As Joe Lorio points out, the big news here is that the four-cylinder Equinox is worth buying. Power is adequate when you keep in mind the purpose of this particular combination is fuel economy and the engine feels refined, though it certainly doesn't sound very smooth. I loaded the Equinox with four people and still had adequate power on the expressway, though the steering is pretty horrible at speed. I understand the benefit of electric power steering for fuel economy purposes, but I have a hard time living with the overboosted systems most automakers seem to favor. There is just no feel in this steering at speed, so I found myself making frequent corrections to keep the crossover on course.
The Equinox is by far the largest vehicle in its segment with a 3929-lb curb weight and 187.8-inch length compared with the Toyota Rav4's 3494-lb curb weight and 181.9-inch length, but the Chevy still returns better fuel economy than the Toyota with a 20/29 mpg rating to the RAV4's 21/27 mpg rating. Chevy also gives you a slight edge in horsepower and torque figures, but that difference is insignificant. How does a bigger, heavier, more powerful Chevy achieve better fuel economy on the highway? Thank the six-speed automatic transmission, which has two more gears than the Toyota. Direct injection is certainly part of the equation, but I doubt many consumers in this segment understand what DI means or does. Those who understand cars a little more will understand the $2500 price difference over a RAV4 is going to cover the fancy injection and more sophisticated transmission. Technology is great, but it isn't cheap.
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor