Much like Goldilocks discovering the right chair to rest in at the three bears’ house, many folks will find the 2007 Chevrolet Equinox “just right.” Bigger than the mini SUVs, yet slightly smaller than the traditional midsizers such as the TrailBlazer and Explorer, the Equinox offers plenty of passenger and cargo space thanks to a long wheelbase, along with a few extra standard features this year that sweeten the deal.Introduced in 2005 as a replacement for the lackluster Tracker, the Chevy Equinox features a sliding second-row seat and a movable cargo shelf that both serve to maximize passenger and cargo space. The Equinox’s V6 provides strong if not overly refined performance that belies its modest output ratings. The “3400” V6 also returns respectable fuel economy — expect to average about 20 mpg, which is roughly 5 miles per gallon better than most truck-based midsize SUVs get. A supple drive and quiet cabin are additional qualities that make the Equinox a good choice for families who like to take long road trips. Various equipment upgrades this year, including the switch to four-wheel disc brakes, the adoption of stability control and the new availability of remote starting and a navigation system keep this well-rounded SUV current.Before the round of this year’s improvements, the Equinox was good enough to snag a spot on our 2005 Editors’ Most Wanted list for “SUV under $25,000.” Now, with a few recently redesigned rivals, such as the Santa Fe and RAV4, the Equinox faces more of a challenge. Yet the 2007 Chevrolet Equinox still scores high on most counts: It’s peppy; rides nice and quiet; has a spacious cabin with a few trick features; and is reasonably priced. It’s certainly worth consideration if you’re looking for an urban runabout with a flexible cabin design and high safety ratings.
Tuned more for drive comfort than twisty road acrobatics, the Equinox’s fully independent suspension should please most folks shopping this segment. 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. Running the Equinox through the curves reveals some body roll, but it’s not excessive for an SUV. The electric power steering is the chief fun-sapping culprit, as it’s too light and a little slow.
The four-door, five-passenger Chevrolet Equinox SUV comes in two trim levels: base LS and luxury LT. Standard equipment on the LS includes 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, cruise control, a six-speaker CD stereo with an MP3 player jack, automatic headlights, keyless entry, full power accessories, an alarm system, a driver information center and a rear window wiper. The LT adds 17-inch alloy wheels, upgraded cloth upholstery, a rear center armrest, foglights, faux wood accents, a cargo net, steering wheel-mounted sound controls and floor mats. A pair of optional packages for the LT allows one to increase the luxury factor. The 2LT package adds remote starting, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a power driver seat. The 3LT package adds leather seating, a Pioneer sound system, heated front seats and a year of OnStar. Many of the 3LT package features are available as separate options. Other significant options for the Equinox include a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a navigation system, satellite radio and a sunroof.
Inside, Chevrolet designers opted for a simple, industrial look with large, clear gauges. The LS is dressed up with faux aluminum accents, while the LT gets imitation wood. Although most of the controls are simple in design, the stereo head unit’s collection of small controls is unnecessarily complicated. Thanks to its long wheelbase, the Equinox offers plenty of room for its occupants, including class-leading rear headroom and legroom. To make way for larger passengers or cargo, the 60/40-split rear seat can slide nearly eight inches fore and aft. An adjustable rear cargo shelf expands your loading options after a shopping trip and can also function as a picnic table. The Equinox offers 35 cubic feet of luggage space behind its rear seats; fold down the seats and you’ve got a total of 69 cubic feet.
Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS are standard, as is stability control, traction control and a tire-pressure monitor. Full-length side curtain airbags are optional on all Equinox models. In crash tests, the 2007 Chevrolet Equinox earned the highest marks possible. In NHTSA frontal- and side-impact tests, the Equinox received five stars, while the Chevy received a “Good” rating in IIHS frontal-offset crash testing.
All Equinox SUVs come with a 3.4-liter V6 engine coupled to a 5-speed automatic transmission. Buyers have a choice of either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Rated at 185 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque, the V6 has plenty of punch and feels more robust than its relatively meager output ratings might suggest. Expect a 0-60-mph time of about 8.7 seconds. The Chevy’s towing capacity of 3500 pounds and EPA fuel economy rating of 19 miles per gallon city/25 miles per gallon highway (AWD version) are both about average for a V6-powered small or midsize crossover SUV.
Roomy cabin within reasonable exterior size, fore/aft-adjustable rear seats, extraordinary crash test scores.
A roomy and versatile cabin, excellent crash test scores and decent fuel mileage make the attractively priced 2007 Chevrolet Equinox one of the better choices in the compact SUV field.