2013 Chevrolet Equinox & 2013 GMC Terrain. Click image to enlarge
Review by Justin Pritchard
Vehicle Type: Compact Crossover
History/Description: Designed to bring GM’s presence into the compact crossover SUV scene, the second-generation Chevrolet Equinox / GMC Terrain hit the market for model-year 2010 with a slew of standard fuel-saving technologies, upscale features, and a flexible cabin. Competing with machines like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 is no easy task – but the second-generation GM compact ute models were redesigned, re-equipped and re-imagined for the task.
Extensive noise-absorbing elements were built into the chassis, engine compartment and interior, and Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology helped turn in a quiet, upscale ride.
The interior benefits from a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, MultiFlex seating and a 60/40-split-back rear seat. With the rear seat in its most forward position, Equinox and Terrain offer nearly 900L of storage available – meaning these twins are ready to tackle a variety of jobs.
Available features include a Bluetooth phone interface, back-up camera, sunroof, premium audio system, leather seating and a navigation system. Equinox and Terrain can even be fitted with remote start and a motorized tailgate for easy loading and unloading. GM’s popular OnStar safety and communications system was on board, too. Furthering driver safety and alertness, later models could be had with a lane-departure warning and forward collision warning system.
Engines / Trim: Two available direct-injection engines were offered. The base 2.4L four-cylinder engine cranks out 184 horsepower while claiming fuel consumption figures as low as 6.1 L/100 km. A 264 hp 3.0L V6 was available optionally, with 3.0L of displacement. These high-compression, high-efficiency engines were cutting edge for their time and market segment, and each came teamed with a six-speed automatic as standard equipment.
If you’re after a higher-end model, LT and LTZ badges were worn by top-line Equinox models, while the Terrain was available in luxurious Denali trim, and became available with GM’s 3.6L V6 from 2013 and on, delivering 301 hp. This engine replaced the 3.0L V6 in the Equinox, too, and All Wheel Drive (AWD) was available on all models.
2013 Chevrolet Equinox. Click image to enlarge
What Owners Like: Looks like GM nailed the ride quality and overall comfort of these machines, as owners typically report a smooth ride and good all-around comfort. The interiors are noted to feel bigger than they look, and the Multi-Flex rear seat system is loved for its ability to slide a few inches fore and aft to create more space as needed. A massive centre console is also noted, as is all-around visibility.
What Owners Dislike: Typical gripes include less-than-inspired performance from the standard four-cylinder engine, engine noise, a fussy touchscreen interface, and some low-budget interior trim.
Common Issues: Looks like this generation of Equinox has fared better, reliability-wise, than the original generation – though some checks should be considered mandatory in your test-drive process and ahead of your purchase.
2013 Chevrolet Equinox 2LT AWD V6. Click image to enlarge
Checking the level and condition of the engine’s oil supply is an important check on any used vehicle – and especially with this generation of Equinox and Terrain, as numerous owners have reported issues with oil consumption, especially in early four-cylinder models. Some owners even had significant repairs completed, or engines replaced, because of the issue.
A Technical Service Bulletin (TSB)(ID 2857121) was sent to GM dealer service centres outlining how to deal with models that exhibit excessive oil consumption. Long story short, some defect with pistons and piston rings, deep inside of the engine, may contribute to burning oil. Ditto a leaky High Pressure Fuel Pump (HPFP), which could contaminate the engine oil with gasoline and dilute it, making it easier to slip past the rings and burn up in the cylinder. Here’s some more reading. Note that this issue seemed to affect only 2010 and 2011 models.
Best defense? Ensure that the model you’re considering isn’t huffing any blue smoke from the tailpipe, have a mechanic do a compression test, and confirm that the oil level and condition is satisfactory.