The small crossover SUV segment is the most competitive in the automotive industry. Every model in the class must be at the top of its game, and even good entries can be overshadowed by the best one. The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox, for example. Despite its many strengths, it has many competitors that offer more comprehensive packages.
Of course, the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox does the SUV’s job well. There is plenty of legroom, and cargo space is clearly bigger than what you would find in a comparable price sedan or hatchback. It also offers a comfortable and smooth ride, and the seats are designed for all-day comfort. The Equinox is one of the few entries in the class that offers an upgraded engine.
However, the Equinox is a mess in execution. It priced higher than many of its competitors. And don’t be relented by the seems affordable base L trim level. This is a special order only, so you might not find one on a dealer. The LS trim costs thousands more and doesn’t add much. High initial costs is repeating theme because the Equinox is more expensive than competitors when comparing trims on a feature-by-feature basis. The 1.5-liter turbocharged engine feels slower than rival powerplants, and its annoying fuel-saving stop-start function cannot be deactivated. Finally, even medium-sized passengers will be reluctant with limited rear headroom provided by the optional panoramic sunroof.
If you are looking for a crossover SUV with fewer drawbacks, the Honda CR-V is the ideal choice, since it has more passenger and cargo space, plus a more satisfying 1.5-liter turbo engine. The Mazda CX-5 is fun to drive and, like the 2020 Chevy Equinox, it has a powerful optional engine. The new Ford Escape is also worth seeing and offers more powertrain choices than other models in the class.
- Diesel engine is no longer available
- Newly standard safety equipment
- Slightly revised packages and options
TRIM LEVELS & PRICING
The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox is a five-passenger compact crossover that available in four trims: L, LS, LT, and Premier. The base L model is a great deal until you realize that it’s a custom-order model and you’ll have to wait for it to be built. The LS is more expensive, but it doesn’t add much. The LT is the best choice for most buyers since it’s the first trim that has both powertrains available, and it offers a list of features beyond the standard fare. If you want the LT and its two packages, the leather-trimmed Premier includes it all.
The base Equinox L carries a starting price of $23,800. It comes standard with a 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. Standard equipment include automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, heated mirrors, height-adjustable front seats, push-button start, Chevy’s Teen Driver system, a rear-seat reminder, the Infotainment 3 system with a 7-inch touch screen, a six-speaker audio system, two USB ports, Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a rearview camera, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection.
There are no optional packages for the Equinox L, and this is the only trim that doesn’t offer all-wheel drive. Also, this model only comes in two colors: white and silver.
The Equinox LS has a starting price of $26,300 and has the same standard features as the L trim. Unlike the base trim, the LS lets you add features and has a wider array of colors to choose from. The LS Convenience package ($685) includes a power-adjustable driver’s seat and more. Add all-wheel drive cost $1,600 and $1,750 for a rear-seat entertainment system ($1,995 with a DVD player).
The Equinox LT starts at $27,500 and add xenon headlights, an upgraded information display, auxiliary rear-seat release levers, satellite radio, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat. You can add all-wheel drive for $1,600, and upgrade to the 2.0-liter turbo-four engine for $2,500.
The Confidence & Convenience package ($2,045) add remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, blind spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, and rear cross traffic alert. The Infotainment package ($745) includes an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, additional USB ports, and more. A rear-seat entertainment system demand $1,750 ($1,995 with a DVD player).
The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox Premier has a starting price of $31,400. The Premier comes standard with an 8-inch touch screen, wireless device charging, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, remote start, blind spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, and rear cross traffic alert.
You can add all-wheel drive for $1,600 and upgrade to the 2.0-liter turbo-four engine for $2,700. The Infotainment II package ($1,125) adds navigation, a seven-speaker Bose audio system, and HD Radio. The Confidence & Convenience II package ($1,650) includes a power-adjustable passenger seat, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a safety alert seat, adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view parking camera system. You can also purchase a rear-seat entertainment system for $1,750 ($1,995 with a DVD player).
The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox cabin is not as big as the previous versions. Still, there is space enough for four to five passengers with enough headroom to accommodate adults of most sizes. The interior is stylish enough, but the materials are not as upscale as you would be expected for SUV in this price range. The dashboard controls are placed out well enough, although the infotainment can be tricky to operate at times. The lack of power adjustability on the seats and steering wheel, at least at the lower trim levels, can be a deal-breaker.
Medium Ash Gray premium cloth comes standard on the L and LS, while the LT adds a Jet Black option. Jet Black perforated leather is also available on the LT, while it is standard on the Premier, along with Medium Ash Gray and Brandy perforated leather. The cabin is well-built but the dash and door panels feature a lot of hard plastics with mismatching textures and coloring.
There is seating for five and enough headroom and legroom to accommodate passengers of most sizes, although the middle seat in the rear is not suitable for adults. Seat comfort is excellent, with sufficient back and thigh support to make long drives enjoyable. Standard cloth upholstery is not luxurious, and the available leather seats feel of a low quality despite perforation. Manual front seats come standard while an eight-way power driver’s seat is standard on the LT and Premier, which makes finding a comfortable driving position a lot easier. A power passenger seat is available. Outward visibility is adequate, but blind spots can be tricky with the thick rear columns. Getting into and out of the cabin is easy thanks to the low step-in height and wide-opening doors.
With all the seats in place, the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox provides 29.9 cubic feet of cargo space, which is a few cubes below the segment average, although there are a few innovative storage compartments to compensate for this. Rivals like the Honda CR-V offers up to 39.2 cubic feet of cargo room. Still, it has enough space for everyday commuter, and the rear seats fold down in a 60/40 split to free up a total of 63.9 cubic feet of space. This is enough space for most heavy hauling if you don’t mind sacrificing most of your passenger capacity.
Small-item storage is a bit more plentiful, with a plethora of cupholders, trays, and small bins. The center console armrest bin provides space for larger items, and the standard glove compartment is adequately sized.
The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox is about 15.3 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,274 to 3,512 pounds.
There are two engines available in the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox. Both are turbocharged 4-cylinders and come standard with front-wheel drive (FWD). For better traction on slippery surfaces, all-wheel drive (AWD) is available as an option. The standard 1.5-liter turbocharged engine makes 170 horsepower and 203 lb-ft of torque. It paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and rated to tow 1,500 pounds, which is typical for a compact SUV.
A turbocharged 2.0-liter producing 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque is optional only on the LT and the Premier. This bigger, more powerful engine makes the 2020 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.
Every 2020 Chevrolet Equinox 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. Unfortunately, the system cannot be switched off.
The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox fuel economy is lower than that its major competitors. With either FWD or AWD, the base 1.5-liter EPA estimates trail the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester and Nissan Rogue. 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 Escape, RAV4 or CR-V.
1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4
170 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
203 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,000 rpm
Zero to 60 mph: 8.9 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 26.8 sec
Zero to 110 mph: 36.6 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 9.6 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 6.6 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 16.9 sec @ 83 mph
Top speed (drag limited): 124 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 161 ft
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
Zero to 60 mph: 6.6 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 17.1 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 39.8 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 7.0 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 15.1 sec @ 94 mph
Top speed (gov limited): 130 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 167 ft
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 mpg (FWD), 22/28 mpg (AWD)