It’s day three of my test week with a 2013 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ, and I find myself liking the interior a little more every time I get in it, both for the integration of its tech features and for its surprising comfort.
I said in my intro to the Equinox that the crossover utility vehicle feels like what grown-ups drive. Most of that feeling, I think, comes from the hushed interior. Turn off the thumpin’ Pioneer-branded speakers and subwoofer, and the vehicle’s interior is as quiet as most top-of-the-line luxury cars of a generation or two ago. Wind noise is subdued thanks to the Equinox’s raked windshield and curved profiles everywhere, not to mention thick rubber seals on all the doors.
Another reason it feels so “grown-up” is undoubtedly the two-tone leather seats. While the leather seat coverings themselves feel thinner than most luxury cars’, they are supple to the touch and don’t feel like vinyl, a complaint registered with many high-rent versions of common transportation appliances like the Equinox and its competitors in the crossover segment. The front seats are nicely sculpted, and the driver’s seat has power-adjustable lumbar support. I found the headrest perfectly positioned– it does not seem to sit too far forward, like many headrests in cars of today.
The front seats are power-adjustable in every direction you could want, and they’re heated at the touch of a button. Within five minutes of hitting the button on a cold evening, the driver’s seat was keeping my back, buns, and thighs toasty warm. The heated seats have three levels of adjustment so you can dial in exactly how toasty you want your backside to be.
The back 60/40 split bench seat features a center armrest with two integrated cup holders and can slide fore and aft to alternately provide rear passengers with more legroom or give more cargo space behind the seats. Slid all the way back, the Equinox has plenty of legroom for adults over six feet tall, though the tallest passengers may wish the seat was slightly higher off the floor of the car to give them more thigh support.
The Equinox’s interior has some features that work downright perfectly. The placement of the MyLink screen atop the center stack works perfectly for me when I put the Equinox in reverse and the back-up camera comes on, with the screen perfectly placed in my line-of-sight when scanning between the exterior mirrors. This makes the backup camera a tool that better enables me to back safely, rather than a distraction that demands more of my attention than the mirrors themselves. Added bonus: The Equinox’s exterior mirrors are heated, feature built-in blind-spot convex mirrors, and can be set up to automatically tilt down when the vehicle is shifted into reverse.
Our Brett Solomon pointed out a favorite feature of his former 2007 Equinox: The ability to set presets without regard to whether they were AM, FM, or satellite radio stations. That ability carries on in the 2013 Equinox with MyLink infotainment system, and you can cycle through your top six presets by flicking the SRC button on the right-hand side of the steering wheel up or down.
That button is one of my only gripes with the Equinox interior. It’s easy to inadvertently press the SRC button, which changes audio sources, when all you really want to do is flick up or down through your presets or the tracks on your USB device. My wife’s car has steering wheel-mounted audio controls with separate track/tuning and source selection buttons, and perhaps because I’m used to that layout, I have repeatedly found myself cuing up my list of radio presets while trying to skip ahead a track on the USB stick I loaded with music.
When that happens, I’ve found myself simply hitting the voice command button located right next to the SRC button. When prompted, I simply say, “USB,” and the MyLink Mistress, as I’ve taken to calling her, picks up right where I left off with the USB stick.
Another small gripe: The instrument cluster design, while mostly attractive and inoffensive, is prone to glare. Tons of glare. Not the kind of glare that blinds you while driving, but the kind that makes reading the dual-binnacle RPM and speedometer gauges near impossible in some lighting conditions. Thank the complex curved plastic that separates you from the gauges for that. With shallower binnacles and flatter plastic surfaces, this would likely be a non-issue. Thankfully, in times when the speedometer remains hard to read for several minutes, there is an option to bring up a digital speedometer in the center information display, where the reflections and glare aren’t a problem.
But those two gripes really feel like picking nits, in the grand scheme of the interior and do not detract from its status as a superbly comfortable, enjoyable place to spend my drive time.