Buyer's Guide

2021 Chevrolet Equinox
Select a Different Model (7 Available): L FWD
Fuel Economy $ 26 / 31 mpg
Cargo (Std/Max) 30/64 cu.ft.
Seating (Std/Max) 5/5
Horsepower 170@5,600
See All Specs
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2021 Chevrolet Equinox MODEL OVERVIEW

Pros

  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
  • Generously sized rear seat and cargo area
  • Decent fuel economy

Cons

  • Sloppy road manners
  • Inferior build quality and materials
  • Lazy transmission tuning

The Equinox is Chevrolet's compact SUV, positioned above the Trailblazer and Trax but below the Blazer, Traverse, Tahoe, and Suburban. Chevy introduced the current, third-generation Equinox for the 2018 model year, but if you're in the market for one, we'd recommend holding out for the midcycle refresh slated for 2022.

The Equinox competes in the increasingly popular and crowded segment of compact crossovers against cars including the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester, and Mazda CX-5.

What's New

  • 0T engine no longer available (expect its return for 2022)
  • Cloth interior now available on Midnight and Sport special editions
  • Black leather upholstery now available on Equinox LT

What We Think

Although the Equinox offers certain strengths, the Chevrolet fails to impress as a package. Its infotainment system is easy to use, and interior space is generous. Rear legroom and cargo volume are both impressive. But taking a closer look at the interior reveals some flaws. Build quality trails the competition; even top-spec trims feature more hard plastic than our favorite compact SUVs.

On-road performance is disappointing, as well. The Equinox pushes and plows through corners and ride quality is unimpressive, especially on higher trims with larger wheels. We liked the punchy 2.0T offering, but for 2021, buyers are left to make do with the 1.5-liter offering that, while torquey enough, is muddled by a transmission always reaching for its highest gear.

The Equinox placed dead last in our eight-vehicle comparison of compact crossovers, and many of its peers offer more compelling packages. We've described it as an SUV that feels like it should be rented, not owned. Here's hoping that changes with the 2022 Equinox's changes.

Performance and Fuel Economy

With the departure of the 252-hp 2.0-liter turbo-four for 2021, the Equinox's sole remaining engine option is a smaller 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder developing 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque. (We liked the punchier, more powerful mill but evidently 90 percent of buyers opted for the base engine.) The 1.5T still works with a six-speed automatic and in our testing, that combo is good for 0-60 in 8.7 seconds. Fuel economy measures 26/31 mpg city/highway with standard FWD or 25/30 mpg if you go for AWD.

Safety

We'd call it safe to consider the Equinox a safe vehicle. For its strong performance in IIHS safety testing, the LT trim with HID projector headlights is a 2020 Top Safety Pick. Other trims make do with a Marginal headlight rating but still boast excellent crashworthiness and front crash prevention scores. The Equinox also earns a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, with five-star frontal and side crash scores and a four-star rollover rating.

Cargo Space and Interior Room

Cargo capacity in the Equinox measures 29.9 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 63.9 cubic feet with the seats folded down. It seats up to five with an impressive 40.9 and 39.9 inches of legroom in the first and second rows.

Technology

Entry-level Equinox models work with a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, though an 8.0-inch touch display is available optionally on base models and is standard on higher trims. Six-speaker audio is standard, and a seven-speaker Bose premium system can be had with the Infotainment II package.

Key Competitors:

  • Honda CR-V
  • Toyota RAV4
  • Subaru Forester
  • Mazda CX-5

2021 CHEVROLET EQUINOX SPECIFICATIONS
OVERVIEW
FEATURES
WARRANTY/RECALL
SAFETY
Engine Name
Engine: 4-Cyl Turbo 1.5 Liter
Transmission Name
Transmission, Hydra-Matic 6 Speed Automatic Mode Select with Manual Mode (6T40)
Trim
L FWD
Class
Mid-Size Utility
Horsepower
170@5,600
Standard MPG
26/31
Body Style
SUV/Crossover
Drivetrain
FWD
Fuel Type
Unleaded Regular
Seating Capacity
5/5
Package Invoice Retail
Show Full Specs
Corrosion Warranty Miles
100,000
Maintenance Warranty Months
none
Corrosion Warranty Months
72
Powertrain Warranty Miles
60,000
Full Warranty Miles
36,000
Powertrain Warranty Months
60
Full Warranty Months
36
Roadside Assistance Miles
60,000
Maintenance Warranty Miles
N/R
Roadside Assistance Months
60
IIHS Best Pick
0
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
N/R
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
IIHS Front Small Overlap
N/R
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
IIHS Overall Side Crash
N/R
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
IIHS Rear Crash
N/R
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
IIHS Roof Strength
N/R
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated