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2021 Chevrolet Equinox: Choosing the Right Trim

In a sea of fresher models like the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Subaru Forester, the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox sometimes gets overlooked. But Chevrolet sells a lot of these compact crossovers, and once you take a good hard look, you’ll realize the Equinox may be the right fit for you.

The Equinox comes in four trims, and within those are three special-edition packages.  However, due to disruptions caused by the pandemic, the 2021 Equinox is not as well equipped as in 2020, with the most noticeable omission being the loss of the powerful 2.0-liter engine and its 3,500-pound tow rating.

You may also notice many features that come standard on the Equinox’s competitors are extra-cost options, which, until you start adding pricey packages, makes the Equinox somewhat uncompetitive.

2021 Chevrolet Equinox L (Starting at $23,800)

The Equinox L is the entry-level model that serves more as a fleet vehicle. You can purchase an L and be entirely happy with its standard content, but buyers looking for those few extra goodies might want to consider moving up to the LS or LT trim.

The L can only be equipped as a front-drive SUV. Still, it comes standard with active safety tech such as forward-collision warning, low-speed automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, and automatic high-beam headlights.

As with all the Equinox trims this year, a 170-horsepower 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder paired to a 6-speed automatic is the only engine choice.

The L trim includes painted 17-inch wheels, keyless entry with proximity key fob and push-button start, two rear-seat USB charge ports, a rear backup camera, 12-volt outlets in both the front console and rear cargo area, heated outside mirrors, plus power windows and door locks.

The infotainment setup includes a 6-speaker stereo with a 7-inch touchscreen, an active noise-canceling system, Bluetooth for phone and music streaming, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Color choices are limited to white and silver, and black is the only interior color choice. The L only offers a few upgrades, such as 17-inch aluminum wheels and some dealer add-ons.

At around $25,000 with delivery fees, a 2021 Equinox L on a 60-month loan at 3% would cost about $450 a month. Find a Chevrolet Equinox L for sale

2021 Chevrolet Equinox L includes:

  • Automatic emergency braking — in low-speed situations, this system can detect a potential collision and activate the brakes to slow the vehicle. In some instances, the system can even bring the Equinox to a complete stop.
  • Cargo bay 12-volt outlet — a nice feature for camping or tailgating, many crossovers don’t offer this option, let alone in a base model.
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto — who needs fancy audio upgrades, satellite radio, or navigation when it’s all right there in your phone? Chevrolet’s Infotainment 3 System allows seamless smartphone integration, giving you access to apps, messages, navigation, and music.
  • Automatic high beams – automatically activate the high beams in low -ight situations. The system will automatically dim the lights when it detects approaching traffic.

2021 Chevrolet Equinox LS ($26,300)

The LS trim offers more paint color choices and opens the door to a few more features, the most important of which is all-wheel drive. But at a $2,500 premium over the L trim, it lacks essential upgrades found in similarly priced competitors.

Upgrades over the L include 17-in alloy wheels, mechanical jack and tool kit, and a 16-in compact spare (replaces inflator kit on L).

Optional equipment for LS includes an available 8-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar control, blackout and chrome packages, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

That’s it. That’s all you get for $2,500. We think the better value is the LT trim, which costs just $1,200 more than the LS but brings so much more in the way of value, features, and style.

Using the same 60-month loan calculator, the LS has a monthly payment of $495, or about $45 more a month than an L. Find a Chevrolet Equinox LS for sale

2021 Chevrolet Equinox LS includes:

  • 16-in compact spare tire – an excellent backup to have if you damage a tire beyond what an inflator kit can fix.
  • 17-in alloy wheels – look great and weigh less than steel wheels, helping improve un-sprung weight for better handling and improved fuel economy.
  • Lane-departure warning and assist – this system monitors lane markings and alerts the driver if the vehicle begins to wander from its intended lane.
  • Keyless entry with push-button start – no need to search around for the key fob. So long as it’s on your person, you can unlock the car simply by pulling on the door handle. To start the car, simply push a button.

2021 Chevrolet Equinox LT ($27,500)

The LT is the trim we’d recommend. It offers a few more standard features, but far more in the way of options, including a few cool upgrade packages like the Sport and Midnight Editions.

Again, at this price point we’re not terribly impressed by Equinox’s standard equipment list. When approaching $28,000, things like heated seats, a power moonroof, and adaptive cruise control should come standard, not optional. They are on competitors like the Subaru Forester and Honda CR-V.

Over the LS, the LT includes an 8-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support, HID headlights, cargo area rear seat release levers, deep-tinted rear privacy glass, a 4.2-inch color driver information screen, SiriusXM satellite radio, and an overhead sunglass holder.

Optional equipment is mainly bundled into packages. A good example is the Confidence and Convenience package that brings heated front seats, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, rear park assist, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote start, fog lamps, and a power liftgate.

Other upgrades include leather seats with memory, an 8-in infotainment screen with navigation, a 120-volt outlet, and 18- and 19-in alloy wheels. The Hit the Road package includes roof rail crossbars and molded assist steps.

The aforementioned Midnight Edition includes Mosaic Black paint, blacked-out trim and badges, 19-in gloss black alloy wheels, and Jet Black premium cloth seats.

The Sport Edition adds a choice of paint colors, Jet Black cloth interior, 19-in gloss black aluminum wheels, black mesh grille, and black bowtie badges.

With delivery fees, the LT is priced just shy of $28,700, bumping the monthly payment up about $20 to approximately $515. Find a Chevrolet Equinox LT for sale

2021 Chevrolet Equinox LT includes:

  • 8-way power driver’s seat — allows drivers of all shapes and sizes to find the perfect driving position.
  • HID headlights — High-Intensity Discharge headlights are brighter than standard halogens but not as blinding to oncoming traffic as LED lights.
  • SiriusXM satellite radio — opens the door to over 150 channels of music, sports, finance, news, and talk radio. The first three months are free, after which a subscription payment is due.
  • Cargo area rear seat release levers — these levers make it so much easier to lower the rear seats. Just pull the lever, and the spring-loaded seats fold flat.

2021 Chevrolet Equinox Premier ($31,400)

The top-line Premier includes many of the LT’s optional equipment, and as such, might be the best bargain in the bunch. This level of equipment is competitive with rivals like the Ford Escape SEL, Subaru Forester Limited, and Honda CR-V EX-L.

Standard equipment includes leather-appointed heated front seats with memory, a hands-free power liftgate, Chevrolet Infotainment 3 System with 8-in touchscreen, LED headlamps, remote start, and a wireless phone charging pad.

The Premier comes with the LT’s Confidence and Convenience package contents, which can be upgraded to the Confidence and Convenience II package. Doing so brings an 8-way power passenger seat, Safety Alert driver’s seat, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and adaptive cruise control.

The Infotainment II package adds navigation and a 7-speaker Bose stereo. The Redline Edition brings 19-in black wheels with red accents, black bowtie badges, black mirror caps and window surrounds, and Redline-specific black grille.

Also available is a panoramic glass moonroof, HD surround-vision camera, and a rear-seat entertainment system.

With destination charges, the Equinox Premier goes for about $32,560. Using our 60-month loan calculator, the monthly payment on a loan at 3% would be $585 a month. Find a Chevrolet Equinox Premier for sale

2021 Chevrolet Equinox Premier

  • Heated front seats — a nice way to warm up when the outside temperature drops quickly.
  • Hands-free power liftgate — this programmable liftgate automatically opens with the touch of a button, either on the liftgate itself or the remote key fob.
  • Wireless charging pad — allows wireless charging of compatible devices such as an iPhone or Android smartphone.
  • LED headlamps — these low-energy consumption headlights stay cool while providing amazingly bright light for nighttime driving

Joe Tralongo
Joe Tralongo is a longtime contributor who started in the industry writing competitive comparison books for a number of manufacturers, before moving on in 2002 to become a freelance automotive journalist. He’s well regarded for his keen eye for detail, as well as his ability to translate complex mechanical terminology into user-friendly explanations. Joe has worked for a number of outlets as... Read More about Joe Tralongo

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