By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.8
In the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox compact SUV, Chevrolet stretched the boundary of what is considered "compact" to create a small SUV priced and equipped like the segment-leading Honda CR-V, but with more power, more features and more style. Comparatively, the Toyota RAV4 might be a better matchup, as both vehicles have the same larger footprint, offer the option of a V6 engine and are similarly priced. Although unlike the RAV4, the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox SUV does not offer a third-row seat, it does have plenty of room for five and a sizable cargo hold to boot. The Traverse is more stylish than many of its competitors, including the conservatively styled Kia Sorrento and somewhat dated Ford Escape. With some of the best fuel-economy figures in the segment, the 2012 Chevy Equinox continues to draw customers-new and repeat alike-making the most of every penny they spend.
If you like the idea of driving a small SUV, but you want carlike ride and handling, excellent gas mileage, cutting-edge navigation, audio and cell-phone connectivity and you demand it all in a vehicle with a strong sense of style, the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox will likely meet all your criteria and then some.
The 2012 Chevy Equinox compact SUV gains blind-spot mirrors on all trims, while Bluetooth is now standard on the LS trim. A rearview camera is added to the 1LT trim and a new 7-inch color touch-screen radio with USB port is made standard on 1LT, 2LT and LTZ. Later in the model year, Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment and safety system becomes available.
Driving Impressions If the 2012 Chevy Equinox compact SUV has one standout feature, it's the vehicle's roomy, quiet and nicely appointed interior. If you count yourself as someone more interested in fuel...efficiency rather than the fastest 0-to-60-mph time, the standard 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with its 182 horsepower should more than suffice. Teamed to an ultra-smooth 6-speed automatic transmission, the Equinox's 4-cylinder engine has no problem moving the little SUV, and its ability to select the right gear for maximum fuel economy earns the 2012 Chevy Equinox SUV an EPA highway estimated 32 mpg. If you're not trying to squeeze every drop of gasoline from your tank, the 264-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 delivers a much more robust performance. V6-powered models also offer more optional equipment, such as the Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert systems. Finding a comfortable position behind the wheel is a breeze thanks to the tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and power adjustable seat. The Equinox's sliding rear seats make it easy for rear-seat passengers to get comfortable, especially those with long legs.
If you have low garage clearance or limited vertical reach, the 2012 Chevy Equinox SUV allows the tailgate to be programmed to open to a safe or reachable height.
This is an option we think more vehicles in the class should offer. In the 2012 Chevy Equinox compact SUV, the system features two independent seatback-mounted screens on which one rear passenger can watch a DVD movie while the other plays a (self-supplied) video game, for instance.
While the interiors of the Hyundai Santa Fe and Honda CR-V may be newer than the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox crossover SUV, we still think the Equinox has one of the most visually dynamic instrument panels and interior layouts in the segment. Aside from some plastics that look a bit cheap, the stunning flow of the center stack and the Equinox's ice-blue ambient lighting and available perforated leather seats make you forget you're not in a luxury crossover. Order the 2-tone Jet Black/Brownstone leather seat package, and you'd swear you were driving in a new small Cadillac crossover rather than in a Chevy. Beyond its good looks, the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox provides excellent room for four adults, a vast cargo hold and lots of clever storage spots for drinks, cell phones and odd and ends. The rear seats can slide forward a full eight inches, creating an even larger cargo area. To help keep the cabin quiet, 4-cylinder models are equipped with active noise cancellation, a system that employs the audio speakers to cancel out intrusive sound waves with counteracting sound waves.Exterior
Unlike so many smaller crossover SUVs that attempt to mimic the styling of their full-size big brothers, Chevrolet wisely gave the 2012 Equinox SUV its own distinctive look. Looking more like a slightly overgrown Malibu wagon than a tough little SUV, the Chevy Equinox stands out with an oversized headlight treatment and the signature 2-bar grille. Eye-catching styling cues include the "floating" foglight bezels and the sharply creased fender flares that give the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox crossover SUV a decidedly racy appearance. While we find even the base trim to be attractive, it's the LTZ trim that makes our hearts race. With its 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels, chrome-covered door handles and neatly placed roof rack, the LTZ really stands out from its competitors' more pedestrian offerings.
All models have a 6-speed automatic transmission, while an "eco" mode on models with the 4-cylinder engine alters shift points to improve fuel economy. Safety and convenience are enhanced with standard OnStar, while XM Satellite Radio provides added entertainment value. The "smart" remote-start feature, standard on the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox 2LT and Equinox LTZ trims, also activates the heating and air conditioning.
The 2012 Chevy Equinox SUV offers a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a power liftgate, both of which are uncommon in the category. Other notable options include the 264-horsepower V6 engine, all-wheel drive, a navigation system, comprehensive premium audio system, remote start, rearview camera, leather seating, heated front seats, and a memory-enabled driver's seat and mirror. Later in the model year, Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system will allow users to connect their cell phones to the system, accessing such apps as Pandora and Stitcher Smart Radio via voice-activated commands.
Every 2012 Chevrolet Equinox compact SUV includes a fuel-efficient, 182-horsepower, 4-cylinder engine as standard equipment, and all but the entry LS trim level offer the upgrade to the 264-horsepower V6 for around $1,500. The engines feature direct-injection technology and are matched with 6-speed automatic transmissions, both of which simultaneously increase power and efficiency. The 4-cylinder versions offer an "Eco" button that sets the engine and transmission programming to mileage-maxing mode. Both engines are E85 compatible. The V6 offers manual shift control, although we felt it could be more responsive. The 4- and 6-cylinder versions feature tow ratings of 1,500 and 3,500 pounds respectively.
2.4-liter in-line 4
182 horsepower @ 6,700 rpm
172 lb-ft of torque @ 4,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 (FWD) 20/29 (AWD), 15/22 (E85, FWD), 14/20 (E85, AWD)
264 horsepower @ 6,950 rpm
222 lb-ft of torque @ 5,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (FWD), 12/18 (FWD, E85), 16/23 (AWD), 12/17 (AWD, E85)
By dogsam on Thursday, August 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,020overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"poor gas milage 20mpg not 32 mpg other then that and low oil light dones not low oil comes not come on when 2 quarts low you have check or eingine make nosie"
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By The Chief on Monday, August 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "space, reliability, options"
Cons: "four cylinder is kinda low on power"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I love my Equinox. It's a very comfortable car to drive, and has exceptional leg room in the back seats. I'm self employed and often have clients in the car, so that was a big plus for me. The cargo area is also quite spacious, and has several loops to attach bungee cords or other storage enhancements. It's very reliable on long trips, and as long as you stick to the recommended maintenance schedule, you're not going to spend a lot of money on this car's upkeep. The only thing I would do differently would be buy the 6-cylinder vs the 4. Its just a tad under-powered for the size, especially when merging or passing on highways. I'm either going to get another one next year, or go for a bigger vehicle like the Yukon (life changes mean I need more storage room for lots of trips). Buy one, you won't be disappointed unless you're looking to race."
7 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By slipkid on Wednesday, August 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfort, design, gas milage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Seems like a big gripe with this car has been mileage. I don't get it. I drive with the MPG screen on all the time. Over any given 50 miles (city and hwy) I'll average between 26 and 29 mpg... that's the average. Maybe some people need to wear lighter shoes."
9 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By micco on Monday, August 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "61000 miles on original brakes"
Cons: "Leather seats are to hard and not confortable."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"The 4 cyl.AWD Equinox is rated at 29 mpg highway, best we ever got is 24.5 our 2002 jeep with 135000 miles on it got better gas milage on the hwy.The 4 cylinder AWD equinox is totally gutless unless you get a running start don't try passing anyone,if anyone should buy one get the 6 cyl. The leather seats in our Equinox are as hard as rocks, I don't understand their thinking on this one they could be a little softer, not a confortable car on long trips.On the positive side still have the original brakes and tires but need new rear brakes as they are down to 20% left and tires before winter if we keep it."
10 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By Florida Realtor on Saturday, July 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfort, gas mileage, price & handling!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I need a vehicle that is reliable with good gas mileage but is roomy enough to carry real estate signs & people plus be able to safely traverse dirt roads. My 2013 Equinox does it, does it well and looks good doing it! It also handles well in heavy city traffic and mountain driving...I have driven it in both places and it handles like a dream. If you're looking for a vehicle that can do it all, this is the one, plus it's affordable!"
5 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By rotterdamron on Tuesday, July 15, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Poor gas mileage
Pros: "Comforts, interior."
Cons: "GAS MILEAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Overall I was pleased with the comfort and quality of the Equinox. It drove and handled quite well. However, the mpg was "grossly" overrated, and the miles between fill ups was a joke. It also shifted awkwardly, lunging forward at time."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful