2023 Chevrolet Equinox Review

2023 Chevrolet Equinox - Equinox equals value plus style


Equinox joined Chevy’s team back in the 2005 model year along with its automotive twin at the time, the Pontiac Torrent. Both Pontiac and Torrent now register as footnotes of automotive history. A second-generation Equinox followed in 2010 while Gen three debuted in 2018 (undergoing a mid-cycle update in 2022). Our 2023 tester falls within this third-generation umbrella.

During the 2022 calendar year, GM’s Bow Tie division sold 212,032 Equinox units in the U.S., ranking the compact crossover as the 13th best-selling vehicle.  The only other Chevy to outpace Equinox sales was the full-size Silverado pickup ranking a runner-up number two in total sales with 512,354 units. Ford’s full-size F-150 pickup took top honors once again. 

The high-volume five-door Equinox crossover boasts four trims levels (LS, LT, RS and Premium) all with standard front-wheel drive while optioning Midwest-friendly all-wheel drive across the board (for an extra $1,600). The sole engine returning from 2022 is a 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder turbocharged variety cranking out 175 horses.  This number reflects an increase of five ponies from 2022 thanks to minor engine tweaks including a higher-pressure fuel system.  Expect a zero-to-60 time in under nine seconds. Also returning is a six-speed automatic transmission summoned via a vertically sliding handle between front bucket seats (just left of duo inline cupholders). 

The engine includes seamless transition of engine start/stop technology saving fuel during prolonged stops, such as when waiting at red lights.  The engine ceases churning when stopped, summoning back to life once the right foot lifts off the brake pedal. A decade earlier this process could feel intrusive even within luxury vehicles.  Equinox smooths the process and if desired, a push of a dashboard button near the flasher icon disengages the system.

Equinox rolled out a pair of diesel turbos under hood at the start of its third-generation in 2018, but quietly retired the effort by the time 2020 rolled along. While providing excellent fuel economy, take rates were low. In the 2024 model year, Equinox debuts an all-electric (EV) version. 

The two-row Equinox needs all the ponies it can muster to battle the likes of popular competitors including Toyota’s RAV4 and Honda’s CR-V. Both offer a bit more under hood livelihood but Equinox dazzles with a $26,300 starting price, less than most rivals.  That number swells to approximately $40,000 when summoning a fully loaded all-wheel-drive upper trim. All compete in the highly popular compact crossover segment, still one of the industry’s hottest.

Both RAV4 (180.9 inches of length) and CR-V (184.8 inches) promote themselves as compacts, with Equinox splitting between its two volume competitors at 183.1 inches.  Two full-size adults fit with optimal comfort when visiting row two; three in a pinch but only for short jaunts The 60/40 split seatbacks fold flat onto cushions opening a cargo area reaching a usable 63.9 cubic feet. Some compacts (looking at you Mitsubishi Outback) try to squeeze in a third seating row, tightening interiors at the expense of overall comfort.  Equinox very wisely promotes just two. 

Other than the slight horsepower uptick, Equinox remains relatively unchanged from 2022 save for electronic brake boosters, providing an instant response with just a touch of the left foot.  Equinox has always provided a pleasant driving experience appealing to a value-driving audience. It’s uni-body (car-like) underpinnings relegate it primarily to on-road pavement travel. 

All trims benefit from appealing exterior styling with bejeweled LED headlights upfront in a narrow inline format flanking a tri-bar horizontal grille with the iconic golden bow tie center high. Diminutive amber turn-signal lights stretch in a line above front headlight housing, easily seen by others on the road.   Stylish LED taillights grace the back in a boomerang fashion extending to side fenders.

Expect cloth upholstery in most trims with top-gun Premier boasting a perforated leather-appointed dynamic with either Jet Black or Maple Sugar color schemes. The center multi-function information screen measures a rather compact but easily digestible seven inches with an eight-inch variety optional.

Our Premium tester with all-wheel drive listed at $33,100. Stand-alone options included a $1,495 power sunroof and $495 tint coat exterior paint. Packaged options included $1,745 confidence and convenience group (radar-enhanced adaptive cruise control and park assist, ventilated front bucket seats) and $1,125 infotainment package (Bose stereo, larger 8-inch center screen, in-dash navigation and a wireless Smartphone charging pad). The bottom line reached $39,355 with $1,395 destination ding.

Premier trims exclusively feature as standard fare: chrome strap-like exterior side door handles, safety rear seat alert messages within the instrument panel, automatically dimming rear-view mirror, heated steering wheel, bright roof rails and fog lamps.

Safety alert functions built upon radar-sensing technology (including cross traffic alert, forward collision alert and rear park assist) offer two distinct methods to attract driver’s attention; the most recognizable being audio beeps.  Equinox offers an alternative to this noisy, sometimes annoying option involving the sense of touch.  Pulsating massages emanate from the driver’s seat cushion indicating potential conflicts. For example, if pulling out slowly from a tight parking spot while in reverse, one of the two sides of the seat cushion vibrates depending upon the direction of the passing vehicle’s path. Drivers must choose between audio or pulsating warnings via the instrument panel menu.

The easy-read, easy-operate instrument panel combines several old-school analog gauges with a small center multi-panel center window. A larger left-side tachometer and right-side speedometer flank the animated screen with smaller fuel and temperature analog gauges atop.

Our medium-sized eight-inch in-dash multi-function screen sits within the upper center dash employing large icons and touch sensitive capabilities. Compared to rivals it’s easy to digest and relatively user friendly.  Below a single twist knob operates volume flanked by push panels commanding station selection. The push-panel HVAC system below sets up in tic-tac-toe fashion (3 rows by 3 columns) to quickly summon fan speed and direction.  Temperature settings outside this frame feature a twist dial (or dials) monitoring single or dual-zone front temperatures.

A circular electronic start push-button resides right of the manually-adjustable three-spoke steering wheel/column. A green rectangle within the orb conveniently illuminates with the engine running and darkens when powered down, a welcome gentle reminder.

Entry LS models feature a manually-operated liftgate while all others offer a power version standard with Premium trims throwing in a hands-free opportunity. The lower driver’s door is home to the remote button/dial opening the power hatch within our Premier trim.  Another Premier-trim exclusive:  two different level hatch door settings easily selectable via a twist regulating how far the hatch opens up, although most will opt for the taller of the two providing enough clearance for those six-foot three inches and shorter.

Front-wheel drive editions hold 14.9 gallons of regular 87-octane fuel while all-wheel drive models swallow 15.6 gallons. All-wheel drive versions reach 30 miles per gallon while on the highway, average in this segment.  Opting for front wheel drive adds one additional travel mile.  City travel checks in at 24 mpg and 26 mpg respectively. All trims include a capless refill feature, eliminating the need for a twist-off plastic covering.  The gasoline nozzle punches its way through a thin metal resealable barrier during each visit.

While not excelling in any one quality, Equinox performs adequately in most.  It’s competitive starting point remains key to attracting price-sensitive shoppers.

2023 Chevrolet Equinox Premium

Price as Tested: $39,355
Engine: 1.5-liter turbo four-cylinder
Horsepower: 175
Wheelbase: 107.3 inches
Overall Length: 183.1 inches
Overall Width:  72.6 inches
Overall Height:  65.4 inches
Fuel Economy: 24 mpg city/30 mpg highway
Powertrain warranty: Five year/60,000 mile
Curb weight: 3,512 pounds
Assembly:  Mexico

Dave Boe

Dave Boe, a lifetime Chicago area resident, worked at the Daily Herald, Illinois' third-largest daily newspaper, for 24 years. In 1989, the Daily Herald began a weekly Saturday Auto Section and he was shortly appointed editor. The product quickly grew into one of the largest weekend sections in the paper thanks to his locally-written auto reviews, the introduction of a local automotive question-and-answer column, a new colorful format and news happenings from Chicago area new-car dealerships.

Five years later, a second weekly auto section debuted on Mondays with Boe adding an industry insight column and introducing a "Love Affair with Your Car" column where readers sent in their own automotive memories for publication. During the next 10 years, the number of weekly auto sections Boe edited and coordinated grew to five and featured expanded NASCAR racing coverage, a dealer spotlight/profile feature and a Car Club Calendar where grass-roots automobile clubs could publish upcoming events for free. Boe also introduced more local automotive columnists into the pages of the sections, all of whom were seasoned members of the well respected Midwest Automotive Media Association. In 1997, Boe earned the Employee of the Year award from the Daily Herald.

Boe is a founding member and current president of the Midwest Automotive Media Association. He has degrees in Journalism and Business Administration from Northern Illinois University.