GMC Terrain, Equinox, and SRX Forum banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know it's been mentioned a couple of times on here that the Equinox can't really go off road, but I nonetheless wanted to put its abilities to the test. This weekend, I hit up part of a 'Hiking and ATV only' trail in NE Iowa at the break of dawn. I only did a short 1.5 mile stretch, but the Equinox handled it like a champ. There were rutted, rocky and muddy sections with one steep downhill slope and the Equinox didn't scrape its bottom even once, though I did take the trail super slow. Here are my thoughts from that short jaunt
1. The Equinox is no rock crawler, but will handle 90% of the trails that 90% of the drivers take it on. It's no Jeep Wrangler, but it doesn't need to be. It will happily run circles round most off road trucks and cars while on road, which is where the Equinox truly shines.
2. 7.9 inches of ground clearance (2018 LT AWD) isn't class leading but is sufficient for most situations. Know where that lowest point is on the 'Nox (appears to be the catalytic converter or the rear differential), drive it accordingly and you should be fine.
3. The 1.5L turbo has a LOT of low end torque. Limit it to the first two gears and it will get up a muddy slope with no issues whatsoever. I also had all season tires on, which made it even more impressive. I'm looking forward to winter with some peace of mind knowing heavy snow wont get me stuck like it did my last vehicle.
4. The lack of skid plates is a concern, although the approach angle did seem adequate. I calculated it to be roughly 18 degrees. I didn't really attempt to clamber over anything though, thanks to the lack of AT tires.
5. I was well aware of the risks of this trip, and did this solely with the intent to see what the car was capable of. It did just fine, but there's always the risk of skidding down a slope, cracking the oil pan or center differential case or shearing off the front bumper in ANY vehicle. Off-roading is 75% driver skill and 25% vehicle capability, and someone who has no idea what he's doing can end up totaling an off road tuned Toyota Tundra. If you have zero off road knowledge, don't do it. Period

While I didn't buy the Equinox with the intent to go rock crawling or trail bashing on a regular basis, I think it will do just fine on the odd weekend camping trip, make it up the dirt road to a trailhead, cross the occasional shallow stream and take you decently far off the beaten path without breaking a sweat. I was planning on lifting it by an inch or so before this trip, but considering the outcome this weekend, will not be doing so. A twisty winding road is where this car truly shines and I don't want to kill the crisp handling of my AWD Equinox for a little bit of added GC I won't really need.

With winter creeping up, I plan to see how it does in deep snow. Midwest winters can get harsh, and I'm hoping it can do more justice on a snowy and icy day than my previous vehicle (a 2017 Nissan Altima) did.

Tire Wheel Car Land vehicle Vehicle

Steep downhill slope, followed by a steep uphill climb. No rocks, just lots of ruts and slippery loose mud



Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Land vehicle

One steep and rocky downhill section that looks a lot steeper than in the picture. Had to literally crawl down this one.
 

·
Registered
2011 srx4 3.0L v6 awd lifted
Joined
·
24 Posts
Nice pics... thanks for posting them. Looks like good fun !!!

Good to see someone using it capabilities ... I set up my srx so it can handle some overlanding even though it will spend 90% of its life on paved roads. What part of the Midwest are you in. We live right on the iowa/missouri border.
Automotive parking light Car Wheel Tire Vehicle

Wheel Car Tire Vehicle Sky
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Well written and very true. My 18 Nox 2.0t works great off-road. You nailed the truth about the Nox.
I run a bull bar to protect the turbo aftercooler. Plus it warns me when I'm running out of ground clearance.
Great write up.
 

·
Registered
2020 Equinox LTZ-V, 2.0T, AWD, Sun of a gun Grey, 235/55 R19
Joined
·
9 Posts
I run a bull bar to protect the turbo aftercooler.
Can you please link which one?

Seems like the 3rd gen Nox's are actually very capable for light to moderate off road, the AWD/traction control systems don't just jarringly cut and/or apply power, it seems to work quite seamlessly and unobtrusively, and then there's brake torque vectoring if you actually get stuck that really works too. They seem mostly limited by ground clearance, where a 1-4" lift would work wonders.

Of course there are still many many situations and places you wouldn't take one, because of course you'd buy a proper 4x4 for that too. But from my experience in off-roading, the skill of the driver counts for at least as much as the capability of the vehicle. Don't bite off more than you can chew and you should be fine.



 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top