2019 Chevrolet Equinox

By July 17, 2019

The 2019 Chevy Equinox returns for the new model year with few changes to its compact-crossover shape or mission.

Changes for the 2019 model year largely relate to options. An Equinox may have a 7.0- or 8.0-inch touchscreen (8-inch with navigation available). Four USB data ports are standard. Adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking now are available for the Premier edition.

Equinox buyers must choose between two gasoline engines, a high-mpg turbodiesel engine, front- or all-wheel drive, and four basic trim levels: L, LS, LT and Premier trim levels.

The standard engine is a 1.5-liter turbo-4, rated at 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque, mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

LT and Premium trim levels can upgrade to a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that sends 252 hp and 260 lb-ft to a 9-speed automatic; or to a 1.6-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder. Developing a modest 137 horsepower, the turbodiesel supplies 240 lb-ft of torque, working with a 6-speed automatic. Most models can have either front- or all-wheel drive.

Crash-testing by the NHTSA gave the Equinox a five-star rating overall, as well as for frontal- and side-impact. Rollover prevention (a calculated figure) rated four stars. The IIHS gave the Equinox “Good” score in every test, but it missed a Top Safety Pick due to its headlights, deemed only “Marginal.”

The Equinox Premier comes with blind-spot monitors, which are optional on LT but not available on L and LS versions. Only LT and Premier models can add a safety package which includes low-speed automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active lane control, automatic headlights, and adaptive cruise control.

Model Lineup

Prices do not include $1,195 destination charge.

L ($23,800) is only available with front-wheel drive, the 1.5-liter engine, and white or silver paint. Standard features include automatic air conditioning, acoustic glass, heated power mirrors, cloth upholstery, keyless ignition, and 17-inch alloy wheels.

LS ($25,900 with front-drive, $27,600 with all-wheel drive) adds a compass, floor mats, and a spare tire, plus additional color choices. Standard wheels are 16-inch steelies. Substituting the 2.0-liter engine adds $2,500 or more to the price; diesel power adds $2,400.

LT ($28,315 with front-drive, $30,015 with all-wheel drive) adds a power driver’s seat, roof rack, HID headlights, and 17-inch wheels (18-inch with optional 2.0-liter engine). LT trim serves as a gateway to advanced safety technology, with an optional Driver Confidence and Convenience package.

Premier ($31,100 with front-drive, $32,900 with all-wheel drive) includes leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear park assist, heated front seats, hands-free power liftgate, and 18-inch wheels (19-inch with optional 2.0-liter engine). Safety features include blind-spot monitors and rear cross-traffic alerts. A Driver Confidence II package adds low-speed automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warnings, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control.

Exterior

Viewed from most angles, the Equinox is a gathering of mostly pleasant curves. A wide, two-tiered grille is flanked by one of three headlight types: halogen on base L and LS, HID on LT, LED on Premier. Those lights sweep into a curvy bodyside.

At the rear, an upright look feels more like a minivan than a crossover. An Equinox with the upgraded turbo-4 engine features dual chromed exposed exhaust outlets.

Interior

Cabin appointments are on the plain side. However, they provide ample, comfortable space for four passengers and their belongings, five in a pinch.

Trimly-proportioned, the current Equinox makes good use of its interior space, though it’s smaller on purpose than its predecessors as Chevy adds more models to its lineup. Front and rear doors are particularly wide, easing entry and exit.

Front seats provide good support, with adequate bolstering. In L and LS trim levels, the driver’s seat is not height-adjustable. Upper versions get a power seat. Three riders can fit into the back bench, at least for short-distance trips, though the cushion is a bit flat. Cloth-upholstered seats feel tough and durable, enhancing their appeal. Leather comes only in the Premier edition.

Curvy in shape, the Equinox dashboard is logically arranged. Unlike the transmission selector buttons in GMC’s similar Terrain, the Equinox uses a conventional gearshift lever.

Cargo utility is a plus. Folding the two-section rear seatback expands cargo volume from almost 30 to a sizable 63.5 cubic feet. Luggage can be stacked easily without blocking rearward views, because of relatively high windows.

Driving Impressions

All gasoline-engine Equinox versions drive easily and perform well, while delivering good ride and handling qualities.

Most buyers should find the 1.5-liter engine to be wholly adequate, offering abundant energy for in-town driving. The 2.0-liter turbo-4 is stronger, and Shift quality is good with the 6-speed automatic in 1.5-liter models. It’s better than the 9-speed automatic, which can feel indecisive when shifting.

Every Equinox provides a quiet, composed ride that’s comfortable and supple. Passengers can expect welcome isolation from the pavement.

Good handling is helped by confident steering that’s light but accurate. Models with 17-inch Michelin tires can feel a bit uneasy when pushed harder. High-end versions with 18-inch tires deliver crisper handling, without impairing ride comfort noticeably.

Although the diesel engine provides decent performance, towing capacity is only 1,500 pounds. An Equinox with the 2.0-liter turbo-4 can haul up to 3,500 pounds.

Equipped with part-time all-wheel drive, an AWD Equinox isn’t truly ready for off-road exercises. The system can be set to two-wheel drive, but must be flipped back to AWD when bad weather arrives.

For a crossover SUV, the Equinox can be quite frugal. With the 1.5-liter turbo-4 and all-wheel drive, the Equinox is EPA-rated at 25/30 mpg City/Highway, or 27 mpg Combined. Front-drive is thriftier at 26/32/28 mpg.

Premium gasoline is needed for the 2.0-liter turbo-4 with all-wheel drive, EPA-rated at 22/28 mpg City/Highway, or 24 mpg Combined, Front-drive raises the estimate to 22/29/25 mpg. The turbodiesel is EPA-rated at 28/38 mpg City/Highway, or 32 mpg Combined with all-wheel drive, versus 28/39/32 mpg for front-drive.

Final Word

Except for the basic L trim level, any 2019 Chevy Equinox offers a lot of vehicle for the price. Good-looking and refined, the best bet is probably the Equinox LT, which is available with such advanced safety features as automatic emergency braking.

 

Driving impressions by The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.