All new last year, the 2019 Chevrolet Equinox is the division’s only compact SUV and as such, has to do battle with multiple competitors each offering a unique twist on the small crossover theme. Against high-mileage champs like the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Chevrolet offers a diesel engine with more torque and equally good fuel economy. In the pricing game, the Equinox takes on value-based competitors like the Honda CR-V and the Hyundai Santa Fe with a number of nicely equipped trims all with competitive pricing. And in the "will my family fit" category, the Equinox offers more rear seat legroom than the Nissan Rogue, and it can tow up to 3,500 pounds, more than most competitors limited to just 1,500 pounds.
What’s New for 2019?
The 2019 Chevrolet Equinox gains some new available equipment including adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. The rear backup camera gets upgraded to HD, and the same goes for the available 360-degree monitor. Seven- and 8-in infotainment systems get upgrade software, and more USB and SD card ports are offered along with more bundled option packages. See the 2019 Chevrolet Equinox models for sale near you
What We Like
Choice of three turbocharged engines; quiet ride; all-wheel drive available on all grades but L; flat cargo floor with rear seat folded; 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot capable
What We Don’t
Too many hard plastic surfaces; driver-assist/safety technologies not available on lower grades
A 3-punch powertrain combination may be Chevy’s most effective Equinox marketing tool. All three are turbocharged and each should appeal to a different subset of buyers. Anchoring the go-making choices is a 170-horsepower 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. It ushers output to the wheels by way of a 6-speed automatic transmission. The government estimates its fuel economy at 26 miles per gallon in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. Pony up the $3,680 extra for AWD, and the city figure drops to 25 with highway mileage at 30 mpg.
The more performance-minded buyer can opt for the 252-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that’s mated to a 9-speed automatic tranny. Its government-estimated mileage is 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway. Adding AWD doesn’t alter city mpg, but does scrub one mpg from the highway number.
Drivers passionate about squeezing out as many miles per gallon as possible can find that with the 137-hp 1.6-liter turbodiesel. Although that’s a lower pony count than the 1.5-liter, it generates 240 lb-ft of torque to the 1.5-liter’s 203 lb-ft. It puts power to the pavement via a 6-speed automatic transmission. The government pegs mileage numbers at 28 mpg city/39 mpg highway for the front drive model, and 28 mpg city/38 mpg hwy with AWD.
Standard Features and Options
The Equinox’s eight trim levels are based on the engines. The 1.5-liter has four grades, while the 2.0-liter and 1.6-liter turbo-diesel have two grades each.
L 1.5L Turbo ($24,995) is the most affordable model, offering a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, six airbags, air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, Teen Driver Mode, cruise control, full power accessories, remote keyless locks, active noise cancellation, a rearview camera, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel with redundant audio controls, auto on/off headlights, heated folding outboard mirrors, 17-in aluminum wheels, OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hot spot, and MyLink 6-speaker audio system with a 7-in touchscreen, USB port, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Chevy offers no factory options.
LS 1.5L Turbo ($27,095) increases the standard equipment on the L with rear carpet floor mats, a compact spare tire, a jack and a compass. Available options include keyless entry keypad, as well as a couple of weather-protection packages.
LT 1.5L Turbo ($28,395) adds to the LS gear with high-intensity discharge headlights, satellite radio capability, an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat, second-row manual seat release levers in the cargo area, a leather-wrapped shift knob and deep-tinted rear glass. Options include Confidence and Convenience Package with remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, blind spot monitoring, lane-change alert, rear cross-traffic alert, heated front seats and the Sun & Infotainment Package with a panoramic power sunroof, upgraded MyLink audio system with an 8-in touchscreen, a 120-volt power outlet and dual USB data ports.
Premier 1.5L Turbo ($32,295) includes all the features and goodies in the option packages in the LT 1.5 and adds heated leather seats with memory, a hands-free power lift gate, power-folding outboard mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote start, LED headlights and taillights and roof-mounted luggage rack. A Driver Confidence and Convenience Package II offers a safety alert driver’s seat, forward-collision warning, low-speed automatic braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, IntelliBeam headlights, birds-eye surround-vision cameras, an 8-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, heated rear outboard seats and a ventilated driver’s seat. An available Infotainment II Package includes an 8-in touchscreen with navigation, an upgraded 7-speaker Bose audio system and HD radio.
LT 2.0L Turbo ($30,895) builds on the LT 1.5 Turbo content with the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, a 9-speed automatic transmission, 18-in bright aluminum wheels, chrome dual outlet exhaust and heated folding outboard mirrors. It offers the same option packages as the LT 1.5 Turbo.
Premier 2.0L Turbo ($35,095) is essentially the same standard content and option packages as the Premier 1.5L Turbo, but with the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.
LT 1.6L Turbo Diesel ($30,795) basically has the same standard content and option packages as the LT 1.5L Turbo, but with the 1.6-liter turbo diesel.
Premier 1.6L Turbo Diesel ($34,495) reflects the standard equipment and option packages as the Premier 1.5L Turbo, but with the turbo diesel.
Every Equinox comes with six airbags, a rear-vision camera, Teen Driver and an OnStar telematics system with a 3-month free trial. A long list of available safety technologies include a birds-eye surround-vision camera system, forward-collision warning with following-distance indicator, low-speed automatic braking, IntelliBeam headlights, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic assist. With the safety alert seat, warnings are transmitted to the driver’s seat cushion in the form of vibrations.
In crash testing, the government gives the 2019 Chevy Equinox a 5 star overall rating, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety give the Equinox its highest rating of Good in every crash test and Superior in the accident avoidance and mitigation test.
Behind the Wheel
Generally, the Equinox performs as we expected. That is, it drives like a small crossover. Overall, the ride is pleasant with the seating height delivering excellent visibility. The steering is quick and spot on. It handles sweepers with surefooted consistency when not pushed too hard. With the 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-banger, it concerns itself with just getting the job done. There are a number of small crossovers out there armed with a fuel-sipping 4-cylinder engine more concerned with delivering solid fuel economy than lighting up the tires. The Equinox 1.5L Turbo joins that crowd.
If you want more gusto when stepping away from a red light or passing slower traffic on a 2-lane rural road, Chevrolet offers the 2.0-liter Turbo. Playing the role of the "just right" baby bear is the 1.6-liter turbodiesel that delivers loads of torque, but still effectively manages fuel consumption.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Honda CR-V — We can’t have a conversation about small crossovers and not include the segment sales-leading CR-V. Honda recently gave it a ground-up redesign, keeping it in the crosshairs of every competitor out there.
2019 Nissan Rogue — A sales winner for Nissan, the Rogue recently outsold every SUV and crossover for a couple of months earlier in the year. Its attractive price and passenger-friendly performance contribute to its popularity.
2019 Jeep Renegade — Jeep hit the sweet spot with Renegade. Not only is it comfortable, but it delivers on Jeep’s promise for rugged off-road worthiness. It’s a pint-size, less complex, more affordable Grand Cherokee.
2019 Kia Sportage — Although it offers less cargo room than many of its competitors, the Sportage earns a spot on this list because of its value pricing. Loads of passenger space, comfy ride and tons of content puts the Sportage solidly in the hunt.
Choosing an Equinox engine option really depends on how you’ll use it. For urban driving and highway cruising, the 1.5L turbo will do quite nicely. Ditto for the 1.6L turbodiesel that goes to the front of the class for open-road fuel economy. If having some fun trumps mileage concerns, the 2.0-liter will take care of that.
With the engine choice made, we’d go with the LT trim and add the Confidence and Convenience Package with all its driver-assist/safety technology. Find a Chevrolet Equinox for sale