2010 Chevrolet Equinox Review and Prices

Last Updated: Aug 5, 2011

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2010 Chevrolet Equinox Buying Advice

The 2010 Chevrolet Equinox is the best vehicle for you if you want a right-sized SUV that shows off some of General Motors’ best ideas, but not all of them. 

The 2010 Chevrolet Equinox dumps the prosaic styling, dreadful chassis, and underachieving powertrains of the first-generation 2005-2009 Equinox. In their place is a new body fit for a Mercedes showroom, a sparkling new chassis that was in fact tuned by Germans, and a pair of super-efficient engines. All that’s missing is the option of hybrid power … and a little cabin space.

Should you buy a 2009 Chevrolet Equinox or wait for the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox? Are you kidding? Don’t consider the retrograde 2009 Equinox, no matter how much cash the dealer puts on the hood. You’d be far happier with a Hyundai Santa Fe. But do wait to test out the 2010 Equinox. This one’s got the potential to distinguish itself for style and value among midsize SUVs.  

2010 Chevrolet Equinox Changes back to top

Styling: Welcome to the new face of Chevrolet. The front of the 2010 Equinox follows the single-bar-grille theme unveiled on the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu sedan and 2009 Traverse crossover SUV, two GM product bright spots. With wheel arches boldly defined, a raked-forward stance, rear roof pillars gracefully sloped, and the illusion of wrap-around tailgate glass, the 2010 Equinox could be the brave young brother of a Mercedes-Benz M-Class. The comparison is apt because the 2010 Equinox adopts a stretched version of a unibody structure engineered to suit the Antara SUV from GM’s German Opel arm. Slightly Americanized, Antara is sold in the U.S. as the Saturn Vue, a compact SUV known for solidity and ride quality. The 2010 Equinox is larger than the Vue, but wheelbase and exterior dimensions are virtually identical to those of the 2005-2009 Equinox. (The Traverse seats eight and is much larger.) Equinox again holds five, but its cabin is redone and echoes Malibu with a rounded twin-scoop dashboard, two-tone color options, and upgraded fit and finish. Demerits to GM, however, for somehow shrinking the interior compared to the old Equinox. A significant three inches of rear-seat leg room is gone, and maximum cargo volume shrivels by five cubic feet, to a class-middling 63.7 with the rear seat folded.

Mechanical: Over at Saturn, the 2009 Vue offers not one but two hybrid powertrains, including a state-of-the-art choice with 255 horsepower. The 2010 Chevy Equinox makes due with a pair of gas engines, but they’re quite advanced in their own right. The latest in direct fuel injection bestows impressive power and fuel efficiency. From GM’s Ecotec engine family comes a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 182 horsepower; rivals resort to turbocharging to beat that number. A  V-6 that squeezes an easy 255 horsepower from 3.0 liters is the other engine choice for the 2010 Equinox. Both are complimented by a contemporary six-speed automatic transmission. And either can be teamed with front-wheel drive or with all-wheel drive (AWD) intended for mostly on-road driving. Antiskid and traction control are standard, but if you get the V-6, best to also choose AWD; asking the front wheels alone to cope with 255 horsepower tends to trigger annoying torque steer, a condition in which the vehicle slithers to and fro in aggressive acceleration.     

Features: The 2010 Chevy Equinox will come in LS, LT, and LTZ models with ascending levels of trim and equipment. OnStar assistance is standard, as is a front center console deep enough for a laptop computer. Chevy sends Equinox nightclubbing with soft-blue ambient cabin lighting and climate and audio controls lit in separate colors. Two-tone leather upholstery, Bluetooth phone and USB audio connectivity, and an audio unit with hard-drive storage are among extra-cost items. So are a navigation system, rearview camera, and dual-screen rear-seat DVD entertainment. The 2010 Equinox is among the few SUVs in its price range to offer a power rear liftgate.    

2010 Chevrolet Equinox Prices back to top

The Saturn Vue’s migration to this version of GM’s Theta platform was accompanied by a significant price bump. But Chevy’s success depends on attainability, so pricing will have to appeal to the broadest range of shoppers. Bear in mind, however, that the 2010 Equinox becomes Chevy’s mainstay midsize SUV now that the antiquated body-on-frame TrailBlazer has been discontinued. All this points to 2010 Equinox prices starting around $24,000 for the LS front-drive four-cylinder, escalating to at least $31,000 for a V-6 AWD LTZ.  

2010 Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Economy back to top

Final fuel-economy ratings for 2010 models were not released at the time of this report, but Chevy says the 2010 Equinox with the four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive is preliminarily rated at 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway. So it’s not only among the most powerful SUVs in the class, it’s one of the most fuel-efficient, too – barring hybrids. Expect four-cylinder AWD ratings of around 20/29. With the V-6, 2010 Equinox fuel economy is preliminarily rated at 18/25 for front-drive, 17/24 with AWD -- about par for SUVs of this size and power.

2010 Chevrolet Equinox Release Date back to top

Release date for the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox is summer 2009.

2010 Chevrolet Equinox Competition back to top

Ford Edge: A refined driving experience in a stylish package with plenty of thoughtful touches that enhance passenger comfort and cargo versatility. Subpar fuel-economy ratings of 15/22 (16/24 with AWD) expose the Edge’s weight problem, which also can be felt in the occasional struggles of its only engine, a 250-horsepower V-6. Base price rage is $26,000-$32,500. This five-passenger crossover debuted as a 2007 model and is in line for a styling facelift for model-year 2011.

Hyundai Santa Fe: Prepare to be surprised. This Lexus look-alike is competent in every area and a standout for build quality, interior materials, and value. And its South Korean designers created a cabin large enough to include a toddler-sized third-row seat. Engine choices are V-6s of 185 or 242 horsepower, mileage ranges from 17/23-18/24, and base prices from around $21,500-$30,000. Due for a model-year 2011 redesign.

Mazda CX-7: Like the 2010 Equinox, this one targets the style-conscious crossover crowd shopping in the $24,000-$30,000 price category. Shapely it is, but interior space isn’t generous and the ride is too stiff. The sole engine is a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder with an impressive 244 horsepower but it’s susceptible to the bad turbo habit of delayed throttle response. Fuel economy of 17/23 (16/22 with AWD) isn’t great for a four-cylinder SUV, either. No big changes before model-year 2013.