Specifications of Chevrolet Equinox III (facelift 2021) 1.5i Turbo (173 HP) Hydra-Matic
General characteristics of Chevrolet Equinox III (facelift 2021) 1.5i Turbo (173 HP) Hydra-Matic
Chevy's Equinox is slightly larger than most of the compact SUVs in the US. The overall length is 183.1 inches, with a 107.3-inch wheelbase. It has a width of 72.6 inches not counting the mirrors. The minimum ground clearance of 7.6 inches is quite useful for ingress and egress; this increases to eight inches on the all-wheel-drive Premier. The lightest model is the front-wheel-drive L with a curb weight of 3,274 pounds. The AWD Premier weighs 3,512 lbs.
The 1.5-liter turbocharged four-pot delivers 170 hp and 203 lb-ft and is standard on all four trims. The power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. An all-wheel-drive system is available for the LS, LT, and Premier trims.
There are two opposing forces continually working against this engine. The first is the Equinox's sheer weight, which is around 400 lbs too heavy for this engine. The second problem is the gearbox. It does what a gearbox should, but it could have done an even better job with more ratios. The small engine has a decent torque output, available at 2,500 rpm. With more ratios lower down, in-town acceleration would feel a lot livelier.
Alas, we can only dream. The fact is, this powertrain spec just doesn't work in this car. It's sluggish around town and downright annoying on the freeway.
The underwhelming four-pot is even sadder when you factor the driving experience into the equation. The Equinox handles much better than Chevrolet's other SUVs. The steering is light and direct at low speeds, but the weight increases as the needle rises. It gives you some semblance of feedback, making it a fun car to engage with.
On the open road, it's more of the same. The Equinox corners confidently, and long, open stretches are dealt with comfortably. One note on the steering, however: The turning circle is wider than you'd expect. It may take some time to get accustomed to but this doesn't subtract from the overall driving experience. The brakes are powerful and provide the perfect amount of resistance via the pedal.
For a car that handles corners so well, the Equinox is surprisingly capable of smoothing out bumpy surfaces. Chevrolet could have included more sound-dampening, as wind, road, and strained engine noises regularly interrupt an otherwise serene cabin.
The Equinox's EPA-estimated mileage in FWD guise is 26/31/28 mpg city/highway/combined. The AWD variant offers 25/30/27 mpg. This is fairly impressive when viewed in isolation and considering the size of the vehicle. Things start falling apart once you glance over at the competition's figures. Even using a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder and six-speed automatic setup, the Mazda CX-5 gets uncomfortably close to the Equinox at 25/31/28 mpg. Meanwhile, the 2021 Honda CR-V has it downright beat. A 14.9-gallon tank on the FWD Equinox SUV, and a 15.6-gallon on the AWD, sees it travelling for 417 miles and 421 miles, respectively.
The Equinox has enough head- and legroom to accommodate a family of five, although the middle seat in the rear is not suitable for adults. Seat comfort is outstanding, offering sufficient support for the back, hips, and upper legs. Sadly, the standard cloth upholstery doesn't look or feel particularly pleasant, and the perforated leather seats aren't much of an improvement.
The L and LS have manually adjustable front seats, while the LT and Premier trims offer eight-way power adjustment for the driver. The same is available for the passenger as an extra-cost option. Visibility is good, for the most part, but the thick rear pillars do make it difficult to monitor blind spots.
With all the seats in place, the Equinox offers 29.9 cubic feet of cargo space. That's a few cubes below par but still enough to accommodate day-to-day activities or a month's worth of groceries. With the back seats folded down in a 60/40 split, cargo capacity increases to 63.9 cubic feet. That's plenty of space for those odd occasions when you need to haul something big.
Cabin storage is impressive, as the Equinox comes standard with an abundance of cupholders, small bins, and trays.
The base L trim may only have a few comforts and conveniences, but it's safety suite is nothing to scoff at. The list includes cruise control, forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, a rearview camera, lane-keep assist with lane departure warning, a teen driver system, keyless entry, manual air-conditioning, two 12-volt outlets, and a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel.
The LS doesn't add much extra as standard - namely a spare wheel and tire and floor mats - but it does allow for far more customization from packages and accessories. The LT includes HID headlights, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, SiriusXM, and access to the all-new Leather Package. The Premier adds remote start, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, driver-seat memory, lane change and blind-spot alert, rear park assist and rear cross-traffic alert, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a hands-free power liftgate.