2021 Chevrolet Equinox

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2021
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2020
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
November 22, 2020

Buying tip

The Equinox LT hits the price/value sweet spot—and we’d add a comfort package with all-wheel drive.

features & specs

AWD 4-Door LS w/1LS
AWD 4-Door LT w/1LT
AWD 4-Door Premier
MPG
25 city / 30 hwy
MPG
25 city / 30 hwy
MPG
25 city / 30 hwy
MSRP
$27,900
MSRP
$29,100
MSRP
$33,000

The 2021 Chevy Equinox draws closer to the Blazer in size and mission—and in price.

What kind of car is the 2021 Chevy Equinox? What does it compare to?

The 2021 Chevrolet Equinox five-seat crossover SUV sits parked at the intersection of value and practicality. We’d shop it against a Subaru Forester, Ford Escape, or Honda CR-V. 

Is the 2021 Chevy Equinox a good car?

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It doesn’t top a single category in our reviews, but does well in those that matter for small families. It’s safe, inexpensive in base trim, and decently equipped. It’s above average, thanks in good part to its crash-test scores and features. The 2021 Equinox earns a TCC Rating of 6.5 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2021 Chevy Equinox?

The Equinox LT gets available leather upholstery. Otherwise we’re awaiting a refresh that had been due for 2021, but was postponed due to COVID-19.

There’s a reason crossovers like the 2021 Equinox have all but replaced minivans and sedans as the default choice for families. Utility comes through strongly—even if, in the Equinox’s case, it’s all wrapped in a rather anodyne package. The Equinox body could wear any of a number of badges and fit right into those lineups. The interior’s just as predictable and efficient, though tan leather dresses it up well.

Chevy sells the Equinox with a middling 170-horsepower turbo-4 or an upgraded powerplant with 252 hp. For what it’s intended to do, the base engine works fine—and the stronger pull from the bigger turbo-4 comes with some indecision from its 9-speed automatic. With all-wheel drive, the Equinox has the all-weather traction it needs, without the heavy-duty SUV hardware—so handling and ride quality are fine.

The Equinox makes up for a lack of passion with interior space. Four adults fit well, and the cargo volume’s nearly the equal of the next-bigger Blazer SUV. Cargo space expands to nearly 70 cubic feet behind the front seats, too. The interior’s trimmed to a price in base versions, and outward vision suffers from thick roof pillars.

The Equinox earns good crash-test scores, and has standard automatic emergency braking. Base models also get power features, cloth upholstery, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

How much does the 2021 Chevy Equinox cost?

About $25,000 for the base Equinox L, but you’ll have to spend more for the better infotainment setup, for all-wheel drive, and for a power driver seat. Count on about $33,000 once you’ve dressed one up that way.

Where is the Chevy Equinox made?

In Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada.

5

2021 Chevrolet Equinox

Styling

Chevy goes for simplicity in the Equinox.

Is the Chevy Equinox a good-looking car?

It’s average, we think. The interior and the exterior seem engineered to remove the slightest bit of controversy—and visual excitement. It leaves no impressions, good or bad. It’s a 5 here.

The Equinox looks like many other crossovers, once it’s past the familiar Chevy split grille. There’s a big gold bowtie to give its identity away—minus that, it could wear a variety of badges. From the gentle swell of the front fenders to the forward lean of its rear roof pillars, it’s carefully designed to welcome as many drivers as possible, without turning any of them off. One bright spot: Chevy sells the Equinox with a wider range of paint colors that have gone missing from rival lineups.

Inside, the symmetrical design of the Equinox interior won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s shopped a crossover in the past few years. A central shield of controls folds in either a 7.0- or 8.0-inch touchscreen between metallic-framed vents. It functions well, but doesn’t get too dressy until it wears available leather upholstery, which wraps around some dash panels to give some contrast to the cabin’s metallic trim.

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5

2021 Chevrolet Equinox

Performance

The Equinox has average performance, from acceleration to ride and handling.

Power is fine but not exceptional in base Equinox crossovers; the same is true for the way it steers and the way it rides, no matter which model you choose. It’s a 5 here. 

How fast is the Chevy Equinox?

Chevy briefly offered a sluggish but efficient turbodiesel in the Equinox. Now, the base and the upgrade engine both are turbocharged gas units. On base Equinox crossovers, a 170-horsepower 1.5-liter-turbo-4 delivers 203 pound-feet of torque, and middling acceleration through a 6-speed automatic transmission. It’s satisfactory and reasonably quiet.

We’d still recommend a spend up into the 252-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4, which twists out 260 lb-ft of torque through a 9-speed automatic that can get confused when asked to quickly pick a gear. This engine’s stronger off the line, has more gearing options when it reaches highway speeds, and other than some thrumming and turbo whistle, it’s the clear choice between the two. 

Is the Chevy Equinox 4WD?

The Equinox comes with front-wheel drive, but a basic all-wheel-drive system that can send up to half the power to the rear wheels is an option. Off-road usage is not recommended, but the all-wheel-drive system handles inclement weather well enough.

With the right configuration, the Equinox can tow up to 1,500 pounds.

In line with its tame acceleration, the Equinox has ride and handling that’s tuned for comfort over excitement. We like its ride quality, which is better in versions with smaller wheels and tires; the 19-inch set available on top trims seems more stylish than practical. The Equinox steers with accuracy and little highway wandering—and without much steering weight or feedback from the road.

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2021 Chevrolet Equinox

Comfort & Quality

The Equinox does its chores without much complaint.

With seats for five and enough cargo space to rival the bigger Chevy Blazer, the 2021 Equinox ticks the utility boxes, fair and square. It does so without much enthusiasm. The interior’s drab and its best feature got lost in translation from the last generation. 

We give it a 7 here, with an extra point each for its front seats and its cargo capability. The front passengers have it best, though in the base model, the seats have limited adjustment. With more expensive versions come lumbar adjustment, leather upholstery, and power adjustment for the driver. 

The second-row seat no longer has the sliding function baked into the last Equinox, but space is still reasonable. Two adults or three children can fit in easily, and have enough leg room (39.9 inches) to have no real reason to complain. 

Fold down the rear seats and the Equinox expands its 29.9 cubic feet of cargo space to 63.9 cubic feet. 

Chevy has made progress in interior quality with other vehicles, but the Equinox hasn’t joined in the fray. It’s more plainly built to a price than even the Bolt EV, and even the most expensive Premier model has less polish than a compact Honda or Hyundai SUV. Leather upholstery helps dress up the interior significantly.

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2021 Chevrolet Equinox

Safety

The Equinox earns a place in the safety honor roll.

How safe is the Chevy Equinox?

Very safe, according to the IIHS and NHTSA. The IIHS gives it a Top Safety Pick designation thanks to improved headlights, and the NHTSA awards it five stars overall.

Chevy now makes a raft of safety technology standard on the Equinox: automatic emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlights, and active lane control. Top-drawer models can be fitted with rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitors, and a surround-view camera system.

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2021 Chevrolet Equinox

Features

The Equinox is better when it’s cheaper.

The $24,995 Chevrolet Equinox L offers great value, and its base-model equipment list is long. Infotainment is a strong suit too—but the 3-year/36,000-mile warranty is average, and options are slim. It’s a 7 here.

The Equinox L comes with standard automatic emergency braking, power features, cloth upholstery, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. But it’s only sold with the smaller engine, with front-wheel drive, and only in white or silver. 

You’ll have to pay $27,495 for the Equinox LS to get a power driver seat and 19-inch wheels—which are extra-cost options even at that price, mind you. All-wheel drive is $1,600.

Which Chevy Equinox should I buy?

We’d skip ahead to the $28,695 Equinox LT, which gets a power driver seat, satellite radio, and keyless start—and offers options that include the more powerful engine, heated and cooled front seats, and a power rear liftgate. We’d pick this model and add the optional Comfort and Convenience package (for the remote start and heated front seats) and all-wheel drive, for a total of $32,340. 

How much is a fully loaded Chevy Equinox?

The $32,595 Equinox Premier gets standard leather upholstery, automatic dual-zone climate control, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with options for navigation, Bose audio, 19-inch wheels, and a panoramic sunroof. Fully loaded, the Equinox can cost more than $40,000.

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5

2021 Chevrolet Equinox

Fuel Economy

The Equinox earns up to 28 mpg combined.

Is the Chevy Equinox good on gas?

Chevy fits either of two turbo-4 engines to the Equinox, and both fare well in the EPA’s ratings. Based on the figures for the front-drive 1.5-liter engine—26 mpg city, 31 highway, 28 combined—we give the Equinox a 5 here. 

Add all-wheel drive, and the Equinox 1.5T gets 25/30/27 mpg. With the 2.0T, it’s a steeper drop: front-drive crossovers get 22/29/25 mpg, while all-wheel-drive Equinoxes with the bigger engine are rated at 22/28/24 mpg.

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$23,800
MSRP based on FWD 4-Door L
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6.2
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 5
Performance 5
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 8
Features 7
Fuel Economy 5
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2021 Chevrolet Equinox Pricing Insights

  • 2021 Equinox arriving now; 2020s in good supply
  • Up to $5,250 rebate on 2020s; $4,000 on 2021s
  • Lease from $239 for 39 months
  • 0.9% APR for 72 months + up to $3,650 bonus
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