The word "equinox" derives from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because that's what happens every spring — after a cold, dark winter, the day and night are finally of equal length. Of course, it also happens every fall after the sunny summer months, signaling the impending return of winter gloom. After a tumultuous few years, the folks at General Motors are hoping that their new crossover SUV, the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox, is of the vernal variety. After all, few companies need a good dose of summer sunshine as badly as GM.
We subjected a four-cylinder Equinox FWD 2LT to our usual battery of tests and came away believing that this is indeed a creature of the spring. No rival crossover SUV can match this Chevy's mix of limousinelike rear passenger space and 26-mpg combined fuel economy. A third-row seat is unavailable, but among two-row crossovers at this price point, the Equinox is certainly one of the most family-friendly. Unexpected standard features like automatic climate control and a rearview-mirror-mounted backup camera are additional points in the Equinox's favor.
Our main reservation concerns the 2LT's elevated price, which pits the Equinox squarely against Toyota's excellent four-cylinder Venza and Highlander models, as well as Subaru's redesigned Outback. Heck, you can get a well-equipped Toyota RAV4 V6 Sport for less than this four-cylinder Equinox, and like the Highlander, the RAV has an available third-row seat. Even the base Equinox is a bit pricey, listing for about $1,200 more than an entry-level Honda CR-V or Subaru Forester.
Nonetheless, we'd rather see competitive products from GM than yesteryear's lackluster efforts with bargain-bin price tags. Indeed, the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox is good enough that some may find the extra cost justified. Rest easy, sun-deprived Detroiters: This is the kind of Equinox we've been waiting for.
Our front-wheel-drive 2010 Chevrolet Equinox 2LT test vehicle was powered by a direct-injected 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only available transmission. At the test track, the Equinox galloped from zero to 60 mph in 9.3 seconds, which is competitive with other four-cylinder crossovers. Braking performance was indifferent, however, at 132 feet from 60-0 mph. On our slalom course, the Equinox snaked through the cones at a laggardly 60.2 mph.
In the real world, the 2.4-liter four sounds smooth and accelerates adequately, though the power doesn't really arrive until about 5,000 rpm, where a noticeable second wind kicks in. The six-speed automatic's EPA-friendly programming results in premature upshifts and reluctant downshifts, even when "Eco" mode is not activated, and a heavy foot doesn't mitigate these tendencies as much as we'd like.
We're guessing most buyers will make peace with the transmission's performance given the fuel economy estimates it helps the Equinox attain — 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined, a remarkable showing for a 3,783-pound utility vehicle.
Sharp handling isn't a priority for most shoppers in this segment, and Chevy's engineers have clearly taken this fact to heart. The Equinox is quite simply out of its element when the road turns twisty, unlike the rival CR-V. Even under ordinary conditions, the Equinox's high beltline and cowl rob it of the commanding perch that SUV drivers value so, making it feel more like an elevated wagon. The absence of that "king of the road" driving position could stick in some shoppers' craws.
The Equinox rides quietly at highway speeds, but the suspension can get jiggly over broken pavement. The automatic climate control system, standard on 2LT, helps keep passengers content. Seat comfort in our leather-upholstered test vehicle was superlative: the power driver seat's bottom cushion tilts independently of the seatback to accommodate a wider range of physiques, and all seats are nicely shaped and supportive.
The fore/aft-adjustable backseat is perhaps the Equinox's single finest feature — the seat cushion is pleasantly high without compromising headroom, and legroom is so copious that two 6-foot staffers could stretch out in back with inches to spare. The latter is largely a function of the Equinox's 112.5-inch wheelbase, which is a whopping 9.8 inches longer than the RAV4's. Overall, we found our Equinox more hospitable than most rivals, and it also bests its fancy-pants Cadillac SRX cousin, which can't match the Chevy's princely rear quarters.
The Equinox is currently the only vehicle in its class to offer a standard back-up camera, albeit one with a tiny display that's mounted in the rearview mirror. This was greatly appreciated in tight spots, as the Equinox is roughly 6 to 8 inches longer than its peers, making it more of a challenge to maneuver.
On the center stack, the audio and climate buttons are hard to decipher at a glance, but the two big knobs for volume and tuning are a model of ergonomics, as are the matching dual knobs for fan speed and temperature. The Pioneer-branded stereo works well with the standard iPod input, but sound quality is not particularly impressive, especially given the presence of a rather sizable subwoofer in the cargo area.
Like the SRX, the Equinox offers a power tailgate with a user-definable opening height preset, and our test car was so equipped. It's a nifty feature, especially for those who have to contend with low-hanging garage obstacles.
In our real-world functionality tests, the Equinox's 31.4-cubic-foot cargo bay easily swallowed our standard suitcase and golf bag; however, with the rear seatbacks folded, maximum cargo capacity is just 64 cubic feet, a disappointing figure considering the Equinox's size advantage over similarly priced crossovers. Not surprisingly, the enormous backseat accommodated a rear-facing child safety seat without issue.
Design/Fit and Finish
Our Chevrolet Equinox was equipped with the Chrome Appearance package, and we wish it hadn't been. We yearn for the day when GM finally understands that chrome isn't cool anymore. The Equinox's general shape is pleasing, though, if not particularly distinctive.
Inside, the dual-cowl dashboard layout is attractive and classy — from a distance, that is. Up close, materials quality disappoints, as the plastics feel cheap and are sharp-edged in places. There's also too much sun-reflecting chrome in the cabin. Fit and finish on our test car was below average, marred by a squeaky driver seatbelt buckle and a sporadic rattle from the center stack.
Who should consider this vehicle
The 2010 Chevrolet Equinox's distinguishing characteristics are its class-leading backseat comfort and fuel economy ratings. For shoppers in search of these virtues, the Equinox is the front-runner at this price point.
However, the Toyota RAV4 V6 offers superior performance and an available third-row seat, the Toyota Highlander and Venza have nicer interiors (and the Highlander an optional third row), and the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester and Outback are arguably better values. As usual, we recommend test-driving as many as possible before making your decision.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
2010 Chevrolet Equinox Overview Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2010 Equinox featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2010 Equinox 4.3 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2010 Equinox.
Vehicle LS 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
Review Over the past 45 years of owning a car I was dedicated to General Motors Buick, Saturn and Chevrolet automobiles. My 1998 Saturn SL2 now has over 170,000 miles recorded. However, six years ago I purchased a new 2010 Chevrolet Equinox, 2.4 cylinder engine with front wheel drive. My plan was to maintain this vehicle as required and drive it for at least 6 to 10 years. My background is in the aviation aircraft maintenance industry so I understand the need to follow the manufacturers maintenance requirements. I also understand the why problems occur and what should be accomplished to remedy the malfunction. During my routine vehicle weekly maintenance check, gas, oil, tire air pressure and other engine fluids, I started to record oil usage of 1/4 quart every 6 or seven hundred miles. This started at 35,000 miles of engine operation. At the next oil change by the dealer I asked if they could use a different type of oil because of the oil consumption concern. I was told by the Chevrolet Maintenance Manager that 1 quart of oil consumption for 1000 miles is normal for this type 2.4 cylinder engine. My surprise and concerned lead me to ask why I wasn't told this during the new purchase discussions and why its not in any of the new car customer maintenance booklet and advertisements. When an engine is designed to consume 1 quart of oil every 1000 miles at approximately 35,000 is something I would think the manufacturer should tell the customer before purchasing a brand new vehicle. My vehicles oil consumption increased to over 1 quart of oil every 1000 miles so the dealer agreed to an engine change at 51,000 miles. The dealer changed my engine but I was totally confused now because the Chevrolet Service Manager was saying that one quart of oil every 1000 miles is normal but over 1 quart of oil every 1000 requires and engine change. With a replacement engine installed, I drove the vehicle for an additional 35,000 miles when the replacement engine started to consume oil 1 quart every 1000 miles. The problem this time was the 5 year warranty expired by 1 month. If I wanted a replacement engine it would cost me $5500.00 dollars. My question to the dealer was the replacement engine only had 3500 miles of operating time, why do I have to pay for another replacement engine? After several hours of investigation it appeared to me that the oil consumption was due to scored piston liners. Long story short, General Motors and the Chevrolet Division did not appear to understand my problem with the engine. I was continually handed off to different departments and people who were not very polite or helpful. I was totally worn out and tired of battling the General Motors giant. I finally traded the vehicle for a new Toyota. I'm back on the road again with total confidence with the performance of my Toyota. I am very sorry that an American Icon like Chevy has lost its respect to the very people who helped bale them out of bankruptcy. A simple "we made a mistake and we will fix" it would go a long way. Will I purchase another General Motors (GM) vehicle? No! Will I recommend GM? No!
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Available Chevrolet Equinox 2010 Submodel Types: SUV, Diesel
Available Trims: LT, LS, LTZ, Premier, LT1, LT2, Sport, L
Exterior Colors: Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White, Black, Tungsten Metallic, Nightfall Gray Metallic, Orange Burst Metallic, Black Granite Metallic, Champagne Silver Metallic, Mosaic Black Metallic, Blue Velvet Metallic, Atlantis Blue Metallic, Storm Blue Metallic, Ashen Gray Metallic, Silver Topaz Metallic, Mocha Steel Metallic, Crystal Red Tintcoat, Iridescent Pearl Tricoat, Cajun Red Tintcoat, Cyber Gray Metallic, Sandy Ridge Metallic, White Diamond Tricoat, Gold Mist Metallic, Cardinal Red Metallic, Twilight Blue Metallic, Pepperdust Metallic, Siren Red Tintcoat, Deep Ruby Metallic, Dark Silver Metallic, Satin Steel Metallic, Navy Blue Metallic, Granite Gray Metallic, Ivy Metallic, Patriot Blue Metallic, Steel Green Metallic, Salsa Red Metallic, Sandstone Metallic, Silverstone Metallic, Crystal Red Metallic Tintcoat, Sea Grass Metallic, Graystone Metallic, Laser Blue Metallic, Bermuda Green Metallic, Galaxy Silver Metallic, Golden Teal Metallic, Black Amethyst Metallic, Meander Green Metallic
Interior Colors: Jet Black premium cloth, Medium Ash Gray premium cloth, Jet Black leather, Jet Black cloth, Light Titanium/Jet Black premium cloth, Light Titanium/Jet Black cloth, Light Titanium/Jet Black leather, Brownstone/Jet Black leather, Light Gray, Medium Ash Gray leather, Light Gray leather, Dark Gray premium cloth, Jet Black/Brandy leather, Dark Gray cloth, Jet Black/Light Titanium cloth, Jet Black/Cinnamon cloth, Saddle Up/Jet Black leather, Jet Black/Light Titanium leather, Jet Black/Light Titanium premium cloth, Light Cashmere, Light Cashmere cloth, Light Cashmere leather, Ebony cloth, Ebony leather, Jet Black/Brownstone leather, Light Cashmere premium cloth, Light Gray cloth
Popular Features: Alarm, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Aux Audio Inputs, Stability Control, Post-collision safety system, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, Bluetooth, USB Inputs, Power Driver Seat, Back-up camera, Remote Start, Mobile Internet, 3500lb Towing Capacity, AWD/4WD, Heated seats, Auto Climate Control, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Keyless Entry/Start, Sunroof/Moonroof, Leather Seats, Parking sensors, Blind Spot Monitoring, Upgraded Headlights, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Navigation, Lane Departure Warning, Upgraded Engine, Upgraded Stereo, Towing Hitch, 360-degree camera, Cooled Seats, Pre-collision safety system, Rear Entertainment System