2016 Chevy Equinox: A Review in Performance

December 18th, 2015 by

The 2016 Chevy Equinox is Chevy’s newest introduction to their compact SUV model-line. The Equinox has comfort, safety, and technology under its belt, but how about its powertrains and performance? Unfortunately, it isn’t much different than the 2015 model. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, but I think we were all hoping for a performance upgrade with the newer model. There are four trim levels to the 2016 Equinox: L, LS, LT, and LTZ. The standard 4-cylinder engine is offered in all of the models, or you can opt for a V6 when you get either the LT or LTZ trim. The three higher trims are offered in an AWD instead of the standard FWD, another variant that helps increase performance.

The 4-Cylinder

The standard engine is a 2.4-liter DOHC (Dual-OverHead Camshaft) four-cylinder SIDI (Spark Ignition Direct Injection) that puts out 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. Even with the SIDI, the engine still performs a little under par for this vehicle bracket. An Equinox with FWD can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 9.8 seconds, which is a little low when compared to other compact SUVs. However, since the Equinox is being pitched by Chevy as an SUV that gets the fuel economy of a car, the fuel-efficiency is rather pleasing.

The 2.4-liter is able to put out 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, for a combined total of 26 mpg. While the power and acceleration may be a little under par for a compact SUV, the fuel efficiency certainly isn’t. In front of the automatic gear shift, you will see a button called “Eco,” indicating that Eco Mode is available. Engaging Eco Mode helps increase fuel-efficiency even more, but at a price. Specifically, it takes the torque converter and locks it up at lower speeds. It also changes shift patterns in the four-cylinder’s six-speed auto, and also cuts down on the engines speed while idling. The result? A 1 mpg more than when Eco Mode isn’t engaged.

The V6

The optional engine on the LT and LTZ trims is a 3.6-liter V6 SIDI engine that outputs a roaring 301 horsepower and 272 feet-pound of torque. The Equinox with the V6 and AWD is able to do the 0-60 mph test in around 7 seconds. This is rather impressive for a compact SUV, seeing as that is about half a second faster than average smaller crossovers with an upgraded engine. The fuel-economy expectedly goes down though, with 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined.

However, this engine also gets a significant increase in towing capacity. Where the 4-cylinder gets a mediocre max towing weight of up to 1,500 pounds, the V6 goes up to a more than useful 3,500 pounds. Again, impressive for a compact vehicle in this bracket.

The Conclusion?

The 2016 Equinox sits below average with the 4-cylinder engine, but giving it the V6 gives it that desperately needed power boost. It’s clear that the 4-cylinder and L/LS trims are for those who are okay with a mediocre performance, but want the fuel-efficiency of a smaller sedan in a bigger car. The V6 option is obviously for those who are more performance oriented, and it definitely picks up the slack in that department.

It’s just unfortunate that the V6 is only offered with the LT and LTZ models, although it’s expected. Increased performance comes with an increased price, a standard concept with automobile manufacturers.

Posted in 2016 Chevy Equinox