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A white 2018 used Chevy Equinox is driving past blurred modern buildings.

All the Info You Need to Buy a Used Chevy Equinox

When the Chevrolet Equinox hit the market back in 2005, it was Chevy’s first foray into more economical crossover SUVs. This compact and versatile vehicle proved an instant success, and over three million of them have been sold to date, making the Equinox Chevy’s most popular SUV model by a wide margin. In fact, it is Chevy’s second most popular model overall, coming in behind the iconic Chevy Silverado pickup truck. With such high sales figures, finding one of these affordable SUVs on the used market isn’t difficult – but why should you buy a used Chevy Equinox? The answer is simple – it is both efficient and functional, with low running costs and all the space you need for passengers and cargo. But if you are looking for more information, read on for everything you need to know before buying a used Chevy Equinox.

A blue 2016 used Chevy Equinox LT is driving down the road past a fence and trees.

Historical Highlights

As mentioned, the Chevy Equinox made its debut in the 2005 model year. However, Chevy was already planning improvements to its new SUV. In 2008 a new Sport trim was introduced, featuring a 42% more powerful 3.6-liter engine that allowed it to sprint to 60 mph in under seven seconds. You won’t see a roof rack on the Equinox Sport, and it sits an inch lower. These changes, along with a few other design tweaks, definitely make it look sleeker than the other models.

2010 brought the second generation of the Equinox. This revamp included a more efficient powertrain, with a new 2.4-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine standard. The EPA-estimated gas mileage with this engine is up to 22 MPG in the city and 32 MPG on the highway – a significant improvement over the outgoing base engine. This year also introduced a new optional 3.0-liter V-6 direct-injection engine with variable valve timing.

While the wheelbase is the same as earlier models, the second generation is about an inch shorter in length and width, with a wider track for a more stable ride and better handling. Another feature added to improve ride quality was GM’s Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology, producing a quieter cabin. A seven-inch touch screen with Bluetooth and USB connectivity shows up as an option for the Equinox in 2010, giving this decade-old car a modern feel. Additional options include a rear-seat entertainment system with two independent screens, a power-operated rear liftgate, and a rear-vision camera.

Of note, the 2010 Chevy Equinox was a finalist for North American Truck of the year. It was also named Urban Truck of the Year by On Wheels Media – an award specifically focused on the needs of drivers who face busy commutes and crowded parking lots in urban and suburban communities. Also in 2010, the Chevy Equinox received an Ideal Vehicle Award for Best in Class in the Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV category as determined by AutoPacific’s annual survey of new car owners. The awards kept on coming this year as the 2010 Equinox was announced to have Interior of the Year for Trucks Under $39,999 by Ward’s AutoWorld, granted by Ward’s editors who review vehicles with new or significantly upgraded interiors.

The 2013 Chevy Equinox was made available with a new 3.6-liter V6 engine that bumps horsepower 65% over the standard 2.4-liter, making it the most powerful engine ever offered in this compact SUV. Also in this model year, Chevy brought its MyLink technology to the Equinox after first introducing it two years earlier in the Chevy Volt. MyLink allows for better smartphone connectivity and app access, and an improved version with navigation is available on the LTZ and 2LT models. A used 2013 Chevy Equinox may also have a safety package with forward collision and lane departure alerts along with rear park assist, systems that helped this generation earn its Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

A silver 2017 used Chevy Equinox Redline is parked in a modern room with red and white accent lighting.

The Newest of the Used

When considering a used Chevy Equinox, the highest-quality options are from the third generation, which was introduced for 2018 and is still in production today. The 2018 and later models are slightly smaller and approximately lighter than the previous design but have about the same amount of interior room. The result is a more nimble and efficient vehicle that can still fit all your family and friends. In fact, efficiency was one of the key design goals of the third generation Chevy Equinox, making this iteration of the vehicle much easier on your wallet and the environment.

The standard engine in the 2018 Equinox is a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 170 hp. This allows the SUV to make up to 26 MPG in the city and 32 MPG on the highway, although opting for the available all-wheel drive system will reduce that slightly. There is a peppier engine upgrade option as well – a 2.0-liter turbo with 252 hp. Finally, if better fuel efficiency is what you’re after, you can also find used 2018 and 2019 model year vehicles equipped with a 1.6L diesel engine. This choice provides no less than 39 MPG on highway and, at the time of its introduction, was the only diesel engine in the compact SUV market.

But efficiency alone is far from the only reason to opt for the third generation. Another major advantage it has over its predecessors is a much higher level of standard and available technology. All third-generation models, regardless of trim, have a seven or eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with Bluetooth, USB, and auxiliary port connectivity, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. If you’re looking for safety features in a third-generation Equinox, many will only show up on Premier and some LT models. But if you’re lucky enough to find a used 2020 model year Equinox, it will have most safety systems standard no matter the trim. However, Teen Driver technology is standard on all Equinoxes from 2018 on, if that is important to your household.

Age is Just a Number

When looking at a used Chevy Equinox, there is a marked difference between the earliest models and newest, but they are all solid vehicles that can provide you with years of reliable service. For the newest perks, you’ll want to look for a 2018 model year or newer vehicle. Fortunately, with a new generation planned for 2022, there will soon be more and more of these newer used models hitting the used market. But if you can do without the latest gizmos and technology, then a second-generation or even first-generation Chevy Equinox will make for an affordable and versatile ride.

The best features of the Equinox, such as its driving dynamics, visibility, reliability, and cargo space, have not changed much over its 15-year run. This means that no matter which model year of this highly popular SUV catches your eye, you will soon discover the secret behind its impressive sales figures. And while newer versions of the Equinox may bring more to the table, an older Equinox in good condition is a steal on the used market. With its sales history and evolution, a used Chevy Equinox may be just the ride to take you to your next location. After all, can over 3 million drivers really be wrong about this compact SUV?