As the market shifts from sedans to crossover utility vehicles, the Chevrolet Equinox remains poised to capture the lion’s share of Chevy faithful. This SUV has always been a smart alternative to such car models like the Cruze and Malibu, and is itself a five-passenger vehicle with ample engine choices.
Now in its second year, the third-generation 2019 Equinox features trim and package changes mostly. Two new “blue” metallic paint choices have rolled out, while the Premier trim gains available front pedestrian braking and adaptive cruise control.
2019 Chevrolet Equinox Overview
Chevrolet offers the 2019 Equinox in four trims: L ($24,995), LS ($27,095), LT ($28,395), and Premier ($32,295). Destination, taxes and tags are extra. Choosing the L and LS trims gives shoppers just one engine choice. On the other hand, the LT and Premier models supply access to the two other engine choices. For instance, the turbo-diesel is a $2,400 upgrade ($2,200 with the Premier), while the more powerful turbo gas model is a $2,500 upgrade ($2,800 with the Premier).
Building out an Equinox supplies access to various available packages. However, on the base trim, there aren’t any packages available. Choose the LS trim and you’ll find eight package choices, including an LS Convenience Package ($685, 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support and deep-tinted rear glass).
Move up to the LT and you’ll find 12 available packages, including three that are featured. A Confidence & Convenience Package ($1,945) adds such features as rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert, lane change alert with side blind zone alert, heated side mirrors, remote start, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, universal home remote, and a programmable liftgate.
Building on the first package is a Lights and Brights Package ($3,240). This one brings in the Chevrolet Infotainment System with navigation and an 8-inch color touch-screen display, a 120-volt power outlet, additional USB ports, 19-inch designer wheels, and other exterior embellishments. The standalone Style and Go Package ($1,930) adds such exterior upgrades as 19-inch bright machine wheels.
Head to the top trim and you’ll find nine package choices, including the Style and Go Package ($1,630) and the Confidence & Convenience II Package ($2,145). The latter features a host of safety equipment, including low-speed forward automatic braking, forward collision alert, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, front pedestrian braking, and an HD surround view camera system. You’ll also gain a heated steering wheel, power front seats with lumbar support, ventilated front seats, and heated rear outboard seats.
A Matter of Style
The Equinox has many of Chevrolet’s current styling features, including a gaping grille punctuated by the bow-tie insignia in the upper section. Where many small SUVs share a common layout, the Equinox offers important differentiation, especially along the profile.
That side view features a gently rising beltline, falling roofline, and a wraparound rear window. Our test model had extra rocker panel trim and distinct wheels. From the rear, you’ll find wraparound tail lamps, diffuser-like trim on some models, and dual-exhaust tips.
Standard exterior features include halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights, heated and power-adjusted side mirrors, and 17-inch painted-aluminum wheels. The list of upgrades include HID lights, LED accent lights and tail lights, fog lamps, a luggage rack, panoramic sunroof with shade, and a power liftgate. Various 18- and 19-inch wheel designs are also available.
Last year, Chevrolet rolled out a new Equinox that’s smaller than the previous models and is better aligned with its many competitors, including the Honda CR-V, Jeep Compass, and Mitsubishi Outlander. That’s important as Chevrolet now has the Blazer to slot between the Equinox and the three-row Traverse. And yet, this particular crossover offers ample room for five.
Of course, the best seats in the house are up front. Both offer ample support and bolstering and the front cabin is easy to enter and leave. You won’t find height adjusted front seats with the base trim, but it is either available or standard elsewhere. The rear bench seat offers sufficient comfort and will fit three when needed.
Standard interior features include full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, air conditioning, and cloth seats. Among the available upgrades include dual-zone climate control, heated seats, leather seats, and ambient lighting.
The Equinox’s storage capacity is a strong suit, with ample space behind the second row and generous room with the bench seat folded. If you need to tow, this crossover pulls up to 3,500 pounds when properly equipped.
Safety & Technology
All models come with the OnStar Safety & Security Plan. This plan is by subscription, with the first month free. Here, you’ll find automatic crash response, emergency services, stolen vehicle assistance, roadside assistance, and turn-by-turn navigation. Chevrolet also offers Teen Driver technology, which monitors and restricts young drivers per parental inputs.
Chevrolet trails many of its competitors in standard driver-assist safety features, including the Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, Volkswagen Tiguan, and the Nissan Rogue, to name a few. The advanced driver-assist features mentioned earlier are available on the two top trims only. You’ll pay extra for most features too, as outlined in those packages.
Where Chevrolet trails in all things advanced safety technology, its standard and available in-cabin technologies are sure to please. These include keyless entry, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, four USB ports, and a seven-inch touch-screen display. You’ll also find built-in 4G LTE WiFi technology, which is ideal for connecting as many as seven devices.
Upgrades include satellite radio, two additional USB ports, wireless charging, and a 7-speaker Bose audio system. As pointed out previously, the select package offerings bring in such features as on-board navigation, a 120-volt power outlet, and HD Radio. In all, the standard tech features are strong. With the upgrades, the Equinox becomes an even more enticing model.
On the Road
No other compact SUV has engine choices rivaling the Equinox. Sure, the Ford Escape offers three engine choices as well, but all three are gas-powered. The Equinox offers two turbocharged gas engines and one turbo-diesel.
My test model came with the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This one delivers the power of a small V6, in particular, 252 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Unlike the other two engine choices, this one works with a 9-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed automatic is standard elsewhere.
You’ll find ample thrust with the larger gas engine, as it offers competent step-off acceleration and passing power. No, this isn’t a performance model, but it does imbue confidence while driving. Notably, the transmission shifts between cogs with confidence. Further, the steering is spot on with admirable handling and a comfortable ride to go with it.
Most buyers will be satisfied with the standard engine. It isn’t a powerhouse, but it delivers sufficient off-the-mark acceleration and passing power when you need it. We haven’t reviewed a GM vehicle with the available turbo-diesel, but are intrigued that one is offered. On paper, it delivers near 40 mpg on the highway, which is outstanding. Only the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid offers better efficiency.
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The front-wheel-drive-only Equinox L serves mostly as a placeholder, while the LS makes all-wheel drive available for the first time. We think most customers will look at the LT as they’ll find a wide range of amenities and three engine choices. Unfortunately, the top safety features are reserved for the Premier model and even then they’re an extra cost item.
Other than the curious safety tech availability, the Equinox is a strong contender in a crowded segment. We’re intrigued by the diesel and would test drive an Equinox equipped with one. A diesel has other benefits too, including no spark plugs and a reputation for longevity. Therefore, It may prove the better investment, especially if you plan to keep your crossover for many years.
2019 Chevrolet Equinox Specifications
Sticker price from $23,800 (plus a $1,195 destination fee)
Price as tested: $33,625
Engine No. 1: 1.5-liter turbo gas I4
170 horsepower @ 5,600 RPM
203 foot-pounds of torque @ 2,500 to 4,500 RPM
6-speed automatic transmission
Engine No. 2: 2.0-liter turbo gas I4
252 horsepower @ 5,500 RPM
260 foot-pounds of torque @ 2,500 to 4,500 RPM
9-speed automatic transmission
Engine No. : 1.6-liter turbodiesel I4
137 horsepower @ 3,750 RPM
240 foot-pounds of torque @ 2,000 RPM
6-speed automatic transmission
Wheelbase: 107.3 inches
Length: 183.1 inches
Width: 72.6 inches
Height: 65.4 inches
Passenger volume: 103.5 cubic feet
Storage volume: 29.9/63.5 cubic feet
Maximum towing capacity: 3,500 pounds
EPA: 26/32/28 (1.6L FWD); 22/29/25 (2.0L FWD); 28/39/32 (1.5L Diesel) city/highway/combined mpg
Unleaded regular gasoline or diesel fuel
Fuel tank: 14.9 (FWD); 15.6 (AWD) gallons
Curb weight: From 3,274 to 3,682 pounds
IIHS safety rating: Good, marginal headlights
Limited vehicle warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles
Corrosion warranty: 6 years/100,000 miles
Vehicle assembly: Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada
See Also — The Next-Generation Chevrolet Equinox
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