2017 Chevy Equinox vs 2017 Mazda CX-5

vs

When the dust finally settles in the battle for crossover SUV supremacy, none of us should be surprised is there isn’t a clear-cut winner to crown. While this could be a result of the vast number of ‘combatants’, the over-saturation of the segment is only part of the problem.

The remainder comes as a result of the demands and expectations placed upon the automakers. Sure, every kind of vehicle is engineered with certain expectations as to performance, handling, comfort and fuel economy. That said, crossover SUV offerings seem to take on even more.

The expectation is that crossovers will perform with the strength and dependability of a truck, offer the smooth ride of a luxury sedan, deliver the sportiness and fuel economy of a subcompact and provide the spacious accommodation of a minivan. Throw in the more current expectations of available technology, and it makes for a long (and somewhat unreasonable) list. As a testament to these vehicles, it’s amazing how competently many of them pull it off.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 2017 Chevy Equinox vs 2017 Mazda CX-5, to see how they measure up to the lofty expectations of today’s crossover SUV customer. To acclimate ourselves, let’s touch on a few of…

The Basics

The 2017 Chevy Equinox is a midsize SUV that seats five, and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick. It is available in four trim levels (L, LS, LT and Premier) and is priced to start around $23,580. The 2017 Mazda CX-5 is also a Top Safety Pick and available in four trims (Spot, Touring, Grand Select and Grand Touring). It is priced to start around $25,915.


Technology

Technology

The Equinox’ infotainment system is build around a 7-inch touchscreen (with rearview camera) and a six-speaker sound system. In addition to the auxiliary and USB inputs, the Bluetooth-enabled Equinox comes with OnStar and in-car 4G LTE WiFi. This remains one of those distinctive amenities which seems to be catching on very slow, in terms of standard features. As of 2017, you’d think every automaker would be incorporating it in every offering- whereas Chevy has made strides to do exactly that.

Inside the Mazda, you can expect to find a 7-inch touchscreen (with backup camera) and a four-speaker sound system. Bluetooth-enabled, the CX-5 offers USB inputs but no Wi-Fi. While it may seem like a minor gripe, I refer back to my earlier comment. Whether we like it or not, we live in WiFi soup. If it’s going to be available somewhere, it should be available everywhere; especially in a vehicle catering (at least, in part) to families. In turn, Equinox for the ‘win’.

back to top

Design Icon

Design

Exterior

In terms of overall design, both the Equinox and CX-5 are immaculately on-brand. By this I mean that the Equinox reads immediately as a Chevy, while the CX-5 fits effortlessly between its Mazda stablemates.

That said, the Equinox and CX-5 are very strong designs. While I may not be the biggest fan of crossover styling, both are imbued with a sleek, sculpted appearance that makes them instantly more appealing.

It really comes down to subjective taste, so we’ll rule this one a tie, with points going to each.

Interior

Also subjective in nature is any consideration of the interior.

While the Equinox favors more traditional styling than the innovative layout of the CX-5, it does so in a way that feel very fresh. The flow from cabin to dash gives a comforting, wraparound feel that is only embellished by the (optional two-tone) materials used in higher trim levels.

The CX-5 may be more simple in terms of color scheme, but its dash and vent design, combined with the raised screen create a very unique and modern feel.

While the latter is certainly appealing in its own right, we’re going to favor the Equinox. Our reasoning: space? The interior of the CX-5 is hard not to like, but it is a very driver-centric design with limited space for rear-seated passengers. The Equinox however is equally appealing in terms of aesthetics, but offers a more welcoming environment.

back to top

Performance Icon

Performance

The Chevy Equinox comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. While front-wheel drive comes standard, all-wheel drive is optional on every trim level except for the (base) L trim. Rated for 182 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque, fuel economy is estimated around 23 mpg (28 highway, 20 city).

There is also the option of a 3.6-liter V6 on the LT and Premier trims. Delivering 301 horsepower and 272 lb-ft of torque, this more powerful engine averages 18-20 mpg combined, based on the drivetrain selected.

Properly equipped, the Equinox can tow up to 1500 LBS with the four-cylinder, and 3500 LBS with the V6. Offering confident acceleration, a smooth ride and responsive handling, the Equinox measures up nicely to overall expectations.

The Mazda CX-5 is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder across all trim levels. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, it serves up 187 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive standard (with the option of AWD) the CX-5 offers approx. 25 mpg combined (31 highway, 20 city).

While the CX-5 gets strong marks for handling, the Equinox measures up confidently against it. With that, plus the available powertrain options, we’ll give this to the Equinox.

back to top