The Equinox, Chevrolet’s popular compact SUV, has more in-house company than ever. If your mind is made up on buying the Equinox, the choices don’t end there. The SUV comes in four trim levels, with prices ranging from around $25,000 to nearly double that once you add all factory options (all prices include destination).
The good news? You no longer have to pony up extra for important safety features. All four trims now have forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with steering assist, and automatic high-beam headlights. Such features were hard-to-get options on 2019’s Equinox.
Which of the Equinox’s 4 Trims — L, LS, LT and Premier — Should You Buy?
Start by crossing off the base trim, L, as it’s almost impossible to find. As of this writing, less than 1% of all new model-year 2020 Equinox inventory on Cars.com is the Equinox L, so unless you enjoy hunting down a hard-to-find car, consider just the remaining three trims. All of them start with a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (170 horsepower, 203 pounds-feet of torque) and six-speed automatic transmission.
We’d choose an unadorned Equinox Premier, whose $32,595 gets you a lot of convenience and luxury features. AWD runs another $1,600 if you need it, and Chevrolet’s 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder (252 hp, 260 pounds-feet of torque) pairs with a nine-speed automatic transmission for a strong, albeit questionably necessary, upgrade. Given the turbo 1.5-liter provides sufficient oomph and the 2.0-liter runs another $2,700 on the Premier, we’d pick the 1.5-liter.
A refreshed 2021 Equinox hits dealers in the fall, but its changes are mostly cosmetic, and the forthcoming arrival could signal steadily higher incentives through this calendar year on the 2020 Equinox.
The Equinox LS starts at $27,495 with front-wheel drive and includes:
- 17-inch aluminum wheels
- Keyless access system
- Four USB ports, including one USB Type-C
- 7-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Lane departure warning with steering assist
- Automatic high-beam headlights
- Cloth upholstery
- Steering-wheel cruise and audio controls
- Power windows with express-down and driver express-up
- Manual climate control
- Black mirrors, body-colored door handles
For all intents and purposes, the base-trim Equinox you’ll find at dealers is an LS, but it’s often included in the Equinox’s frequent purchase discounts. (The L is often ineligible for such incentives, which should take the sting off the LS running another $2,500 for a paltry few extra features.) All-wheel drive adds $1,600.
Major packages include an LS Convenience Package ($685) with a power driver’s seat and tinted rear glass, various protection or cosmetic packages ($130 to $795), fancier wheels (as much as $1,995) and various less expensive add-ons. Similarly, interior options range from a handful of protective elements to a $1,995 rear-seat entertainment system.
The Equinox LT starts at $28,695 with the 1.5-liter turbo four-cylinder and front-wheel drive. Additional features on the LT, some of which are optional on the LS, include:
- High-intensity-discharge headlights
- Power driver’s seat
- Color driver information display
- Body-colored mirrors
- Cargo-area releases for folding backseat
- Tinted rear glass
- Bright window trim
Like the LS, the LT offers various protection or cosmetic packages as well as standalone interior options that culminate in the $1,995 rear-seat entertainment system. The 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder adds $2,500; it also bumps up to 18-inch alloy wheels.
A few substantial packages that can add items like leather seats, a memory driver’s seat, 19-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a larger touchscreen (8 inches instead of 7 inches) with a higher-definition backup camera, and a power liftgate. Features vary by package, with pricing from $130 to $2,230, but some packages require other packages — or standalone options, like a panoramic moonroof — as a prerequisite. As such, it isn’t difficult for an Equinox LT to escalate beyond $35,000, and well past that if you get AWD or the uplevel engine.
The Equinox Premier runs $32,595, plus another $1,600 for AWD or $2,700 for the 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Upgrades beyond the LT include:
- Leather upholstery
- Heated front seats
- Driver’s seat memory
- Blind spot warning system with cross-traffic alert
- Power liftgate with hands-free access
- Dual-zone automatic climate control
- 8-inch touchscreen, also with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Remote start
- Wireless smartphone charger
- 120-volt household power outlet
- 18-inch aluminum wheels
- Auto-dimming center and side mirrors
- LED headlights and taillights
- Roof rails
Our choice of the group, the Premier is a reasonably good value given it has all LT features plus a number of upgrades offered as LT options. Like the LS and LT, it offers a range of protection or cosmetic packages ($130 to $995) and standalone options ($75 to $1,995), plus a few consolidated packages that add items like ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, adaptive cruise control, Bose premium audio and an eight-way power front passenger seat. Go carte blanche with packages and standalone options, and the window sticker on an AWD Equinox Premier with the uplevel engine can make you blanch, as pricing can spiral into the high $40,000s.
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