2021 Chevrolet Equinox: Taking After Big Brother

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Maybe Corey’s grandmother should have waited. As the Chicago Auto Show kicks off in the Windy City, General Motors unveiled a mid-cycle refresh of one of the most popular compact crossovers on the market.

For 2021, Chevrolet’s Equinox cosies up a little closer to its big brother, the Blazer, adopting a meaner-looking face and offering, for the first time, a sport-oriented RS variant. A CUV that’s lacked attitude since its inception now wears a snarl.

There’s only so much an automaker can do to differentiate a refreshed model from its predecessor, so the entirety of the exterior changes take place fore and aft. The Blazer-esque grille pairs with a redesigned lower fascia and rejigged rear. Back there, the taillights mercifully take on a new design (or adopt one at all), appearing like a set of LED barbecue tongs that became warped after grabbing a too-big slab of meat.

The front end’s the bigger story, with designers opting to spear the leadlamp array with the grille’s crossbar. LED light strip above the border, driving lights below. A grille that doesn’t plunge quite as deep in the center and a wider lower air opening erases much of the visual derpiness that once plagued this model’s visage.

Powertrains are a carryover. With the Great Diesel Experiment now over, the only choice of motivation is the usual 1.5- and 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinders, mated to either a six- or nine-speed automatic. Front- or all-wheel drive, take your pick. Trim levels, like before, include base L, LS, LT, and a range-topping Premier (now with more interior tinsel, a black-and-chrome grille treatment, and LED lamps), but 2021 brings an RS version into the fold.

As you’d expect, especially after perusing the Blazer version, this option is a feast for the eyes, not the soul. Sporting blacked-out everything, the RS dons 19-inch wheels and a boatload of red stitching stitching to lend a touch of visual menace, setting your ride apart from the other Equinoxes waiting outside your kid’s school at 4 p.m. Power doesn’t change, but stay clear of those quad tips just in case.

Standard on all Equinoxes for 2021 are automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, forward collision alert, lane-keep assist with lane departure warning, and a following distance indicator. Of course, there’s a rear-vision camera, too. Niceties like blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert will require an outlay of additional dollars, depending on trim.

The Equinox remains an enormously important product for GM, one whose popularity seems to know no ceiling. Some 346,048 Equinoxes rolled out of dealerships last year — a significant jump from 2018, making the model nearly three times as popular as the entire Jaguar Land Rover lineup. Put another way, the Equinox moved more than double the volume of the Chrysler, Fiat, and Alfa Romeo brands. It came close to outselling the combined might of Cadillac and Buick.

The 2021 Equinox lands in dealerships this fall. Updated pricing will roll out sometime before then.

[Images: General Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Akear Akear on Feb 06, 2020

    Why is GM bringing back the Aztec styling trend of making the top headlights so thin.

  • Redgolf Redgolf on Feb 06, 2020

    I'm leasing a 2020 LT, 1.5 T, after 3 months I'm getting use to the start/stop technology ( which can be by passed) and liking all the other safety add-ons, it runs and drives great with no issues, I blacked out both the front/rear Chevy bow ties along with the wheel cover bow ties and added a black hood bug deflector, my next step is going to add a black grill with fake RS badging if I can order them, why you may ask, because I don't like being like "the other Equinoxes waiting outside your kid’s school at 4 p.m." ;-)

  • ToolGuy First picture: I realize that opinions vary on the height of modern trucks, but that entry door on the building is 80 inches tall and hits just below the headlights. Does anyone really believe this is reasonable?Second picture: I do not believe that is a good parking spot to be able to access the bed storage. More specifically, how do you plan to unload topsoil with the truck parked like that? Maybe you kids are taller than me.
  • ToolGuy The other day I attempted to check the engine oil in one of my old embarrassing vehicles and I guess the red shop towel I used wasn't genuine Snap-on (lots of counterfeits floating around) plus my driveway isn't completely level and long story short, the engine seized 3 minutes later.No more used cars for me, and nothing but dealer service from here on in (the journalists were right).
  • Doughboy Wow, Merc knocks it out of the park with their naming convention… again. /s
  • Doughboy I’ve seen car bras before, but never car beards. ZZ Top would be proud.
  • Bkojote Allright, actual person who knows trucks here, the article gets it a bit wrong.First off, the Maverick is not at all comparable to a Tacoma just because they're both Hybrids. Or lemme be blunt, the butch-est non-hybrid Maverick Tremor is suitable for 2/10 difficulty trails, a Trailhunter is for about 5/10 or maybe 6/10, just about the upper end of any stock vehicle you're buying from the factory. Aside from a Sasquatch Bronco or Rubicon Jeep Wrangler you're looking at something you're towing back if you want more capability (or perhaps something you /wish/ you were towing back.)Now, where the real world difference should play out is on the trail, where a lot of low speed crawling usually saps efficiency, especially when loaded to the gills. Real world MPG from a 4Runner is about 12-13mpg, So if this loaded-with-overlander-catalog Trailhunter is still pulling in the 20's - or even 18-19, that's a massive improvement.