Interesting that you brought this up. My father-in-law has been drooling over my XT5 since I bought it back in early December. He rode in it and loved everything about it.
However, last week he purchased a 2019 Equinox. Get ready for the novel I'm about to write. He didn't test drive it, just bought it off the lot because his car was in for service and he tends to make very rash decisions on stuff like cars. (He's also never happy with vehicles and trades constantly. Never researches them and barely has any idea about features, etc)
Funny because he bought a red one with black interior which is the exact color combo my XT5, except he has cloth seats. :bigroll: I think he got an LT which is their mid-grade, so it's not loaded like I'm assuming your co-worker's is. But I feel the opposite way you did, when they are next to each other, his Equinox looks like it's trying to be my XT5.
I will tell you, after riding in it, it is absolutely not comparable to the XT5. Sorry but no. Maybe the top trim level is, I couldn't say. At first glance, maybe to some they look like the same car - but the devil is in the details. I think the front ends look completely different and the XT5 is so much more attractive it's not even funny.
His Equinox is louder, the ride is not smooth and if people think the plastic feels cheap in their Caddy's, check out a mid-grade Chevrolet and get back to me. All the cheap plastic on the bottom areas of the XT5 is allll over inside the Equinox.
I was playing around with the touch screen and it sucked, quite frankly. Wouldn't register what I was pushing which was frustrating. I didn't even really explore the interface because it wouldn't respond, so I gave up.
The 2019 Equinoxes are also 4 cylinder, so there's that, too. Some trims come in turbo configurations (I think?) but yeah - no thanks.
Think the XT5 is underpowered? Honestly, after being in that Equinox for a 10 minute ride I couldn't wait to get out. Jerky? Yep. Also has start/stop. I don't know if it can be turned off though. My father-in-law had no idea, either.
It doesn't have Sport mode or manual shifting. The shifter isn't electronic (a bonus for some, but I happen to like the XT5's shifter a lot) He did get AWD and has a button to turn it on or off like we do in AWD XT5's.
I thought the lines of the dash and vertical vents on either side of the touchscreen were ugly and there's a stupid seam running down the center of the console. Like, really? A seam? They couldn't spring to make that one piece? Refinement is lacking. There are more knobs and buttons for temp and stuff like that, but it appeared cluttered to me now that I'm not used to it.
The Equinox looks cheap and feels even cheaper. Sorry I sound like a snob.
Is it a horrible car? Not at all, for the money it's as good as you'd get nowadays. There's definitely worse choices. And we can assume the loaded top trim level is nicer than the one I was in.
People buy cars for the feeling they get when they drive them. What's important to you might not be important to me and vice versa, which is perfectly ok.
I will 100% agree with you on one thing, I owned a 2004 SRX and that puppy was a true Cadillac; a tank that could go like hell. The XT5 doesn't have that same beastly feeling but I don't know what does these days... definitely not the Equinox, though.