2013 Chevrolet Equinox

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$24,225

starting MSRP

2013 Chevrolet Equinox
2013 Chevrolet Equinox

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Gas mileage
  • Sliding and reclining split rear seat
  • Interior design and quality
  • Accessible Latch anchors

The bad:

  • Mushy brake pedal feel
  • Left-side blind spot
  • Cloth bucket seats have hard cushions
  • Interior volume, considering exterior size

4 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2013 Chevrolet Equinox trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • Four-cylinder or new 3.6-liter V-6
  • Front- or all-wheel drive
  • New entertainment options
  • Six-speed automatic
  • 32 mpg highway rating for FWD four-cylinder

2013 Chevrolet Equinox review: Our expert's take

By Kristin Varela

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

The 2013 Chevrolet Equinox is a capable crossover SUV with a sliding rear seat that can flex and grow with your family, draping occupants in an interior that’s more luxurious and spacious-feeling than many of its body-type competitors.

When climbing in for the first time, my 10-year-old daughter exclaimed, “Mom, this is the coolest car ever! Can we pretty please keep it?”

Shoppers can choose between FWD and AWD in any of the Chevrolet Equinox trim levels, which include LS, 1LT, 2LT and LTZ (see all-wheel-drive versions side-by-side here). I drove the well-equipped AWD LTZ with a new 3.6-liter V-6 engine, plus optional MyLink radio with navigation.

The 2013 version hasn’t changed much since the past model year, the only major change being the addition of that available 3.6-liter V-6 engine, a step up from the entry-level 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. See the 2012 and 2013 models compared side by side here. If you’re in the market for something like the Equinox, you may also want to check out the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and Kia Sportage. See them all side by side here.

EXTERIOR
The 
Chevrolet Equinox is one of the few vehicles out there that appeals aesthetically to everyone in my family — or at least wasn’t overtly offensive to either my husband or to me. It manages to look upbeat and sporty without feeling testosterone-laden. It has smoothed-out lines without being too feminine or curvaceous. It meets a nice, modern, androgynous middle ground.

The Equinox is low enough to the ground that all three of my children, ages 8, 10 and 12, could climb in and out fairly easily. It has a ground clearance of 6.9 inches. The Subaru Outback has a relatively high 8.7 inches of ground clearance even though its roofline is slightly shorter overall than the Equinox.

I only wished for larger doors in the Equinox. With the backseat moved all the way back, I would have loved a wider door opening, offering a roomier entrance into the backseat.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FEATURES
The 
Chevrolet Equinox’s designers must be parents themselves, because there’s a nook and cranny to store anything and everything you might need in a day. Eighteen compartments come standard, according to Chevrolet. In addition to the usual two cupholders up front, the Equinox also gave me an extra open storage area just behind the gearshift that fit my phone perfectly. The center console was incredibly deep, enough to accommodate my laptop, but its narrow size makes it ineffective for an average-sized purse. Pockets in each of the four doors are quite shallow, making them less effective. I stashed my favorite travel coffee mug in one of them, and upon opening the driver’s-side door it went flying across the library parking lot, lodging itself under another car’s nasty, dirty, slushy car tire. Gross!

The real showstopper in the Chevrolet Equinox is its 60/40-split sliding backseat (it moves back and forth up to 8 inches), which can prove quite useful for a growing family. You can slide one or both sides to make room for a gargantuan rear-facing child-safety seat, then slide it forward once your child switches into a forward-facing seat — just in case you need to reach back and hand off a sippy cup or two. Once the kids are in school you can slide the seat all the way back to make room for growing legs and growing backpacks. Pushed all the way back, the Equinox offers 39.9 inches of legroom, more than the Honda CR-V’s 38.3 inches, the Kia Sportage’s 37.9 inches and the Ford Escape’s 36.8 inches of rear legroom.

The sliding second row also benefits the adults up front. My husband, at 6 feet, 2 inches, was able to slide his seat all the way back without fear of pinching and trapping the kids’ legs behind him.

The backseat also reclines, which makes finding a perfect fit for child and booster seats of any shape and size easy. It’s especially useful for youngsters in booster seats who still nap in the car. You can recline the seat to three different positions to find the right angle to take the edge off and keep your children from dangerously slumping over their seat belts when sleeping.

While the Chevrolet Equinox’s 63.7 cubic feet of maximum cargo space comes in toward the bottom of its pack of competitors, it still has more than enough room for all the paper towels and toilet paper you might purchase at the warehouse store. In comparison, the CR-V has 70.9, the Escape has 67.8 and the Sportage brings up the rear with 54.6 cubic feet of cargo space. The Equinox’s programmable-height power liftgate is optional on the 2LT and standard on the LTZ I drove. With only so many hands to juggle kids, backpacks, my purse, groceries, science projects, sleds and more, this is becoming a feature I refuse to live without.

The Chevrolet Equinox excels in the arena of interior fit and finish, as the entire vehicle feels much more luxurious than others in its price range. You feel it in the two-tone leather upholstery with red contrast stitching that’s standard on the LTZ trim (it’s an $800 option on the 2LT). You’ll also feel it in the hard plastic surfaces of the dash, which somehow manage to look and feel less cheap and chintzy than most. Some power adjustment, including height and lumbar, is standard on all trim levels. The LTZ adds more power adjustability and seat-position memory, and power for the front passenger seat, as well. This is something I really appreciate in a family setting. My husband and I are often in the car together for the weekend, and the ability to adjust both the driver’s seat and passenger’s seat for maximum comfort feels like a real luxury.

You’ll feel even better about spending time in the Equinox’s driver’s seat thanks to the large sun visors that protect against too many damaging side sun rays. They slide out on a hinge for additional coverage.

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Galore
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample

SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great – Excellent
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Some

BEHIND THE WHEEL
The new 3.6-liter V-6 engine, an upgrade to last year’s 3.0-liter engine, should have been in this car all along, as it feels appropriately powered. However, it sometimes seems to revert back to more stereotypical Chevrolet SUV/truck roots, as a Neanderthal-sounding groan sounds when trying to coax the Equinox up to speed on the highway. This loud engine noise is further exacerbated when urging the Equinox uphill.

The Equinox’s ride quality is pleasant; it manages to feel well-connected to the road, yet it’s soft enough to appeal to the average daily driver. There’s also less body roll in the corners than I had anticipated. It could definitely use some refinement in areas such as braking feel and engine noise, but with such a quality interior I was willing to overlook a bit more than I might in other cars.

The AWD, 3.6-liter Equinox I drove gets an EPA-estimated 16/23 mpg city/highway. The four-cylinder ups those numbers to 20/29 mpg. Choosing FWD increases combined mileage by 1 mpg for the V-6 and 3 mpg for the four-cylinder. There’s no change in mileage for the new V-6 versus the old one, despite its greater power.

SAFETY
The 2013 
Chevrolet Equinox is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick, having received the institute’s top rating, Good, in frontal, side and rear crash tests and a roof strength test. The 2013 Equinox also received four out of five stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with four stars in the front crash test, five for side crashes and four stars for rollover resistance.

As is required of all new models since the 2012 model year, the Chevrolet Equinox has standard antilock brakes, electronic stability control and traction control. There are six standard airbags in the Equinox: driver and front-passenger front airbags and side-impact airbags, plus side curtain airbags that extend to protect both the front and back rows.

Families installing child safety seats will be thanking Chevrolet left, right and center for their incredibly accessible and easy-to-use Latch system. The lower anchors are out in the open and visible between the seat bottom and back. Child seats installed using Latch — whether with a rigid or a flexible connector — will be easy to install thanks to the open lower anchors and the ability to recline the seatback.

Kids in booster seats may be slightly less enthused with the flimsy seat belt buckles, which can be tricky for small hands to maneuver into position without assistance.

The Chevrolet Equinox has a standard backup camera on the three upper trim levels. My test car also came equipped with backup sensors that alerted me with an audible tone if something was behind me. This is an increasingly important feature, especially for families who face the potential of young children, pets and toys inadvertently being behind the vehicle.

GM’s OnStar system is another fantastic safety feature for busy families on the go, and the Equinox comes equipped with a six-month trial.

See all the standard safety features listed here.

Send Kristin an email  

 

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.5
  • Interior design 4.4
  • Performance 4.2
  • Value for the money 4.2
  • Exterior styling 4.4
  • Reliability 4.3

Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

Just bought it but love it!

This car met our needs. Reasonably priced, decent mileage & attractive exterior with a few bells and whistles inside. Smooth ride with good gas mileage.

2.3

Major manufacturer lawsuits for engine

High oil consumption needs piston and rings. Needs well over $3,000 in repairs. Paid over $10,000 for vehicle and completely ripped off. Can't afford another car or high dollar repairs on top of payment. Want to warn others of my experience at RBT motors in Perry Ohio. Unfortunately I have to learn the hard way as the car is not covered under manufacturer warranty or dealership warranty.

4.7

Love me new (used) car

I found the car I really wanted and was able to get it. It has met all my needs and expectations. Great car, great experience, and I'd use cars.com again.

See all 255 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Chevrolet
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
36 months/36,000 miles
Corrosion
36 months/36,000 miles
Powertrain
60 months/100,000 miles
Roadside assistance
60 months/100,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 model years or newer/up to 75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12 months/12,000 miles bumper-to-bumper original warranty, then may continue to 6 years/100,000 miles limited (depending on variables)
Powertrain
6 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
172-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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