Introduction: 2013 Chevrolet Equinox
Compact and mid-size crossovers and sport utility vehicles seem to be part of a segment that captures a large part of the car-buying public’s affection. Folks feel safer when they are sitting a bit higher up, and the cargo capacity of these machines offers a real bonus. You can fill the vehicle with people, stuff, or both at the same time, and drive away in total comfort.
Chevrolet has handful of crossover and sport utility vehicles to choose from, and the 2013 Equinox is the five-passenger mid-size (or compact, per the EPA’s classification) option that fits quite nicely into the lifestyle of families and outdoor-loving singles. It’s been updated for the new model year, and now features a more powerful engine choice that yields the same fuel economy as the weaker engine it replaces. It’s not just about the engine though, and the 2013 Equinox is available with a host of interior features designed to keep everyone smiling.
Chevrolet offers the 2013 Equinox in a small variety of trims that are further separated by the ability to choose between front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive. The base trim is the Equinox LS, which is priced at $23,755 for the front driver and $25,505 if you want to power all four tires. Jumping up a notch to the $24,500 Equinox 1LT FWD adds a seven-inch touch screen and the Chevy MyLink infotainment system, as well as a few other premium pieces. The all-wheel-drive Equinox 1LT starts at $27,150. Swimming further into the luxury stream brings you to the 2013 Equinox 2LT, which starts at $27,270 ($28,620 for AWD) and items such as heated front seats, auto climate control, and remote start. Finally, if you want to check all the boxes, you can opt for the Equinox LTZ, which will cost you $30,515 or $32,265 depending on which wheels you want to drive the vehicle. This top-spec vehicle gets perforated leather seats, a power-programmable lift gate, lane departure warning, and quite a few other premium amenities.
Competition: 2013 Chevrolet Equinox
The 2013 Equinox has some heady competition. Chevy has targeted the likes of the Ford Escape, Kia Sorento, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe, and the Toyota RAV4. These vehicles have been, or are about to be, totally refreshed. Ford has a brand new Escape and Hyundai just launched an all-new Santa Fe, so the pressure is on Chevrolet to push the Equinox even further. This time around the bow-tie-badged vehicle gets a few upgrades on the inside, and a new optional engine under the hood.
We believe this might be an interim freshening up of the Equinox, with this second-generation version having been launched in 2010. It might be smart to keep your eyes peeled for an all-new version in a year or two.
Exterior: 2013 Chevrolet Equinox
Chevrolet launched the redesigned Equinox back in 2010, and the 2013 version still wears the family face rather handsomely. The wheels sit deep into the corners, which help give the Equinox an athletic stance. Up front, the grille is in your face and seems proud to show off the signature look along with the always-present bow tie badge. Upping the style ante a bit, Chevy offers a range of wheels to choose from that range from 17 inch rollers up to 19-inch windmills.
The whole look still works for the Equinox, but, as we said earlier, we’re ready to see the next generation. General Motors is working hard to breathe new life into its entire family of cars and trucks, and we’ve already seen a good deal of that with regards to style in many other models. The Equinox can’t be too far down on the list to receive its face lift.
Interior: 2013 Chevrolet Equinox
Chevy’s design team has managed to pull off a pleasing blend of simple style that incorporates nods to the automaker’s heritage. The separate rounded speedometer and tachometer gauges quickly remind you that you’re in a Chevrolet; while the comfortable duo-tone seat lets you know it’s a modern one. The center stack stretches sharply up from the transmission tunnel and serves as a pedestal for the available touch screen unit equipped with MyLink.
Moving to the rear, the Equinox offers up its standard MultiFlex rear seating system so that back-seat passengers are just as comfortable as the folks up front. If you’re carrying groceries instead of friends, simply fold the rear units down and enjoy the flat loading space.
Powertrain and Fuel Economy: 2013 Chevrolet Equinox
A 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine comes standard on all trims. This direct-injection unit produces 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque, and is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain duo is good for an impressive 32 miles per gallon on the highway with the front-wheel-drive Equinox. All-wheel-drive fans will have to settle for a still impressive 29 miles per gallon on the highway.
New for 2013 is the optional 3.6-liter V6, which replaces the 3.0-liter found on the outgoing model. This mightier mill is available on the LT and LTZ trims only. It produces 301 horsepower and 272 pound-feet of torque while returning 23-24 miles per gallon on the highway, depending on which wheels are driving the Equinox. Just like the four-cylinder unit, the V6 features direct injection and comes paired with a six-speed automatic.
Driving Impressions: 2013 Chevrolet Equinox
The 2013 Chevrolet Equinox is a great cruiser. It runs down the road quite smoothly, and the cabin aids in this by boasting rather comfortable front thrones. The Equinox also handles quite well thanks to its sub-4,000-pound curb weight. We do wish, however, that the steering heft was reduced a little bit. On twisty roads, it felt like we were trying to steer a larger vehicle. The wheel responded fine, it just took more effort than we initially expected to get it to do so.
From the front left seat, visibility isn’t really an issue. There’s plenty of glass used throughout the cabin, so you can typically find the angle that you’re looking for, which is a major plus in any crossover or sport utility vehicle.
Couple the smooth ride and comfortable seats with the available interior gadgetry and you wind up with a machine that provides an enjoyable space for trips both long and short. Throw in the strong fuel economy numbers and the driving experience is only raised higher.
Safety: 2013 Chevrolet Equinox
Chevrolet doesn’t mess around when it comes to vehicle safety, and the 2013 Equinox is no exception. There are air bags all over the cabin, including dual frontal air bags, head curtain side air bags, and pelvic/thorax seat-mounted side air bags. The Equinox is also offered with a rear-vision camera system that comes standard on the LTZ trim, and is available as an option on 1LT and 2LT versions. For those outside of the vehicle, daytime running lamps help keep the machine visible.
A plethora of available safety systems are also offered that up the tech a bit more. Forward Collision alert, Lane Departure Warning, and Rear Park Assist come standard on the top-tier LTZ model. These items are available as an optional extra on the Equinox 2LT.
Final Thoughts: 2013 Chevrolet Equinox
The 2013 Chevrolet Equinox has received a mild refresh ahead of a future redesign. What that means is that a solid choice in the mid-size/compact CUV and SUV segment has been gently tuned up and offers a few more upgrades over last year’s version. It’s a comfortable cruiser with an improved V6 engine option and bit more tech available on the inside.
We’re happy to see the new V6 in the lineup, but we’re eager to see what else Chevy has in store for the Equinox down the road. As the competition undergoes complete overhauls of its entrants into this segment it only makes the Equinox slide backwards into the pack. We’re not saying it’s a bad choice, in fact it’s a good choice thanks to the over-30-MPG highway fuel economy and available cargo space. The problem is that other automakers are bringing great choices to market, and we want to see Chevrolet do the same.
-New 3.6-liter V6 delivers strong performance while matching fuel economy of older 3.0-liter.
-Chevrolet MyLink is great tech with a very low learning curve.
-Comfortable seats provide pleasant space for journeys long and short.
-Competition is moving forward with redesigns, Chevrolet needs to catch up.
-Steering feel is on the hefty side.