2022 Chevrolet Equinox RS: Improved in all the Right Ways

Published on February 25, 2022 in Test Drives by Miranda Lightstone

Quite a few years ago (more than I’d like to admit), I had a less than agreeable opinion on the Chevrolet Equinox of that model year. It felt dated, inside and out. The engine was clunky and the transmission just felt misaligned with the powertrain. With true journalistic integrity, I admitted all of that and gave the Equinox a rather poor review, much to GM’s dismay.

Since then, it’s always with a slight amount of reservation that I collect the keys to the Equinox. However, this latest edition of the crossover has finally converted me: I like the Equinox. And I like it quite a bit.

Photo: Miranda Lightstone

Growing Pains

Over the years, it’s always felt like the Equinox was the forgotten child in the lineup. While Chevy and GM focused on their Terrains, Enclaves, Encores and even their Buick Avenirs, the Equinox seemingly fell by the wayside.

Well, times have changed.

This was made most evident after driving the all-new 2022 Chevrolet Blazer just the week before (another model that’s taken centre stage over the Equinox as of late). Going from one to the next really showcased how far the Equinox has come, and how similar it is to the Blazer (if not identical save for price and some internal aesthetic features, and of course the engine).

Twinning with the Blazer

It’s almost shocking how similar these two really are. It made us question why they both exist in the lineup together, and with such a large price gap between the two. Of course, the Blazer name is loaded with nostalgia and history, and the larger engine is offered there as well as an all-new upgraded interior/centre stack.

However, stepping into the 2022 Equinox proved that all of those “extras” offered on the Blazer just aren’t worth the added coin - in our opinion.

Interior and exterior design differences are minimal, and with both outfitted with decal packages that blacked out the Chevy symbols and had their badges in black writing, parking them side by side, you’d have a hard time telling them apart.

Now, the best thing about the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox was, by far, the 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder coupled with the 6-speed automatic transmission. It’s not the “latest and greatest” engine available in the Chevy lineup, but it gets the job done, and it’s done well.

Photo: Miranda Lightstone

But Clearly the Cooler Twin

Equipped with RS trim package, our Equinox sported red contrast stitching inside, as well as RS badging on the outside and black-our badging overall. Coupled with white paint, it’s a stellar look for the Equinox and one that will wear well. Now, of course, the RS is the top trim and the most expensive, but even at that the top MSRP price of the Equinox is still $6k less than the starting MSRP of the Blazer.

Of course, it’s not always about the money, but in this case with two vehicles that are so incredibly similar in every other way, it really does come down to the price tag attached because you are getting exactly the same thing (essentially) with each.

Even comparing the interiors of each, the Equinox features a dated centre stack, but it’s also a more functional centre stack. Where the Blazer’s HVAC controls are oddly integrated into the vent design, the Equinox sticks to a traditional layout. Both have the same size HMI screen and the same onboard entertainment system.

The only thing missing in my Equinox, was the heated seats… but that’s not the vehicle’s fault. That’s a delivery issue and something that GM is trying its best to rectify. And instead of delaying the entire delivery of new cars, they are letting them go to customers with components missing (like my heated seat function) and will simply have owners bring their vehicles back to install the part once it finally comes in.

Photo: Chevrolet

It’s Grown on Me

Maybe it’s maturity on both our parts, but the Equinox has finally fallen into my good graces. Perhaps it took a “cooler” sibling competing with it back-to-back to make me realize that the Equinox truly is a solid vehicle that deserves its place in the lineup.

Despite the Blazer being the shiny new model, the Equinox should not be dismissed. It truly is just as good in all ways (technology, drive, design) as the new kid, but at a more affordable price. And within the segment, it’s well-positioned against the Ford Bronco Sport, Jeep Compass, and Mazda CX-5, and will continue to hold its own and offer buyers a solid option when shopping.

Test drive report
Test model 2022 Chevrolet Equinox
Trim level RS AWD
Price range $26,498 – $34,798
Price as tested 33 798 $
Warranty (basic) 3 years/60,000 km
Warranty (powertrain) 5 years/100,000 km
Fuel economy (city/highway/observed) 9,4 / 8,0 / 8,7 L/100km
Options N/A
Competitive models Ford Bronco Sport, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Compass, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, Volkswagen Tiguan
Strong points
  • Solid winter drive
  • Decent on gas
  • Small trunk but roomy seating
Weak points
  • Smallest cargo storage in segment
  • You'll want to spring for the RS for aesthetics
Editor's rating
Fuel economy 3.5/5 Decent fuel efficiency for a heavy AWD vehicle in the snow
Comfort 4.0/5 The trunk may be small, but the seats are wide and comfortable for all
Performance 3.0/5 This is not a high-performance vehicle, however, it handled heavy snowfall very well
Infotainment 3.5/5 Chevrolet's onboard system is easy to use, however, it would have been great to have a larger screen
Driving 3.5/5 Nothing to complain or rave about here
Overall 3.5/5 The Equinox has a solid spot in the Chevy lineup, and it will maintain that spot if they continue to make subtle improvements in the coming generations
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