2021 Chevrolet Equinox Review

Sitting between the Trax and the Blazer in Chevy’s crossover lineup, the Equinox is tightly focused.

1 month ago
Warren Clarke
Contributor
PROS
  • Roomy interior, especially in the second row
  • Comfortable ride
  • Tightly focused -- not trying to be all things to all buyers
CONS
  • Not a fuel economy leader
  • Lacks exceptional performance
  • Only top trim level gets LED headlights

The 2021 Chevrolet Equinox is a two-row compact crossover SUV with seating for five passengers. Chevy offers the Equinox in a number of different trims designed to meet the needs of a wide range of buyers, but only one engine is available with a choice of front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). This model made its debut in the 2005 model year. Today’s Equinox is a third-generation design, which launched back in 2018. 2021 Chevrolet Equinox pricing starts at around $25,000.

Equinox Exterior

A crossover like the Equinox differs from a traditional SUV in that it features a car-based platform. This allows it to deliver handling that’s more refined than that of the typical truck-based SUV. The Equinox’s exterior design reflects this refinement, presenting a handsome face and sculpted lines that make a statement when this vehicle is cruising down suburban streets. Many crossover shoppers gravitate toward choices that offer a fair amount of style, and the Equinox doesn’t disappoint in this area. 

The Chevy Equinox comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels and heated power-adjustable side mirrors. Base models are equipped with automatic halogen headlights, and upgrades such as a power rear liftgate, larger wheels and HID headlights are available.

Equinox Interior

Despite its compact footprint, the Equinox offers generous room for passengers. It’s a star when it comes to rear-seat legroom, and the second row is spacious enough to provide comfortable seating for taller friends and family who are along for the ride. Additionally, the rear seat provides great headroom, as long as you skip the optional panoramic sunroof. The front seats offer agreeable accommodations for passengers of all sizes. The driver’s seat provides pleasant support, even on longer journeys. 

Front passengers face a swooping dash and sculptural air vents. Base models come with a 7.0-inch color touchscreen that sits above a curved center console. The general vibe within the cabin is both stylish and user-friendly, with easily legible gauges and clean, attractive design. 

When it comes to cargo space, the Equinox provides 29.9 cubic feet with all seats in place and 63.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. That’s about average for this class. 

If you need to haul a trailer, know that the Equinox offers towing capacity that’s adequate, though not exceptional. It’s able to pull up to 1,500 pounds. This is a step down from the towing capacity of the 2020 Equinox. That model was available with a larger optional engine that allowed it to pull up to 3,500 pounds.

2021 Chevrolet Equinox

Equinox Powertrain

Some crossovers in this segment give you a choice of engines, but the Equinox comes with just one. A turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine (170 hp/203 lb-ft of torque) lives under the hood of all models (note that the optional 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that was available with the 2020 model is not offered with the 2021 version). A 6-speed automatic transmission governs the action. FWD is standard. For those who need added traction when traveling on roads that are slippery from rain, snow or ice, AWD is available. 

When it comes to fuel economy, the Equinox gets 28 mpg combined with FWD. This figure dips to 27 mpg when AWD is chosen. This crossover’s fuel economy is about average relative to that of other models in its class. 

2021 Chevrolet Equinox

Equinox Driving Experience

Though the Equinox has a narrower engine selection than other models, you’re not likely to feel starved for choices. That’s because the crossover’s 4-cylinder powerplant does a capable and efficient job of hustling this Chevy from one place to the next. Tipping the scales at anywhere from 3,274 to 3,512 pounds (depending on trim level) the Equinox isn’t exactly a lightweight. Still, its 170-hp engine is able to move this hefty vehicle with authority, providing enough muscle to give you the power you need to make quick lane changes on the highway. 

Up front, there’s a MacPherson strut suspension with tuned coiled rings, while a four-link independent suspension keeps things grounded on the rear axle. The suspension system works beautifully to swallow up the effects of potholes and bumps. When it comes to handling, this Chevy isn’t the sportiest pick in its class, but that’s probably not important to you for everyday life. A comfortable ride helps make the Equinox an excellent choice if you’re on the hunt for a livable daily driver. 

2021 Chevrolet Equinox

2021 Chevrolet Equinox Trim Levels and Pricing

Pricing for the 2021 Equinox kicks off at around $25,000. There are four trims available, and the most expensive model costs about $32,500. LS, LT and Premier trims give you the choice of either FWD or AWD, while the L trim comes with FWD only. 

  • L (starting around $25,000) – This is the base model. It comes with a Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth connectivity, a 6-speaker stereo, a 7-inch touchscreen, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration. 
  • LS (starting around $27,500) – This trim adds a handful of additional features, including a 16-inch spare tire. 
  • LT (starting around $28,500) – With the LT, you get upgrades like HID headlights, rear privacy glass, and an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat. 
  • Premier (starting around $32,500) – The range-topping Premier adds wireless device charging, perforated leather upholstery, remote start, rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot warning, and more.

If you are looking for a more accurate idea of pricing, you can build and price an Equinox on Chevrolet’s official web site. 

2021 Chevrolet Equinox

Equinox Best Features

What will win the hearts of most buyers is the Equinox’s spaciousness. Small crossovers aren’t always a great bet when it comes to roominess, but the Equinox sets itself apart from the pack in this respect. The rear seats have enough legroom to accommodate long limbs. This makes it a stellar choice for those who frequently ferry adult passengers in the second row. 

2021 Chevrolet Equinox

What is Our Favorite Version of the Equinox?

The Equinox Premier is equipped with the features many buyers in this segment crave. It comes loaded with amenities that can make driving safer and easier. Blind-spot warning is a must-have for many drivers, and the Premier is the only trim that provides this feature as standard equipment. This trim also comes standard with a gesture-controlled liftgate for hands-free loading and unloading of cargo. Additionally, all Equinox Premier crossovers come with amenities such as LED headlights, an 8.0-inch touchscreen and heated front seats. 

2021 Chevrolet Equinox

Equinox Notable Safety Features

All Equinox crossovers are equipped with Chevy Safety Assist which bundles several key safety features to help prevent accidents. Forward collision alert and automatic emergency braking are included; this technology will warn you if a collision in imminent and automatically hit the brakes to prevent an accident. Chevy Safety Assist also includes lane-keeping assist and lane-departure warning. 

Equinox comes with “Teen Safe Driver,” a monitor parents can set up that gives their teen drivers a report card for driving safety while setting certain limits and boundaries. Concerned parents may find this gamification of driving a useful tool in educating young drivers.

In IIHS crash tests, the Equinox received a top score of Good in all crashworthiness categories and was named a Top Safety Pick. The 2021 Equinox got a perfect five out of five stars for overall crash protection in NHTSA tests.

2021 Chevrolet Equinox

Who Should Buy a 2021 Chevrolet Equinox?

The 2021 Equinox is a great choice for singles and couples who are looking for an attractive, city-friendly grocery getter that’s easy on the wallet. 

Stylish and affordable with a small footprint, this Chevy crossover is also surprisingly roomy. It’s spacious enough to provide comfortable transportation for small families, or as a second vehicle for growing families.

CarExpert’s Take on the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox 

The Equinox is a solid bet if you’re looking for a small crossover with smooth handling and roomy accommodations. Sitting between the Trax and the Blazer in Chevy’s crossover lineup, the Equinox is more tightly focused on its objectives than some of its rivals. It doesn’t aspire to shine off-road, and it doesn’t aim to be the sportiest choice in its class. Rather, it sets its sights on delivering two things that are prized by most shoppers in this segment: spaciousness and comfort. If those two qualities matter to you, the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox will likely prove to be a satisfying choice. 

2021 Chevrolet Equinox

Equinox Competitors to Consider

  • Ford Escape 
  • GMC Terrain
  • Honda CR-V
  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Mazda CX-5 
  • Kia Sportage 
  • Nissan Rogue
  • Subaru Forester
  • Toyota RAV4 
  • Volkswagen Tiguan


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OVERALL RATING8.2
Show Breakdown
Cost of Ownership 8
Ride Comfort 8.3
Safety 8.1
Fit for Purpose 8.4
Handling Dynamics 8.3
Interior Practicality and Space 8.4
Fuel Efficiency 8.1
Value for Money 7.9
Performance 7.9
Technology Infotainment 8.1