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2021 Chevrolet Equinox Review

A top-notch predicted reliability rating helps keep the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox competitive among compact SUVs. It also has a long list of features and good fuel economy, but its base engine is merely adequate and cabin quality is subpar.

Pros & Cons

  • Superb predicted reliability rating
  • Comfortable, roomy seating
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Mediocre base engine
  • So-so interior quality

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Chevrolet Equinox's #5 ranking is based on its score within the Compact SUVs category. Currently the Chevrolet Equinox has a score of 8.0 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 29 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.0

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 6.7
Performance: 6.8
Interior: 7.2
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.8 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

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Is the Chevrolet Equinox a Good SUV?

Yes, the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox is a good compact SUV. Aside from a perfect predicted reliability rating, the Equinox doesn't excel in any one area, but its whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It has roomy seating for five, but some interior materials are lackluster, and cargo volume is merely average. You’ll get great fuel economy from the base engine, but acceleration is subpar. The optional powertrain is more muscular but less efficient.

Why You Can Trust Us: 29 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 29 Chevrolet Equinox reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2021 Equinox is the right new car for you.

This 2021 Chevy Equinox review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2018.

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined auto industry experience. To remain objective, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team manages the advertising on our site.

Should I Buy the Chevrolet Equinox?

This Chevy's long list of standard infotainment and active safety features helps make it a good value. While pricing for the 2021 model isn't available at the time of writing, the nearly identical 2020 model had below-average prices for the class. If you want a straightforward crossover with plenty of passenger space, the Equinox is worth consideration. This is a competitive class, however, and several rivals make compelling options. The GMC Terrain has a nicer cabin, and the Subaru Forester offers one of the largest cargo holds in the segment, along with standard all-wheel drive.

Find 2021 Chevrolet Equinox listings for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Chevrolet Equinox: What's the Difference?

There are no major differences between the 2020 and 2021 Equinox. The Equinox is slated for a 2022 refresh that will bring an updated appearance, a new sporty RS trim, and newly available safety features, including automatic parking assist.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Equinox »

Here are the key changes for the Chevrolet Equinox since it was redesigned for 2018:

  • 2018: fully redesigned with new turbocharged and diesel engine options, much better fuel economy, standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and an available 8-inch touch screen
  • 2019: adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, and wireless device charging became available
  • 2020: turbodiesel engine no longer offered; lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and automatic high-beam headlights added to standard features list
  • 2021: no major changes

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Equinox, 2019 Equinox, and 2020 Equinox reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Chevrolet Equinox Cost?

Chevrolet has not announced pricing for the 2021 Equinox, but the nearly identical 2020 model started at $23,800, which was one of the lower retail prices among compact SUVs.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Chevrolet dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Chevrolet deals page.

Chevrolet Equinox Versus the Competition

Chevrolet Equinox vs. GMC Terrain

The Chevy Equinox and the GMC Terrain are both made by General Motors and share many similarities. Both crossovers offer the same powertrain options and lists of features, and each has comparable fuel economy estimates and cargo and interior dimensions. The Chevy's higher position in our compact SUV rankings is due to its better predicted reliability rating and the GMC’s below-average safety score. The most distinct advantage of the GMC is its more upscale interior, though the Terrain is a little more expensive. You should buy the Terrain if you prioritize its nicer cabin. If you don't, the Equinox is a better pick.

Compare the Equinox and Terrain »

Chevrolet Equinox vs. Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester has a poor predicted reliability rating, while the Terrain's is exceptional. That's the only reason the Subaru ranks a little lower than the Chevy. The Forester has one of the largest cargo areas in the class, as well as a more refined interior than the Equinox. This Subaru also has better fuel economy and more-responsive handling, and it comes standard with all-wheel drive. Both of these SUVs have spacious back seats, good crash test results, and a lengthy list of standard driver assistance and infotainment features. Choosing between them depends on how much emphasis you place on dependability predictions.

Compare the Equinox and Forester »

Compare the Equinox, Terrain, and Forester »

Equinox Interior: Big, but Bland

Equinox Cargo Space

The Equinox's cargo space is about average for the class. You get around 30 cubic feet behind the rear seats and roughly 64 cubic feet with the second row folded down. With the back seats upright, there's enough room for several suitcases.

How Many People Does the Equinox Seat?

The Chevrolet Equinox is a five-seat compact SUV. It impresses with tremendous rear-seat legroom that allows tall adults to sit back there comfortably. Back-seat passengers should also have ample headroom, unless you opt for the panoramic sunroof. The front seats are well-shaped to keep you relaxed and supported on long drives.

Equinox and Child Car Seats

There are two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors for the Equinox’s rear outboard seats, as well as an upper tether anchor for the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for its ease of use. You might confuse other hardware for the top tether anchors, but that's about the only hiccup.

Equinox Interior Quality

The Equinox's cabin earns mixed reviews for its interior quality and design. There are plenty of hard plastic surfaces and some other drab materials, but soft-touch accents are a pleasant surprise. Overall, the cabin is tailored around durability instead of luxury.

Equinox Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system comes standard in the Equinox. It offers straightforward operation, a simple menu structure, and sharp graphics. The rest of the center stack has clearly marked buttons and knobs for adjusting things like audio volume and the temperature.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, four USB ports, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Bluetooth, voice recognition, and a six-speaker stereo
  • Available infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, two additional USB ports, wireless device charging, satellite radio, HD Radio, a seven-speaker Bose premium stereo, and a rear-seat entertainment system
  • Additional standard features: proximity keyless entry
  • Other available features: remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, a universal garage door opener, a panoramic roof, a household-style power outlet, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a color driver-information display

Read more about interior »

Equinox Performance: Ho-Hum

Equinox Engine

The 2021 Equinox comes standard with a 170-horsepower 1.5-liter turbocharged engine. This powertrain is sufficient for everyday driving, though you'll probably tire of its lackluster acceleration. A bright spot is the standard six-speed automatic transmission, which shifts smoothly. However, gearing is tuned to maximize fuel efficiency, so it can hesitate to downshift when you slam the gas pedal hard.

A 252-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is optional. Mated to a nine-speed automatic, this combo serves the Equinox better. Acceleration is much swifter, and there's better top-end power for cruising. In fact, the horsepower rating from the larger engine is one of the highest in the class, bested only by a couple of Jeep models.

Equinox Gas Mileage

When equipped with the base engine and standard front-wheel drive, the Equinox returns an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Those figures are pretty good for a compact SUV. Pairing the base engine with all-wheel drive results in 25 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

With the optional turbocharged engine, the Equinox gets 22 mpg in the city whether with front- or all-wheel drive. Highway mileage is 29 mpg with FWD and 28 mpg with AWD.

Equinox Ride and Handling

This Chevy generally delivers a comfortable and agreeable ride. However, going with larger wheels results in a more jittery experience, especially over large bumps in the road. The Equinox takes turns with some composure, but steering feels somewhat numb. Several class rivals are more agile and athletic.

Equinox Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the Equinox can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Read more about performance »

Equinox Reliability

Is the Chevrolet Equinox Reliable?

The 2021 Chevrolet Equinox has a stellar predicted reliability rating of five out of five.

Chevrolet Equinox Warranty

Chevrolet covers the Equinox with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Equinox Safety

Equinox Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Chevrolet Equinox the highest rating of Good in all six crash tests. The standard halogen headlights in the Equinox L and LS trims received the lowest rating of Poor for forward visibility. That same rating applies to the LED headlights in the top Premier trim. The midrange LT trim received the second-highest rating of Acceptable for how well its HID headlights illuminate the road ahead.

The IIHS uses a different scale for grading collision avoidance features. The Equinox earned the highest rating of Superior for its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, while the standard vehicle-to-pedestrian system earned a midtier rating of Advanced.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Equinox an overall safety rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in the front and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover test.

Equinox Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Forward collision warning
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Following distance indicator
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Rearview camera
  • Teen Driver (lets you do things like set speed and audio volume limits for secondary drivers)
  • Rear-seat reminder (prompts you to check the second row for children or pets before exiting the vehicle)

Available advanced safety features:

  • Rear parking sensors
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Safety alert seat

Read more about safety »

Equinox Dimensions and Weight

The Equinox is 15.3 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,274 to 3,512 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox Built?

Chevrolet builds the 2021 Equinox in Canada, Mexico, and China.

Which Chevrolet Equinox Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Chevrolet Equinox comes in four trim levels: L, LS, LT, and Premier. A 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive are standard. All trims except the base L are available with all-wheel drive. Additionally, the LT and Premier are available with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that comes with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The base model is a good choice, especially if you’re on a tighter budget. It comes standard with a well-equipped infotainment system and several active safety features. The Equinox LT is another solid pick as it's the first trim to offer available amenities like leather seats, a larger touch screen, and navigation. To get features such as ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and adaptive cruise control, you'll have to spring for the top Premier trim and add a package.

Chevrolet Equinox L

Standard features in the Chevrolet Equinox L include cloth upholstery, four-way manually adjustable front seats, proximity keyless entry, and a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system with four USB ports, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, voice recognition, and a six-speaker stereo.

The Equinox also comes standard with forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, a following distance indicator, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, automatic high-beam headlights, the Teen Driver system, a rearview camera, and a rear-seat reminder.

Chevrolet Equinox LS

The Chevrolet Equinox LS has the same features as the base model, but it's available with some optional upgrades. An eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat and a rear-seat entertainment system top that list. There are some also minor interior enhancements and a couple of appearance packages that center around chrome and blackout themes.

Chevrolet Equinox LT

The Equinox LT comes with HID headlights, a power-adjustable driver's seat, satellite radio, and a color driver-information display. The Confidence & Convenience package adds rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a universal garage door opener, a power liftgate, and fog lights. A panoramic roof is available for an additional cost when you opt for this package.

The Infotainment package includes an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, a household-style power outlet, and two additional USB ports. Choosing the optional Sport Edition or Midnight Edition gets you leather upholstery, driver's seat memory settings, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, unique gloss-black exterior trim pieces, and special black alloy wheels.

Chevrolet Equinox Premier

The top-of-the-line Equinox Premier features standard leather upholstery, LED headlights, a hands-free power liftgate, an 8-inch touch screen, wireless device charging, driver memory settings, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and all the contents of the LT's Confidence & Convenience package.

Premier models are available with the Confidence & Convenience II package, which adds ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a surround-view parking camera system, adaptive cruise control, a heated steering wheel, an eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat, and a safety alert seat. The Infotainment II package includes navigation, HD Radio, and a seven-speaker Bose premium stereo.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Chevrolet dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Chevrolet deals page.

See 2021 Chevrolet Equinox specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox is a solid crossover that cracks the top half of our compact SUV rankings. It has wide appeal thanks to its excellent predicted reliability, spacious second row, and long list of features, but it lags rivals in terms of performance and cabin quality.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The Equinox falls somewhere in the middle of the compact SUV pack. It has less space and fewer standard features than rivals like the Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Most buyers will find the Equinox a satisfactory choice, but others in the segment offer more value and a higher level of refinement." -- Car and Driver
  • "The Equinox has good interior space, simple controls, comfortable driving manners and a nice set of standard active safety features, such as automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist." -- Autotrader

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: October 8, 2020

Strong, but Falling Sales: The Chevy Equinox is currently one of the best-selling compact SUVs, only behind the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V. Even so, Equinox sales have fallen by 24.5 percent this year when compared with the same period in 2019.

Research more buying advice »
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