2010 Chevrolet Equinox

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
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Reviews
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Key Specs

of the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Quietness
  • Gas mileage
  • Backseat space
  • Interior design and quality
  • Powertrain refinement
  • Affordable options

The Bad

  • Ride may be too firm for some
  • Mushy brake pedal feel
  • Left-side blind spot
  • Cloth bucket seats have hard cushions
  • Interior volume, considering its size

Notable Features of the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox

  • Redesigned for 2010
  • Four-cylinder or V-6
  • Six-speed automatic
  • 32-mpg highway rating for FWD 4-cyl.
  • Optional dual-screen entertainment system
  • Standard stability system

2010 Chevrolet Equinox Road Test

Mike Hanley

"Equinox" has become a truly apt name for Chevrolet's small crossover. Twice a year, the equinox marks a near-perfect balance between length of day and night across the planet, and for 2010 the redesigned Equinox offers an excellent balance of size and efficiency, roominess and utility, quality and price.

The second-generation 
Chevrolet Equinox four-cylinder surpasses the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4 — three of its main competitors — in gas mileage, and its stylish cabin brings high-quality materials and an upscale flair to the class. It also features a large backseat to keep passengers happy. Some people might find the Equinox's ride a bit too firm for a family vehicle, but there's enough good stuff going on here to elevate the Equinox — for the first time — into a discussion of the best small crossovers on the market.


It's offered in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels. I tested two LT versions of the crossover, one with the four-cylinder and one with the optional V-6 engine. (See a side-by-side comparison of the new Equinox and the previous version.)

 

Going & Stopping
The Equinox's claim to fame is its fuel economy — an EPA-estimated 22/32 mpg city/highway with the standard 182-horsepower four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive.

Small Crossover Gas Mileage
EPA-estimated city/highway mpg with base four-cylinder and automatic transmission
  FWD AWD
2010 Chevrolet Equinox...

"Equinox" has become a truly apt name for Chevrolet's small crossover. Twice a year, the equinox marks a near-perfect balance between length of day and night across the planet, and for 2010 the redesigned Equinox offers an excellent balance of size and efficiency, roominess and utility, quality and price.

The second-generation 
Chevrolet Equinox four-cylinder surpasses the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4 — three of its main competitors — in gas mileage, and its stylish cabin brings high-quality materials and an upscale flair to the class. It also features a large backseat to keep passengers happy. Some people might find the Equinox's ride a bit too firm for a family vehicle, but there's enough good stuff going on here to elevate the Equinox — for the first time — into a discussion of the best small crossovers on the market.


It's offered in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels. I tested two LT versions of the crossover, one with the four-cylinder and one with the optional V-6 engine. (See a side-by-side comparison of the new Equinox and the previous version.)

 

Going & Stopping
The Equinox's claim to fame is its fuel economy — an EPA-estimated 22/32 mpg city/highway with the standard 182-horsepower four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive.

Small Crossover Gas Mileage
EPA-estimated city/highway mpg with base four-cylinder and automatic transmission
  FWD AWD
2010 Chevrolet Equinox 22/32 20/29
2009 Toyota RAV4 22/28 21/27
2009 Nissan Rogue 22/27 21/26
2009 Honda CR-V 20/27 20/26
2009 Subaru Forester -- 20/26
2009 Ford Escape 20/28 19/25

 

Chevy expects the four-cylinder will make up about 70 percent of Equinox sales, with the other 30 percent going toward the optional 264-hp, 3.0-liter V-6. Both engines feature direct injection, which improves gas mileage, as do a more aerodynamic body and the use of low-rolling-resistance tires. Both engines team with a standard six-speed automatic transmission.

It's understandable that some customers would have reservations about purchasing a crossover, even a smaller one, with only a four-cylinder engine. (Heck, I think the smaller CR-V doesn't offer a lot of power.) The Equinox's four-cylinder, however, is a plucky little engine, and its smooth-shifting transmission reacts quickly when you need more power at midrange speeds. It doesn't feel underpowered, but it does start to lose steam when accelerating hard at 60 mph or so.

For people who want more reserve power for passing and merging, it's nice that Chevrolet offers a V-6; some of its competitors don't. It's a $1,500 option, and it's also going to cost you more at the pump because it gets an EPA-estimated fuel economy 18/25 mpg for front-wheel-drive models and 17/24 mpg for all-wheel drive.

The Chevy Equinox has front and rear disc brakes with ABS. While the brakes don't have trouble bringing this crossover to a halt, the pedal feel is lackluster; there's a mushiness to it that doesn't inspire confidence.

 

Ride & Handling
The Chevrolet Equinox is one of the better-handling small crossovers around. It's composed through corners and does a good job resisting body roll. There's a not-too-hidden price for this performance, as it comes at the expense of ride comfort. There's no question it might be too taut for some people — it was very close to the line for me.


The ride was a little tiresome on rougher roads, as you can feel small pavement cracks and patchwork in the cabin. Larger bumps could be absorbed better by the shocks in order to make the Equinox more agreeable to family-oriented buyers. Balancing ride comfort and handling is something Chevrolet did quite well in its Malibu midsize sedan, but the Equinox's focus on handling is greater than it needs to be for this vehicle type. By comparison, Chevrolet's Traverse three-row crossover offers more comfortable suspension tuning, as does the Nissan Rogue, one of the Equinox's competitors.

The Inside
The Chevrolet Equinox's redesigned interior is a big step up from its predecessor and now rivals the leaders in its segment. The design is modern yet functional and makes use of high-grade trim that fits tightly together.


I'm less enthusiastic about the Chevrolet Equinox LT's premium cloth bucket seats. They feature an interesting mesh pattern that looks durable, but the seats' firm padding isn't particularly comfortable. The optional leather seats, in comparison, provide some welcome softness.


The driving position affords excellent forward views, and the standard tilt/telescoping steering column lets you adjust the wheel just so. Taller drivers, however, might notice that the B-pillar blocks the view when checking their left-side blind spot.

Even taller adults can enjoy the Equinox's backseat thanks to its generous legroom. The one-piece bench seat can slide forward and backward as a whole, but each section of the split backrest can recline independently.

Cargo & Towing
The Chevy Equinox measures 187.8 inches long, 72.5 inches wide and 66.3 inches tall, which makes it substantially bigger than most small crossovers and similar to some midsize models. Unfortunately, the extra size doesn't translate into a larger cabin for people and cargo.

Small Crossover Dimensions
  Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Pass. Volume (cu. ft.) Cargo Volume (cu. ft.)
2010 Chevrolet Equinox 187.8 72.5 66.3 99.7 31.4
2009 Ford Escape 174.7 71.1 67.9 99.4 29.2
2009 Honda CR-V 177.9 71.6 66.1 103.8* 35.7
2009 Nissan Rogue 182.9 70.9 65.3 97.5 28.9
2009 Subaru Forester 179.5 70.1 65.9 107.6 33.5
2009 Toyota RAV4** 181.9 71.5 66.3 108.2 36.4
*LX trims.
**Two-row models.

 

A split-folding backrest lets you partially extend the cargo area to carry a golf bag, for instance, or you can fold down both sections of the seatback to expand the cargo area to 63.7 cubic feet. The extended cargo floor is nearly flat when the backrests are folded.

Maximum trailer weight ratings vary based on which engine is under the hood. When properly equipped, four-cylinder models are rated to tow 1,500 pounds and V-6s are rated at 3,500 pounds. These weight ratings are comparable to competitors', though the four-cylinder Forester can pull up to 2,400 pounds.

 

Features
A number of stand-alone options are available for the Chevrolet Equinox, and some are more affordable than you might think. For LT trims, the optional backup camera with its screen integrated into the rearview mirror costs $320, and the upgraded audio system is $395. A power liftgate that allows you to control how high it opens is $495, and a moonroof is $795. Chevrolet also sells a $495 Vehicle Interface Package that adds a USB port for connecting a portable music player to the sound system, along with remote start and Bluetooth cell phone connectivity.


There are also more expensive options. AWD costs $1,750. A dual-screen backseat entertainment system goes for $1,295, while the touch-screen navigation system, which features a 40GB hard drive that can store songs, is $2,145. There's no group discount for purchasing the entertainment system and navigation together; getting both will run you $3,440.

Equinox in the Market
It's worth understanding what Chevrolet recently did with its Malibu family sedan when considering the Equinox's place in the market. With the Malibu's redesign for 2008, Chevrolet took what had been a ho-hum sedan and turned it into one that could challenge segment leaders like the Honda Accord, no excuses necessary. It was a dramatic turnaround for the model that paid off in higher sales and reflected GM's commitment to product quality.

Chevy has taken the same approach with the Equinox, as its redesign is of the same magnitude as the Malibu's and vaults it into contention for small-crossover bragging rights. There are already some very nice models in this category, but the 
Chevrolet Equinox is another example of GM's focus on products, which is absolutely what it needs to have if it hopes to compete and thrive in the future. The Malibu and Equinox are authoritative steps in the right direction, but they can't be GM's last steps.

Send Mike an email  

 


2010 Equinox Video

Cars.com's Mike Hanley takes a look at the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox. It competes with the Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape.

Latest 2010 Equinox Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.5)
Performance
(4.0)
Interior Design
(4.3)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(4.1)
Value For The Money
(4.1)

What Drivers Are Saying

(2.0)

new buy an other again

by not a chevy guy anymore from woodbridge on August 15, 2018

When it works !!! it drives ok but at 130000. timing chain broke and now after repairing the cars it dies every time we come to a stop. Went back to Roy Foss the dealer and now they say i need a new ... Read full review

(1.0)

biggest lemon EVER !

by b k duke from Kingston Springs on August 9, 2018

lemon lemon lemon bought it from very reliable friend . first the trans.then the water pump witch destroyed the timing chain ,then took , followed by the motor ! junk !!! my mechanic highly suggested ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2010 Chevrolet Equinox currently has 3 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2010 Chevrolet Equinox LS

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
acceptable
Structure/safety cage
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 100,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Chevrolet

Program Benefits

Two Factory-Backed Warranties, CPO Scheduled Maintenance Program, Vehicle Inspection & Reconditioning, 3-Day/150-Mile Vehicle Exchange Program, 24/7 Roadside Assistance and Courtesy Transportation, OnStar & SiriusXM Satellite Radio Trial Offers, and a Carfax Vehicle History Report

  • Limited Warranty

    Two Factory-Backed Warranties

    6-Year/100,000-Mile, Powertrain Limited Warranty and a 12- Month/12,000-Miles, Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty, both with $0 deductible
  • Eligibility

    Under 5 years / 75,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 172-Point Inspection & Reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Equinox received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker