The 2022 Chevrolet Equinox has received a nip here and a tuck there, with fresh front-end styling and a slight rearranging of trims.
It also makes do with a single engine, meaning every copy sold will have precisely the same amount of power. Despite competing in a hotly contested segment, and being saddled with a few shortcomings, the updated Equinox offers good value – if you can cut through the engine noise to find it.
It’s clear the team at General Motors (GM) benchmarked the Canadian-made Honda CR-V when developing this powertrain, since the Equinox that’s built about 200 km away has identical displacement and turbocharger count. They also make peak output (both horsepower and torque) at precisely the same engine speed. At 170 hp, the Chevy is down 20 hp compared to the Honda, but outdoes it by 24 lb-ft in terms of torque.
This 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder is the sole offered, with Chevy dropping the 2.0L turbo option a couple years ago. Rumours abound that a different 2.0L turbo – one found in corporate cousins from Buick and Cadillac – was set for inclusion this year, but they never materialized.
Driving Feel: 6/10
Let’s get this out of the way before diving into the strengths of the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox: accelerating with any amount of urgency – such as merging onto the highway or zipping away from a traffic light – causes the little 1.5L to complain and make noises like roofing nails in a food processor. This is not a happy engine when pressed.
Deploying anywhere close to half-throttle and spinning the engine north of 3,000 rpm produces an unpleasant racket and vibrations through the vehicle. The six-speed automatic transmission jumps into its highest gear very quickly for efficiency purposes and is reluctant to downshift for the same reason, but one must wonder if GM programmers chose to give it those lazy shift points so the average driver never explores the upper reaches of an Equinox tachometer, thus shielding them from the powertrain’s abrasive personality.
Fuel Economy: 8/10
So, let’s shine a bright light on this instead. Fuel economy was good during our week’s test, handily beating its estimate of 8.8 L/100 km in combined city and country driving. It took 45.3L of fuel to brim the Equinox tank after travelling 538 km; some napkin math shows that is equal to 8.4 L/100 km – a couple tenths worse than my records with comparable machines like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, which is also built in Canada, but close enough to be competitive. With gas prices as high as they are these days, it’s worth noting that the Equinox runs just fine on regular-grade stuff.
The level of amenity in the Equinox is impressive for its price point, including a great infotainment system. For right around $30,000, the LT trim is laden with natty LED fog lights, a power chair for the driver, heated front seats, and a plethora of advanced safety equipment.
Unlike some of its competitors, GM does not penalize its customers shopping the lower rungs of the trim walk by stripping its wares of conveniences like push-button start and multiple USB outlets. Cloth seats in the LT are comfortable and seem durable enough to outlast the apocalypse – or at least the typical suburban family of small children. [Same-same. – Ed.]
The Equinox’s cabin is attractively designed if economically trimmed, with an infotainment screen well integrated into the dashboard and redundant controls for the likes of audio and ventilation. Head- and legroom up front is abundant for tall users, and there is ample space in the aft quarters for a pair of ankle-biters. Handy remote releases for folding the second-row seatbacks live in the cargo area of this LT, making opening up the 1,810 L of storage space behind the front seats a simple task. A healthy 847 L is available with all seats in place.
A refresh was originally planned for the 2021 Equinox, but it was pushed to 2022 due to pandemic-related supply chain challenges. Chevy stylists rejuvenated the Equinox’s front end, bringing more distinctive headlights and a new grille design. The changes are enough to notice in the same way as if your staid math teacher suddenly started parting his hair on the left instead of the right.
Like its forebear, the Equinox isn’t a standout looker – a fact proven by the failure of a car-crazed teenager to pick it out in a sea of other dark-hued crossovers in a crowded school pick-up line. While a more expressive design might be preferred, blending in with the crowd is just fine for wide swaths of the populace, and it should be said the extra-cost Blue Glow Metallic paint on our tester ($495) looks a lot more expensive than its price tag implies.
An odd phenomenon consistently reared its head during the Equinox’s stay during a frigid winter week, one which reliably rankled the troops during early AM drives to hockey practice. Even after idling for the better part of 20 minutes thanks to a factory remote starter, the HVAC system in this car still blew cold air from its vents, with the gauge for engine temperature pegged in its nether regions. This, combined with GM’s decision to deactivate heated seats in an effort to save on hard-to-come-by microchips, made for insufferably cold morning drives.
User Friendliness: 8/10
GM has stepped up its game in the infotainment department, creating a seamless user experience that’s packed with goodies such as satellite radio and smartphone integration even in the least-expensive Equinox trims. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are taken a step beyond expectation by offering standard wireless connectivity. This permits the user to keep their device in a pocket or bag instead of needing to tether it. In a world where most of us are married to our phones, this arguably reduces the temptation to peek at one’s notifications, helping reduce driver distraction. Menus baked into the GM software are straightforward and easy to navigate.
As standard equipment, all trims of the Equinox come with forward automatic emergency braking, a following distance indicator which gives you an auditory slap in the face if you’re too close to the car ahead, and lane-keep assist with departure warning. A so-called Advanced Safety package is available on this LT trim for the sum of $750, and is worth the cash since it brings items such as adaptive cruise control and heated side mirrors to the party. A leading reason to pony up for this option is the high-definition surround-view camera system, a unit which provides a crystal-clear view around the vehicle compared to the potato cams found in many Equinox competitors.
The Equinox value proposition is strongest at the lower end of its trim ladder, with even the entry-level LS including the same wireless infotainment goodies and heated front seats as our optioned-out tester. That machine, at just $28,398 before tax but with its non-negotiable $1,900 freight charge when equipped with front-wheel drive, is this author’s pick of the Equinox lot.
If your dealer is stocked with LT trims, try to find one without our tester’s True North package, a pricey option which – despite its name – doesn’t add options like all-wheel drive or a wiper defroster grid, but instead packs on needless items such as a panoramic sunroof. It’s better to stick with the optional $1,485 Confidence & Convenience package, which adds a power tailgate and dual-zone climate control for a reasonable price.
With all that in mind, alert readers will have successfully predicted our verdict that the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox represents a strong value assuming one steers clear of pricey trims and options packages. Despite carping about engine manners, the Equinox is well catered to its target demographic of loyalists seeking a right-sized crossover, or someone wishing to trade up to a well-equipped machine with good cargo space in an easy-to-park package.
|Engine Cylinders||Turbo I4|
|Peak Horsepower||170 hp @ 5,600 rpm|
|Peak Torque||203 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm|
|Fuel Economy||9.4 / 8.0 / 8.8 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb|
|Cargo Space||847 / 1,810 L seats down|
|Model Tested||2022 Chevrolet Equinox LT AWD|
|Price as Tested||$38,643|
$5,645 – LT True North Edition (Panoramic Sunroof, Dual-Zone Climate Control, Front and Rear Park Assist, Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel, Power Liftgate, Floor Liners, Black Bowtie Emblems), $3,715; Advanced Safety Package (HD Surround Vision, Heated Side Mirrors, Adaptive Cruise Control), $750; Blue Glow Metallic, $495; Engine Block Heater, $195; Wheels, 18-inch Aluminum, $460; Wheel Locks, $80; Not Equipped with Heated Seats, -$50