- Excellent included active safety.
- Nice standard tech features.
- Good driving dynamics.
- Base motor lacks power.
- Luxury Premier trim is expensive.
- Brand new model coming next year.
Would we buy one? Yes.
Vehicle Type: 4-door, 5-seat compact crossover SUV.
Price Range: Pricing for the Chevrolet Equinox starts at an MSRP of $24,995 in base L trim. In top-tier Premier trim, the Equinox starts at $32,595. Pricing includes destination fees, but no optional equipment.
Powertrain: The base engine on the Chevrolet Equinox is a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 170 horsepower, backed by a six-speed automatic transmission.
An optional 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine makes 252 horsepower and 260 pound-foot of torque, paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional.
Competitors: Toyota Rav4, Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, Volkswagen Tiguan, GMC Terrain, and Hyundai Tucson.
Overall Score: 7.6/10
Safety Features: 9/10
Standard driver assistance features on the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox include forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian detection with low speed automatic braking, lane keeping assist with lane departure warning, following distance indicator, rearview camera, and automatic high-beams. For those with children, a standard rear safety alert reminds you to check the back seat, and Teen Driver Technology helps parents monitor younger drivers.
Available safety features include adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, rear park assist, lane change alert with blind spot monitoring, Surround Vision 360 degree camera, and a Safety Alert Seat which shakes to get the driver's attention when the possibility of a collision is detected.
As of this writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not yet rated the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox. However the 2020 version received a Top Safety Pick designation, and the highest Good rating in crash tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also awarded the Equinox five out of five stars in its crash testing.
The Chevrolet Equinox offers one of the lowest base MSRPs in class with good driving dynamics, handsome looks, and excellent standard tech and safety features. Overall, the Equinox offers competitive features to other vehicles in the segment, while slightly undercutting them in cost.
One issue with the value proposition of the Equinox is that the larger 2.0-liter turbo motor is not available on the two lower trims. Reviewers recommend the LT trim as the best value option because it opens up the availability of a more powerful engine, without tipping into luxury territory.
The 2021 Chevy Equinox comes with a 3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty, and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Chevy also includes one scheduled maintenance service.
Tech Features: 8/10
In base trim, the 2021 Equinox is the compact SUV price winner, and includes a decent number of tech features. A standard 7.0-inch touchscreen runs the infotainment system which is Bluetooth compatible, and includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. For those needing a wired connection, a USB port and auxiliary jack are also standard. A built in Wi-Fi hotspot and GM's OnStar system are also standard.
Optional tech includes a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, hands-free power liftgate, Bose premium audio system, navigation, and rear-seat infotainment system with dual 8.0-inch headrest screens.
The Chevrolet Equinox accommodates five adults in relative comfort, though drivers and passengers of above average height may have difficulty finding enough room in either the front or rear seats. Passengers will find plenty of cubbies and cupholders to house their stuff, including a decent sized under floor compartment behind the rear seats.
The Chevy Equinox has 29.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the seats, and 63.9 cubic feet with the seats tucked away. That lags behind the Honda CR-V, which has almost 40 cubic feet behind the rear seats and over 75 cubic feet when the seats are folded flat. The Equinox also has 1500 pounds of towing capacity, enough for a tent-trailer for weekend camping trips. This matches the CR-V but is behind the Rav4, which has up to 3500 pounds of towing when properly equipped.
Styling & Design: 7/10
With a new Chevrolet Equinox set to debut for 2022, delayed one year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 model year remains largely the same as the prior year. The exterior offers smooth, if undertreated looks, compared to more freshly penned competition. That said, even with an impending refresh, the Equinox doesn't look dated.
Inside, the Chevrolet Equinox does show its age and reviewers found the interior to be sturdy and well built, but materials lag behind those in more recently updated competitors. The infotainment screens orientation also frustrated some reviewers.
Like most manufacturers, Chevy has created a couple of appearance packages with a dark theme. The Equinox Midnight Edition includes black exterior paint, a blacked out grille, trim, emblems, and black 19-inch alloy wheels. The Equinox Sport Edition is largely the same, but with more exterior color choices.
Driving Experience: 6/10
Reviewers found the 1.5-liter turbo engine to be underpowered, and its 6-speed automatic transmission slow to downshift when power was needed. Adding AWD to the base drivetrain sapped even more power, making the Chevy Equinox slow. The 2.0-liter turbo engine was found to be a much better powerplant to move the Equinox up to speed, the 9-speed auto also shifts more quickly when called upon.
The suspension was comfortable during normal driving, but too stiff on bumpy pavement. Reviewers preferred the smaller 17 or 18 inch versus the optional 19-inch wheels for this reason. Steering was found to deliver good feel and weighting.
Even as an outgoing model with a major refresh coming, the driving dynamics and quickness (when equipped with the optional motor), make the Chevy Equinox a formidable contender.
Fuel Efficiency: 8/10
In base trim with FWD and the 1.5-liter engine, the EPA estimates the Chevrolet Equinox's fuel economy at 31 highway mpg, 26 city, and 28 combined. Adding AWD drops those numbers by one mpg in each category.
When optioned with the 2.0-liter engine and FWD, the estimated mileage is 29 highway mpg, 22 city, 25 combined. Adding AWD again drops mileage by one mpg highway and combined, with city staying at 22 mpg.