2019 Chevrolet Equinox

Performance


#10 out of 18 in Compact SUVs

$23,800 MSRP
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2019 Chevrolet Equinox Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.6

The 2019 Chevrolet Equinox delivers OK – but hardly impressive – performance. It gets good fuel economy ratings, and the engines produce ample power for daily driving. The Equinox rides smoothly and feels stable around turns, but it lacks the athleticism of several class rivals.

  • Performance-wise, the 2018 Equinox is nothing to write home about, but a few adjustments have been made to punch things up a bit in this department. Chevy has made the Equinox four inches shorter, shaving off five inches from the wheelbase and dropping 400 pounds in total body weight. … With the reduction in size comes a slight dip in horsepower, but the turbochargers boost torque and responsiveness earlier in the rev range. Combine that extra pep with steering that's noticeably heftier than the Toyota RAV4 or the Nissan Rogue, and you've got a hint of flavor in an otherwise bland class of vehicles." -- New York Daily News (2018)
  • Chevy has improved on the old model's spongy brakes and excessive body roll, but the steering remains too soupy for any curvy-road thrills. It's a vague, slow-ratio process to point the SUV in new directions, and feedback doesn't improve much through long sweeping turns. For sheer driving fun, the Ford Escape and Mazda CX-5 are still kings of the hill." -- Cars.com (2018)

Acceleration and Power

The Chevy Equinox features a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder base engine that puts out 170 horsepower. It's mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This engine moves the Equinox easily enough, but it sometimes feels lethargic, and the transmission hesitates to shift at times.

The available 2.0-liter turbo-four, which produces 252 horsepower, makes for a better driving experience, and some say it's among the best engines in the class. It's paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

You can equip the Equinox with a 1.6-liter turbodiesel that puts out 137 horsepower. It's not as quick as the other engines, but what it lacks in verve, it makes up for in fuel economy: It's the most fuel-efficient engine in the lineup.

With the base engine, this Chevy gets an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. Those are above-average ratings for a compact SUV. The more powerful turbo-four's numbers dip to 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, while the turbodiesel comes in with 28/39 mpg city/highway.

  • On the road, the 1.5-liter works harder to motivate the heavier crossover than it does in the Malibu, but it remained impressively smooth and strong when pushed. Though small, the turbocharged engine provided great torque, only to be let down by the somewhat lazy six-speed. It's not a dealbreaker, we just wish it wasn't so eager to settle down so quickly into a higher gear." -- Automobile Magazine (2018)
  • "The turbo 1.5-liter inline-four produces a decent amount of low-end torque, but the lazy six-speed automatic doesn't make the most of the output. The transmission is keen to shift into higher gears, presumably to benefit fuel economy on the EPA test cycle, which would be more tolerable if the downshifts weren't so sluggish when more power is requested. The little four-cylinder also seems buzzier and less refined than it is in the Malibu sedan, likely because it's working harder to move this heavier crossover." -- Car and Driver (2018)
  • A shorter body combined with less weight means the little 1.5-liter puts out plenty of power to motivate the Equinox up the hills, down the highway and around town. … My only complaint from behind the wheel is the throttle lag. Press on the gas and the engine takes a good second to respond to the input, making it tough to accelerate out of corners or out of a sticky situation." -- CNET (2018)

Handling and Braking

The Equinox doesn't stand out for its handling abilities, but neither does it embarrass itself. This little crossover is poised and stable on winding roads, and it doesn't lean much around corners. The Equinox rides smoothly, and the cabin remains quiet even at higher speeds. Despite its size, this Chevy has a wide turning radius, which limits maneuverability in tight quarters. Front-wheel drive comes standard. All-wheel drive is available.

  • The Equinox LT is balanced in the turns, and the ride is pliant. The chassis felt stable and upright as weight transferred side to side and front to rear repeatedly over many beautiful miles. The LT comes with 17-inch wheels and rubber with big sidewalls, which complained audibly as they struggled for lateral grip. While the feeling of control through the steering wheel is sufficient, there isn't a lot of physical feedback from up front." -- Autoblog (2018)
  • "Indeed, the new Equinox soaks up bumps with nary a quiver through the cabin. There's remarkably little body roll and the ride is expertly damped, with well-controlled wheel motions and no sensation of body float. Road and wind noise are impressively hushed, something that two of our favorite small crossovers, the CR-V and the Mazda CX-5, struggle with. Combine the Equinox's overall sense of solidity with its nicely weighted, accurate steering and firm, progressive brake pedal, and it adds up to impressive dynamic capabilities." -- Car and Driver (2018)
  • "While we cruised the fabulous Blue Ridge Parkway, the Equinox continued to impress. Road and wind noise was kept to a minimum and the chassis was confident and capable. It's not as dynamically thrilling as the Mazda CX-5 or perhaps even the CR-V, but it remained composed through some fairly tight curves. We particularly took notice of the AWD version's greater stability through the Parkway versus that of the front-wheel-drive variant." -- Automobile Magazine (2018)
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