We test drove the new Mazda CX-5, Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue, Hyundai something and a few other SUVs. The top of our list was the Equinox, Escape and CX-5. The Ford and Chevy were our two favorites, but at the end of the day the Equinox was cheaper for the fully loaded version and came with a 100k mile/5yr warranty, vs the 60k on the Escape. We got the LTZ loaded with FULL LEATHER seats, not partial leather in the Titanium (beware! you can find full leather Escape Titaniums but MOST of the Titaniums are PARTIAL leather where just the middle insert is leather!).
To anyone looking at new SUVs, be sure to test drive BOTH the V6 and 4 cylinder Equinox, there's a huge difference in power!
We love the 264hp V6, 3500lb towing capacity and amazing legroom in the back seat. The center electronics in the 2013 Escape are harder to use, whereas in the Equinox its easy to find everything +has hard buttons for the most frequently used tasks. Nav and bluetooth calls are super easy. I also like how I can send a Google map STRAIGHT to my car from my phone - how awesome is that? The microphone is amazing - when you make or receive a call you just talk normal like the person is sitting next to you. It's awesome to be able to talk and drive without fumbling for your phone. The collision detection and lane change systems are ingenious, and the backup camera with park assist is invaluable.
We were willing to forego the higher mpg 4 cylinder for the V6, as we like having passing power - but like everyone else we wouldn't mind if the V6 got 30mpg. We're averaging about 20mpg right now with mixed driving, which isn't bad for a powerful SUV.
We would like to see side step bars, the Equinox isnt hard to get into for adults but we have a 3yr old and it would help him to have the step. He manages to get in on his own, just has to exert a bit more energy (being a toddler we dont mind him getting a little tired!)
Oh, OnStar could be a bit cheaper, we like it has 6mo free but $30/mo is a bit steep. They have a cool app for your Android / iPhone that lets you start your car remotely.