Written by: Stephen Spyropoulos
Photography by: Stephen Spyropoulos
The Chevrolet Equinox has been the bread and butter compact SUV for Chevrolet since it was first introduced in 2004. The second generation Equinox was unveiled in 2009 and has sold more than 150,000 units in the U.S each year. Sharing its Theta platform with the aging Cadillac SRX and GMC Terrain, the Equinox has started to feel a little long in the tooth, but the bowtie automaker has given the 2016 model a much-needed refresh. The updates it receives are sure to keep it a contender in a highly competitive compact SUV market—but more on that later. For my test week I was handed the keys to a fully kitted-out 2016 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ with all-wheel drive and a 2.4-litre motor under a beautiful shade of Tungsten Metallic.
Approaching the Equinox from any angle does not leave any guesses as to what it is. With the refresh it has not strayed too far from the earlier second-generation’s styling cues. The refreshed Equinox sports a completely new grille, headlights and front fascia as well as reworked taillights. While the improved front fascia and standard bi-xenon HID headlights are great to look at, to the untrained eye it is still hard to differentiate between a standard pre-facelift Equinox and the new one. Not to say it’s a bad thing, but buyers that weren’t a fan of the previous Equinox to begin with should look elsewhere. The 18-inch 5-spoke wheels on the other hand add to the allure, and help give it a sportier look.
Interior wise, this top trim Equinox LTZ is loaded—from the Jet Black leather appointed surfaces to the power tilt and sliding sunroof. Updated for 2016 is an all-new shift knob and a second storage shelf underneath the dashboard. While this is clearly no Cadillac, I found the interior build quality to be typical GM without any major issues with fitment. The top part of the dash covering the infotainment section felt a little cheap, but since it is not typically a part of the interior you touch very often, I can’t say it really counts.
Other than that, the seats were fairly comfortable and the 8-way adjustability gave me plenty of wiggle room. At no point did I feel cramped in the Equinox thanks to the fairly spacious cabin and over 891 litres of storage space with the rear seats upright. This figure swells with the seats down to 1803 litres of capacity. However the wheelbase is quite short at 2,857 mm so don’t expect to move that gigantic antique couch covered in plastic for your grandmother anytime soon.
The large MyLink 7-inch touchscreen dominates the centre console area and allows for the use of Bluetooth, USB, voice activated technology, and standard SiriusXM satellite radio to ensure that you are completely in sync with your phone. I took advantage of the OnStar 4G LTE and was able to stream online music directly from my phone. The Equinox also comes paired with a set of universal tablet holders—a $290 option that mounts to the back of the front seat’s headrests. Personally, I would skip this option but for those with kids that are notorious for asking “are we there yet?” this is a lifesaver.
The only hiccups I found in the overall infotainment experience was a very annoying glitch with Bluetooth streaming. The system would skip as if we were back in the Sony Walkman days where the tracks would flutter if shaken too violently. Some further investigation revealed that this was a common problem among 2015 Equinox’s, hopefully a fix is in the works over at GM. I also found the plethora of controls in the centre console to be quite busy, and I had to spend way too much time scouring for the desired buttons.
Underneath the bonnet of this 2016 Equinox LTZ is a 2.4-litre dual overhead cam SIDI 4-cylinder mill that pumps out 182 horsepower at 6,700 rpm, and 172 lb-ft of torque at 4,900 rpm. Full disclosure— I had driven an Impala LTZ as part of the Pan Am Games that came to Toronto this past July, and I loved the 3.6-litre V6 that was in that car for its smoothness and power delivery. I was taken aback when I found out that you could get a top trim LTZ Equinox with this smaller and albeit, less powerful 2.4-litre.
Still, I gave it a shot but by the end of the week, I really wished it had the V6. Although fuel economy numbers came back averaging at 11.0 L/100km for a mix of 55% city and 45% highway, I believe the larger engine would fair better as there would be less throttle stabbing in order to accelerate up to speed on the highway or to get over hills. At one point I was bewildered watching my RPMs decline as I added throttle input.
Luckily, the 3.6-litre V6 powerplant that has over 300 horsepower is available for the Equinox for an extra $1,725. Considering other compact SUVs in this price range are churning out over 250 horsepower, the 182 horsepower from the 2.4-litre, while valiant in its efforts, doesn’t quite make the cut at pulling this car’s 1,700 kg curb weight.
Cornering and overall day-to-day driving in the new Equinox is typical of compact SUVs. It essentially drives like a car but you still have to be mindful when taking sharp turns in order to keep all four wheels planted. The standard gizmos like radar cruise control and lane departure warning have been crammed into the 2016 Equinox as well, but I wish they had implemented it in a better way. I still have to take my eyes off the road while driving just to check if I have the correct ‘safe-distance’ setting on the cruise control.
The gas pedal had way too many doses of lidocaine and the 6-speed automatic can be lethargic when shifting - hopefully this can be addressed in the next generation of the Equinox. Luckily, I am sure no one expects the Equinox to set Nürburgring time trials, and this SUV does prove itself to be an appealing option for families who are looking to get into a well-equipped car with proven reliability and likely very cheap maintenance costs.
Pricing for the AWD LTZ trim starts at $34,495 but the main point I want to get across with this review is to fork over the extra money for the larger V6 engine. You will appreciate the added power. Yet, those looking for just the run of the mill Equinox with a mild spice factor, the four-cylinder will do just fine.
Chevrolet has used the term mid-cycle refresh to describe the 2016 Equinox but there has already been speculation of a completely new generation just on the horizon. So while the recent updates happily liven up the aging Equinox, it’s still playing catch-up to the competition and to the rest of GM’s fantastic vehicles. I for one would wait for an all-new model to hit the showroom floor before one makes its way into my garage.
型号 Model: 2016 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ AWD
顏色 Paint Type: Tungsten Metallic
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $34,495
試車售價 Price as Tested: $37,995
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,858
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,770 / 1,842 / 1,684
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,781
引擎 Engine: 2.4L DOHC DI 4-cylinder engine with VVT
最大馬力 Horsepower: 182 hp @ 6,700 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 172 lb-ft @ 4,900 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 6-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 11.5 / 8.2 / 10.0
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 11.0
輪胎尺碼 Tires: P235/55R18