2010 Chevy Equinox iPod Interface Tested


The all-new 2010 Chevy Equinox has a terrific new interior design and, in most models, an all-new stereo with a USB iPod interface. I spent some time testing the new system, and in most ways it shows that GM is at the forefront of utilizing this type of setup. Of course, with others like Hyundai and especially Ford fielding strong competition, GM better be at the top of its game.


The USB input is in the center console, which is nicely lit so you don’t have to feel around for the input. Once you plug in your iPod, if the stereo is on it will immediately recognize the device and display its name on the center-mounted screen. I was shocked at how quickly it brought up the device and started playing music. There was no noticeable sync time like I’ve encountered with other systems, including Ford’s uh … Sync. Another editor tried a 160GB iPod, however, and did encounter a more typical sync time.


At first I was a bit annoyed that the default playlist was all songs listed alphabetically. To surf through artists, albums or playlists, you have to use the right tuner knob and select “search.” The word “search” might not be the best, but after discovering it owners clearly wouldn’t forget where this vital function is.

The knob also works great as a surfing tool. It’s stubby enough to grasp easily and is ringed in rubber. To make a selection, you just press the “Menu Sel” button in the middle of the knob. This gets you through your library quite effortlessly. Unfortunately, you can’t surf through songs or albums via steering-wheel controls. They’ll only skip forward and back through tracks.


By far my favorite part of the system was the blue-lit readout screen. Even in bright sunlight, the sharp lettering was easy to see. All the information you need is right there, whether you’re listening to an iPod or the radio.

The big drawbacks are pretty big, however. The system won’t play all non-iPod MP3 players. I plugged in our test iRiver Lplayer and got nothing via the USB connection. Obviously, it worked via the analog MP3 jack. Now, I’ll admit the iPod’s market share is 85%, but it’d be nice if every system were universal, like Ford’s Sync. Equinox product manager Mark Cohoon says the USB is compatible with an array of other MP3 players, our iRiver just happened to be one that falls into the does-not-compute file. Microsoft Zune owners and various other third-party players, including other iRivers, do work with the system. It also plays music uploaded to most USB flash drives.

The second problem is that the USB adapter isn’t standard on the new Equinox. It isn’t available at all on the base LS model, and it’s a $495 option on the 1LT. It comes standard only on the 2LT and LTZ trims. I humbly suggest GM make it standard starting in 2011, or at least available on the LS.

2010 Chevy Equinox Review



Original sheth

why would GM go through the trouble of making it standard on a $24k SUV when its not standard on a host of luxury models from BMW, Infiniti and others. Some lexus models don't even offer a USB connection. HOw about it becomes standard on high end cars before we start demanding it on a $23k model.

Original sheth

"The big drawbacks are pretty big, however. The system won’t play all non-iPod MP3 players. "

Isnt this common for all ipod compatible interfaces except SYNC? I thought you guys posted earlier that SYNC and GM's system were amongst the few that work with ZUNE.

We'll point out the USB isn't standard on all models FOR EVERY new car that comes out from here on out. It is such a no brainer these days that when Hyundai, Kia, Scion etc do it, GM and Ford should do it too.

The whole BMW/Audi think is typical of luxury makes. You'll never find one without it most likely at a dealer and the extra $500 or so they charge gets eaten into the packages they load up on them. Not saying that's acceptable but that's the way it is.


Zune is lame.

Original sheth

Point is that its not standard on 95% of the cars sold today so I'm not sure why its a major deal that the base Equinox lacks it. It would be nice if USB was standard on EVERY vehicle but thats not the way it works and most manufacturers seem to be in no rush to change that. Hyundai is always the value leader so its not surprising that they are the first to make it standard.

Holy cow man I just said its about NEW cars that are just introduced. 95% of vehicles aren't newly introduced.


Great to see the connector in the arm rest, thank you for finally doing this GM. I am glad to see it works with then the Ipod even if it not everything on the market. Working with a memory key is pretty cool. I agree Dave I would like to at least see it standard on the 1LT, LS does not seem quite as important since that really is a base model.

I agree. If it had been standard on the 1LT it would've made more sense and then make it available on LS.


I-Pod connections should be standard on new models. Heck if Kia, Scion, and Hyundai can do then why not others. It is as entry level an accessory today as the cassette and CD players were in their day. You can go to any stereo store and find a replacement stereo with i-pod connection for $100. It's not like it's an expensive item.

Original sheth


I wasn't clear, I was saying USB isnt standard on 95% of new or recently introduced models. Even models that have been recently refreshed like 2010 camry dont have it standard. I think GM and others have proven you can retrofit a USB port so saying "95% of cars arent brand new" isn't really that relevant anyway. Its a simple, cheap addition but for whatever reason automakers arent rushing to add it.


Another Mastodon fan, lol.

I like the idea of a simple screen, it can be confusing sometimes when some cars put a lot of graphics in it.

I'd like it be standard on all makes and models, but I'm not one to mind. I think it'd make certain cars more appealing, however.

Oh, and the relatively low time it took to access the iPod you guys tested vs. the 160 GB one is quite possibly the fact that most iPods (Shuffle, Touch, Nano) are flash-based (virtually instant memory, like a flash drive), while the Classic is hard-drive based. Which takes quite a bit more time to spin up and spin down. So it probably wasn't a fault of GMs.


Does any one know why this is not coming on 2LT models or 1LT models with the upgrade. I have looked at 2 'noxs and not seen it yet. The dealer I talked to the other day said that the USB was crossed out on all the ones at other dealships.


What about the alphabetical playback? I can't figure out how to play any other way. If I play an album, the songs play in alphabetical order. This is silly.


Yea being alphabetical would drive me nuts too. Meh I really dont have an ipod anymore so this doesnt concern me really, lol.


We just bought the 2110 eqnox. all i have in the arm rest is a white plastic cover on the inner side of the arm rest. My salesman said that is the mp3 player hook up. Does not look like a hoomk up to me just a cover for something. as i read here it is a cover for the 495 dealer to be installed usb port. we have a 1LT. dang i got ripped off.


I'm going to get the dealer to put it in (the usb port) for his cost. not the $495.


Yeah this alphabetical stuff is utterly ridiculous, in my opinion, it makes USB interface utterly useless unless you want to use your entire song catalog as a radio station and listen to them randomly. Probably going to use the 3.5mm stereo hookup when to listening in any other fasion than all songs on shuffle.

Louis Hearn

I have a 2009 HHR LT2. Mine has a USB and the Blue tooth Radio. It is a very cool configuration. So Don't think its without its own problems. My old Ipod classic works fine. My new Ipod Touch only syncs when it wants to very frustrating. Not sure if its Chevy or Apple.


Your comments and descriptions are spot on, and I loved the features for playing my ipod. For the first week. After my son unhooked my ipod, and used his, suddenly mine won't work anymore. Keeps saying "re-indexing iPod". Anyone else have this problem?


Just bought a 2011, and the USB port is now standard on the 1LT, not sure about the LS though.


Just bought a 2011. The USB port only recognizes about 1/3 of my IPOD songs that happen to be MP3s ripped from CDs. However, 2/3 of songs on my IPOD are MP4s purchased from ITunes store, and won't play. If I want to hear them, will have to go through basic AUX audio port.

Anyone else have this problem?


Ugh, sooooo frustrating! I just bought a 2011 equinox and the only way I can listen to my ipod is through the aux output cord I bought from radio shack for $10. When I was in the lot I plugged in my iphone to the usb port and it started playing fine....then I tried my ipod and it says that it is not recognized. My ipod is from 2006 and it still won't play. Why are we ALL having this problem??


I am having the same exact issue that Leslie is having. I just bought my 2001 equinox in December. I plugged in my IPOD touch and my wifes 2009 ipod nano. neither gets recognized. Gives me a no data, device not supported error. Sometimes if I leave it connected and turn the car off, when I turn it back on it wil actually connect. Need someone to tell me the fix.


correction ot my post its a 2011 equinox obvfiously


I just bought a 2011 Equinox a couple months ago.

I have a ZUNE 30g which it recognizes perfectly.

My 80g on the other hand is spotty. It will work, but then loses contact. I should probably check the usb cord.

I have also used a 2g jump drive and that works perfectly as well.

You can go to the menu on the car and choose Random and it will shuffle your songs. Not complicated at all.

I wish the techs at Chevy could tell me if an external hard drive can be used, and if so, how large.

I've asked which popular mp3 players, like a top 10 list can be used, and they couldn't tell me that. Oh well.

I enjoy the use of my ZUNE player, and no they arent crap, they just aren't ipods which was the reason I wanted it.

bob senzig

My Zune does not work right. I see all the songs but they hesitate but do not play? Who else is using Zune with 2011 Equinox?

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