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8.3

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.2
Performance: 7.5
Interior: 8.7
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.2
Safety: 9.3
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Chevrolet Equinox Review

The well-rounded 2012 Chevrolet Equinox cracks the top half of our compact SUV rankings thanks to great safety scores and a roomy, comfortable cabin.

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent safety scores
  • Roomy, comfortable cabin
  • Great fuel economy
  • Dull handling
  • Less cargo room than rivals

New for 2012

  • Forward collision warning and lane departure warning became available
  • Rear-seat DVD entertainment system no longer available
  • MyLink infotainment system debuted during the middle of the model year
  • Other minor shuffling of features

2012 Chevrolet Equinox Overview

Is the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox a Good Used SUV?

The 2012 Equinox is a good SUV. Neither of its engines thrills you with power, but both have enough gusto for daily driving. The Equinox offers a lot of passenger room and exemplary comfort wherever you sit. It has better safety scores and fuel economy ratings than most class rivals. The Equinox features a comfortable ride quality but unengaging handling. It falls short of its compact SUV rivals when it comes to cargo space. If you plan to haul a lot of cargo, you should consider a competitor instead of the Equinox.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 40 Chevrolet Equinox reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of automotive industry experience combined. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse expensive gifts and trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox?

Our site has more than 900 listings for the 2012 Chevrolet, with an average price of $12,000. Prices range from about $8,700 to around $15,600, depending on the vehicle's features, mileage, condition, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox Cost to Own?

The 2012 Equinox’s projected five-year costs for gas, insurance, repair, and maintenance are $24,300. That’s about average for the compact SUV class. The 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan’s five-year costs are about $1,700 higher than the Chevy’s, while the 2012 Toyota RAV4’s expenses are around $700 lower.  

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Equinox?

Chevrolet fully redesigned the Equinox for the 2018 model year, so a new 2019 Chevrolet Equinox is vastly different from a used 2012 model. The new Equinox has many features you can’t get in a 2012 model, like smartphone integration and lots of active safety technologies. However, a new Equinox also comes with a much higher price tag. The 2019 Equinox starts at $23,800, which is about $8,200 more than the high-end list prices for a used 2012 model. While the 2012 is a good vehicle, the new model is a better purchase if you can afford it.

Read about the new Chevrolet Equinox »

There are no new SUVs that are priced within a used 2012 Equinox’s price range.

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Which Model Year of the Chevrolet Equinox Is Best?

The 2012 Chevrolet Equinox is part of a generation that began with the 2010 model year and ended with the 2017 Equinox. For 2012, active safety features like lane departure warning and forward collision warning became available. The MyLink infotainment system debuted during the middle of the model year, replacing the generic touch screen. The 2012 is a better buy than both the 2010 Equinox and 2011 Equinox. However, both of those models have a rear-seat DVD player, which was discontinued for 2012. The 2013 Equinox gained an available 301-horsepower V6 engine and a revamped suspension. The 2014 model was mostly unchanged. The safety features alone make the 2012-and-later models the better picks.

Compare the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Equinox »

How Reliable Is the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox?

The 2012 Equinox has a reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power, which is considered about average for the industry.

Read more about Equinox reliability »

2012 Chevrolet Equinox Recalls

At the time of this writing, three open recalls apply to the 2012 Equinox. One concerns the ignition key that may be removed without the transmission being in park, which can cause the vehicle to roll away. A seat height adjuster bolt may fall out. The tire pressure monitoring system may not accurately reflect tire pressure. Make sure that a Chevrolet dealer has addressed these issues before buying a used 2012 Equinox.

See more information on Chevrolet Equinox safety recalls »

Which Used Chevrolet Equinox Model Is Right for Me?

The 2012 Chevrolet Equinox is available in four trim levels: LS, 1LT, 2LT, and LTZ. All models have a standard four-cylinder engine, and a V6 engine is available in all trims but the base. Both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are available. Since the base model has few features, we recommend shopping for one of the LT models. The 1LT adds a USB port, a rearview camera, and a touch-screen infotainment system. The 2LT comes with automatic climate control, a Pioneer stereo, and heated front seats. Some 2LT models may also have a sunroof, leather upholstery, and navigation.

See 2012 Chevrolet Equinox trims and specs »

Certified Pre-Owned Chevrolet Equinox Warranty

Chevrolet offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with less than 75,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Chevy vehicles that earn CPO status have passed a 172-point inspection and come with an additional one-year/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read Chevy’s warranty page carefully. Along with other General Motors brands, Chevrolet’s CPO program is one of the best among nonluxury brands for the coverage and benefits that it affords, according to our analysis.

See the best CPO programs »

Read more about the Chevrolet certified pre-owned program »

How Safe Is the Equinox?

The 2012 Chevy Equinox has excellent overall safety scores for its class. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Equinox the highest score of Good in four crash tests. This Chevy was also named a 2012 IIHS Top Safety Pick. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Equinox a four-star overall crash test rating, with five out of five stars in the side crash test and four stars in both the frontal crash and rollover tests.

Available advanced safety and driver assistance features include rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning.

See Equinox safety scores »

2012 Chevrolet Equinox Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2012 Chevrolet Equinox or 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan?

The 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan is one of the best daily drivers in this class thanks to a responsive turbocharged engine and lively, engaging handling. However, it has a poor reliability rating, low safety scores, and even less cargo space than the Equinox. Go with the Equinox.

Which Is Better: 2012 Chevrolet Equinox or 2012 Toyota RAV4?

The 2012 Toyota RAV4’s perfect reliability rating helps it rank among the best in the class. The RAV4 has solid safety scores, more cargo room than the Equinox, and a brutish V6 engine option. The RAV4 also boasts accurate steering. You can find some RAV4 models with a third row. While it’s too cramped for adults, it still makes this Toyota an attractive choice for families that need extra seats for kids. The RAV4’s average price is a couple thousand dollars more than the Equinox’s. However, the Toyota is a better overall SUV, and it has lower projected five-year expenses.

Compare the Equinox, Tiguan, and RAV4 »

2012 Equinox Performance

How Does the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox Drive?

The 2012 Chevrolet Equinox features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 182 horsepower. It’s good for most daily-driving situations. A 3.0-liter V6 engine that puts out 264 horsepower is available. There’s a noticeable difference in performance compared to the base engine, but this powertrain still isn’t as thrilling as other V6 engines in the class.

The Equinox has a comfortable ride quality, soaking up most bumps in the road. However, it’s not as athletic as many rivals. There’s little feedback from the road, and steering is mostly numb. The Equinox also has a large turning radius, which can make it hard to maneuver in tight spaces.

Does the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox Get Good Gas Mileage?

The 2012 Equinox gets 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway with its base four-cylinder engine and FWD. Those values are excellent for this class. Fuel economy drops to 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway with the base engine and AWD. The Equinox gets up to 17/24 mpg city/highway with its available V6 engine.

Read more about Equinox performance »

2012 Equinox Interior

How Many People Does the 2012 Equinox Seat?

The Chevrolet Equinox has seating for five on standard cloth upholstery with a power-adjustable driver’s seat. Leather upholstery and heated front seats are available. All of the seats provide ample comfort and support for long drives. The second row affords lots of head- and legroom for even taller adults, and the back seat can slide and recline for more room and comfort.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox?

The Equinox has two complete sets of rear-seat LATCH child-seat attachments, with another tether anchor for the middle seat. It’s easy to locate the lower anchors, and there’s lots of room around them to attach the car-seat straps. The tether anchors are also straightforward to use.

2012 Chevrolet Equinox Features

Standard features in the 2012 Equinox include Bluetooth, an auxiliary input, a six-speaker stereo, and satellite radio. Available features include automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote start, a sunroof, a rearview camera, navigation, a 7-inch touch-screen system, a USB port, and an eight-speaker Pioneer sound system. Vehicles that came early in the model year have the Color Touch Radio interface, while models that came later during the year feature Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system.

The controls on the dashboard are easy to reach and operate, though some test drivers noted that too many buttons could create some confusion. Models with the available touch-screen system have redundant audio settings incorporated into that interface, so it may take some time to learn the ins and outs of the system.

See 2012 Chevrolet Equinox specs »

Read more about Equinox interior »

2012 Chevrolet Equinox Dimensions

Chevrolet Equinox Cargo Space

The Chevrolet Equinox has 31.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seat and a maximum of 63.7 cubic feet with the second row folded down. A power liftgate is available.

2012 Equinox Length and Weight

The 2012 Equinox is 15.7 feet long, and it has a curb weight of 3,770 pounds.

Where Was the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox Built?

Chevrolet built the 2012 Equinox in Canada.

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