By Frank Aukofer ~
As a 17-year-old with a long list of worthy and eager competitors, the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox has not achieved Olympian status. But with almost 3.3 million United States sales in its short lifetime, it need not apologize for anything.
The stalwart compact crossover sport utility vehicle, introduced in 2004 as a 2005 contender, butts bumpers with the likes of the best-selling Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V, as well as other crossovers like the Ford Bronco Sport and Nissan Rogue. In 2021, among 15 crossovers of various sizes, it ranked eighth with 165,323 U.S. sales.
Though it may not earn a gold medal, the Equinox qualifies as a serviceable, reliable and reasonably priced companion for buyers shopping in what has become the most popular class of vehicle in America.
The big station wagons of yore like the 1970 Chevrolet Kingswood Estate, with its gas-guzzling 400 cubic inch V8 engine, rear-facing third-row seat and seven-passenger capacity, no longer exist. For a time starting in the mid-1980s, industry bettors believed the family conveyance of the future would be the minivan. But that category has declined, replaced by SUVs and crossovers.
SUVs, or sport utility vehicles, are defined as truck-based, with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, and rugged body on frame construction to tackle challenging off-road terrain—vehicles like the new Ford Bronco, Toyota 4Runner and Jeep Wrangler.
Crossovers are generally of unit-body construction like passenger cars, with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. They are the versions experiencing rabbit-like proliferation in the current marketplace.
The crossover driven for this review was the 2022 Equinox RS with all-wheel drive. There are four versions, or trim levels: the base LS with a $27,445 price tag; LT at $28,545; the tested RS at $31,745, and Premier at $32,645. All prices include the destination charge.
For 2022, the Equinox’s styling was refreshed, though delayed for a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Features include a new grille, redesigned headlights and updated front and rear bumpers. The RS trim level also is new for the 2022 model year.
Inside, the Equinox offers an attractive, welcoming ambiance with supportive and comfortable front seats, roomy back seats, also comfortable except for the usual tight center-rear position. The tested RS model featured red stitching and seats covered in black leather, and the front seats were heated.
All versions use the same power train: a 1.5-liter, 170-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 203 pound-feet of torque, or twisting force. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive a $1,600 option. A six-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode gets the power to the pavement.
Automated emergency braking with pedestrian recognition is standard, along with lane-keeping assist and lane-departure warning. The RS model also included black 19-inch alloy wheels and exterior trim, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist with lane-departure warning, blind-spot and lane-change alert, front and rear park assist, and rear cross-traffic alert.
Other equipment, some optional, included adaptive cruise control, GM On Star services with available 4G LTE WiFi, dual-zone automatic climate control, SXM satellite radio, leather upholstery, power lift gate, power driver’s seat, eight-inch center infotainment screen with navigation and voice recognition, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple Car Play and Android Auto, black roof rails, and leather-wrapped heated steering wheel.
All of that brought the suggested delivered price up to $36,515, reasonable given the amenities and the fact that the average price of a new car in the U.S. has climbed to around $47,000.
In the federal government’s test program, the Equinox earned five-star ratings overall and for frontal and side crashes. The rollover test received four stars.
The Equinox’s turbo four-banger is not made for burning rubber, with a zero to 60 miles an hour acceleration time in the eight to nine second range.
Despite its relative shortage of power—a previous optional 2.0-liter turbo four-banger has been dropped—the tester with driver and one passenger, rear seatbacks folded for a full load of family beach vacation equipment, luggage and food, had little trouble keeping up with Interstate highway traffic. It handled capably around curves and rapid lane changes in heavy traffic. The ride was comfortable and the RS cruised quietly with minimal engine, road and wind noise.
The biggest gripe of the Equinox’s reviewers is that it has been shortchanged on power. But often, as in ice skating or ballroom dancing, finesse can trump power to deliver overall performance. The Equinox does that.
- Model: 2022 Chevrolet Equinox RS AWD four-door crossover sport utility vehicle.
- Engine: 1.5-liter four-cylinder, turbocharged; 170 hp, 203 lb-ft torque.
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic with manual-shift mode and all-wheel drive.
- Overall length: 15 feet 3 inches.
- Height: 5 feet 4 inches.
- EPA/SAE passenger/cargo volume: 99/30 cubic feet.
- Weight: 3,645 pounds.
- Towing capability: 3,500 pounds properly equipped.
- EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 25/30/27 mpg.
- Base price, including destination charge: $32,895.
- Price as tested: $36,515.
Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided the vehicle used to conduct this test drive and review. Photos © BMW