2020 Chevrolet Equinox

Performance


#6 out of 16 in Compact SUVs

MSRP
$23,800
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Chevrolet Equinox Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.4

The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox does pretty well on the performance front. Its base engine could use more gusto, but it helps deliver good fuel economy ratings. The available turbocharged engine feels energetic in most driving situations. This Chevrolet handles well and rides smoothly. It lacks the maneuverability of many rivals, however.

  • "Upgrading from the base 1.5-liter engine to the 2.0-liter is well-justified because of the amount of power and efficiency the bigger engine delivers. The Equinox does 0-60 mph in just 6.8 seconds, which it (sic) quicker than almost every other compact crossover." -- Edmunds
  • Performance-wise, the 2018 Equinox is nothing to write home about, but a few adjustments have been made to punch things up a bit in this department. Chevy has made the Equinox four inches shorter, shaving off five inches from the wheelbase and dropping 400 pounds in total body weight. … With the reduction in size comes a slight dip in horsepower, but the turbochargers boost torque and responsiveness earlier in the rev range. Combine that extra pep with steering that's noticeably heftier than the Toyota RAV4 or the Nissan Rogue, and you've got a hint of flavor in an otherwise bland class of vehicles." -- New York Daily News (2018)
  • Chevy has improved on the old model's spongy brakes and excessive body roll, but the steering remains too soupy for any curvy-road thrills. It's a vague, slow-ratio process to point the SUV in new directions, and feedback doesn't improve much through long sweeping turns. For sheer driving fun, the Ford Escape and Mazda CX-5 are still kings of the hill." -- Cars.com (2018)

Acceleration and Power

The Chevy Equinox features a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder base engine that puts out 170 horsepower. It's mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain doesn't feel that energetic, and the transmission is too eager to shift gears.

A better engine choice is the available 2.0-liter turbo-four that produces 252 horsepower. It's paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. With this setup, the Equinox feels much quicker when accelerating off the line and in highway situations. This is also the engine that unlocks the Equinox's maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.

With the standard powertrain and front-wheel drive, the Equinox gets an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Few class rivals can match those ratings. Models with the larger turbo-four aren't quite as efficient. They return 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. All-wheel-drive models see ratings drop by about 1 mpg with either powertrain.

  • "We're also not huge fans of the standard turbocharged 1.5-liter engine. It feels slower than rival powerplants, and its fuel-saving stop-start function is annoying in operation and cannot be disabled." -- Edmunds
  • "If you want more gusto when stepping away from a red light or passing slower traffic on a 2-lane rural road, Chevrolet offers the 2.0-liter turbo. Combined with a 9-speed automatic, this engine delivers impressive acceleration, decent fuel economy and a 3,500-lb tow rating." -- Autotrader
  • "The turbo 1.5-liter inline-four produces a decent amount of low-end torque, but the lazy six-speed automatic doesn't make the most of the output. The transmission is keen to shift into higher gears, presumably to benefit fuel economy on the EPA test cycle, which would be more tolerable if the downshifts weren't so sluggish when more power is requested. The little four-cylinder also seems buzzier and less refined than it is in the Malibu sedan, likely because it's working harder to move this heavier crossover." -- Car and Driver (2018)

Handling and Braking

The Equinox rides smoothly over most road surfaces, making it a good choice for your daily commute. Its handling may surprise you, as this Chevy can take curvy roads without seeming overmatched, and it feels stable and planted when cornering. However, it does have a wide turning radius, which limits its maneuverability in tight quarters. Front-wheel drive comes standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • "Generally, the Equinox performs as we expected. That is, it drives like a small crossover. … The steering is quick and spot on. It handles sweepers with surefooted consistency when not pushed too hard." -- Autotrader
  • "The Equinox has impressive handling abilities on a twisty road. Steering effort is what we expect from an SUV, with low effort at parking speeds and more weighting at highway speeds. The only downside is the big turning radius that affects U-turns and parking." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "Indeed, the new Equinox soaks up bumps with nary a quiver through the cabin. There's remarkably little body roll and the ride is expertly damped, with well-controlled wheel motions and no sensation of body float. Road and wind noise are impressively hushed, something that two of our favorite small crossovers, the CR-V and the Mazda CX-5, struggle with. Combine the Equinox's overall sense of solidity with its nicely weighted, accurate steering and firm, progressive brake pedal, and it adds up to impressive dynamic capabilities." -- Car and Driver (2018)
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2020 Chevrolet Equinox

MSRP: $23,800 - $35,700

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