New 2020 Chevrolet Equinox SUV
Chevrolet Equinox SUV
With a choice of turbo engines, a modern interior and new standard safety features, the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox has never looked better.
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The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox continues its battle against segment favorites such as the Honda CR-V, the Toyota RAV4, the Subaru Forester, and the freshy redesigned Ford Escape. It’s a tough category, and the Equinox has its work cut out. The Equinox is a bit larger than most competitors on the outside although that doesn’t necessarily translate to the interior.
Chevrolet has dropped the class-exclusive diesel-engine option, but the Equinox still offers buyers a choice between a 170-horsepower 1.5-liter turbo inline-4 and a more potent 252-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo. The latter engine option is among the most powerful engines in the segment, just topping the Ford Escape’s optional 2.0-liter turbo, which makes 250 horsepower.
As part of its value story, the Equinox offers a host of high-end features including standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as new standard driver assists including forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and lane-keep assist. However, against the industry-leading Honda CR-V, the Equinox comes up a bit short in the areas of fuel economy, passenger space and cargo room, not to mention resale value.
Here’s a more detailed look at how it stacks up next to some of its key competitors:
2020 Chevrolet Equinox vs. Honda CR-V
The 2020 Chevy Equinox is smaller than the Honda CR-V, by 2.5 inches in overall length and roughly the same amount in wheelbase. Through clever packaging, however, the Honda has notably more cargo space: Its 37.6 cubic feet behind the rear seats beats the Equinox’s 29.9, and with the seats folded, the Honda boasts 75.8 cubic feet to the Chevy’s 63.5. The CR-V also has a bit more legroom in the front and the rear seats, but the Equinox has the edge in headroom, particularly in front. The CR-V has added a hybrid powertrain option for 2020, which should deliver exceptional fuel economy. Honda’s 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system is smaller than the Chevrolet’s available 8-inch unit, however, and the Chevy’s is also easier to operate.
Comparing the two crossover SUVs’ standard engines, both are turbocharged 4-cylinders displacing 1.5 liters. The Honda’s has 190 horses, surpassing the Chevy’s 170 ponies, but the Chevrolet engine makes more torque: 203 lb-ft versus 179 lb-ft for the Honda. Chevrolet pairs its engine with a 6-speed automatic, while Honda uses a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Looking at EPA ratings for the two 1.5-liter engines, the Honda comes out on top by two mpg in the city and three mpg on the highway, with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
The Equinox also offers a 2.0-liter turbo good for 252 horsepower as its more-powerful engine option — Honda doesn’t have one. With its optional engine, the Equinox can tow more than the CR-V: 3,500 pounds versus 1,500, although with the Chevy’s standard engine the two are tied.
Pricing for the 2020 Honda CR-V is not out yet as of this writing but we can use the 2019 figures to get a general idea of how the CRV-V and the Equinox compare. The base CR-V LX is about $500 more than the least expensive Equinox L. That’s comparing front-wheel-drive models. To get all-wheel drive, Chevrolet requires buyers to step up to the Equinox LS, for $29,095, while Honda offers all-wheel drive on all CR-V trim levels, including the base LX for about $27K. At the top of the price ladder is the CR-V Touring. The front-wheel-drive CR-V Touring comes in right around $34K, which is about $1,500 more than the top-spec Equinox Premier. Add all-wheel drive and that price difference remains, with the Honda at just under $35,500 while the Equinox Premier all-wheel drive is $34,195.
2020 Chevrolet Equinox vs. 2020 Ford Escape
The Ford Escape has undergone a full redesign for 2020, and not all of the specs are available but there’s enough information to draw a comparison. The base and optional gasoline-engine powertrains of these two crossover SUVs are near mirror-images of each other. Both the Escape and the Equinox feature turbocharged 1.5-liter engines as their standard powerplant, although the Chevrolet’s has four cylinders while the Ford’s is a 3-cylinder. Despite the difference in cylinder count, however, power and torque outputs are extremely close. The Escape has 10 more horses than the Equinox, at 180 horsepower, while the Equinox has the edge in torque with 203 lb-ft to the Escape’s 177. Chevy bolts its 1.5-liter to a 6-speed automatic, while Ford employs an 8-speed unit. To date, Ford has published EPA estimates only for the front-wheel-drive version of this powertrain, and its 27-mpg city and 33-mpg highway ratings beat the front-drive Equinox by 1-mpg city and 2-mpg highway.
Both brands have a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 as the step-up engine offering, and they’re even more closely matched than are the base powerplants. Ford’s 2.0-liter makes 250 horsepower — just two ponies shy of the Chevy. The Ford engine’s 275 lb-ft of torque, however, exceeds the Chevrolet’s by 15 lb-ft. Ford pairs its 2.0-liter only with all-wheel drive, while Chevrolet offers either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive in conjunction with its 2.0-liter four. Ford also makes its more powerful 4-cylinder available in two trim levels, the SEL and the Titanium, just as Chevrolet offers its 2.0-liter turbo on the LT and the Premier.
But while the Equinox powertrain choices stop at two, the Escape additionally offers both a traditional hybrid and a plug-in hybrid. The traditional hybrid makes a total of 198 horsepower and can be had with either front- or all-wheel drive. EPA fuel-economy estimates for that powertrain are not yet available. The Escape plug-in hybrid is offered with front-wheel drive only and produces a total of 209 horsepower. Again, fuel-economy figures for the plug-in hybrid haven’t been released, nor has its estimated electric-only range.
The Escape is within an inch of the Equinox’s overall length, but its wheelbase is a little more than two inches shorter. The Ford’s styling marks a big change for that of the previous Escape, with a more rounded, carlike shape — making for a real contrast to the Chevrolet’s more traditional, wagon-like SUV profile. Despite the Escape’s more sloped rear liftgate, its cargo space actually exceeds that of the Equinox, but not by much. Behind the rear seats, the Ford has 3.6 cubic feet more room, and with the rear seatbacks folded, its advantage shrinks to less than two cubic feet. The Escape does have an edge in passenger legroom, however, both in front and in the rear.
The base price of the 2020 Escape is just over $1,000 higher than that of the 2020 Equinox, at $26,080. Ford allows buyers to spec all-wheel drive (for $1,500) on its base model while Chevrolet does not, so the all-wheel-drive Escape S, at $27,580, undercuts the all-wheel-drive Equinox LS by roughly $1,500. Ford offers a couple of mid-level trims, SE and SEL plus the SE Sport Hybrid, before you reach the top-spec Titanium. Interestingly, the Titanium comes standard with a hybrid powertrain (although a non-hybrid 2.0-liter turbo can be had). The Escape Titanium is $34,595 in front-wheel-drive form, which is $2K more than the Equinox Premier. With all-wheel drive, the fanciest Escape rings in at $36,095, or $1,900 more than the Equinox.
2020 Chevrolet Equinox vs. Toyota RAV4
The Toyota RAV4 is coming off a redesign for 2019 that saw it gain an extroverted new look outside, particularly with the off-road-themed Adventure model. Like Chevrolet, Toyota makes a full suite of active-safety features standard even on the base trim level.
The Toyota’s interior design is also more expressive than the Chevy’s, with a more interesting mix of materials. The RAV4’s rear seat is notably less roomy, however, so buyers who regularly ferry lanky passengers should take note. If you’re hauling mostly cargo, though, the RAV4 has a slight edge over the Equinox. It has seven more cubic feet of luggage space behind the rear seats and a little over six cubic feet more with the seatbacks folded.
The RAV4’s standard engine is a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, which is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Even without the aid of a turbocharger this beefy four puts out 203 horsepower, which is more than the Chevy’s base 1.5-liter engine but less than its optional 2.0-liter. The RAV4’s 184 lb-ft of torque is slightly less than you get with the Equinox’s 1.5-liter. Neither SUV is a barn-burner in the acceleration department, however.
EPA estimates show the RAV4 to be more economical than the Equinox. Comparing the standard engines, the front-wheel-drive RAV4’s 35-mpg highway rating beats the Equinox’s by four mpg. The two have the same 26-mpg city rating. With all-wheel drive, the RAV4 again does better on the highway, while the city estimates are essentially a wash. Toyota also offers a hybrid powertrain in the RAV4, and that model gets a stellar 41 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.
The RAV4 is one of the few compact SUVs that can tow as much as the Equinox. Its 3,640-pound maximum tow rating actually exceeds that of the Equinox, edging it by 140 pounds.
The base, front-wheel-drive RAV4 LE starts at $26,770, which is $1,775 more than the front-wheel-drive Equinox L. But the least expensive all-wheel-drive Equinox, the LS, is a few hundred dollars more than the all-wheel-drive RAV4 LE. Looking at the top of the lineup, the RAV4 Limited is a little over $2,000 more than the Equinox Premier in front-wheel-drive form and is a bit less than $2K more in all-wheel-drive form.
2020 Chevrolet Equinox vs. Subaru Forester
The Subaru Forester is another competitor that was just redesigned for 2019. The newest version of the Forester continues to exhibit many of the model’s familiar strengths, such as excellent outward visibility owing to its large windows, a roomy interior, standard all-wheel drive, and slightly more than usual off-road capability.
The new Forester has only one powertrain, as the previously optional turbocharged engine has been dropped. All Foresters are powered by a 2.5-liter boxer-4 paired with a CVT. Subaru’s 2.5-liter puts out an unexceptional 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque, versus 170 horsepower and 203 lb-ft for the Chevy. The Forester’s EPA fuel-economy estimates are 26-mpg city and 33-mpg highway, which better the all-wheel-drive Equinox figures (for its standard engine) by one mpg in the city and three mpg on the highway. The Forester is rated to tow just 1,500 pounds, however, considerably less than the Equinox’s 3,500-pound tow rating.
All-wheel drive is standard on the Forester, and on all but the base trim level it includes Subaru’s selectable X-Mode, which optimizes the system for off-road driving. Those same models also come with hill-descent control, to help slow the car on steep downhill trails. The Forester offers fractionally more ground clearance than the Equinox, at 8.7 inches, but the difference is less than an inch. Taken together, though, the Forester should be able to comfortably venture further off the beaten path than the Equinox.
The 2020 Subaru Forester starts at $25,505 for the base trim level with all-wheel drive (which is standard on the Forester). That undercuts the least expensive Equinox with all-wheel drive (the LS) by more than $3,500. At the top of the model range, the Forester Touring is $35,605, which is about $1,400 more than the top-spec Equinox Premier AWD. Note, though, that the Forester is expected to retain a greater percentage of its value when it comes time to sell.
You'll Like This Car If...
- Active-safety features are standard even on base model
- User-friendly available infotainment system
- Optional 2.0-liter engine delivers quite the kick; pairs with a sophisticated 9-speed automatic transmission
- 3,500-pound tow rating (with the 2.0-liter engine) is impressive for a compact SUV
You May Not Like This Car If...
- Base 1.5-liter engine is down on power
- Fuel economy trails most competitors’
- Cargo hold not quite as roomy as key rivals’
What's New for 2020
- Automatic emergency braking, forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning and assist plus automatic high beams now standard
- LT trim level can be equipped with new Midnight Edition package
- New Redline Edition available on Equinox Premier
- Diesel engine has been dropped
The Equinox’s standard engine is a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, and its 170 horsepower is not a big number for a vehicle of this size, although its 203 lb-ft of torque betters most rivals’. Chevy pairs this engine with a 6-speed automatic, while most other compact-crossover SUVs have more forward gears or use a CVT. In the Equinox, this combo delivers decent off-the-line acceleration but has to work hard to do so, an impression exacerbated by the transmission’s lower gear count. Although Chevrolet makes active noise cancellation standard on the Equinox, the engine’s strains are still plainly heard.
Unlike most competitors, however, Chevrolet offers a more powerful engine option. If quick acceleration is a must-have, the available 2.0-liter turbo and 9-speed automatic is the way to go. With 252 horsepower, it can easily blow past the Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester or Toyota RAV4, yet its fuel-economy figures remain in the mid-to-high 20s. Despite having so many ratios to juggle, the 9-speed gearbox is not overly busy, and is well-matched to this engine. Front-drive models with this powertrain do suffer from a bit of torque steer under hard acceleration, but all-wheel-drive versions have it under control.
Competent but unexciting describes the Equinox driving experience. The Chevy’s ride is soft but not spongy, and its cornering is acceptable if hardly thrilling. The steering is pleasantly weighted but fairly numb. Buyers who favor a more athletic driving experience will want to check out a Mazda CX-5 or a Ford Escape. Similarly, those needing to venture over tough off-road conditions might prefer the Subaru Forester or the Jeep Cherokee.
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STANDARD DRIVER ASSISTS
The 2020 Equinox finally catches up to the competition by making automatic emergency braking, forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning and assist plus IntelliBeam automatic headlights standard equipment.
2.0-LITER TURBO ENGINE
The Equinox’s optional 2.0-liter turbo makes a robust 252 horsepower, which is tops in the segment, and 260 lb-ft of torque. It can be paired with front- or all-wheel drive and enables the Equinox to zip past just about every other SUV in this category, as well as tow up to 3,500 pounds.
Parents of young drivers will appreciate this feature, which allows them to set a maximum top speed, prevent the disabling of active-safety features, and set up other parameters, which are paired with a specific key fob. Teen Driver is standard on the Equinox.
Chevy’s 2020 Equinox has a roomy 5-passenger interior, but it’s more practical than luxurious. The front seats are supportive and good partners on trips. The 2nd-row bench has a recline feature, but we found the angle a little too sloped when in the max position. Rear-seat legroom is better than you’ll find in a Toyota RAV4 or a Nissan Rogue, but not quite as generous as that offered in the Honda CR-V. Behind the rear seat there’s 29.9 cubic feet of luggage space, which is a few cubes short of the cargo hold in key competitors including the Ford Escape, the Honda CR-V, the Nissan Rogue, the Subaru Forester, and the Toyota RAV4. The rear seatbacks fold nearly flat in a 60/40 split, a big help when hauling gear. In all, the Equinox boasts 63.5 cubic feet of space with the rear seats down. Again, however, that’s quite a bit less than the CR-V’s segment-leading 75.8 cubic feet, and also not quite as much as you’ll get in the Forester, Rogue, RAV4 or Escape.
We do like the sub floor in the rear cargo area to stash smaller objects and keep them out of sight. Up front, the touch-screen system is easy to see and use, and controls for audio and climate are simple and in plain view. A 7-inch unit is standard, and an 8-inch screen comes in the LT and Premier trim levels.
If you want leather, it comes standard on the top-of-the-line Premier trim (in black, gray, or black-and-brown 2-tone) or can be optioned on the LT (in black only). All other models come with cloth upholstery. Also exclusive to the Premier are the optional heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, and ventilated front seats.
Looking the part of a younger and smaller sibling to the larger, 3-row Chevy Traverse, the Equinox is in fact closer in size to the new Chevy Blazer, the bow-tie brand’s midsize, 2-row offering. At just over 183 inches in length, and riding on a 107.3-inch wheelbase, the Equinox crossover SUV is larger than most compacts but still around seven inches shorter than the Blazer. Roof rails are available to add utility and bolder SUV looks, while a hands-free tailgate on the top trim makes it easier to load and unload groceries and gear.
Two special exterior appearance packages can be had: The Equinox Midnight Edition is available for the LT, and as its name suggests it brings blackout trim and black 19-inch wheels, along with Jet Black leather seats inside. For the Premier model, Chevrolet is offering a new Redline Edition, which features black 19-inch wheels with red hash marks, a black grille, black mirror caps, black trim and black badging with a red outline.
Notable Standard Equipment
The 2020 Chevy Equinox is available in four main trim levels: L, LS, LT and Premier. The least expensive Equinox comes with a 1.5-liter turbo engine, keyless entry and push-button start, a 7-inch infotainment system with four USB ports and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 17-inch wheels, and the Teen Driver system that can set parameters and relay information on driving habits. It also comes standard with the advanced driver assists mentioned above. Other highlights include General Motors’ OnStar telematics system and a subscription-based 4G LTE connectivity with Wi-Fi.
The LS opens the door to all-wheel drive, while the LT is the lowest trim level on which buyers can spec the optional 2.0-liter engine. The LT also comes with an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, SiriusXM satellite radio, dark-tinted rear glass, high-intensity headlights, and a driver-information screen in the instrument cluster.
The Premier brings a long list of additional standard equipment, including a higher-resolution rearview camera, a blind-spot-warning system, rear cross-traffic alert, an audible rear parking aid, a hands-free power liftgate, leather seats, 18-inch wheels, fog lights, roof rails, memory for the power driver’s seat, LED headlights and taillights, an 8-inch touch screen, heated front seats, remote start and wireless device charging.
Notable Optional Equipment
The base Equinox L is front-wheel drive only and offers almost no factory options. The short list of extras includes an engine-block heater and a front license-plate bracket. You do, at least, get a choice of colors, but only two: silver or white, either with a gray interior. LS buyers can option all-wheel drive, a power driver’s seat, dark-tinted rear glass, additional exterior chrome trim or an available blackout exterior trim package, 19-inch wheels, an illuminated bow-tie grille emblem, and a rear-seat entertainment system. They also have a choice of five no-cost exterior colors and one extra-cost hue: Cayenne Orange Metallic.
Buyers of the Equinox LT face further temptations. Start with the 2.0-liter turbo, which we’d strongly recommend despite its steep $2,500 tab (at least Chevy does toss in 18-inch wheels and chrome exhaust tips). The aforementioned Midnight Edition brings black exterior trim, Jet Black perforated leather seating, and 19-inch gloss-black alloy wheels. The Confidence & Convenience package includes rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot warning, rear park assist, remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, although many of those features can be added a la carte. The optional factory navigation system includes an 8-inch touch screen and additional USB ports. For the LT buyer, seven no-charge color choices are on the menu along with three extra-cost hues, the dearest of which is Iridescent Pearl Tricoat at $995.
Besides its additional standard equipment, the Premier also has exclusive options. Its higher-level Confidence & Convenience II Package include a surround-view camera system, adaptive cruise control, a heated steering wheel, GM’s Safety Alert Seat (it vibrates for various driver alerts), a power-adjustable front passenger seat, ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats. There’s also the Redline Edition exterior trim package mentioned above and a Bose premium audio system.
Under the Hood
There are two engines available in the 2020 Chevy Equinox. Both are turbocharged 4-cylinders, and all trim levels come standard with front-wheel drive (FWD). On all but the base model, all-wheel drive (AWD) is optional for better traction on slippery surfaces. Standard is a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. It makes 170 horsepower and 203 lb-ft of torque. The base engine is rated to tow 1,500 pounds, which is typical for a compact SUV.
A turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque is optional only on the LT and the top-of-the-line Premier. This bigger, more muscular four makes the Equinox feel quite a bit faster and pairs with a more sophisticated 9-speed automatic transmission. It is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds, which is a total more often seen with midsize rather than compact SUVs.
All Equinox models have an idle start/stop system that shuts the engine down at idle, such as at stoplights, in order to save fuel. Restarts can be annoying, with a little vibration as the engine chugs to life, and unlike in most other vehicles, the system cannot be switched off.
The Chevy Equinox’s fuel economy is a few mpg lower than that of its major competitors. With either FWD or AWD, the base 1.5-liter’s EPA estimates trail those of the Toyota RAV4, the Honda CR-V, the Subaru Forester and the Nissan Rogue — more so on the highway than in the city. Chevy previously offered a 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine as its fuel-economy leader, but that engine has been dropped, so buyers for whom gas mileage is paramount will want to look at the hybrid versions of the RAV4, the Escape or the CR-V.
1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4
170 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
203 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/31 mpg (FWD), 25/30 mpg (AWD)
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
252 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 mpg (FWD), 22/28 mpg (AWD)
The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $24,995 for a FWD base L model. The step-up LS model is $27,495 and doesn’t offer much additional equipment although it does open up some options, such as all-wheel drive, which can’t be had on the base version. An AWD LS is $29,095. Most buyers will be better off in an LT trim, which starts at $28,695 or $30,295 with AWD. Equinox Premier models begin at $32,595, with AWD an extra $1,600, and the Premier brings a long list of additional standard features. The desirable 2.0-liter engine is another $2,500 on the LT and $2,700 on the Premier and also includes larger wheels and chrome exhaust tips.
At its base price, the Equinox undercuts better-equipped rivals such as the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue and Subaru Forester. It’s priced similarly to the Kia Sportage and the Hyundai Tucson. Before buying your new compact SUV, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what folks in your area are paying. The Chevy Equinox’s resale value is about average, trailing leaders like the Honda CR-V and the Subaru Forester.
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