2016 Chevrolet Equinox

Though positioned against compact models from competing brands, the second-generation Chevrolet Equinox crossover is dimensionally closer to a mid-size. This means it offers a relatively spacious interior to go along with an impressive 32 mpg highway rating and plenty of standard equipment.

Recent Changes
For the latest model year, the Equinox receives a facelift that brings a sharper look, a redesigned dashboard, more tech features, and a new infotainment system.

Overview
Visually, the Equinox falls in line with Chevrolet's newest design language. Underneath the sheetmetal, the Equinox shares a platform and many other major mechanical components with the GMC Terrain.

Life aboard
Reflecting GM's commitment to improving interior refinement after years of being trampled by its Asian competitors in material quality and fit finish, the Equinox's five-passenger cabin is a well-designed space with a simple yet attractive dashboard and an easily navigable center stack. Cargo space behind the rear seats is a useful 31.4 cubic feet, with 63.7 cubic feet available with the rear seats folded out of the way.

The Equinox is available with the latest generation of Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system, which combines entertainment and Bluetooth-based connectivity functions into a seven-inch touchscreen mounted on the dashboard. The setup enables hands-free phone calls, streaming audio via Pandora radio and Stitcher SmartRadio, and navigation through a downloadable BringGo app.

OnStar with 4G LTE and Wi-Fi capability comes standard.

Under the hood
The base engine for the Equinox is a 2.4-liter direct-injection four-cylinder "Ecotec" unit that delivers 182 horsepower at 6,700 rpm and 172 pound-feet of torque at 4,900 rpm. Mated to a standard six-speed automatic, this thrifty motor returns an estimated 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway in the vehicle's standard front-wheel-drive configuration. An optional all-wheel-drive system enhances traction in inclement weather but lowers mileage to 20/29 mpg.

The V6 is a 3.6-liter unit that makes 301 horsepower and 272 lb-ft of torque and teams with a six-speed automatic. Despite being much more powerful than the 3.0-liter unit it replaced, the 3.6-liter matches the smaller unit's 17/24 mpg with FWD and 16/23 mpg with AWD.

Towing capacity is rated at 1,500 for the four-cylinder and 3,500 with the V6.

Trim level breakdown
The Equinox is offered in four trim levels called L, LS, LT, and LTZ, respectively.

L models come standard with front-wheel drive, manual A/C, a seven-inch touch screen, an AM/FM radio, an 80-watt sound system, cruise control, power door locks, front floor mats, cloth upholstery, 12-volt outlets, OnStar, remote keyless entry, bluetooth connectivity, a rear-view camera, a multi-function steering wheel, body-colored door handles, 17-inch alloy wheels, tinted windows, and black mirrors.

LS models add all-wheel drive, SiriusXM satellite radio, a compass, and rear floor mats.

LT trims bring Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system, LED daytime running lights, deep-tinted windows, luggage rails, heated body-colored mirrors, specific 17-inch alloys, and the bigger V6 engine.

Finally, LTZ models come with automatic A/C, a cargo net, a memory setting for the mirrors and the driver's seat, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, leather upholstery, a remote starter, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, chrome accents, chromed door handles, halogen fog lights, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Options include a navigation system, a sunroof, a forward collision/lane departure warning system, and bigger wheels.

Occupant safety
All Equinox models come standard with dual front, side and side-curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems.

Key competitors
As the Equinox straddles the line between the compact and mid-size crossover segments, its competitors include both smaller vehicles like the Subaru Forester as well as larger ones like the Ford Edge and Hyundai Santa Fe.