2022 Chevrolet Equinox Review: An Inoffensive Appliance

Changes for 2022 add a hint of spice, but no sizzle.

2022 Chevrolet Equinox RS, white, left front quarterChristian Wardlaw

Review QuickTakes:

We flew into Chicago O'Hare airport on a warm, sunny, summer day, where a 2022 Chevy Equinox RS with a $995 Iridescent Pearl Tricoat paint job awaited us. My family and I had personal business to attend in western Michigan, and afterward, we planned to spend several days exploring the Windy City and its museums.

The 2022 Equinox is a compact crossover SUV with seating for up to five people and nearly 30 cubic feet of cargo space behind its back seat; it proved just roomy enough for our multi-day visit to the Great Lakes. The Equinox is Chevy's second-best-selling model after the Silverado pickup truck and is the company's entry into one of America's most popular vehicle segments. That makes it an important vehicle to both Chevrolet and consumers shopping for compact SUVs.

2022 Chevrolet Equinox RS, white, left rear quarterChristian Wardlaw

This year, Chevrolet gives the 2022 Equinox a minor refresh, including subtle styling changes, new paint colors and interior trim, enhanced infotainment connectivity, and additional parking assistance technology. The RS trim level is also new, adding blacked-out exterior details, red interior stitching, dark-gray, 19-inch wheels, and RS badges inside and out.

For this 2022 Chevrolet Equinox review, the automaker provided me with one featuring all-wheel drive (AWD), the RS Leather package, the Infotainment package, and the Advanced Safety package, bringing the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) to $37,465, including the $1,395 destination charge. My family and I covered hundreds of miles of driving in Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.

2022 Chevrolet Equinox RS, white, side viewChristian Wardlaw

2022 Chevrolet Equinox Review: The Design

You need to examine the 2022 Equinox closely to spot the differences between it and the previous model. They're most evident in front, where the Equinox wears a new grille, headlights, and bumper. New wheel designs are also available, along with four fresh paint colors and revised interior trim. The Equinox RS is supposed to be sporty, equipped with dark 19-inch wheels, dark exterior trim, red stitching within the cabin, and a body-color rear bumper insert that looks odd in lighter hues.

The best way to describe the Equinox is inoffensive. From the exterior styling and interior layout to the materials, packaging, and driving dynamics, few aspects of this SUV cause irritation. At the same time, however, there is nothing to get excited about because the Chevy Equinox is the textbook definition of an automotive appliance, a tool used for purpose instead of pleasure.

2022 Chevrolet Equinox RS, cargo spaceChristian Wardlaw

After packing the cargo area full of our carry-on suitcases and backpacks, we climbed aboard to find comfortable front and rear seats. The Equinox is remarkably roomy inside, and the RS test vehicle had a dual-zone climate control system with exceptionally effective air conditioning. The frosty air from the front and rear vents made the heat sink of an interior (black leather upholstery, carpets, mats, dashboard, door panels, and headliner) a less sweaty place to spend time. Still, we would have appreciated ventilated front seats, but Chevy offers them only with Premier trim.

The control layout is straightforward, but the cabin's appearance is busy due to multiple seams, varying surface textures, and a mix-and-match approach to materials. Most interior panels are plastic, and though Chevrolet sweeps soft material up to cover a portion of the upper door panels, it arrives too late to cushion my elbow. During long highway drives, my left elbow rested just forward of the seam separating the hard plastic from the padded section.

During our trip, the Equinox offered enough storage space for the things a family tends to accumulate on the road. Similarly, the 29.9 cubic-foot cargo area was just large enough to accommodate four carry-on suitcases stored on their sides with backpacks sitting on top of them. In addition, you can fold the back seat down to create 63.9 cu-ft of cargo space, which is less than what many of the Equinox's rivals supply.

2022 Chevrolet Equinox RS, interior, dashboardChristian Wardlaw

2022 Chevrolet Equinox Review: The Technology

Every 2022 Equinox comes with a creatively named third-generation Chevrolet Infotainment System 3 (CIS3). A 7-inch touchscreen display is standard with LS, LT, and RS trim, with a high-definition, 8-inch touchscreen optional. The larger screen is standard with Premier trim.

Both versions of CIS3 get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for 2022 and continue to provide simultaneous Bluetooth connectivity for two smartphones, SiriusXM satellite radio (with a complimentary three-month subscription), and access to OnStar and Chevrolet Connected Services.

With a paid subscription, the connected service plans offer features such as automatic collision notification, SOS emergency calling, a Wi-Fi hotspot, remote engine starting, a find-my-car function, and more. Teen Driver is also standard on the Equinox and does not require a subscription. It allows parents of new drivers to program the vehicle for safe driving and receive a report card showing how their child drove the Equinox.

2022 Chevrolet Equinox RS, navigation mapChristian Wardlaw

Choose the larger 8-inch touchscreen, and CIS3 adds cloud-connected system personalization and voice control. When you upgrade it with a navigation system, enhanced voice recognition is standard. The test vehicle had this setup, along with a seven-speaker Bose premium sound system.

Considering that my family and I didn't know the area at the bottom of Lake Michigan, we depended on the Equinox's tech to find our way to our desired destinations. Between the dual phone-pairing capability, the enhanced voice recognition system, the wireless Apple CarPlay, and the embedded navigation, the Equinox RS got us to where we needed to go without fail. The technology is easy to configure and use, and the elegantly simple physical controls for the stereo are brilliant. I can't say enough good things about CIS3. The Bose premium sound system, however, is decidedly underwhelming.

Chevy Safety Assist remains standard on the 2022 Equinox, equipping the SUV with forward-collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and automatic high-beam headlights. Additionally, Chevrolet installs a rear-seat reminder system to prevent parents or pet owners from accidentally leaving a child or animal inside the car.

2022 Chevrolet Equinox RS safety features screenChristian Wardlaw

Upgrades include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a surround-view camera system, and a driver's seat that vibrates to get your attention when a potential safety threat exists. Front and rear parking sensors are also available, and Chevrolet introduces a new semi-autonomous automatic parking assist system for the 2022 Equinox Premier trim.

We spent lots of time sitting in traffic in Chicago, as well as driving on toll roads and interstates between the city and southeastern Michigan, where an adaptive cruise control system with lane-centering would have been helpful. Unfortunately, however, the Equinox does not offer that kind of Level 2 assisted driving. Nevertheless, the features it does have are useful and effective. I even got a chance to experience the forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking system on a crowded street near O'Hare airport when someone ahead suddenly braked to turn into a shopping center, causing a chain-reaction of sudden braking by motorists following this person.

2022 Chevrolet Equinox RS back seatChristian Wardlaw

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the Equinox five-star crash-test ratings across the board, plus a four-star rollover resistance rating. Those are great results. The SUV also rates high in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) testing, but in a new, more stringent evaluation, the SUV receives a Marginal score for side-impact protection.

Like nearly everything about this compact crossover SUV, the Equinox's technology successfully makes your life easier and does so without fanfare. Intuitive, effective, and providing the features most people want most of the time, the infotainment system and safety features get my stamp of approval.

2022 Chevrolet Equinox RS engineChristian Wardlaw

2022 Chevrolet Equinox Review: The Drive

Chevrolet used to offer a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine in the Equinox, and it made plenty of power while supplying a 3,500-pound towing capacity. The drivetrain option, last offered in 2020, is no longer available. That means every Equinox has a turbocharged, 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine under its hood, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive (FWD) or AWD. The maximum towing capacity is 1,500 lbs.

The 1.5-liter turbo-four makes 170 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 203 pound-feet of torque between 2,000 rpm and 4,000 rpm, which is competitive for the compact SUV segment. However, the delay in getting to peak torque creates an irritating amount of lag when you push the accelerator, which forces you to drive the Equinox differently.

I find that rolling gently into the throttle and then pushing harder on the go-pedal is the most effective way to compensate for the delayed response. You must learn to "surf" the waves of torque from this engine, and the six-speed automatic does its best to facilitate that. Also, because of the laggy powertrain, you learn not to make left turns across traffic unless you've got lots of margin for error.

2022 Chevrolet Equinox RS, white, rear quarter, leftChristian Wardlaw

Driving in the Midwest is different from driving in California, where I live and typically evaluate vehicles. Unless you find a road that meanders along a river, they're all flat and straight. Even the freeway ramps (away from the cities, anyway) barely bend while giving you what seems like a good half a mile to get up to speed before merging with traffic. So, I have no idea how the Equinox handles when pushed toward its limits.

I can tell you that the firm, controlled ride on the RS model's P235/50R19 all-season tires kept the SUV composed over the region’s often lousy pavement. Also, when taking corners at higher speeds, the grip was decent, and the body roll was nicely controlled. The steering exhibits a good on-center feel on highways and rural, two-lane roads, and the thick wheel is well-shaped for hours of driving comfort. I had no issues with the braking performance or the pedal feel and modulation. On the highway, the Equinox was relatively quiet.

Parking in the city was easy enough, the RS trim's front and rear ultrasonic sensors coming in handy on numerous occasions. The Equinox's doors hang relatively low, though, so you need to watch them on curbs and sidewalks after parallel parking the SUV. Slant parking on city streets also requires care not to scrape the front bumper on the curb.

We put about 500 miles on the Equinox, with a fuel-efficiency average of 26.6 mpg. That's in line with the official EPA fuel economy rating of 27 mpg in combined driving for an Equinox with AWD.

2022 Chevrolet Equinox RS, white, front quarter rightChristian Wardlaw

Is the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox a Good SUV?

Though the third-generation Equinox is only half a decade old, it is rapidly aging. The SUV is roomy and comfortable for people, but can't match most rivals for cargo space. New side-impact crash tests conducted by the IIHS reveal room for improvement, and some competitors offer more sophisticated safety technologies. In addition, unless you learn how to surf the engine's torque, the Equinox's powertrain feels underpowered. At best, the Chevy Equinox is a mid-pack compact SUV, but the automaker has successfully polished all the potentially rough edges so that you won't find many things about which to complain.

This site is for educational purposes only. The third parties listed are not affiliated with Capital One and are solely responsible for their opinions, products and services. Capital One does not provide, endorse or guarantee any third-party product, service, information or recommendation listed above. The information presented in this article is believed to be accurate at the time of publication, but is subject to change. The images shown are for illustration purposes only and may not be an exact representation of the product. The material provided on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the availability or suitability of any Capital One product or service to your unique circumstances. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.
author photo
Christian Wardlaw
My first word was “car.” That’s what I’m told, anyway. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with them. The design. The engineering. The performance. And the purpose. I’m a car enthusiast who loves to drive, but I’m also most interested in the cars, trucks, and SUVs that people actually buy. Anybody can tell you that a sports car is fast. What you need to know is whether or not you should buy that new SUV, and why. My life purpose is to help you make that decision.