In this guide, I’ll dive into all Chevrolet Equinox generations, revealing Equinox’s best years to buy and the worst Chevy Equinox years to avoid.
Leveraging data from authoritative sources like NHTSA, Consumer Reports, and others, I’ve synthesized vast amounts of information about Chevy Equinox’s standout features, problems, and recalls year by year.
You’ll discover insights on each generation, highlighting the most reliable Chevy Equinox years to buy and the least reliable Chevy Equinox years you should avoid.
Let’s dive right in.
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Chevrolet Equinox Generations
Introduced in 2004, the Chevrolet Equinox carved a niche in the crossover SUV market with features ranging from a V6 engine to a versatile rear-sliding bench, reflecting Chevrolet’s bid to appeal to both families and urbanites seeking an SUV with decent fuel economy.
Here’s a concise breakdown of the Chevrolet Equinox’s lineage from its inception to the present day:
|1st generation (GMT191)||2005-2009|
|2nd generation (GMT172)||2010-2017|
|3rd generation (GMD2XX)||2018-Present|
Understanding the generational shifts could be the key determinant in making an informed decision, whether you’re considering a purchase or merely curious about the SUV’s evolution.
Chevrolet Equinox Best, Neutral, and Worst Years
When we categorize Chevy Equinox’s best and worst years, we consider the vast array of factors, including but not limited to:
- Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
- Annual maintenance costs
- Safety ratings
- Consumer Reports reliability scores
- Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
- NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
- Edmunds owner ratings
- JD Power owner ratings
- Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
- VehicleHistory owner ratings
- Cars.com owner ratings
The upcoming graph will combine ratings from all these resources.
Following the graph is a table categorizing every Chevy Equinox model year into best, neutral, or worst years based on accumulated data.
|Generation||Best Years||Neutral Years||Worst Years|
|1st generation (GMT191)||2009||N/A||2005|
|2nd generation (GMT172)||2016|
|3rd generation (GMD2XX)||2019|
“Neutral Years” in our categorization refers to model years showcasing consistent performance without remarkable highlights or significant pitfalls.
While several factors influence our rankings, some, like NHTSA recalls, tilt the scales negatively. A surge in complaints and recalls typically signals a dip in the car’s reliability.
Let’s dive into the specifications of the best, neutral, and worst Chevrolet Equinox years.
Best & Worst Years for Chevrolet Equinox 1st Generation (2005-2009)
Introduced in 2004, the Chevrolet Equinox marked the company’s dedicated step into the compact crossover SUV space.
With relatively good ratings like 85 J.D. Power score by previous owners, 2009 is Chevy Equinox’s best year in this generation. 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 are the Chevy Equinox years to avoid.
The Best Years: 2009
2009 distinguished itself as the Chevy Equinox’s best year through enhanced features and a notable reduction in the previous model years’ persistent issues.
Under the hood, the 2009 Equinox housed a 3.4L V6 engine with a powertrain option of a 5-speed automatic transmission.
As for the trim levels, the 2009 version presented choices ranging from the base LS to the more luxurious LTZ variant with an upgraded audio system, navigation, and enhanced interior materials.
It also showcased improvements with advanced airbag systems and stability control features.
While the year was certainly not devoid of issues, the number and severity of these were considerably fewer than in previous years, making it the best Chevy Equinox year of the first generation.
The Worst Years: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
Beginning with the 2005 Chevy Equinox, electrical system malfunctions, joint head gasket failures, engine overheating, transmission failures, and recurrent steering challenges posed significant issues for owners.
The 2006 Chevy Equinox introduced another problematic feature: a flawed heater system that often blew cold air. Braking became another area of concern, with the ABS engaging intermittently.
The problems continued into the 2007 and 2008 Chevy Equinox models, including defects in the passenger side airbag sensors and power steering issues.
One of the most significant and potentially hazardous concerns emerged from a pronounced fuel smell around the vehicle and reports of fuel leakage.
Best & Worst Years for Chevrolet Equinox 2nd Generation (2010-2017)
The Chevrolet Equinox’s second generation, spanning from 2010 to 2017, marked an era of refinement and innovation for the brand.
With high owner ratings in VehicleHistory, Cars.com, and Consumer Reports by previous owners, 2016 and 2017 are marked as the Chevy Equinox’s best years. Meanwhile, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 are the Chevy Equinox years to avoid in this generation.
The Best Years: 2016, 2017
2016 and 2017 are undoubtedly the best Equinox years in the second-generation Chevy Equinox lineage.
Regarding trim level options, the 2016 and 2017 models came in L, LS, LT, and LTZ flavors, with each step up the ladder adding more luxurious and tech-forward features.
However, a potential hiccup remained in the form of excessive oil consumption.
Prospective buyers are often advised to keep a close watch on this, though it is worth noting that these years are celebrated mainly for their advancements.
The Neutral Years: 2014, 2015
The years 2014 and 2015 for the Equinox can be termed as transitional.
The engine options remained consistent, but there was evident attention to ironing out kinks.
These years saw decent ratings from previous owners on platforms like VehicleHistory and Cars.com, indicating that while they had their merits, they also retained some of the problems of their predecessors, most notably the excessive oil consumption issue.
The Worst Years: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
What years of Chevy Equinox are bad? The initial years of the second generation – 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 saw staggering numbers of NHTSA complaints and recalls, so we categorized them as the Chevy Equinox years to avoid.
The 2010 model, for instance, was criticized for engine problems, notably engine stalling and high oil consumption. Furthermore, this year had glaring problems with its windshield defrosting and defogging systems.
Chevrolet acknowledged these issues, leading to recalls, mainly focusing on the defrosting systems.
These engine issues, particularly the excessive oil consumption, persisted into the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Chevy Equinox models.
The 2013 Chevy Equinox even introduced new problems with the timing chain and more reports of engine stalling.
Best & Worst Years for Chevrolet Equinox 3rd Generation (2018-Present)
Entering the third generation, Chevrolet intended to redefine Equinox’s presence in the compact SUV segment.
With higher-than-average Consumer Reports and Cars.com scores, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2023 are Chevrolet Equinox’s best years in this generation. While 2022 is still commendable, due to many recalls, 2018 and 2022 are the Chevy Equinox years better to avoid.
The Best Years: 2019, 2020, 2021, 2023
What are the best years for the Chevy Equinox? With higher reliability and owner satisfaction scores, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2023 are the Chevy Equinox’s best years in the third generation.
The 2019 Chevy Equinox, for instance, introduced an array of engine options tailored to various consumer preferences, including a 1.5L turbo, a 2.0L turbo, and even a 1.6L turbodiesel with six and 9-speed automatic transmission.
Trim levels saw further diversification, with Chevrolet offering a broader spectrum from the base “L” to the more luxurious “Premier.”
Features like lane-keeping assist, forward-collision alert, and automatic braking became standard.
The 2023 Chevy Equinox, although relatively new to the market, has already received high commendation for its integrated tech features and driving experience.
According to Consumer Reports, fuel efficiency reached averages of 17 mpg for city driving and an impressive 34 mpg for highway commutes.
The Worst Years: 2018, 2022
2018 – the introductory year, and 2022 – the initial facelifted year, received relatively low ratings by owners. Combined with the number of NHTSA recalls, we categorized them as the Chevy Equinox years to avoid.
The 2018 Chevy Equinox experienced significant setbacks, with reports highlighting service brake issues due to vacuum pump failures. A recall was issued by GM, pointing towards insufficient coating on the rear brake caliper pistons.
Alarmingly, this brake issue wasn’t confined to just the 2018 model but spilled over to the 2019 and 2020 models.
In the 2022 Chevy Equinox, engine stalling became a common problem due to a faulty fuel pump module. GM acknowledged this problem and promptly issued a recall in 2023 to rectify the anomaly.
Chevrolet Equinox Average Resale Values
In order to get a better overview of the Chevrolet Equinox’s market performance, take a look at the following graph, which illustrates its average resale values over the years.
As we wind down our exploration of the Chevrolet Equinox, it’s evident that 2019-2023 model years are the best Chevy Equinox years for their commendable features and reliability.
Based on our analysis, which Chevrolet Equinox model year aligns best with your needs and why?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!