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Chevrolet Equinox vs. Chevrolet Traverse

Chevrolet strengthens its crossover lineup this year with all-new renditions of its top-selling Equinox and family-focused Traverse. The five-passenger Equinox once again ranks as a compact, but retains its grown-up styling and substantial feel. The Traverse is unabashedly full-size, with space for eight adults and a week's worth of vacation gear.

Is the Equinox capable enough for most buyers, or does stepping up to the Traverse make more sense?

See a side-by-side comparison of the Equinox & Traverse »

What the Equinox Gets Right

The Equinox has always been a comfortable cruising vehicle, and Chevy has seen fit to continue that tradition. The rear accommodations are generous for this class, and the Equinox rolls along with the quiet smoothness of a larger vehicle. There's 29.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat, and 63.5 cubic feet with it folded. This year's redesign brings additional safety and infotainment technology, as well as three new engines.

The standard 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder generates 170 horsepower and 203 lb-ft of torque, and comes with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-drive models are EPA-rated at 28 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving. With all-wheel drive, the Equinox delivers 26 mpg combined.

The optional 2.0-liter turbo, which essentially replaces last year's V6, offers a boost to 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Paired with a nine-speed automatic, the 2.0-liter return an estimated 25 mpg combined, or 24 mpg with all-wheel drive.

For optimum efficiency, Chevy offers a 1.6-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder with 137 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. So equipped, the Equinox achieves 32 mpg combined, even with all-wheel drive. Only a select few hybrid crossovers can do any better.

What the Traverse Gets Right

While many crossovers claim three-row seating, the Traverse really means it. Three adults can fit all the way in the back in relative comfort, while leaving enough room for 23 cubic feet of cargo. That space expands to 58.1 cubic feet with the third row folded, or a massive 98.2 cubic-feet with all seats out of the way. There's also a 10-inch deep storage compartment under the floor. When it comes to sheer interior volume, the Traverse rests at the top of the crossover class.

There's plenty of power on hand to propel a full load. The 3.6-liter V6 produces 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to a new nine-speed automatic transmission, efficiency is commendable for a vehicle of this size. According EPA estimates, the Traverse delivers 21 mpg combined with front-drive, or 20 mpg with all-wheel drive.

The sporty RS trim gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, the first four-cylinder ever offered in the Traverse. The 2.0-liter puts out 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, and promises 22 mpg combined, but is only available with front-wheel drive.

Which Size Is Right?

The Equinox is a prime example of why compact crossovers are so popular. It's just as comfortable as a family sedan, and yet offers far greater versatility without a mileage penalty.

The Traverse serves buyers who need all those room they can get. It's a practical, reasonably efficient alternative to a minivan or the largest SUVs.

Our Verdict: Chevrolet Traverse

The Traverse is capable and spacious like few other crossovers on the road.

Take a closer look at the Chevrolet Equinox »

Take a closer look at the Chevrolet Traverse »

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 

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