By on July 17, 2020

2018 Chevrolet Equinox - Image: GM

Sure, we joke about the Blazer and question the need for tweeners like the Trailblazer (while lamenting what both names have become), but there’s no denying that General Motors’ Chevrolet Equinox is a sales juggernaut, topping all other GM CUVs in sales by a mile. And there’s a lot of CUVs to top.

Customers seem to like what they see in the current-generation Equinox, though one option stands to disappear for 2021. We can now confirm a recent report that Chevy plans to drop the model’s optional turbocharged 2.0-liter engine.

The Equinox furnishes all of its trims with a standard 1.5-liter turbo four, good for 170 horsepower and 203 lb-ft of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic. It’s enough to get the compact crossover through its day just fine; truth be told, power isn’t something that’s all that important in this particular segment.

Available on all-wheel drive versions of the uplevel LT and top-flight Premier is the 2.0L four, capable of a healthy 252 hp and 260 lb-ft, paired with a nine-speed automatic. It’s a decent power boost, and it pushes the model’s towing capacity from 1,500 lbs to 3,500 lbs. However, GM Authority recently cited sources who claimed the 2.0L option will disappear come 2021 — the result of a low take rate of just 7 percent.

Seems not all that many people rank towing and needless expense very highly when shopping for a compact domestic CUV.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox red - Image: GM

When asked about the report, GM confirmed that the 2.0L bites the dust for the 2021 model year — but only for that year.

“Chevrolet’s 1.5L turbo engine is a popular choice for Equinox customers, making up 90 percent of sales volume,” said Rita Kass-Shamoun, assistant communications manager responsible for Chevrolet small- to mid-size SUVs. “Chevrolet will exclusively offer the 2021 Equinox with a 1.5L turbo engine.”

While the move leaves the Equinox without an uplevel engine with which to fight its main domestic rival, the Ford Escape (all-new for 2020, with a turbo 2.0L in top trim), the move heralds other changes coming to the model. The Equinox was originally expected to undergo a refresh for the 2021 model year, but the pandemic pushed these plans back to MY2022. That leaves 2021 as a gap year.

Amid the financial tumult of the pandemic, as well as GM’s preexisting cost-cutting efforts, reducing the Equinox’s build configurations would help the automaker ease itself through a troubled time.

A “new” 2.0L option will return when the 2022 model arrives in the third quarter of next year, GM said.

[Images: General Motors]

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19 Comments on “Power Loss on the Way for GM’s Best-selling CUV...”


  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Most of these are ordered for dealer stock…dealers order typically packages that sell. 90% of the Equinoxes I saw at the dealer were very similar, just different exterior colors.
    Now on the Blazer they had maybe 30% with the V6 but lots of other options too.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Yup. Domestic dealers have to build their own cars in the ordering system, so they only build and order what sells. So on a commodity vehicle like the Equinox, the dealers know which ones lease the best, and just order those. That’s why the “build & price” portion of the automaker’s websites are a bit misleading. Just because you can build it online doesn’t mean the dealers build it in real life.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        You can order it your way (like the old BK commericals) but I doubt anyone looking to buy this kind of vehicle does a custom order and then waits weeks (months?) for the factory to make it. While the bigger engine likely motivated it nicely the soccer moms buying these things just check number of cup holders and USB ports then sign on the dotted line after deciding which shade of grey they like. So more power = no takers.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    Makes sense if to provide more separation between the basic family car Equinox and the personal luxury car Blazer.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I have now seen more C8’s than Blazers. Maybe they just blend in and I don’t notice them but I have noticed one compared to three C8’s. I don’t know what the Blazer actually transacts at, but MSRP wise I thought they had given it some breathing room.

      • 0 avatar
        indi500fan

        In Feb they had screaming deals on the Blazer. I leased one for less per month than a similarly equipped Equinox. It wasn’t what I came to the dealer expecting to get, but I’m very pleased with it. The 2.5/9speed is a very nice powertrain.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Yawn, I remember when these use to come with a nice healthy V6. They were pretty good little crossovers. As usual GM makes choosing easier

  • avatar
    redapple

    Utter puke like garbage.

    Burn them.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Hard to understand what the big savings are. Perhaps they are in the process of upgrading the 2.0 motor.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      Probably just incremental savings in not having to transport those engines and keep them on hand until the line calls for them.

    • 0 avatar
      NTGD

      I’d Imagine the 2022 will have the newer LSY engine used in the Blazer, Acadia and most(all?) 2.0L Cadillacs. The models using the LTG are either being dropped, replaced or updated (Camaro, Equinox, Malibu, Envision, Regal & Terrain).

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      GM might be able to make more money putting the 2.0T and 9-speed on higher margin vehicles. The 6-speed auto’s tooling is paid for by now.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Those outlets that have reviewed the Equinox have almost always received 2.0T AWD Premiere models and generally cite the powertrain as one of the only things that there is to recommend in the vehicle.

    Pity…

  • avatar
    VWGolfGuy

    It seems like we are entering another malaise era.

  • avatar
    digitaldoc

    The Equinox had one interesting feature with the 2.0T engine. The geniuses at GM now are getting rid of it. Yet another dumb move by ‘The General.’

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