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Review: 2020 Chevrolet Equinox Premier

The Chevrolet Equinox made its debut for the 2005 model year as a mid-size SUV before eventually dropping down in weight class to become a compact crossover.

The results have been pretty stellar throughout the journey. In fact, last year Chevy sold more units of the Equinox than ever before, approaching 350,000. It’s a hit.

And that’s saying a lot, because that smaller compact segment is one of the most competitive classes of cars and trucks you’ll find. Everybody seems to want to score big in this category, and the buying public is paying attention. They’ve spoken with their wallets.

The Basics

You’ll find four trim levels of the Equinox, but that’s a little bit misleading. The base model, called the L, is only available as a special order, which means you probably won’t find any on the lot.

Otherwise, you get to choose between the LS, LT, and Premier. I drove the Premier for a week.

You get engine choices, too. From everything I’ve heard, the base 1.5-liter turbo engine leaves a lot to be desired. More than a few people have complained about its sluggish power.

My Premier, however, came with the upgraded 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, and I had no problems with it whatsoever.

The diesel engine that once came as on option is now gone.

Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available.

Although the Equinox is now a compact crossover, don’t be fooled. I felt like it was much larger on the inside than you’d guess from looking at it.

The Inside

I found this crossover to be quite comfortable. The seats, both up front and in the rear, have a good amount of legroom, and the seats were comfy even after long drives.

Material were not top-of-the-line (this isn’t a Mercedes or Lexus, ya know) but they also weren’t cheap. I was pleasantly surprised at the styling and feel of the interior.

For those who appreciate this, I really liked the feel of the leather-wrapped steering wheel, too. Sometimes those just make you wanna keep driving.

Storage, for the most part, was about average, although I liked the size of the center bin. Plus you get a nice cubby space in front of the shifter. Rear cargo space comes in at about 30 cubic feet, which is smaller than what you’ll find in some competitors, such as the Honda CR-V.

The Drive

Again, it’s going to depend on your engine choice. If you opt for the 1.5-liter you may not be thrilled.

My 2.0-liter turbo gave me no problems at all. I liked the acceleration, and you never felt nervous merging onto the highway.

Braking, steering, and handling were all good. Perhaps not the smoothest ride, but the overall feel was sporty and fun. Given its size and peppy engine, this is a nice choice for scooting around town.

The Tech

High marks for the Apple CarPlay connection. There are times I’ll find myself fighting to connect in some vehicles, but the Equinox pairing was quick and reliable.

The infotainment system was simple to use. Depending on your trim level, you’ll find either a 7-inch or 8-inch touchscreen. There’s a minimum of 4 USB ports (again, more with higher trims) and even an optional rear-seat DVD system.

Driver safety features are plentiful, but with upgrades and options you’ll find a nice array of the cool stuff, like adaptive cruise control and HD surround vision.

The Bottom Line

The Equinox competes well because it offers nice materials, decent storage, and a good ride at a reasonable price.

Fuel economy is not spectacular, but with the 15.6 gallon tank on the all-wheel drive model you’ll still manage about 400 miles on a tank.

If you’re in the market for a compact crossover, the Equinox is certainly worth your time and attention.

The Details

2020 Chevrolet Equinox Premier
2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine
9-speed automatic transmission
All-wheel drive (Front-wheel standard)
Fuel economy: 22/28/24 combined
MSRP: $35,700
As tested: $38,940

Reviewed by Dom Testa
Vehicle provided by manufacturer


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