The latest electric vehicle to join Chevrolet’s expanding all-electric lineup is the 2024 Equinox EV, appearing at the 2022 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and it occupies an interesting position among Chevrolet’s products as well as in the car market at large. What does an all-electric compact SUV with 250 miles of range and a planned starting price of $30,000 compete with? What does its impending arrival mean for the other small Chevrolet EVs? Let’s take a look.
What Does the Equinox EV Mean for the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV?
Let’s start with the easiest question to answer: It means Chevy’s two older EVs are not long for this world. Both versions of the Bolt use older, outdated battery technology and, while it appears the fire-related recall has been resolved, their names are tarnished. Given all that, it’s likely the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV will be discontinued sooner rather than later and the Equinox EV will be an able alternative with a higher base price. It’s actually nothing new in the automotive industry of late; newer, slightly pricier SUVs have been replacing hatchbacks for a while now.
What Does the Equinox EV Compete With?
This is a much more difficult question to answer in part because there hasn’t really been a car like the Equinox occupying this space before. Other EVs with prices around $30,000 are usually smaller and with much shorter maximum ranges — think the Mini Cooper Electric or Mazda MX-30. EVs at this price point are mostly meant to be second cars that appeal to city dwellers in need of an efficient runabout. The Equinox EV can be used that way, but it’s big enough to be a primary vehicle.
At the same time, EVs with this kind of range (250-300 miles) are larger and more expensive than the Equinox EV; the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 start at more than $40,000, and the larger 2023 Volkswagen ID.4 is more expensive at $38,790 with destination despite a shorter range of 208 miles (pricing doesn’t include available federal and state tax credits). The Equinox EV should be able to take advantage of some overlap among buyers of both of these types of EVs, but it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison.
Does the Equinox EV compete with gas-powered or plug-in hybrid compact SUVs? Maybe? Starting prices for the former — like the Toyota RAV4 or Mazda CX-5 — are in the $30,000 range, while plug-in hybrid versions are more expensive (again, before applicable tax credits). But are shoppers in the market for roughly $30,000 SUVs best equipped to buy an EV? Do they have access to Level 2 home charging? Can they afford to have it installed? Are they even allowed to have it installed? We strongly recommend having home charging if an EV is your primary or even secondary transportation. It seems the Equinox EV could compete against gas-only and PHEV compact SUVs, but it’s at a disadvantage.
Is It Even Worth Your Consideration?
This was our first chance to see the Equinox EV in person, but unfortunately, it was still a pre-production prototype. That means I could look inside but couldn’t sit in or poke and prod around it, so my impressions are limited. From the outside, the Equinox EV looks normal and not very futuristic at all: Chevrolet made some EV-based styling choices, certainly, especially up front, but it’s not overly futuristic. Sometimes I think futuristic works, as in the Hyundai Ioniq 5, and sometimes I’m less convinced, as with the Kia EV6. The Equinox EV looks like a modern SUV.
Inside, the interior is plasticky and heavy on styling over materials, which isn’t unusual for even the nicer versions of a vehicle that starts at around $30,000. The optional 17.7-inch touchscreen display is enormous and modern-looking, and while I don’t like that it has touch-sensitive climate controls at the bottom of the screen, there are physical climate controls below the screen and a physical volume knob at its top left corner. Front storage seems adequate, as well, and the pass-through compartment below the center console is always welcome.
Backseat passenger room also appeared adequate, and not having a driveline tunnel improves the space, especially for middle passengers. The 3LT trim I saw also had rear outboard heated seats and dual USB-C charging ports for the backseat. Rear cargo storage is configurable via multiple mounting points for cargo dividers, though the sloping rear roofline reduces usable space, especially for taller items.
With somewhere between 250 and 300 miles of estimated range and available dual-motor all-wheel drive, an adequate interior and a low starting price, the Equinox EV ticks a lot of boxes for a lot of shoppers, but we’ll have to wait until fall of 2023 and the debut of the limited-edition launch model to see if it ticks enough of them.
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