The first generation Equinox bowed in the 2005 model year. Although the Equinox was similar in size to many mid-size crossover of the same era, Chevrolet officially classified the vehicle as a compact crossover. As a five-seater, it lacked the third row seating option found in many mid-size crossovers and even a few compact ones.
Initially, power came exclusively from a 3.4-liter V6 that made 185 HP and 205 lb-ft of torque. It was matched up to a five-speed automatic and available with front- or all-wheel drive. In 2008, a Sport version of the equinox was released, powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that significantly increased output to 264 HP and 250 lb-ft of torque. It was paired to a six-speed automatic transmission and a sportier tuned suspension.
From 2005-2007 the Equinox was available in two trims, LS and LT. In 2008, the fancier LTZ and Sport trims joined the LS and LT.
Top 3 Reasons to Buy
- Value – A used Equinox can be a good value with a low price when compared to other crossovers of the same era, especially imports.
- Size – Although priced and optioned like a compact crossover, the Equinox is closer in size to mid-size crossovers.
- Style – many owners like the look of the first generation Equinox as it stood out from the compact crossover crowd.
Top 3 Problem Areas
- Key/Ignition – Owners of Equinoxes have complained of ignition keys getting stuck in the ignition cylinder and/or falling out of the cylinder with the vehicle still running.
- Head Gasket – Equinox models equipped with the 3.4-liter V6 are known to have premature engine head gasket failures. This is particularly evident in 2005 and 2006 models.
- Safety – Safety ratings from IIHS for all years of the first generation Equinox were marginal to fair. NHTSA scored the Equinox slightly better, but other crossovers of this era did have better crash test ratings.
Before You Buy
If looking to buy an Equinox with the 3.4-liter engine, ask for a full service history and see if the head gasket has been replaced previously. As well, check the condition of the key and ignition. Fiddle around with the key while the vehicle is both on and off to ensure it will not come out of the column.
Finally, all the usual checks should be made when purchasing a used car as these crossovers can be upwards of ten years old. Look for rust, worn tires, worn brakes and visible body damage.
Best Bang for Your Buck
It’s best to avoid the 2005 and 2006 Equinox as these years are most prone to engine head gasket failures. The 2007 model had four recalls on it, while all other years had one or none. It’s our recommendation to go with a 2008 or 2009 model as these have proven to be more reliable and to have significantly fewer complaints. If possible, look for a sport model with the larger, more powerful 3.6-liter engine.
Recall and Crash Test Database
2005 Chevrolet Equinox IIHS Crash Test Rating 2006 Chevrolet Equinox IIHS Crash Test Rating 2007 Chevrolet Equinox IIHS Crash Test Rating 2008 Chevrolet Equinox IIHS Crash Test Rating 2009 Chevrolet Equinox IIHS Crash Test Rating 2005 Chevrolet Equinox NHTSA Crash Test Rating 2006 Chevrolet Equinox NHTSA Crash Test Rating 2007 Chevrolet Equinox NHTSA Crash Test Rating 2008 Chevrolet Equinox NHTSA Crash Test Rating 2009 Chevrolet Equinox NHTSA Crash Test Rating 2005 Chevrolet Equinox NHTSA Recall Database 2006 Chevrolet Equinox NHTSA Recall Database 2007 Chevrolet Equinox NHTSA Recall Database 2008 Chevrolet Equinox NHTSA Recall Database 2009 Chevrolet Equinox NHTSA Recall Database