2020 Chevrolet Equinox Premier. Metro News Service photo

Chevrolet Equinox remains relevant, resilient

Bowtie brand’s compact SUV continues to be a top-selling vehicle

It’s not breaking news that SUVs are big sellers. Chevrolet’s entire crossover and SUV product line has had a great year in sales. Each one of their SUV platform vehicles had an uptick in units sold.

The Chevy Equinox continues to be a solid-selling SUV for the bowtie brand. This compact SUV represents a steady performer in one of the most important segments in the automotive industry.

In the 2018 model year, Chevy gave the Equinox a minor facelift. For 2020, it receives a few minor tweaks which will help keep it relevant. The competition is thick in this segment, so the Equinox needs to do something to stand out from the crowd.

The Equinox is solid and consistent, but somewhat uninspiring. In a very crowded segment, sometimes playing it safe is better than going too hard and getting yourself too trendy, too modern and too outdated quickly. The Equinox is certainly still relevant.

On appearance, the Equinox looks bigger than it really is. That’s a good thing in my book. It doesn’t have that little squatty, bubbly look of other compact SUVs in the segment. Kudos to Chevy for playing it safe with reference to the looks. The front end is attractive and modern with a distinctive headlight pattern. The grille is understated, and the back side lacks some personality. The overall look is not memorable, but still remains distinctive and fresh enough to get by for another model year or two.

One of the fair criticisms of the Equinox is its pedestrian and sluggish base engine. The 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder lacks enthusiasm. Thankfully, my tester had the 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder. With this engine, the Equinox is much improved from a performance standpoint. The 252-horsepower output feels like plenty of power; the nine-speed automatic transmission is fantastic with just a little bit of noticeable turbo lag. With this engine and transmission, the Equinox can tow up to 3,500 pounds. My tester came with all-wheel drive; front-wheel drive is standard.

I hadn’t driven an Equinox for a couple model years, so I was anxious to climb inside and see the interior. Unfortunately, the interior didn’t feel newer or updated and still left me realizing there was a significant drop in touch points from GMC or Buick to Chevy. That’s not to say the interior wasn’t comfortable as it was. But road noise was noticeable, and touchpoints felt subpar in comparison to others within this segment.

The infotainment system is outstanding and is one of the most intuitive systems around. It’s not overly engineered and has all the technological features you could want including Apple CarPlay.

As far as cargo room the Equinox is average. There’s 29.9 cubic feet of room behind the rear seats. With those seats folded this five-passenger SUV has a maximum cargo area of 63.9 cubic feet.

Four trim are offered including: LT, L, LS and Premier. My tester was the top-of-the-line Premier with a standard price of $35,700. Added in was the Confidence and Convenience Package which included heated and cooled front seats and heated rear seats as well as a heated steering wheel (great this time of year) and adaptive cruise control. My tester had a final MSRP of $38,545.

The Equinox is known in the ultra-competitive segment for being one of the most fuel-efficient SUVs. My tester had an EPA rating of 22 mpg/city and 28 mpg/highway. The FWD version gains 1 mpg in fuel efficient. In a week’s worth of driving through the suburbs, I averaged almost 25 mpg.

The Equinox is representative of today’s vehicles. It’s remained relevant and a favorite amongst consumers. Chevy continues to make tweaks and adjustments to it, in order to keep it near the top in this segment. I’d say it is mission accomplished in that regard.

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