2021 Chevrolet Equinox
2021 Chevrolet Equinox
The 2021 Chevrolet Equinox is a five-seat crossover SUV that offers turbo-4 power, optional all-wheel drive, and Chevy’s fine infotainment interface.
For 2021, it’s changed little, as an updated model is being prepared for 2022.
The Equinox comes with one of two engines, a 1.5-liter, 170-hp turbo-4 mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, or 2.0-liter 252-hp turbo-4 with a 9-speed. The base powertrain does a fine job, while the bigger engine’s transmission, with 3 more gears to choose from, is a bit indecisive. The ride and handling are fine, while cabin and cargo space are good. It’s made in Canada.
With front-wheel drive, the Equinox 1.5T is EPA-rated at 26 mpg city, 31 highway, 28 combined, and 1 less mpg with AWD. With the 2.0T, it gets 22/29/25 mpg with front-wheel drive, and 22/28/24 mpg with all-wheel drive.
It’s very safe, as the IIHS gives it a Top Safety Pick ranking and the NHTSA gives it five stars overall. Standard safety equipment on all models includes automatic emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlights, and active lane control. Available safety equipment includes rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitors, and a surround-view camera system.
The Equinox comes in four models: the L, LS, LT and Premier.
The $24,995 Chevrolet Equinox L is well-equipped. In addition to the safety equipment, there are power features, cloth upholstery, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. It’s only sold with the smaller engine, front-wheel drive, and only in white or silver.
The Equinox LS costs $27,495. All-wheel drive is available for $1,600.
The $28,695 Equinox LT gets a power driver seat, satellite radio, and keyless start. The 2.0T engine is optional with this model, as are more options such as leather upholstery, remote start, a power liftgate, and heated and cooled front seats.
The $32,595 Equinox Premier gets leather upholstery, automatic dual-zone climate control, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen. Options include navigation, Bose audio, 19-inch wheels, and a panoramic sunroof. Fully loaded, the Equinox can cost more than $40,000.
There is a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty on all models.
The Chevy split grille and big gold bowtie are familiar, and the Equinox doesn’t stray far from the crossover-SUV template. From the gentle swell of the front fenders to the forward lean of its rear roof pillars, it’s carefully designed to blend and not offend.
The symmetrical design of the Equinox interior functions well. The 7.0- or 8.0-inch touchscreen slots between climate vents with shiny trim. The leather upholstery that’s optional on LT and standard on Premier helps to dress up the rather plain style.
Front seats on the L have limited adjustment, while higher models have or can have power adjustment with lumbar support for the driver.
The lack of excitement might be overlooked by some buyers, thanks to good cabin space. Four adults fit well in this five-seat crossover, with 40 inches of rear leg room. Cargo space is good, with 29.9 cubic feet behind the rear seat and 63.9 cubic feet when it’s folded.
The 1.5-liter-turbo-4 makes 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque, which is adequate in the Equinox. The transmission is a 6-speed automatic transmission, also adequate. With this combination the Equinox moves at a moderate pace, and it’s reasonably quiet.
We think the 2.0-liter turbo that makes 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 9-speed automatic, is clearly worth the extra money. The 9-speed automatic can get confused when it has to make a quick decision, but it’s paired to an engine that’s significantly stronger in low-speed acceleration. The additional gears make freeway acceleration smoother—the transmission has no problem with linear acceleration. At freeway speeds, there’s some thrumming and turbo whistle.
The ride and handling are tuned for comfort, not excitement. The Equinox steers with accuracy, although there’s not much weight or feedback at the steering wheel; and it doesn’t wander on the highway.
The ride is better with the smaller wheels and tires; the available 19-inch wheels seem more stylish than practical.
The available all-wheel-drive can move 50 percent of the power from the front to rear wheels. It’s good for slippery roads, but not off-road challenges. Properly equipped, the Equinox can tow up to 1,500 pounds.
The 2021 Chevrolet Equinox hits all the right marks as basic transportation for smaller families. Its best value comes with the base powertrain, but we’d still spend up for the bigger turbo-4 and some of the nicer interior trim.
—by Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection