, and all the previously mentioned safety tech. There is an available Driver Confidence II Package stacked with additional safety features such as the rear cross traffic alert, lane change alert, side blind zone alert, and rear park assist to take all the guesswork out of parking. The Chevrolet infotainment system features a 7-inch diagonal color touchscreen, USB ports, and an auxiliary input jack. For internet on the go, you can add the WiFi hotspot feature.
The next Equinox is the LT. The LT comes with more styling options to make your Equinox pop. It is outfitted with body-color mirror caps, deep-tinted rear glass, bright lower window trim, and available bright roof rails. The driver seat also has 8-way power and power lumbar control for superior comfort. The available Confidence & Convenience Package offered for the LT includes dual-zone automatic climate control, a remote vehicle starter system, and a programmable power liftgate.
The RS is a new addition for 2022 and is style-focused. The front end features a blacked-out grille, red RS badging, black Chevrolet bowtie emblems, Equinox badging, and 19-inch aluminum wheels. On the back, you’ll find LED taillamps and a programmable power liftgate. The steering wheel is wrapped in leather, and there is a unique RS interior with red stitching and Black Ice chrome accents.
Finally, the Premier trim is the top-dollar option for the Equinox for those seeking a luxurious touch. The Premier is the complete package with outside heated power-adjustable mirrors with added turn signal indicators, and continuing with the exterior, you’ll find 18-inch machine-faced wheels. On the inside, you’ll find an available WiFi hotspot, Teen Driver Technology, and 12-volt auxiliary power outlets in both the front storage and the rear cargo areas. There’s memory settings for the driver seat and an infotainment center with 8-inch diagonal color touchscreen and wireless charging.
An Equinox for Everyone
It’s safe to say the evolution that’s taken place across these last three generations of Equinox has us confident that this compact SUV has what it takes to make everyone happy. Chevy outdid themselves by making so many extra features come standard, especially the Chevy Safety Assist features. Drivers can rest assured that Equinox isn’t just a vehicle but a helpful tool to accomplish tasks and support the driver’s needs. And with such an affordable price point, it continues to be one of our favorites in the category. Comfortable and styling, this high-performing redesigned Equinox has us running to the nearest Chevy dealer and never looking back.