2016 Chevrolet Equinox vs 2016 Nissan Rogue

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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.

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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.

Compare Specs

2016 Chevrolet Equinox
vs
2016 Nissan Rogue
Vehicle 2016 Chevrolet Equinox Advantage 2016 Nissan Rogue
Engine 2.4L 4-cylinder - 2.5L 4-cylinder
Horsepower 182 hp Equinox 170 hp
Transmission Six-speed auto - CVT
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
Starting Price $26,906 Rogue $23,240
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.

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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.

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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.

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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

  • Lennie Pike

    Rogue has a CVT, the rest of the stuff doesn’t matter. Stay as far away from the Rogue as possible.

  • ZX-10R

    Jodi you are stupid. The Rogue is a newer CUV and is a piece of crap. The rogue has better styling? Better look in the mirror before you step out. Worst review ever with the equinox being old, it is still a better choice than the rogue in many ways. GM was not lazy, you were in this review and shame on you and autoguide for putting it out.

  • Jodi Lai

    Thanks for reading and for the wonderful insults!

  • Jodi Lai

    The CVT isn’t actually THAT bad!

  • thatguy88

    How is it a better choice? The only reason I can see the Equinox being better is for GM’s wifi hotspot option. Aside from that, it is a 6-year old product that is outdated and outmodded by the majority of competitors in its class. Get over yourself.

  • Shiratori1

    You’re a detroit fanboy. STFU.

  • Shiratori1

    Only in your mind.

  • Circa79

    you sound much more objective. Neither of these vehicles is exciting nor are they supposed to be. The Equinox is older so it should be bested by the Rogue. People are buying the Equinox is droves so it’s doing something right in spite of this review. As for acceleration, its really in the same ballpark as other I4 powered crossovers in this segment,

  • AutoEngineer

    its worked great for me. not going to throw you back in your seat but get good mpg and no problems yet

  • autoengineer

    I benchmark and design vehicles for a living and own the 2014 rogue. I have to agree with everything in this article. Also I live in Detroit and huge fan, LGRW!

  • krusshall

    What is the point of this comparison? The Equinox is at the end of its lifespan and of course is not going to match up well to anything recently released.

    This comparison is a lazy effort by Autoguide, it’s insulting to the consumer.

  • James Kuenzi

    You are right the CVT is just horrible. I avoid any car that dares to have one.

  • Mbukukanyau

    This is the same reviewer that said the Genesis is a better drivers car than the CTS Vsport.

  • Circa79

    Good point.

  • donald williams

    James, sorry to say you better get used to a CVT, i’ll bet by 2025 ALL vehicles (trucks included) will have them and then you the consumer will have to just enjoy walking or driving something old and outdated! (like an equinox?)

  • J K

    Actually I think we are seeing more development from all the MFGs with 6-8 even 9 speed automatic transmissions which are so superior to the ” washing machine” nonessential CVT. If you haven’t driven one try for a good laugh. ?

  • HEOJr

    Don’t agree with the insults in the comments or the article. I could see Chevy being lazy if this Equinox wasn’t on the way out. The only thing I don’t get about the update is why they bothered with it when a new one is around the corner.(The 2015 Cruze update confused me as well since 2016 is brand new).

  • Quinton

    From what I have read (and driven) the acceleration in these two cars is pretty even,and the v6 Equinox (which you glossed over) is relatively quick and smooth. *shrug* I also happen to like the Equinox interior. I also like the Rogue’s. These cars aren’t as mismatched as you say, and other commentors are right, the ‘Nox is at end of life…I agree the refresh was a little weak, but a new model is coming. Do your matchup then. 🙂