2019 Chevy Equinox Review
- Three engine choices, including an mpg-friendly diesel option
- Smooth and comfortable driving experience
- Strong handling
- Base L trim is only available via special order
- Cargo area is smaller than on competing SUVs
- Interior materials considered mediocre quality given price
Redesigned for 2018, the Chevy Equinox competes with compact crossover SUVs such as the Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. The Equinox keeps pace with the competition thanks to strong driving performance and a comprehensive set of features. Where the Equinox excels is in its selection of engine options. It offers an unusual engine for this U.S. market today, a 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine that gets nearly 40 miles per gallon on the highway – better than some similar hybrids. Another option is the 250 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine giving the Equinox V6 levels of performance when most rivals only offer one four-cylinder choice. That range of performance and fuel economy-oriented engines makes the Equinox unusual in the segment, and suitable for customers looking for something different among compact crossovers.
The 2019 Chevy Equinox line gives buyers four trim levels to choose: the L, LS, LT and Premier. While the most wallet-friendly, the base L model is only available via custom order, which means dealers don't typically stock them and customers have to wait weeks for that model to arrive from the factory once ordered. The LS, while more common, adds only a small set of features over the base L, as well as few optional extras.
Most reviewers recommend stepping up to at least the LT trim, which is available with several option packages, including the Lights and Brights Package and the Confidence and Convenience Package. Opting for the top-of-the-line Premier earns drivers all of the features of these packages, plus access to a host of additional packages such as Confidence and Convenience II Package and the Sun, Sound, and Navigation Package.
New features on the 2019 Equinox include updated active safety and driving features such as pedestrian-sensing automatic braking and adaptive cruise control, features many rivals already offer as standard or optional equipment. New optional safety and convenience features include an available higher-definition rearview camera, while both the standard 7-inch and optional 8-inch infotainment screens have been improved.
Though fully redesigned just last year, the current Equinox is a step up from its previous iteration in terms of features and overall performance. It's an excellent choice for small families, outdoor travelers, and those who might want to do a bit of towing without sacrificing too much in the way of fuel economy.
On the outside, the Equinox looks a lot like the smaller and sleeker sibling to the three-row Chevy Traverse, according to reviews from Kelley Blue Book. Coming in at 183 inches in length and 73 inches in width, the Equinox hits the sweet spot as a practical package that's easy to park.
Options such as roof rails and a hands-free powered tailgate add convenience, while available packages such as the new Lights and Brights Package add eye-catching design elements such as 19-inch wheels and a wrap-around chrome grille. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are standard on L models, LS, and LT models. LT models with 2.0-liter turbo engine get 18-inch wheels standard, while Premier trim includes 18-inch machine-faced aluminum wheels with painted inserts.
The 2019 Equinox is available in a wide range of colors, though the base L model offers only two choices: Silver Ice Metallic and Summit White. The LS adds seven more colors, and the LT adds four more.
Interior Quality and Comfort
On the inside, the 2019 Chevy Equinox features a comfortable and spacious five-passenger cabin. Front bucket seats are firm and supportive, while back seats are generously sized to accommodate both children and adults. The 60/40 split-folding second-row bench can also be reclined, though reviews from Kelley Blue Book and Cars.com found the standard recline angle to be too sloped. Optional features include heated front seats (optional the LT trim and standard on the Premier trim), optional ventilated front seats on Premier and heated rear seats.
Nearly all Equinox trim levels feature cloth upholstered seating as standard, while all Premier models get perforated leather upholstery. Reviews from Edmunds complain that the quality of the interior materials on the center console and the dash feel worse than the norm for the class, especially when the Equinox's higher-than-average price is considered.
The Equinox features plenty of cup holders and seatback pockets, as well as a subfloor in the rear cargo area designed to stow smaller objects discreetly.
A panoramic sunroof is available on LT models with Sun and Navigation Package and Premier models with the Sun, Sound and Navigation package.
Utility and Practicality
A small downside to the 2019 Chevy Equinox according to some reviewers is that its total cargo capacity of 63.9 cubic feet is, well, smaller than the likes of the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, and Toyota RAV4. A roof-mounted luggage rack set with side rails is optional on LT models and standard on Premier models, but only the LT gets provisions for an available roof-mounted carrier.
However, the Equinox boasts respectable towing capabilities for its size, making it an excellent choice for travelers looking to haul trailers or excess cargo. While the standard 1.5-liter turbocharged engine and the 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine are rated to tow up to an average 1,500 pounds, the more powerful 2.0-liter turbo engine is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds. That figure is more on par with some larger, V6-powered SUVs.
Technology and Infotainment
Keeping pace with its rivals, the 2019 Chevy Equinox features a host of modern technology and infotainment features on all trim levels.
The L model features 7-inch infotainment system with four USB ports, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities, push-button start and keyless entry. Other features include height-adjustable front seats, a driver information display, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, Chevrolet's Teen Driver watchdog modes and OnStar with Wi-Fi hotspot and 4G LTE connectivity. The LS doesn't add much in terms of technology, though its available Convenience Package does add a power driver's seat.
The LT trim level receives several technology improvements, including an upgraded driver's information display, SiriusXM satellite radio and HID headlights. The available Infotainment Package adds an 8-inch touchscreen, a 120-volt household-style power outlet, two USB ports in the armrest bin and onboard navigation. The optional Confidence and Convenience package adds rear parking sensors, remote engine start, a power liftgate (not available with turbodiesel engine), heated front seats and dual-zone automatic climate control.
At the top of the trim ladder, Premier models feature LED headlights and taillights, a hands-free power liftgate, driver's seat memory settings, ambient interior lighting and wireless smartphone charging standard. The Premier's optional Confidence and Convenience II Package add several high-level features, including a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, a power front passenger's seat and heated rear seats. The Sun, Sound and Navigation Package adds a panoramic sunroof, an upgraded navigation system and a seven-speaker Bose audio system with HD radio.
Safety and Driving Assistance
The 2019 Chevy Equinox showcases strong safety performance as demonstrated by its overwhelming "Good" scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Equinox earned a "Marginal score for its headlight performance, however, but a top mark for the LATCH Ease of Use category. The Equinox also earned a "Superior" rating in the frontal crash avoidance category.
In testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Equinox earned an overall 5 out of 5 stars, and 5 stars in all individual categories except rollover, where it received 4 stars.
All models receive driver and front passenger front airbags with Chevy's Passenger Sensing System, seat-mounted side-impact airbags for driver and front passengers and head-curtain airbags for front and rear outboard seats. The LS adds a spare tire and jack.
But it requires moving up to the LT's available Confidence and Convenience Package to add rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. And only the Premier model's optional Confidence and Convenience II Package adds automatic high-beam control, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree parking camera system, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and an intelligent meter that measures the distance (in seconds) between the Equinox and the vehicle it is following.
The Equinox delivers a driving experience that most describe as smooth and secure. While not as nimble as rivals such as the Mazda CX-5, the Equinox makes up for its tamer driving experience with comfort, quietness, and towing capabilities. Visibility is considered adequate, as well.
The driving experience largely depends on which of the Equinox's three engine options you've selected. Standard across all models is a 1.5-liter gasoline engine with 170 horsepower and 203 lb.-ft. of torque. A larger 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with 252 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque is available on LT and Premier models. Also available on LT and Premier is the fuel-efficient 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine with 137 horsepower and 240 lb.-ft. of torque. Models with both the 1.5-liter gasoline engine and the 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine use a six-speed automatic transmission, while models with the 2.0-liter turbo engine have a 9-speed automatic transmission.
All Equinox models do relatively well when it comes to fuel efficiency, but especially with the turbodiesel engine. Versions with the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine and front-wheel-drive get an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in the city, 32 on the highway, and 28 mpg combined. Models with the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine and all-wheel-drive get an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city, 30 on the highway and 27 mpg combined.
Equinox variants with the optional 2.0-liter turbo and front-wheel-drive get 22 city, 29 highway and 25 combined. Adding the optional all-wheel-drive system drops the highway and combined rating by 1 mpg each.
At the top of the fuel economy charts are models with the 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine. Front-wheel-drive versions are rated at 28 mpg in the city, 39 highway and 32 mpg combined. All-wheel-drive versions drop by just 1 mpg on the highway. These estimates are on par, if not better, than even competitors with hybrid powertrains, let alone gasoline-only rivals.
Trim Levels and Pricing
The base L model for the 2019 Chevy Equinox — available only as a custom order direct from Chevy — starts $24,995 with destination fee included. Prices (with destination fee included) for subsequent trim levels are as follows:
- LS (FWD 1.5-Liter Turbocharged Inline-4 Engine): $27,095
- LS (AWD, 1.5-Liter Turbocharged Inline-4 Engine): $28,795
- LT (FWD, 1.5-Liter Turbocharged Inline-4 Engine): $28,395
- LT (AWD, 1.5-Liter Turbocharged Inline-4 Engine): $30,095
- LT (FWD, 1.6-Liter Turbocharged Diesel Inline-4 Engine): $30,795
- LT (AWD, 1.6-Liter Turbocharged Diesel Inline-4 Engine): $32,495
- LT (FWD, 2.0-Liter Turbocharged Inline-4 Engine): $30,895
- LT (AWD, 2.0-Liter Turbocharged Inline-4 Engine): $32,695
- Premier (FWD 1.5-Liter Turbocharged Inline-4 Engine): $32,295
- Premier (AWD, 1.5-Liter Turbocharged Inline-4 Engine): $34,095
- Premier (FWD, 1.6-Liter Turbocharged Diesel Inline-4 Engine): $34,495
- Premier (AWD, 1.6-Liter Turbocharged Diesel Inline-4 Engine): $36,295
- Premier (FWD, 2.0-Liter Turbocharged Inline-4 Engine): $35,095
- Premier (AWD, 2.0-Liter Turbocharged Inline-4 Engine): $36,895
Overall, the 2019 Chevy Equinox is on the pricier side for compact crossover SUVs. Though the base L model undercuts base models for rivals such as the Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue and Honda CR-V, many consider the hassle of custom order to add to the Equinox's overall cost. It also lacks some features considered essential for the price and doesn't allow for optional extras or much in the way of color selections. Even the LS model is sparsely equipped. We recommend stepping up to the LT to get the most value and access to additional safety and technology features, which make the Equinox more competitive among its rivals.
However, those looking for increased towing capabilities, or the highway fuel economy of a diesel engine are more likely to find what they're looking for in the Equinox than most other compact SUVs. It's a generally well-rounded vehicle that is practical for many of today's new car buyers.
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