Chevrolet Redesigns The Equinox For ’16

What changes will make it different?

The 2015 model year is still the second generation of this compact crossover, which has been on sale since 2009. After an apparent one-year delay, model-year 2016 will bring what should be an all-new, third-generation version. If Chevy goes the way of most carmakers, the next Equinox is likely to be built on a new global platform that will be used throughout an entire family of GM models over the coming years. That means just about everything is set to change, with features that are already in place in other Chevy models making their way to this car.

Why should I wait for the 2016?

At this stage, you can only wait to hear more concrete details about the new generation before making a decision. If you’re tired of the car’s look but love the rest of it, you may want to wait until the next generation starts to appear at auto shows to see if you like the new design. That car could be a departure from what we have grown familiar with over the past five years, but don’t expect the manufacturer to stray too far from a recipe that has been a success.

Should I buy a 2015 model instead?

This vehicle has remained essentially the same for so long that its reputation has become firmly entrenched. The Equinox is generally considered to be one of the best vehicles in its segment, and the model-year ’15 version might be the top one yet. Thus, it’s well worth buying one and changing a few years down the line if you like what you see when the next generation eventually arrives.

Will the styling be different?

The model-year ’16 will need to be noticeably different from the current version to justify the investment in a whole new platform. However, the second-generation design has stood the test of time better than most vehicles do. Despite the fact that this is a compact crossover, new models are tending to get a little larger, so there’s every reason to think the third-generation of this brand will gain some size (though it will probably shed some weight at the same time).

Any mechanical changes?

By the time the model-year 2016 Equinox rolls into dealerships, many of its expected mechanical improvements will probably already have appeared in other GM vehicles. Expect smaller, more lightweight engines and upgraded transmissions with more gears to switch through. Connectivity is also likely to improve, although that is an area where we have already seen big upgrades with the ’15 model year.

Will fuel economy improve?

Part of the reason compact and midsize crossovers have pulled ahead of many full-size SUVs is because they are more fuel efficient. It would be unthinkable for Chevy to bring out a new model that is thirstier than the one it is replacing—so, yes, gas mileage can certainly be expected to improve, especially since a plug-in hybrid will likely be included in the new lineup.

Will it have new features?

We’ve reached the point where it’s difficult to imagine how much more we’ll get our vehicles to do in the near future, so “new” features are probably going to merely be improved versions of current ones. The model-year ’15 Equinox has MyLink, OnStar with 4G LTE and a standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot to enhance the in-vehicle connectivity. Expect the next generation to build on these systems and add even more functionality to them.

How will 2016 prices be different?

Most manufacturers are acknowledging the fierce competition in the U.S. auto market and are keeping prices for new models as close as possible to those of outgoing cars. In some cases, the new models are even cheaper than before at the entry level in order to seize the attention of price-conscious shoppers. Thus, even though the model-year ’16 Equinox is getting a complete makeover, its price tag isn’t likely to be dramatically different.

What is the Expected Release Date?

Late summer or early fall in 2015 looks to be the time of arrival.

Best competitors

Ford Edge, Hyundai Santa Fe, Honda Cr-V, Nissan Rogue, Buick Encore, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester

What change would make it better?

Even though its exterior still seems fresh, it’s going to need a significant update to get people out of their late-second-generation models. LED lighting might be becoming a bit of a cliché, but it’s a must these days. An interior that is more spacious and upscale is also necessary to help this vehicle keep pace with the competition.

Quick hit

It’s rare that an all-new version of a car is viewed with some trepidation, but the second-generation Equinox has been such a star that it’s almost a shame to see it go. Nevertheless, there aren’t many examples of manufacturers replacing a model with something worse, so the future bodes well for this brand.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]