The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox continues its sale success, serving as Chevrolet’s only compact crossover. Up against heavyweights like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, the Equinox must constantly be improving without pricing itself out of competition. The Equinox must also maintain its standing as a modern, stylish crossover with broad appeal. This is no small task, which is why additional upgrades like standard driver safety features aim to keep the Equinox solidly in the game. Although not as off-road capable as a Subaru Forester or Jeep Compass, the Equinox does have its virtues. It offers more rear seat legroom than the Nissan Rogue, has a high-output engine option and can tow up to 3,500 pounds, more than most competitors limited to just 1,500 pounds.
What’s New for 2020?
For 2020, Chevrolet equips every Equinox with forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and lane-departure warning, plus automatic high beams. A new Midnight Edition package joins the options list, and the diesel engine has been dropped. See the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox models for sale near you
What We Like
- Choice of two turbocharged engines
- Quiet ride
- Standard driver assists
- Flat cargo floor with rear seat folded
- 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot capable
What We Don’t
- Too many hard plastic surfaces
- No hybrid model
- Small cargo area
Offering two separate powertrain options may be Chevy’s most effective Equinox marketing tool. Both engines are turbocharged, and each should appeal to a different subset of buyers. Anchoring the 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 31 mpg on the highway. Pony up the $1,600 extra for all-wheel drive, and the figures drop to 25 mpg city/30 mpg hwy.
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.
Standard Features and Options
The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox’s comes in four trims: L, LS, LT and Premier. The 1.5-liter is standard on all grades, while the 2.0-liter upgrade is offered on just two grades, those being LT and Premier.
The L ($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, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, forward-collision warning, full power accessories, remote keyless locks, active noise cancellation, a rearview camera, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel with redundant audio controls, automatic on/off headlights, heated folding outboard mirrors, 17-in aluminum wheels, OnStar 4G LTE with a Wi-Fi hot spot and a MyLink 6-speaker audio system with a 7-in touchscreen, USB port, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Chevy offers no factory option packages for this trim.
The LS ($27,495) adds to the standard equipment found on the L with rear carpet floor mats, a compact spare tire, a jack and a compass. Available options include a keyless entry keypad, as well as a couple of weather-protection packages.
The LT comes standard with the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine ($28,695) and 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 the 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 and heated front seats, as well as the Sun & Infotainment Package, which includes a panoramic power sunroof, an upgraded MyLink audio system with an 8-in touchscreen, a 120-volt power outlet and dual USB data ports.
The adding the 2.0-liter turbo to the LT ($31,195) builds on its other features with 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-liter turbo.
The Premier with the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine ($33,495) includes all the features and goodies in the LT’s option packages 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 a roof-mounted luggage rack. A Confidence and Convenience II package offers a safety alert driver’s seat, adaptive cruise control, 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.
Adding the 2.0-liter turbo to the Premier trim ($35,295) gives you essentially the same standard content and option packages as the Premier with the 1.5-liter turbo.
Every Equinox comes with six airbags, a rear-vision camera, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, forward-collision warning with following-distance indicator, automatic high beam control, Teen Driver Mode and an OnStar telematics system with a 3-month free trial. A long list of available safety technologies includes a birds-eye surround-vision camera system, 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 2020 Chevy Equinox a 5-Star overall rating, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives 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 1.5-liter 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. Combined with a 9-speed automatic, this engine delivers impressive acceleration, decent fuel economy and a 3,500-lb tow rating.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 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.
2020 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.
2020 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, a comfy ride and tons of content puts the Sportage solidly in the hunt.
Used Acura RDX — A 2014-2018 Acura RDX delivers big in the areas of power, luxury and capability, plus adds great resale and reliability in a luxury crossover that won’t cost much more than a new Equinox LT or Premier.
Choosing an Equinox engine option really depends on how you’ll use it. For urban driving and highway cruising, the 1.5-liter turbo will do quite nicely. 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 a few option packages, as well as AWD for improved traction in winter driving. Find a Chevrolet Equinox for sale