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2020 Chevrolet Equinox

$23,800 - $35,700
Price Range (MSRP)
Chevrolet Equinox

2020 Chevrolet Equinox Review: Safety First, Mediocrity Second

by Roger Biermann

With a choice of two engines, a commendable list of standard safety features, and a respectable infotainment system, it's no surprise that the Chevrolet Equinox is still drawing a fair amount of attention two years after its release. For 2020, the manufacturer has abandoned the slow-selling diesel engine, but still clings to the underpowered base 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with its 170 horsepower and 203 lb-ft of torque. The stronger 2.0-liter redeems the compact SUV without pushing the price up too much past the $23,800 starting point. Throw in competitive fuel economy, and the Equinox looks to be a worthwhile investment, but for just a little bit extra, you can get a rival compact SUV that does everything it does, just that little bit better.

2020 Chevrolet Equinox Changes: What’s the difference vs 2019 Equinox?

For 2020, Chevrolet has removed the 1.6-liter diesel engine from the Equinox range, while making standard some of the shinier safety features previously found on the upper trim offering. The available packages and add-ons have also been shuffled around to better shore up any weak points on each of the trim levels.

Pros and Cons

  • Optional 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder delivers respectable power
  • Comprehensive list of standard safety features
  • Very well-mannered on the road
  • Surprisingly athletic for a larger vehicle
  • Competitive fuel efficiency from base engine
  • Base engine feels underpowered
  • Cargo space is unimpressive
  • Interior looks good but feels low-quality

Equinox Exterior

After launching for 2018, the Equinox still looks contemporary, with styling that belies its size as a compact crossover. Riding on 17-inch alloy wheels, with 18-inch items on the Premier or available 19-inch wheels, the Equinox makes use of smooth curves to downplay its large, boxy dimensions. The double-tier grille up front is stylishly reserved and topped with the Chevrolet bowtie. The headlights come in standard halogen, with HID or LED available on higher trims, and wrap slightly around the hood, with fog lights low in the bumper on the Premier trim. Further customization is achieved with the fitment of the Midnight Edition package, which adds gloss-black 19-inch alloy wheels and a range of black exterior finishes.

2020 Chevrolet Equinox Front View
2020 Chevrolet Equinox Rear View
2020 Chevrolet Equinox Side View
See All 2020 Chevrolet Equinox Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The compact SUV measures slightly longer than average for the segment at 183.1 inches long, with a wheelbase of 107.3 inches. It is average in height at 65.4 inches tall, with a width of 72.6 inches. The Equinox starts off on the light side at 3,274 lbs but can get quite heavy on higher trims, with a maximum weight of 3,512 lbs for all-wheel-drive equipped variants.

Exterior Colors

The color palette for the Equinox comprises 11 options. Silver Ice Metallic and Summit White are available to the L trim, while the LS adds Nightfall Gray Metallic, Mosaic Black Metallic, and Midnight Blue Metallic to the palette, along with the premium $395 Cayenne Orange Metallic. The LT gets the extended choice of Pacific Blue Metallic and Chocolate Metallic, with Cajun Red Tintcoat ($395) and Iridescent Pearl Tricoat ($995) expanding the premium options.

Equinox Performance

The standard four-cylinder engine doesn't impress in terms of performance, straining to move Equinox even without a full complement of passengers and inhibiting the Chevy's towing capability, enabling it to pull a measly 1,500 lbs. Not choosing to go with the stronger 2.0-liter four-cylinder would be a tragic mistake. With a total of 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, the upgraded engine is a must-have if you want the small SUV to have any real amount of pep in its step.

Paired with the nine-speed automatic gearbox, this engine gets the Equinox up to 60 mph in approximately 6.5 seconds, which is better even than segment leaders like the Honda CR-V or Mazda CX-5. Both the front-wheel drivetrain and all-wheel-drive models can easily merge or pass on the highway. This engine also ups the SUV's rated towing ability to 3,500 lbs.

2020 Chevrolet Equinox Front View Driving
2020 Chevrolet Equinox Rear View Driving
2020 Chevrolet Equinox Grill

Engine and Transmission

A 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, developing 170 hp and 203 lb-ft comes standard on each Chevrolet Equinox. This power is directed via a six-speed automatic gearbox to the front wheels, with all-wheel-drive available on the LS, LT, and Premier trims. Unfortunately, this engine is underpowered even for the light SUV in FWD guise, leaving it feeling lazy around town and downright incompetent on the highway.

Upgrading to the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is a no brainer, as it develops a far more impressive 252 hp and 260 lb-ft, finally giving the SUV a bit of punch to complement its athletic handling. This engine is mated to a slightly better nine-speed automatic transmission, but it still doesn't do the Equinox any favors.

  • Engines
    1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Automatic, 9-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The compact SUV handles much better than its larger brethren, with the steering remaining light and precise at low speeds, allowing for nimble parking lot maneuvers, although this is hindered by the vehicle's unusually large turning circle. At higher speeds, the steering gains some weight to provide better feedback and more driver engagement. Goldilocks brakes provide the perfect amount of resistance while not compromising on stopping power, bringing the SUV to a stop in around 115 ft from 60 mph, which is an impressive performance.

On the road, the Equinox is well-mannered, feeling equally capable at high speeds on long, open stretches of roads, or leaning into sharp turns on the windier roads. The wide turning circle is something you should keep in mind when maneuvering in tight spaces.

The comfortable seats work in tandem with the suspension to smooth over most road imperfections, delivering a ride that is surprisingly pleasant for a car than boasts this level of dexterity despite its size. The sound-dampening is a little less impressive, with wind, road and engine noise often making their way into the cabin.

Equinox Gas Mileage

The small SUV gets competitive fuel economy estimates when equipped with the base 1.5-liter engine and front-wheel drivetrain, with an EPA-rated 26/31/28 mpg over the city/high/combined cycles. From there, it is all downhill, with the all-wheel drivetrain dropping one mile per gallon in each area. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine only gets 22/29/25 mpg with front-wheel-drive and 22/28/24 mpg with all-wheel-drive. By comparison, the Honda CR-V 2.4-liter gets 25/31/27 mpg in its least efficient AWD trim, and the Mazda CX-5 manages 22/27/24 mpg in its most powerful turbocharged 2.5-liter AWD guise. With a 14.9 gallon tank on the more-efficient front-wheel-drive Equinox, the SUV can cover 417 miles between refueling. The all-wheel-drive versions get a 15.6 gallon tank and a 421-mile maximum range.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    14.9 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 26/31 mpg
* 2020 Chevrolet Equinox L w/1SM FWD

Equinox Interior

The cabin is not as big as the Equinox of yore, with Chevrolet having reduced the overall dimensions of the SUV to better fit the segment. 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 one would hope for in this price bracket. The dashboard controls are laid 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 quite annoying.

2020 Chevrolet Equinox Dashboard
2020 Chevrolet Equinox Dashboard
2020 Chevrolet Equinox Front Seats
See All 2020 Chevrolet Equinox Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

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 even long drives tolerable. 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, too. Outward visibility is adequate, but blind spots can be tricky with the thick rear columns. Ingress and egress are made easier by the low step-in height and wide-opening doors.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

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.

Equinox Trunk and Cargo Space

With all the seats in place, the 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. Pack-leading rivals like the Honda CR-V deliver up to 39.2 cubic feet of cargo room. Still, the Chevy has enough space for day-to-day applications, 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.

2020 Chevrolet Equinox Maximum Cargo Space
2020 Chevrolet Equinox Trunk Space
2020 Chevrolet Equinox Maximum Cargo Space

Equinox Infotainment and Features

Features

The base model comes quite well-equipped with a 3.5-inch driver information center, cruise control, a following distance indicator, forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, a rearview camera, lane keep assist with lane departure warning a rear-seat reminder, and a teen driver system, keyless entry and ignition, a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, air conditioning, power door locks and windows and two 12-volt power outlets. Available features include a 4.2-inch driver information center, lane change alert, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, eight-way power heated front seats with lumbar, driver-seat memory, dual-zone automatic climate control, an HD rearview camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote engine start, a 120-volt power outlet and a wireless charger. By means of additional packages, the Premier trim also avails itself to a surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control, a heated steering wheel, eight-way power passenger adjustment, heated outboard rear seats, and ventilated front seats.

Infotainment

A seven-inch infotainment system comes standard on the Equinox with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, OnStar Connected Services, four USB ports, and a six-speaker sound system. As you move up the trim levels, features added include an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen standard on the Premier and optional on lower trims, additional USB ports, and SiriusXM. Available add-ons comprise HD Radio, a Bose seven-speaker premium audio system, and a rear-seat entertainment system with a DVD player.

Equinox Problems and Reliability

J.D. Power rates the small SUV at 83 out of 100, which is among the highest in the segment. The Equinox has suffered one recall as a 2020 model for a faulty seal on the fuel tank, but suffered three as a 2019 model for various reasons. Chevrolet offers a comprehensive 36,000-miles/36-month limited warranty, with a 60,000-mile/60-month powertrain warranty and roadside assist.

Equinox Safety

The NHTSA gives the Equinox a safety rating of five stars, with only the rollover test scoring under five stars. The IIHS, similarly, gives the SUV an overall rating of Good, albeit only for the 2019 model. With enhanced safety across the range, we expect the 2020 model to score similarly.

Key Safety Features

Standard safety features comprise automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, a following distance indicator, front pedestrian braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, rear-seat reminder, a rearview camera, electronic stability control, traction control and a teen driver system. Available features include an HD rearview camera, lane change alert, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rear park assist, and six airbags: dual front, front side, and side curtain.

Verdict: Is the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox a good SUV?

While it doesn't do as much to stand out as many of its competitors do, the Chevrolet Equinox is a perfectly capable and amiable companion on the road. With a host of standard features, a decent and workable infotainment system, and very competitive fuel economy, at least with the base engine, the compact SUV certainly looks good on paper. But, upon closer inspection, several weak points become apparent.

The Chevy handles remarkably well for an SUV, but it is not as refined as the Honda CR-V nor as sporty as the Mazda CX-5. And while you might think that it makes sacrifices in these areas to be better in others, the Equinox does not offer better fuel economy or cargo capacity than either rival. It does, however, come with a lot of advanced safety features as standard, with even more becoming available as you move up the trim levels.

But, even with its respectable infotainment suite and convenience features, the Chevrolet simply isn't the best in any one particular area, and it certainly isn't an amazing all-rounder. The only reason you might consider it over leading competitors is the slightly lower price tag, especially on the base-level L trim. But for just a few thousand dollars more, you can get a compact SUV that has it all.

What's the Price of the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox?

The Chevy Equinox is one of the more affordable small SUVs on the market, with a starting MSRP of $23,800. The more common LS goes for $2,500 more, while the LT will cost you $27,500. Equipping the 2.0-liter engine to the LT bumps the price up to $31,600. Getting behind the wheel of the top-tier Premier will cost you $33,300 with the base engine, and $34,100 with the optional 2.0-liter. Opting for the four-wheel drivetrain will add $1,600 to the quote. These prices exclude tax, registration, licensing, and Chevrolet's destination charge of $1,195.

2020 Chevrolet Equinox Models

The Chevrolet Equinox comes in four models: the L, LS, LT, and Premier. A 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine comes standard on each model, directing 170 hp and 203 lb-ft towards the front wheels. Rowing the gears on this powertrain is a six-speed automatic transmission. The LT and Premier trims get access to the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox, this powertrain produces 252 hp and 260 lb-ft. Only front-wheel-drive is available to the L, but the other three models can opt for the all-wheel drivetrain.

The L trim comes equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, halogen headlights with LED daytime running lights, basic air conditioning, cruise control, a seven-inch touchscreen display, a six-speaker sound system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a host of safety features including lane keeping assist, and forward collision alert.

The LS gets a spare wheel and tire standard, carpeted floor mats, and primarily, the option to equip numerous upgrades, not least of which being the option of all-wheel-drive.

Extra standard features on the LT include HID headlights, an eight-way power driver's seat with lumbar, a 4.2-inch driver information center, and SiriusXM satellite radio.

The Premier trim comes equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, fog lights, a power liftgate, dual-zone climate control, an eight-inch touchscreen display, wireless device charging, leather upholstery, and an expanded safety suite with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
L
1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$23,800
LS
1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$26,300
LT
1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$27,500
Premier
1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$31,400
See All 2020 Chevrolet Equinox Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Noteworthy packages for the Equinox include the LS Convenience Package ($685), which adds an eight-way power driver's seat with lumbar support and deep-tinted rear glass. The LT Confidence and Convenience Package ($2,045) comprises rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change alert, blind-spot monitoring, remote engine start, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, fog lights and a power liftgate. The top-tier Premier trim can be upgraded with the Infotainment II Package ($1,125), which includes a Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Plus system with navigation, HD Radio, and a seven-speaker Bose premium audio system. It also gets the option of the Confidence and Convenience II Package, with a surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control, a heated steering wheel, eight-way power passenger adjustment, heated outboard rear seats, and ventilated front seats.

What Chevrolet Equinox Model Should I Buy?

The entry-level Equinox L may seem appealing for its low base price, but aside from decent infotainment and high levels of standard safety, it's a barebones experience with a lackluster engine. To get the improved 2.0T engine, you need either the LT or Premier trims, but it's the latter we recommend. Not only does it add luxuries like leather seats, an eight-inch infotainment system, and additional safety systems, but the range of available options elevates it in stature to Buick levels of luxury at a discount price. But, if you're really happy to spend the money, you'd be better off looking at a well-specced Mazda CX-5.

2020 Chevrolet Equinox Comparisons

2020 Chevrolet Equinox
2020 Chevrolet Equinox

2020 Chevrolet Equinox vs Ford Escape

While the Escape has received more attention from Ford than most of its older models usually do, the youthful Equinox just seems to be more with the times than the older SUV. Neither car has great power in its base guise, with the Ford offering a 180-hp, 177-lb-ft engine, but the Chevrolet's optional engine delivers better performance. The Escape has received a facelift since its release, but it still looks boxier than the sleek Equinox, and its interior shows its true age, whereas the Chevy sports modern stylings that, while not of the highest quality, still look good. Similarly, the Equinox's tech is far more up-to-date and many of its features become available much earlier in its trim levels compared to the Ford. And while the Escape might be a bit cheaper out the gate, the Equinox delivers better fuel economy, making it cheaper in the long run. Overall, despite the Ford Escape offering more cargo capacity, the Chevy Equinox is just a better all-rounder with its car-like handling, powerful performance, and modern features.

See Ford Escape Review

2020 Chevrolet Equinox vs Chevrolet Traverse

The Chevrolet Traverse is the much bigger brother to the Equinox, although it is just as young with the newest generation released in 2018. As a three-row SUV, the Traverse naturally offers a lot more interior space, both for passengers and cargo, while still managing to be quite a decent performer on the road with its 3.6-liter V6 pumping out 310 hp and 266 lb-ft. It is also significantly plusher inside, with a serious focus on creature comforts, with the top-of-the-range models supplying supremely comfortable leather seats with multiple power points, USB ports, a premium audio system, and excellent safety features. But for all this luxury, you can expect to pay through the nose, as even the base-level Traverse will cost you around $30,000, while the top-tier trims are in excess of $50,000. It is also much thirstier, meaning it will cost you a lot more to run. If you have a huge family while still having disposable income, the Traverse would certainly suit your needs better, but the Equinox is the more affordable, everyman's SUV.

See Chevrolet Traverse Review

Chevrolet Equinox Popular Comparisons

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