$14,981 - $21,207

2016 Chevrolet Equinox Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Chevrolet Equinox was new.


Performance: 6.0

The 2016 Chevrolet Equinox stands out for its ability to deliver a smooth ride over almost any road surface, according to test drivers. The base engine, however, lacks the pep necessary to rapidly accelerate this heavy SUV. They add that the available V6 is still not overly quick, but provides a more engaging ride thanks to its increased power output. Most reviewers say the handling and steering feel imprecise, particularly when measured against more-athletic class rivals.

  • "Behind the wheel, the Equinox isn't particularly exciting, but it does offer up a comfortable and quiet ride." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "The standard four-cylinder engine in the 2015 Equinox is pretty underwhelming. While its rated power on paper is competitive, with it the Equinox just doesn't have a whole lot of verve when you're trying to accelerate around other cars in the passing lane or getting up to speed for freeway onramps. This is especially troubling if you enjoy the sensation of driving at all, because it contributes to general lack of driving entertainment in the Equinox." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "On the road the Equinox performs admirably. It may not be the fastest or best handling of the five SUVs that we tested. But it has plenty of power to get you moving when merging onto the highway and it is competent in the corners. That's really all you need for everyday driving." -- Autoweek (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The Chevy Equinox features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder base engine that puts out 182 horsepower. A 301-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 engine is available. Each engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The Equinox gets an EPA-estimated 22/32 mpg city/highway, which is average for the class.

Test drivers find that the Equinox’s base four-cylinder engine lacks the power and acceleration to pass and merge easily at highway speeds. They prefer the available V6, which they say is more energetic and makes the Equinox more fun to drive. Critics note that the automatic transmission is reactive and smooth.

  • "The four-cylinder Equinox may have similar output ratings to the base engines in other compact crossovers, but it doesn't feel as potent on the road. You'll have the gas pedal floored during routine merging and passing maneuvers, which is neither reassuring nor fuel-efficient. If you're looking for a more enjoyable driving experience, the V6 is definitely the way to go. With 301 horses on tap, it's one of the most capable engines in any crossover in this price range." -- Edmunds
  • "Where power is concerned, the 4-cylinder Equinox is adequate for daily driving. This engine operates smooth and without much drama, but it will labor a bit when the Equinox is loaded down with people and/or cargo." -- Autotrader (2015)
  • "The more powerful engine doesn't exactly slingshot this SUV, and even the 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder in the Ford Escape feels quicker. Blame weight: The V6 Equinox weighs nearly two tons, and the 4-cylinder models aren't much lighter, but at least they improve on fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "But the automatic transmission is sharp and geared for a feeling of power -- you won't worry about merging into freeway traffic with this CUV." -- Autoweek (2013)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers credit the 2016 Equinox for delivering a ride that is quiet, comfortable and smooth, especially on the highway. Critics add, however, that the Chevrolet Equinox provides this ride quality at the expense of precise steering, composed handling and the cornering abilities of sportier rivals. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • "The Equinox's handling abilities are nothing special. The steering feels numb and somewhat imprecise, while the suspension is tuned to favor comfort over athleticism. The upside, of course, is an isolated, smooth ride that's enhanced by the quietness of the cabin at speed." -- Edmunds
  • "Handling-wise, however, the Equinox is unexceptional at best. It's not particularly confident in corners, and the steering doesn't feel very well connected. This little compact crossover is by no means a driver's car, but it never promised that, and most buyers in this segment aren't looking for one anyway." -- Autotrader (2015)
  • "The Equinox doesn't feel particularly spry on twisty roads like a Mazda CX-5, which enjoys a fun romp every now and then. However, if there's an area where the Equinox shines, it's this SUV's comfortable and quiet highway ride. In this regard, the Chevrolet feels like a more expensive vehicle." -- Kelley Blue Book (2014)
  • "Braking is smooth and progressive." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

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