The Chevrolet Equinox is perhaps the most important non-truck vehicle in the brand’s line-up. Sure, the Corvette gets lots of glory, but in most years Chevy sells more than twice as many Equinoxes as any other model except for the Silverado pickup.
In 2022, a total of 212,072 buyers chose the Equinox for their family vehicle, and 52,902 buyers have already driven home in an Equinox in the first quarter of 2023. So what is it that makes the Equinox so quietly popular?
The 2023 Chevrolet Equinox is a compact crossover SUV with two rows of seating for five passengers. The Equinox starts at $26,495, including all fees and incentives. The Equinox is available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive depending on your needs, and it gets good fuel economy.
It offers current dashboard and safety technology, and generally scores well in safety tests. The current generation was released for the 2018 model year, so it’s due for an update in the next few years. In short, the Equinox is a competent, affordable family SUV.
From the outside, the Equinox looks a lot like most other compact crossovers. There’s nothing special here, and the Equinox won’t stand out in a parking lot in any particular way. That being said, it’s not ugly.
This is a vehicle designed and built to serve a purpose, and that purpose is to handle family tasks. New for 2023, there’s a sportier RS trim, that includes satin black trim, roof rails, and unique black wheels. The RS is definitely the most attractive trim, and that’s the model we tested.
The interior of the Equinox is simple and effective. In the RS trim, you get heated front row seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Our test vehicle also came with the RS Leather Package, priced at $1,580, which also buys you a 7-speaker Bose Audio system.
Overall, the interior is comfortable, with plenty of leg room in the back seats and more than adequate cargo space of 29.9 cubic feet behind the second row, or up to 63.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. One feature we particularly liked is a traditional gear selector, instead of a dial or buttons. Speaking of buttons, you get real controls for the climate and audio system, and that’s nice. Perhaps it’s a relic of the Equinox being an older design, but we’ll eagerly take it.
The Equinox carries just one powertrain, a 1.5-liter turbocharged gas engine paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The engine is good for 175 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque, which gives the Equinox adequate performance.
If you want a sports car, this isn’t it. The 0-60 time is about 8 seconds if you floor it, which is plenty for getting onto the freeway, and Equinox buyers will find the powertrain delivers all they need. The Equinox is rated to tow up to 1,500 pounds, which is enough for a pop-up tent trailer or a utility trailer.
Safety and Technology
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2023 Equinox a five-star crash test rating, while he Insurance Institute for Highway Safety generally gives the SUV a good rating, except for its newest moderate overlap updated test. The Equinox got the top “Good” rating on the original test, but rates as “Poor” in the updated test. That will doubtless be remedied when the next generation comes out.
When it comes to safety equipment, all the basics are there on all trims, but to get the latest advanced driver assistance features requires a higher trim level or option package. Our RS trim came with the $2,000 Safety and Infotainment package. That option puts heat on the steering wheel and upgrades the Equinox to an 8-inch touchscreen and a 360-degree camera system with adaptive cruise control. We would have liked blind spot monitoring, automatic high beams, and some other newer features, but those are on Driver Confidence packages that our test vehicle did not have.
The 8-inch screen in the Equinox may seem small by modern standards, but it works well with Chevy’s operating system, and offers wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support. There are also plenty of USB-A and USB-C ports, so the dashboard tech experience is again, fit for the purpose of a family vehicle.
Some reviewers have discounted the Equinox driving experience, but we found it perfectly suited to the vehicle. The suspension is tight and firm, the steering is responsive, direct, and predictable, and the Equinox handled the rough roads in our area with perfect aplomb. Adult male back seat passengers reported that the seats were comfortable and the ride was better than most compact SUVs.
The engine, as mentioned, won’t win you any drag races from a stoplight, but we never felt like the Equinox didn’t have enough power to do whatever we asked of it. If you need to pull out and pass a slow-moving truck on a short stretch of passing lane, the Equinox won’t let you down. Overall, this is a vehicle we could drive every day with no complaints.
2023 Chevrolet Equinox RS AWD Specifications
|Dimension||L: 183.1 inches/W: 72.6 inches/H: 65.4 inches/Wheelbase: 107.3 inches|
|Powertrain||1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine; 6-speed transmission, AWD|
|Fuel Economy||24 mpg city/30 mpg highway/26 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||175 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $26,495; As tested: $37,670, including $1,395 destination charge.|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
The 2023 Equinox starts at $26,495 for the base LS trim with front-wheel drive, including destination fees, but with some incentives from Chevrolet. That’s about half the average transaction price for a new vehicle this year, so the Equinox represents a good value right out of the gate.
There are four trims, including the LT, RS, and Premier trims. All are available with AWD for an additional $1,600. Each trim level costs about $1,000 to $2,000 more, so the top Premier trim with AWD runs to $34,795 after all the fees and incentives have been applied.
The right trim to choose depends entirely on your budget. Chevrolet offers a wide variety of option packages, so our RS trim with a few packages totals out at $37,670, which takes it out of the extremely affordable category. If you need to save money, you’re giving up things like heated seats and leather, not on basic safety or even performance. Our test vehicle came with AWD, but if you don’t live in an area with severe weather, the basic traction and stability controls that come with any Equinox will get you through the winter.
The bottom line on the Chevrolet Equinox is that this is a smooth, comfortable vehicle for your family use, and it will do that job admirably. If you are willing to give up a few features, it’s also a tremendously affordable vehicle. Either way, the Chevy Equinox deserves a place on your test-drive list if you’re buying a family wagon this year.
2023 Chevrolet Equinox RS AWD – Frequently Asked Questions
Is Chevrolet Equinox a reliable car?
Yes, the Chevrolet Equinox has a predicted reliability score of 90 out of 100.
How long will the Equinox last?
About 200,000 miles.
Will the Equinox hold its value?
Not very well. After three years, an Equinox will depreciate by 44.91%. However, comparable vehicles fare no better. If you buy an Equinox, you should plan to keep it for its service lifetime.