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2020 Chevrolet Equinox

2020 Chevrolet Equinox

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The Chevrolet Equinox ranks relatively low on the Best American Small SUVs list, with a score of 2 out of 5. This suggests that there are several other American small SUVs that are considered better in terms of performance, reliability, or other factors. However, the Equinox fares much better in terms of affordability, ranking 4th out of 19 on the Most Affordable Small SUVs list. This indicates that while it may not be the top performer among its peers, it offers good value for money, making it a viable option for those on a budget.

Overview (Final Score: B)

The current-generation Equinox was introduced in 2018 as the third generation of this popular family crossover. The Equinox meets a continually-growing segment of buyers looking for a midsize crossover on the slightly smaller side and with a comfortable interior and affordable price tag.

For the 2020 model year, the Chevrolet Equinox sees a couple of changes, starting with package changes for the trim levels to better match consumer needs. Safety equipment such as forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking are now standard on all 2020 Equinox model trims. Finally, Chevy decided to drop the diesel engine amid trouble with certifications and a low customer interest.

The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox remains one of the lowest priced options in its segment, a big attractant to customers for the model since its introduction. As with previous years, the base model is largely a "paper only" trim that must be special ordered. The extremely low price advertised as the base manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) for the Equinox should thus be taken with a big grain of salt.

The 2020 Equinox is a five seat, large compact crossover. Four trim choices are available, starting with the special order model L and rising through the LS, LT, and Premier trims. Two engine choices are available and both front-wheel and all-wheel drive are options.

What We Love About the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox:

  • Decent packaging and engine options at good prices

  • Smooth ride with confident handling

  • Neither stands out nor blends in, being perfectly contemporary in design

What We Don't Love About the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox:

  • Interior materials quality is often described as "cheap"

  • Not as much usable cargo space as is found in many competitors

  • Base trim level is special order only, making the base MSRP a bit deceptive

Exterior View (8/10)

There isn't much to grab the eye as unusual with the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox's design. That's a good thing for those looking for a contemporary (read: safe) appearance for their crossover-SUV. The Equinox has no surprisingly good-looking or ugly points to point towards in its overall design and appearance.

That isn't to say that there aren't design elements to consider when viewing the Equinox, of course. The flare of the fenders, the bend of the grille work, and the well-defined lower bumper are all Chevrolet hallmarks for crossover and SUV design. The rounded glass behind the rear pillar is another Chevy hallmark, pulled from the yesteryear nostalgia of other storied SUVs like the Blazer. The Blazer is now a slightly smaller, more upscale version of the Equinox, however, rather than the big, beastly off-road SUV it was before.

Consumers looking for a mature crossover with a well-balanced design will like the Equinox.

Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (7/10)

The interior of the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox is functional, well-designed, and without sophistication. Most will find it immediately comforting for its obvious intent and lack of overwhelming technical bling. Sadly, this well-done design experience is marred by the use of cheap-appearing materials and low-rent textures. Most others in this segment have much better quality inside.

Comfort, however, is still a high point in the 2020 Equinox. The front seats are roomy, well-designed, and easily adjusted to fit most users. The driver won't have the steering adjustment found in some other options, but the layout of controls and switchgear is intuitive and easily understood. Storage and access to technology are also good for the driver and front passenger.

The rear seats are comfortable for two, adults or children, but the center position is not a daily-use space. Most buying in this category aren't planning to use the back seat as a three-seater on the regular and the definitely applies to the Equinox. Easy access to child safety seat installation points (including LATCH anchors and over-top tethers) will ease parents' burdens some.

Cargo space in the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox is good and, on paper, spacious. In real use, though, the curve of the hood constricts the doorway and makes loading larger objects difficult. Total cargo is rated at 29.9 cubic feet behind the second row and 63.5 when that row is folded (mostly) flat. There is a small amount of under-floor storage in the rear cargo space, but it's limited in usefulness.

Technology (10/10)

Where Chevy shines in the new Equinox is in tech usage. There are six USB ports in the 2020 Equinox at the base level and the optional Bose premium sound is excellent. Using the newest in Chevrolet's infotainment interface designs, the Equinox has an abundance of options such as WiFi hotspot, the Marketplace app, navigation, and more.

Good voice controls, hands-free operation options, and a big, clear screen are the basis for a good system in the Equinox. Found only in the mid and upper trim level, though, consumers hoping for tech will have to pay to get it. We also find it odd that the navigation upgrade comes in a package that also adds the panoramic glass roof. We'd suggest not opting for nav at all and using the built-in Android Auto or Apple CarPlay instead.

Fuel Economy (9/10)

There are two engine options for the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox. Both are turbocharged four-cylinder engines and both can be in front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

The base engine in FWD is EPA-rated at 26 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. That's much better than average for the segment.

The upgraded engine with FWD is EPA-rated at 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. That's about average for the class. In the real world, with this engine and AWD, we averaged 29 mpg in our highway loop test. That's one point higher than the EPA rating for the AWD model with this engine.

Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (9/10)

The 2020 Chevy Equinox is expected to have a high reliability. J.D. Power and Associates rates the 2020 model as "Among the Best" for reliability in its Vehicle Dependability Study. There have, however, been three significant recalls for the Equinox in 2020, including one for the powertrain, one for brakes, and one for the fuel delivery system.

Safety (10/10)

The 2020 Equinox has received top scores for safety from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The NHTSA has given the Equinox five stars overall, with five stars for frontal, five stars for side, and four stars for rollover crash test results.

The IIHS has given the 2020 Equinox top scores of "Good" on all crash tests and a rating of "Superior" for its advanced front crash prevention systems.

Performance (8/10)

Chevrolet dropped the diesel engine option for the Equinox, leaving two turbocharged four-cylinder engines as the mainstays for the crossover. The base engine is a 1.5-liter turbo that outputs 170 horsepower. This engine mates to a six-speed automatic transmission in front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

The base engine is barely adequate for the Equinox's size and often hunts for gears, feeling sluggish and unsure of itself much of the time. It's high fuel economy returns may be appealing, however, and it is the lower-cost option in every regard.

The upgrade engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo that produces 252 horsepower and pairs with a nine-speed automatic. This combination is far more refined and is almost sporty, giving the Equinox a lot of confidence in everyday driving. This engine allows towing of up to 3,500 pounds as well, an unusual trait in this segment of vehicles.

We like the drive quality of the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox overall, especially its maneuverability and its technology blend for safety. With the upgraded engine, especially, the Equinox is a solid everyday driver that doesn't disappoint in any significant way.

Pricing and Value (8/10)

Given its high reliability expectation, good fuel economy (with either engine), and smart overall generalization of design, we like the Equinox for its value. It sells at a good price that's generally commensurate or lower than contemporaries without losing too much in terms of niceties.

We recommend considering the LT for the best mix of goodies and price.

Total Score and Competitive Comparison (69/80, 86%)

The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox is a great contender and solid seller in a contentious segment of competitive offerings. Chief among those competitors are the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and the Mazda CX-5. Comparatively, both the Honda and the Mazda are much sportier and better-equipped than is the Equinox, but neither has the low price point to match. The Toyota is more sophisticated than is the Equinox with a nicer interior.

The price tag, interior comfort, and good generalization of expectations are the chief selling points for the Equinox. And nobody will fault it for that as those are definitely things that appeal to most consumers. The 2020 Equinox is reliable, priced well, and versatile. A good option in the midsized crossover segment.

2020 Chevrolet Equinox Trims

Trim Engine Drive Train MSRP
4x4 LS 4dr SUV w/1FL 4 Cylinder 4X4 28100
LS 4dr SUV w/1FL 4 Cylinder FWD 26500
L 4dr SUV 4 Cylinder FWD 23800
LS 4dr SUV w/1LS 4 Cylinder FWD 26300
LT 4dr SUV w/2FL 4 Cylinder FWD 27900
LT 4dr SUV w/1LT 4 Cylinder FWD 27500
LT 4dr SUV w/2LT 4 Cylinder FWD 30000
LT 4dr SUV w/3LT 4 Cylinder FWD 29900
Premier 4dr SUV w/1LZ 4 Cylinder FWD 31400
Premier 4dr SUV w/2LZ 4 Cylinder FWD 34100
Premier 4dr SUV w/3LZ 4 Cylinder FWD 33500
4x4 LS 4dr SUV w/1LS 4 Cylinder 4X4 27900
4x4 LT 4dr SUV w/2FL 4 Cylinder 4X4 29500
4x4 LT 4dr SUV w/1LT 4 Cylinder 4X4 29100
4x4 LT 4dr SUV w/2LT 4 Cylinder 4X4 31600
4x4 Premier 4dr SUV w/1LZ 4 Cylinder 4X4 33000
4x4 Premier 4dr SUV w/2LZ 4 Cylinder 4X4 35700

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