Compact crossovers are huge sellers and the competition is fierce.
That’s why it boggles my mind when I come across one of these cars that is just so mediocre and bland, that I’m surprised it’s even offered. Every single automaker has a product in this category and it is usually one of their strongest vehicles. In a segment this competitive, it has to be because the moneymaking potential is huge.
And every single car I drive, even the worst ones, usually have one redeeming factor, one thing it does really well to make it stand out. The 2016 Chevrolet Equinox, however, is a completely forgettable car and, quite frankly, Chevrolet should be embarrassed that it is offering something so insipid.
Which car has the better style?
The Equinox was just refreshed, but it’s not enough. The crossover has to be completely overhauled, starting from its bland exterior. The dated design does its best to blend in to the background and it’s totally non-descript. Although the Rogue’s design can be polarizing, at least it has a style.
Which car drives better?
I feel like I’m being very harsh on the Equinox but the brutal truth is that this one of the most depressing cars I’ve ever driven. Equipped with an anemic and underpowered 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque and a sluggish six-speed transmission, the crossover just doesn’t have the powertrain to be competitive. You have to level up and get the V6 to get any sort of passing power. Under full acceleration, the Equinox is lethargic, isn’t eager at all to drop down a gear and groans in protest as you try to get it up to highway speeds or pass a slower moving car. The awful sound it makes under full acceleration is painful to witness.
|Vehicle||2016 Chevrolet Equinox||Advantage||2016 Nissan Rogue|
|Engine||2.4L 4-cylinder||-||2.5L 4-cylinder|
|Horsepower||182 hp||Equinox||170 hp|
|Fuel Economy||20 MPG city / 23 MPG hwy||Rogue||25 MPG city / 28 MPG hwy|
|Observed MPG||23.3 mpg||Rogue||26 mpg|
|Cargo Space||31.5 cu.ft.||Rogue||39.3 cu.ft|
|Fully Loaded Price||$31,490||Rogue||$28,640|
The Equinox’s steering is far too light and uncommunicative, and there is a disconcerting dead zone in the middle, so there is no positive on-center feel: You can wiggle the wheel around and nothing happens. The whole setup is vague. The Rogue’s steering, on the other hand, feels much more connected to the road, feels heavier and more responsive.
The Rogue is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 170 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. The CVT is also not that bad. No, the Rogue’s drive isn’t going to make you smile, but compared to the Equinox, it feels like a Porsche.
The Rogue also has a 4×4 lock and hill descent control, handy things if you ever need to take it off road.
The Rogue also has better fuel economy. On an identical drive loop, the Nissan got 26 mpg, while the Equinox got 23.3 mpg.
Which car has the better interior?
Again, the Equinox has problems inside. Besides using a lot of cheap plastic and looking very dated and low-rent, the ergonomics are also wonky. Controls to reset the trip meter, normally found near the gauges or on the steering wheel, were found on the center console.
The graphics used for the collision alert and lane departure warning should be in front of the driver, and not off to the center. Those graphics also look like something out of a Fisher-Price toy I used to play with when I was a child, and the warnings themselves are unnecessarily loud and overly sensitive. If you’re driving over a hill, the warning will sound off thinking there’s a car in front of you, and the beeping sounds like the warning you might get if there was a missile locked on your location. It becomes so annoying that I just turn it off and the system becomes self-defeating because it seems like the system is going off for no reason.
The Equinox does do a few things better than the Rogue, though: Outward visibility is better, the cabin is quieter on the highway (less wind noise), and the infotainment system is easier to use and has better graphics.
The Verdict: 2016 Chevrolet Equinox vs 2016 Nissan Rogue
By now you’ve probably predicted that the Nissan Rogue wins this matchup by a landslide. The Equinox is a lazy effort by Chevrolet, it’s insulting to the consumer, and it can’t possibly compete with such stalwarts as the Hyundai Tucson, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 or Nissan Rogue. GM has been putting out some great cars lately: Cadillac has been on a roll, the Chevy Volt was one of the best cars I drove this year, and I even enjoy the Sonic, Spark and the Cruze diesel. It’s a shame that the company has left its Equinox behind where it is being surpassed by nearly every other car in its segment.
2016 Chevrolet Equinox
2016 Nissan Rogue