“If you’ve logged any time behind the wheel of a Malibu or a Cruze, the Equinox will feel familiar on the inside. The interior design is airy, clean and simple -- but it also takes no chances. The analog gauges and digital display screen between them seem smaller and less expressive than those in recent newly redesigned crossovers. The fat leather steering wheel is heated here and feels great. Our only real grumble is elbow comfort. The center console is cavernous, but the lid isn’t softly padded and neither is the arm rest on the door.
Slide the shifter back into drive and the Equinox is reasonably quick around town. And Chevrolet did an excellent job integrating the engine stop/start so that it operates seamlessly in the background. Out on the highway, the ride is very smooth and impressively quiet. Dig deep into the throttle and the 1.5-liter makes a bit more ruckus, but runs out of breath at high speeds.
Similarly, the transmission is too focused on fuel economy for an enthusiast. It tends to upshift into the tallest gear as often as it can. And in the hilly countryside around Asheville, N.C., where we sampled the Equinox, that meant lots of shifting to maintain a quick pace. Yes, there are manual controls for the gearbox to help keep the engine in the sweet spot, but there are no paddle shifters. More importantly, there is no sport mode. That’s really too bad because the rest of the Equinox is totally game for playful drives. There’s little roll in the suspension on twisty roads. The steering is nicely weighted and offers a level of accuracy on par with the best in this class, and the brakes are strong right at the top of the pedal and bring the Equinox down from speed impressively. This is clearly a chassis capable of supporting a far more potent and responsive powertrain.”
-- Ben Stewart, Autoweek