2007 Chevrolet Equinox Performance
The majority of test drivers feel that the Equinox's engine performs quite well, though there is general agreement that the steering and handling are not on par with the best vehicles in its class. "The V6 has plenty of punch and feels more robust than its relatively meager output ratings might suggest," says Edmunds.
Acceleration and Power
The 2007 Chevrolet Equinox comes with a universal 3.4-liter V6 engine (offering 185 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque) paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. This is noteworthy, because many competitors in the compact SUV class do not even offer a V6 option. Reviewers generally agree the V6 delivers good acceleration. "Put a heavy foot on the pedal and the Equinox takes it as a command, not a suggestion," says Kelley Blue Book, adding, "While pulling away from a stop or negotiating slower traffic on a two-lane road, the 3.4-liter V6 always delivers plenty of power." Reviewers also agree that the transmission with Adaptive Learning Capability offers a fluid driving experience. MSN calls the smooth-riding Equinox "car-like" and many other test drivers concur. "Not much driving was required to realize that the Equinox, despite its assumed SUV toughness and availability of all-wheel drive, counts a carlike ride among its attributes," notes the
Test drivers also go out of their way to praise the Equinox's long-distance driving experience. "With a more comfort- than sport-oriented ride, Equinox could be called a long distance driver's dream," says Road and Track. The vehicle's new, larger fuel tank complements this, providing a best-in-class cruising range of up to 520 highway miles (front-wheel-drive models). MSN agrees, saying the vehicle is "car-like" and "designed ...for fast, comfortable highway cruising." Fuel economy is considered competitive by many reviewers. The Equinox has an Environmental Protection Agency estimated fuel usage of 19 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 26 on the highway (FWD models) and 19 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway (AWD models). "One of the nicest features of this engine is it won't bankrupt you at the gas pump," observes Kelley Blue Book.
Handling and Braking
The majority of reviewers are not impressed with the Equinox's steering and offer mixed assessments on the performance of the suspension. "You may not like this SUV if you're enthusiastic about the driving experience," says Kelley Blue Book.
All Equinox models come standard with Electronic Power Steering (EPS) connected to a traditional rack-and-pinion steering system. Test drivers almost universally dislike the vehicle's steering performance. "The electric power steering system offers little feedback and an unnatural feel, while a 40-foot turning diameter can make the Equinox seem like a full-size SUV in just about any parking lot," says Kelley Blue Book, adding that the steering is "numb." In agreement, Consumer Guide adds that the steering feels "overassisted" and "vague...like cumbersome trucks." MSN calls the steering "slow" and Edmunds call it "sluggish."
Chevrolet's marketing materials say the Equinox's steering has been tuned to respond differently to various situations, from highway driving to parking lot maneuvers, and is different from hydraulic power steering. "We don't think the average driver will feel the difference between this system and more conventional hydraulics, and that's a good thing," says New Car Test Drive, adding, "Unlike a hydraulic servo, the electric booster doesn't use engine power, resulting in slightly better fuel economy." However, most reviewers aren't satisfied with the new system. The steering "feels slightly disconnected from the pavement," says . "As a driver, you are forced to overcompensate for the vehicle's tendency to understeer."
Test drivers were split concerning the standard independent front and rear suspensions on the Equinox. "Putting some serious miles on the Chevy Equinox is relaxing, as the suspension swallows up the bumps, and the lack of intrusive wind and road noise makes for a tranquil cabin," says Edmunds, adding, "Running the Equinox through the curves reveals some body roll, but it's not excessive for an SUV." MSN adds some perspective to the discussion, stating, "A soft suspension...smooths out rough roads but causes pronounced body lean in curves if you're driving hard. However, handling is good during routine driving." The front end of the vehicle features a MacPherson strut suspension and the rear has a four-link coil-spring design.
Reviewers don't have any complaints about the Equinox's standard four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. "The brake pedal is sensitive without feeling touchy, and stopping distances are short," adds MSN, reflecting the conclusion of a number of test drivers.
While All-Wheel Drive (AWD) is an option on the Equinox, the SUV should not be mistaken for an off-road vehicle. The AWD performs competently around town, but neither it nor the vehicle is designed for true off-road driving, besides the occasional trip down to the fishing hole.