By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 7.2
Technically, the 2015 Chevrolet Equinox competes against compact SUVs like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Ford Escape. Like those, it seats five, and thanks to its considerably bigger dimensions, it offers up a roomy back seat. The compromise is with cargo space, where the Equinox falls short of even its smaller compact competitors. Behind the wheel, the Equinox isn't particularly exciting, but it does offer up a comfortable and quiet ride. It's also one of the only compact crossover SUVs to offer a V6 engine, a 301-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 that lets the Equinox tow up to 3,500 pounds. Fuel-conscious buyers will be more interested in the 4-cylinder version, which claims a competitive 32 mpg.
If you haul rear-seat passengers more often than you fill the cargo area in your compact SUV, then you might want to give the 2015 Chevy Equinox a look. The ability to tow 3,500 pounds in V6 models is shoulders above most competitors.
Despite its large exterior dimensions, the 2015 Chevrolet Equinox doesn't offer very much cargo space. If you need to haul more stuff, check out something like the Honda CR-V. If you need more passenger space, but don't want a bulky vehicle, a Kia Sorento could be a good choice.
KBB Expert Ratings
The 2015 Chevy Equinox is virtually identical to last year's model. The only notable change is 4G connectivity through OnStar, plus the ability to share that connection with other devices through onboard Wi-Fi.
If you're a fan of a quiet and comfortable highway ride, then you're going to love the Chevy Equinox. The relative quiet gives this Chevy the feel of a more...
... expensive vehicle, and that's just fine with us. However, otherwise the Equinox is pretty straightforward on the road. The more powerful engine doesn't exactly slingshot this SUV, and even the 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder in the Ford Escape feels quicker. Blame weight: The V6 Equinox weighs nearly two tons, and the 4-cylinder models aren't much lighter, but at least they improve on fuel economy. Still, despite competitors like the Mazda CX-5, which enjoys a twisty back road now and then, the compact SUV market isn't exactly a hotbed of driving excitement anyhow. Instead, you'll likely enjoy the ride, features and roomy back seat over long hauls.
ADJUSTABLE POWER LIFTGATE
Power liftgates are nothing new. However, they can be a mixed blessing, as it's all too easy to accidentally hit whatever's above the door, possibly damaging it. The optional power liftgate on 2LT models and standard in the top-line LTZ trim has an adjustable height setting to avoid overhead collisions.
If the 2015 Chevy Equinox has an ace up its sleeve, it's rear-seat room. With 39.9 inches of legroom, and a back seat that slides, the Equinox has plenty of space for passengers to stretch out. Not to mention, it makes installing a child seat that much easier.
Despite being comfortable and versatile, the Equinox doesn't make the best use of its exterior bulk inside. For example, even though the Honda CR-V is nearly 10 inches shorter, it boasts roughly six more cubic feet of storage behind the rear seat. The flip side of that is passenger seating, and here the Chevy Equinox shines. With well-bolstered seats, front and back and lots of legroom for all passengers, it's easy to get comfortable, even with a full load of people. The high-quality interior is attractive overall, but marred by too many buttons and small dials.
The 2015 Equinox is surprisingly big. In fact, at more than 187 inches, it's actually longer than a Ford Edge or the 3-row Kia Sorento, both of which fall into the midsize-SUV category. However, the soft curves of the sheet metal balance the overall boxy shape, making the Equinox look a little smaller than it is. Higher-end models feature body-colored mirrors and roof rails. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard, with 18-inch and 19-inch versions available.
The base 2015 Chevrolet Equinox LS comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission, cruise control, a trial of GM's OnStar service that includes 4G connectivity and Wi-Fi, and safety features like traction control, electronic stability control, and multiple airbags, including those for rear outboard passengers. If you move up to the mid-level LT model – a better bet in our opinion – you get a standard rearview camera, heated outside mirrors, a roof-mounted luggage rack, and overall nice trim. The top-level LTZ gets leather seats, a power front passenger seat, a power tailgate, lane-departure warning and forward-collision alert.
All-wheel drive (AWD) is an option on all Equinox models, including the base LS, but if you want V6 power you'll have to move up to the LT or LTZ models. The LS is pretty stripped down, and stays that way. But the LT has plenty of options to keep you busy, including a lot of things that are available on the LTZ like lane-departure warning and forward-collision alert. You can also get navigation, an upscale Pioneer audio system, and a sunroof. A rear-seat entertainment package with DVD player with dual screens and two wireless headphones can keep kids occupied.
Standard issue on the 2015 Chevy Equinox is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with 182 horsepower. "Adequate" is probably the best way to describe its ability to haul the 3,700-pound SUV. If you're looking at an LT or LTZ, a 3.6-liter V6 with 301 horsepower is available, and it does a better job hauling the Equinox, but it's still not a speed demon. Either engine comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission, and both run on regular gasoline. If you need to tow, the V6 is the better choice thanks to its 3,500-pound capacity. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard with either engine, with all-wheel drive an option for those who want a little extra peace of mind on slippery roads.
182 horsepower @ 6,700 rpm
172 lb-ft of torque @ 4,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 mpg (FWD), 20/29 mpg (AWD)
301 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
272 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg (FWD), 16/23 mpg (AWD)
Buy a bigger vehicle, pay a bigger price. The 2015 Chevrolet Equinox starts at about $25,000, more than you'd pay for a base-model Honda CR-V. Step up to the LT1 or LT2 and you'll pay about $27,000 and $28,000, respectively. Top-line LTZ models start at about $32,500. If you want all-wheel drive, you're going to pay about $1,700 extra, and the V6 engine adds about $1,400. By comparison, the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape have starting prices below that of the Equinox, while the Kia Sportage starts under $20,000, well below the Chevy. To make sure you're getting the best deal, check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price below. In terms of resale value, the Equinox is expected to hold up well against most rivals, but below the strong residual values of the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Kia Sportage.