The Equinox is Chevrolet’s offering in the compact crossover SUV segment. It is pitted against the likes of the Toyota RAV4, the Honda CR-V, and the Ford Escape. Like its competitors, the 2-row, 5-seater Equinox uses a rigid unibody construction instead of a traditional body-on-frame construction. This car-like body construction yields car-like handling while also delivering great capability. Also, this SUV provides plenty of room for cargo.
The first compact crossover, the Toyota RAV4, was introduced to the world in 1994, so the 1st-generation Equinox (2004-2009) was a late entrant to the compact SUV market. However, despite this, the 1st-generation Equinox still gave a good showing in terms of sales figures. One reason for this was the fact that it was slightly larger than most compact crossovers; in choosing to buy the 1st-generation Equinox, car buyers got more ‘SUV’ for their money. The 1st-generation Equinox was based on GM’s GMT191/Theta platform, which GM also used on the Chevy Captiva, Chevy Captiva Sport, Saturn Vue, GMC Terrain, Opel Antara, Suzuki XL7, and Pontiac Torrent.
The 1st-generation Equinox was available in either a rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive configuration. It was initially offered with a 3.4-liter V-6 engine that developed 185 horsepower. This engine paired with a 5-speed Aisin AF33 automatic transmission from Japan. From 2008, a 3.6-liter V6 engine that paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission was also made available for the Equinox Sport trim level. With its increased output of 264 horsepower, this 3.6-liter engine delivered quicker acceleration. The 1st-generation Equinox also offered a Multi-flex rear seat that could be reclined, slid forward or backward, or folded down flat to increase cargo space at the back. From 2008, an Electronic Trailer Sway Control system was introduced for safer and easier towing. A StabiliTrak electronic stability control system also became standard in all the trim levels. The SUV also added optional features like heated front seats, a navigation system, a sunroof, a DVD entertainment system, a Pioneer premium seven-speaker audio system, and much more. The 1st-generation Equinox was offered in four trim levels, namely the LS, LT, LTZ, and Sport.
The 2nd-generation Equinox (2010-2017) was based on an upgraded version of the same Theta platform, so it was also large for a compact crossover SUV. This generation’s exterior was sleeker and more contemporary and its interior was lined with finer materials, so it struck a chord with many car buyers. Under the hood, the 2nd-generation Equinox offered a standard 182-hp 2.4-liter direct injection four-cylinder gas engine or an available 264-hp 3.0-liter direct injection V6 gas engine, both of which delivered above-average performance. In 2013, the 264-hp 3.0-liter V6 was replaced with a larger 301-hp 3.6-liter V6 that delivered even better performance. The same year, this generation also added optional advanced safety features like a forward collision warning alert system, a lane departure warning system, and a rear park assist. Thanks to all these updates, the 2nd-generation Equinox soon became Chevrolet’s 2nd-bestselling vehicle in North America.
The current 3rd-generation Chevrolet (2017-present) was unveiled in 2016 for the 2018 model year. It is based on a more sophisticated and more rigid D2XX platform that delivers more refined driving dynamics. While this generation is a few inches shorter than its predecessor, it offers a slightly roomier interior than that of the 2nd-generation Equinox. The 3rd-generation Equinox is also the most fuel efficient Equinox generation yet thanks to the fact it is 400 pounds (180 kg) lighter than its predecessor and because it features a new line of fuel-economy-focused, turbocharged 4-cylinder engines. The engine options for this generation include a 170-horsepower 1.5-liter turbo gas engine, a 252-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo gas engine, or a 137-horsepower 1.6-liter turbo-diesel engine.
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