By KBB.com Editors
Amid GM's imposing SUV and pickup truck fleet is a vehicle massive not so much in size, but in importance. Honda, Toyota and Ford have tended to dominate the compact SUV market, and Chevrolet needs to make a big splash. With the 2009 Equinox, Chevrolet has a major player, a vehicle larger than the redesigned Ford Escape and offering a V6 engine, an important feature not found with the Honda CR-V. Available in front or all-wheel drive, with a wide and roomy interior and loaded with standard and optional features demanded by today's modern mobile family, the 2009 Equinox is one of Chevrolet's best offerings.
If you need power and room, the 2009 Chevrolet Equinox offers some of the best passenger and cargo space in its class, as well as a standard V6 engine. The muscular good looks, comfy seats and long list of optional features are just icing on the cake.
If you're enthusiastic about the driving experience, the lack of a manual shifter and the minimal feedback of the electrically-assisted power steering of the LS, LT and LTZ trim levels may not appeal to you. Unlike many competitors, including the Saturn VUE, the Equinox is not offered as a hybrid version.
Revisions for 2009 are minor and include standard side-curtain airbags with rollover-detection sensors, standard XM Satellite Radio, three new exterior colors and the addition of Bluetooth connectivity to the OnStar 8.0 system.
Driving Impressions Put a heavy foot on the pedal and the 2009 Chevrolet Equinox takes it as a command, not a suggestion. While pulling away from a stop or negotiating slower traffic...on a two-lane road, the 3.4-liter V6 always delivers plenty of power. The Equinox also corners reasonably well, while remaining comfortable and quiet on the highway. For those drivers who may be more enthusiastic, one less-than-appealing aspect of the driving experience is the electric power steering system of the LS, LT and LTZ trims, which offers little feedback and an unnatural feel; we prefer the hydraulic system of the Sport trim level. And, a 40-foot turning diameter can make the Equinox seem like a full-size SUV in just about any parking lot.
Sliding Rear Seat
Slide it forward for more room in the cargo area. Then slide it back for more rear-seat legroom than even the biggest SUVs.
Multi-Level Cargo Area
A movable rear shelf allows for two levels of cargo or, for tailgate parties, two levels of chips, dips and dogs.
The increased length differentiating the Equinox from the outside also helps set the not-so-compact SUV apart inside. Generous headroom and legroom complement a clever sliding rear seat to maximize passenger or cargo space. The empty space is the high point in an interior marked by ill-fitting plastic, ho-hum cloth upholstery and a general lack of sophistication. Those seeking a more upscale interior should look to the Sport trim.Exterior
In compact SUV terms, the 2009 Chevrolet Equinox is enormous. Its wheelbase is nearly 10 inches longer than a Honda CR-V's and just a half-inch shorter than Chevy's own TrailBlazer mid-size SUV. Overall length falls an inch shy of the mid-size Ford Explorer. The Equinox is unmistakable as a Chevy with big, gold Chevrolet bowtie badges front and rear, plus angular styling that immediately evokes the automaker's Silverado and Avalanche pickups.
The 2009 Chevrolet Equinox LS features air conditioning, AM/FM stereo with single CD and six speakers, XM Satellite Radio, remote keyless entry, rear wiper and washer, OnStar, 16-inch aluminum wheels, height-adjustable driver's seat, fold-flat front passenger seat, sliding and split-folding rear seat, a multi-tier cargo storage system and power door locks, windows and mirrors. Standard safety features include dual-stage front airbags, side-curtain airbags, StabiliTrak, four-wheel disc brakes and a tire-pressure monitor. The Sport trim adds a 3.6-liter V6, 18-inch wheels, hydraulic power steering (replaces the electric assist unit for improved steering feel), six-speed automatic transmission with tap-up/tap-down shift mode, heated front seats and a sport suspension.
Popular Equinox options include all-wheel drive, leather seating, heated front seats, six-way power driver's seat, Pioneer premium AM/FM/6CD/MP3 audio system, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, power moonroof, 17-inch wheels, DVD navigation, remote start and an electrochromic rearview mirror.
Yes, the 3.4-liter pushrod engine is an old design, but it works well. The nearly vibration-free Equinox runs smoothly without protest and is jackrabbit quick when it comes to crossing crowded intersections. Passing at high speed is another matter as the engine seems to lose some of its kick past the 70 mile-per-hour mark. One of the nicest features of this engine is it won't bankrupt you at the gas pump. Buyers who can afford the Sport model get a smoother and more efficient 3.6-liter V6 featuring variable valve timing, dual overhead cams and a hydraulic power steering system for improved steering feedback.
185 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
210 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (FWD), 17/24 (AWD)
264 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
250 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (FWD), 16/24 (AWD)
By LA on Saturday, July 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Roomy back seats and leg room. Inside shows more wear than my previous cars. Trouble with blind spot, but this was my 1st SUV. Good chance that I will buy another Equinox."
By USC Fan on Saturday, June 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 89,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive"
Cons: "turn radius, gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Great off road and in the snow. Nothing has stopped it. AWD and 4L is great. I wish gas mileage was better."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Mike on Tuesday, June 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 350,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "reliability, room, comfort"
Cons: "centre console mediocre, otherwise nothing."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I brought an '08 Equinox LS in late december so from then until now it has been driven only 5.5 years. I have put 352,000 km on it. I drive 150+/day average. Fuel is 8.7l/100 km (about 26MPG). not one major repair. was out of town and needed an oil change, the mechanic was floored when I gave the mileage. runs like a top. handles like a dream, confortable and quiet.Tons of space and tows great. recommend following the maintenance schedule (as with any car) and you will not be dissapointed."
6 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By recycler on Sunday, June 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Drives easily, very roomy."
Cons: "Roof rack needs side openings for tie downs."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I've owned this car for 9 years. The worst I've had to do is put on new tires, rear brakes, and a battery."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Ginnyh on Monday, May 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 116,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good price, nice styling, comfortable seating."
Cons: "Leather seat cracking, carpet wears poorly."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Visor mirror covers both broke twice. Sunroof leaks. Engine fans required replacement. Leather driver seat cracked."
9 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By kblak2006 on Friday, May 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Cons: "Blind spots and repairs"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"I purchased this car used in 2011. 2 months after purchase, my heater went out (defect later recalled by chevy). luckily i still had a warrenty so they fixed it for free. The first year i had this car the traction conrol worked wonders.The second winter i could barely get around. I also dont like the giant blind spots on the front and rear windows. On the up side.. this car is very roomy and can easily sit my 6' husband in the backseat with leg room to spare."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful