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Chevy Equinox vs Honda CR-V

1. Introduction

Overall, the 2018 Chevy Equinox is a vehicle that presents well and offers a great deal to the consumer in terms of features, comfort, and safety. However, while the new Equinox is an excellent vehicle, the CR-V is equally as impressive. Today only a thorough and detailed comparison can truly help one decide between the two. (Abualqumboz et al., 2022)

Step into the Equinox and you will find yourself in a more refined interior than ever before. High quality materials are abundant and the cabin is very comfortable and quiet. The dash is driver oriented, and the center stack is clean and laid out intuitively. Infotainment systems are modern and bright, and upper trim levels come with an 8 point speaker system by Bose. An additional positive for the Equinox is the implementation of 4G LTE WiFi. All models come standard with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, and LT and above trims come with a rear backup camera. This Equinox Premier comes loaded with additional features such as lane keep assist, low speed forward automatic braking, front pedestrian braking, and a 360 degree view camera. These advanced safety technologies combined with a solid overall design and great features make the new Equinox a very desirable vehicle.

In terms of aesthetic, the Equinox is heavily based off the design of its larger sibling, the Chevy Traverse. The new Equinox sheds its former image of a two box SUV for a sleeker and more modern crossover appearance. From the front, this Chevy bears a resemblance to the Mazda CX-5. The profile features a sculpted and somewhat sporty appearance, and the rear is highlighted by wraparound tail lights and dual exhaust tips. The overall appearance of the Equinox is less truck like than previous years, and the vehicle is all the better for it. The quality and execution of exterior design has come a long way from the first generation Equinox.

The Chevy Equinox has undergone a massive transformation for the 2018 model year. This new design is quieter, lighter in weight, and more compact than that of its predecessor. The base L model starts at $23,580 and can range all the way up to $34,435 for the Premier model which we are evaluating. Gone is the old 3.6L V6 engine which was optional in previous years. All 2018 Equinox models now come equipped with a fuel efficient 1.5L or 2.0L turbo engine, or a 1.6L turbo diesel engine. These new powertrains achieve much better fuel economy than previous years, with the 1.5L and 2.0L averaging 28 and 26 miles per gallon. The diesel engine takes efficiency a step further with a notable average of 32 miles per gallon. One negative for the Equinox is the absence of a spare tire on base L and LS models which instead come equipped with a tire inflation kit. A spare tire is only available on LT and Premier models.

With the 2018 model year well under way, the competition in the small SUV segment is stronger than ever. Popular vehicles in this category are offering consumers a myriad of options with regards to luxurious amenities, advanced safety technologies, and fuel efficient powertrains. At first glance, the 2018 Chevy Equinox and the Honda CR-V are two vehicles that seemingly offer the whole package. Priced as tested at $36,155, the top of the line Equinox Premier provides consumers with a 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder engine, all wheel drive, and an impressive list of standard features. Similarly, the CR-V Touring boasts a 1.5L turbo 4-cylinder, all wheel drive, and a generous amount of standard equipment. With these two vehicles being so evenly matched in price and specifications, a comprehensive comparison is imperative. Throughout this review we will evaluate all aspects of both the Equinox and the CR-V, and ultimately determine which vehicle is more deserving of your hard earned dollars.

1.1. Overview of Chevy Equinox

The RS is a newer trim that was introduced in 2022 that an individual can purchase for a sportier look, with a more blacked-out style both inside and out and an AWD 2.0L engine. Later edit: an RS model was also available from 2018-2021 that isn't turbocharged but had a distinct visual appearance. All in all, the Equinox's ups and downs more or less cancel each other out for a decent overall rating; there's potential for improvement next model. (Ho-Nguyen-Tan & Kim, 2022)

During test drives, customers have noted that the vehicle doesn't drive quite as smooth or quiet as some would expect, but it controls well and is ultimately a comfortable enough ride. Safety features include but are not limited to rear park assist, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert and braking, and an intuitive high-definition rear vision camera at different trim levels to promote one's peace of mind and ultimately that pricey insurance.

The Equinox is a two-row, compact SUV available in four trims: LS, LT, Premier, and RS, with FWD and AWD options available. The available six-speed automatic and sluggish 1.5L engine aren't going to turn many heads, but this may not be unappealing for someone only concerned with casual city driving. The decision not to use more powerful options ends up hurting the vehicle's overall value, however. With a decent fuel tank capacity, 28 city and 29 highway MPG, and an 800-1500 lb towing capacity across the board, it's not the most efficient but also not the least.

If there's one thing to take away from the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox, it's that it's a bit of an enigma. It blends a little bit of everything from its competitors and yet fails to really separate itself in any meaningful way. It's too middle of the road to inspire serious vitriol or admiration for its design as it offers style and comfort inside, a competent powertrain, good legroom, and competitive cargo space at a decent value. It's also not the most reliable or efficient vehicle in its segment, making it a bit of a gamble. A one-year limited warranty is offered to buoy potential buyers' confidence in product quality and offset some of the vehicle's deficiencies.

1.2. Overview of Honda CR-V

In late September 2009, for the 2010 model year, the CR-V received a mid-model enhancement which included a better-rated 180 horsepower engine, an improved front fascia to distinguish it from the previous year model, 2 inches (51 mm) of additional length, and a 2 inches (51 mm) shorter height, an improved interior, and an improved (over previous years) rear arm suspension. This better-rated engine, which is shared with the Honda Element and the Honda Accord, supports the company to move ahead with plans to cease production of the Element by the spring of 2011.

In January 2007, Honda introduced a once more redesigned CR-V as a concept car based on the styling of the miniature SUV on the Detroit North American International Auto Show. The recent CR-V uses the Honda Civic platform. Though the voluminous cargo space is slightly smaller than the first generation, the latest CR-V is more powerful and generally costs less than the previous generation, but still features the symmetrical Real Time AWD layout and comes with an automatic transmission, the only SUV in its class to do so. The 2007 CR-V differentiated itself from the compact SUV segment with features such as a hidden retractable table in the rear cargo area. A double wishbone suspension provides better handling and compliance at the expense of long-term durability and off-road capabilities. The 2007 CR-V also uses an all-new K-series I4 engine that will be shared with the just released and larger 2008 Honda Accord.

2. Performance

The Equinox comes with a pair of turbocharged four-cylinder engines, which are somewhat similar to the CR-V, but it also comes with diesel and turbocharged four-cylinder engine options. The standard 1.5-liter turbo-four, matched with a six-speed automatic transmission, comes with a choice of either front or all-wheel drive and produces 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque. The engine has an average fuel efficiency ranging from 26 to 32 mpg. The most frugal engine in the lineup is the 1.6-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder, rated at 137 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. It is mated to a six-speed automatic and offers a choice of front or all-wheel drive, achieving an impressive 28 to 39 mpg. This is the epitome of renowned Chevrolet Equinox performance and efficiency. The third engine, however, is brand-new for 2018 and equips the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and a nine-speed automatic transmission, which produces 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. It offers a choice of either front or all-wheel drive. It is the fastest engine available, with an average fuel efficiency of 22 to 29 mpg, but it is still beaten by the Honda CR-V. Most importantly, while delivering greater power, it also delivers greater engine noise.

The Honda CR-V comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which is impressively fuel-efficient, achieving an average of 28 to 34 mpg. It also has the technology to lift the vehicle from rest. The two-wheel-drive models have a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder rated at 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque. Two-wheel drive is standard, along with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The manual transmission, which was available in the past, is now discontinued. The all-wheel drive CR-Vs have an on-demand setup that directs power to the rear wheels when front traction is lost. The 1.5-liter turbocharged engine is a little more powerful, with 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid version gets even better fuel efficiency, despite being heavier, offering only 212 hp and all-wheel drive. It may not satisfy rev-heads, but it returns an impressive fuel efficiency figure of 35 to 40 mpg. This maneuver is an obvious stand between the two and is similar in notion to the saying "there are some things that money can't buy".

2.1. Engine Power and Efficiency

There appears to be a variant of the 3.0L HFV6 LF1 engine for the Chevrolet Equinox. Although it was assumed that the LFW 264 horsepower and LF1 were the same engines due to power output and the LFW being commonly seen to be a mistaken code for the LF1. There are also engine codes LFW and LF1 found codes for the Chevrolet Captiva which is a badge-engineered Holden Captiva variant for the Mexican and US markets. The Chevrolet webpage for the 2012 Equinox no longer details the LFW engine and has 182 HP Ecotec as the engine option for the LT1 model, thus it remains unclear whether the LFW has been dropped from the Equinox lineup. However, no LFW or LF1 HFV6 engine codes are mentioned on the Chevrolet webpage. The HFV6 engine is not very relevant or widely used for most Honda CR-V comparisons and most CR-Vs will be compared to the 4-cylinder only Chev Equinox so as to not over-complicate the comparison this data will not be included.

The only other engine available for the CR-V is the K24 which is available for the US market 2007-2009 CR-Vs and produces 180 horsepower and 161 lb-ft of torque. However, the data for this K24 is included in the article section on the "vehicles with this engine" for all Honda vehicles. This is due to the fact that the K24 is a popular platform for performance modification in the Honda community and the article section was created to detail and will outline all Kraftwerks supercharger kits available. These kits deliver a 50% increase in horsepower and torque whose data will need to be included with the original K24 engine as it is important that readers are aware of how this power was achieved. This engine is also compliant with CARB E.O D-516-11, D-516-12, and is said to have no effect on the CR-V's fuel efficiency and emissions.

The Chevy Equinox base LS model includes the Ecotec 2.4L direct-injected 4-cylinder engine and standard FWD, and an estimated, segment-best 30 mpg highway. This engine produces 182 horsepower and 172 lb.-ft. of torque, while variants of the 2.4-liter Ecotec engine in other markets such as the Holden Captiva have similar power output figures, but employing Holden's HVTC (High-tech Variable Transmission Control) System which has been said to adjustable inlet and exhaust valve timing over a broad range, to potentially improve fuel efficiency by up to 12.5 percent.

Greater CR-V models for overseas markets such as Japan and Europe will now have the All New Honda CR-V with an R20A under the bonnet. This is the same engine used in the Honda Accord 2.0 and it uses Honda's famed VTC (Variable Timing Control) System to produce better low-end torque and a smoother power delivery throughout the rev range. This engine is also designed with better fuel efficiency and lower emissions for these markets and may replace the K series engine which the CR-V has used previously in the future.

Conclusively, a car-like crossover will always be better in terms of handling and efficiency, as both the Chevy and CR-V have a decent 4-cylinder engine for their class. The Honda CR-V comes standard with a 2.4-liter i-VTEC engine which produces 185 horsepower and 163 lb-ft of torque. This is mated to a 5-speed automatic on all models except the SE which comes with a Grade Logic 5-speed automatic. It is also available in both front-wheel drive and Real Time AWD. Real Time AWD CR-Vs come with a drive-by-wire throttle system for 2009 optimizing the response from the 2.4-liter engine for better fuel efficiency.

2.2. Handling and Driving Experience

Although the CR-V had a slight edge in pulling up steep hills, both vehicles were said to have better cornering and braking control in the all-wheel drive models. The Equinox's relatively shorter height also gives it slightly better roll control with minimal sacrifice in ride quality. This provides the Equinox with its own advantage in handling compared to other small SUVs, including the CR-V. (Nicoletti et al.2021)

Honda's all-wheel drive system has also been criticized when comparing it to GM's. GM has a more sophisticated setup, which can completely disconnect from the rear wheels when not needed for fuel saving. Honda's all-wheel drive system in the CR-V is said to work only when the front wheels start to slip and applies power to the rear wheels. This creates an impression that it is a front-wheel drive vehicle, and driving up steep driveways or in heavy rain/snow conditions may make the vehicle feel unstable.

When comparing the 1.5-turbo models of both the Equinox and the CR-V, reviewers reported the Equinox as being peppier and more responsive in terms of acceleration, despite the fact that the CR-V has better fuel economy. Both vehicles were said to have a quiet engine, but the CR-V was said to have a smoother start/stop system.

The Chevy Equinox has been praised for its superior ride comfort and quality, as well as its noise isolation. The CR-V has also been admired for a smoother and more compliant ride than other small SUVs, such as the Toyota RAV4 and the Ford Escape. However, the CR-V is said to be less impressive in terms of acceleration and handling.

2.3. Towing Capacity

The towing capacity for a car is yet another stat that some users just don't care about. However, if you've got anything to tow - a boat, jet skis, snowmobiles, motorcycles, or even are taking a U-Haul for moving - this is something you have to look closely at. The Equinox comes in on top with an available 3,500 lbs towing with the V6 model and a 1,500 lbs capacity with the 4-cylinder. The CR-V can only manage a 1,500 lb capacity with its 4-cylinder engine. What this means for you is that the Equinox will be able to tow just about anything you can throw at it, whereas the CR-V will be limited to lighter loads and could potentially damage the vehicle by towing something too heavy. Also, keep in mind that towing capacity usually affects the acceleration and handling of the vehicle when you've got a trailer hitched up, so if you plan to tow frequently and want to maintain that "Honda" feel of driving, perhaps the extra acceleration of the Equinox V6 is something to consider.

3. Features and Technology

Honda CR-V also has its share of introducing interior comforts, but the Chevy Equinox has just that little bit more to offer. Features such as a 12-way power adjustable driver seat with memory and a 4-way power adjustable passenger seat can be found in the highest touring model. Dual-zone automatic climate control is available in the EX model and above, and it provides a different temperature setting between the driver and front passenger.

When talking about interior comfort and convenience, the Chevy Equinox takes the lead in this. It has a lot of comfort features when compared to its rival in the market. Chevy Equinox offers a power driver seat with driver lumbar control, which can be adjusted to the comfort of the driver. Another feature would be the optional heated driver and front passenger seats and also optional dual-zone automatic climate control. The LS model introduces the compact spare wheel and tire and also the noise control system to ensure a quiet drive within the cabin.

Honda CR-V also packs in a lot of safety features such as lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, and forward collision warning. These features all come standard in the EX model and above, and the sensors are very sensitive.

Chevy Equinox has made sure that they keep you safe at all times and thus have integrated safety features into all its trims. These features include a rear vision camera, rear park assist, and rear cross-traffic alert. Moving on to the LT model, the extra driver confidence package is available. This package introduces the lane change alert with side blind zone alert. In addition to these features, the package also includes rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and outside heated mirrors.

Honda CR-V also has a 7-inch display audio touch screen to support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The EX model of the CR-V offers a volume knob that is replaced by the touch volume system in other trims, but that’s the only difference.

Chevrolet Equinox offers an amazing infotainment system that is available on all its trims except the base L model. The system functions with a seven-inch touch screen and also integrates Apple CarPlay, Android Auto. It also has an inbuilt 4G LTE Wi-Fi system to keep you connected at all times. Besides this, you can also find USB ports scattered all around the car to stay connected.

3.1. Infotainment System

The Chevy Equinox and Honda CR-V are both excellent cars with a few differences. The Chevy Equinox offers Chevrolet MyLink, an easy to use system that is very responsive and has an available 8-inch touch screen. This system also allows you to personalize its interface through setting up a homepage based on your preference and has available phone integration that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Honda CR-V offers a 7-inch display audio touch screen which is more sizable than previous models, it is also responsive but isn't as user-friendly as the Chevrolet MyLink. The display audio touch screen provides a nice feature that allows the user to customize shortcuts or change the wallpaper on the screen. At the higher end available models, the Honda CR-V has built-in Garmin satellite navigation. Overall, the Chevrolet MyLink provides an easier to use system that includes smartphone integration at a lower cost compared to the complex system offered by Honda.

3.2. Safety Features

This system takes away the human error in responding to a potential crash in situations where a frontal crash is imminent and brake application is insufficient - common situations in rush hour city traffic or inattentiveness. With a Superior rating, this can equate to up to 20% off the collision portion of insurance rates and with the vehicle involved in traditionally expensive body repairs. Given sufficient time, this will arguably save the consumer $1200-$1600. For more concerning insurance rates, check out my article on Insurance Institute crash test ratings and the effect on collision insurance.

First, we need to clarify that the Equinox features above are all optional on the Honda CR-V, but with the exception of the lane departure warning, Honda also goes one step further with the Honda Sensing safety package to offer adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and road departure mitigation. This lane departure system is more advanced and Lane Keep Assist will provide steering torque and guide the vehicle back to the lane if it begins to stray. The Honda CR-V is the only category IIHS-front crash prevention rated vehicle in this comparison and actually the only category IIHS-front crash prevention rated vehicle in the entire small SUV class.

Using features one would expect in appliances, the Chevrolet Equinox is understated, but efficient. It has done well in the crash tests and has good marks in the categories important to safety. Anti-lock brakes, side-curtain airbags, active head restraints, and stability control are standard on all models. Optional on most (and standard on the LTZ) is rear park assist, camera, and lane departure warning. Surprisingly, the Equinox does not offer blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, or parking assist; features that will likely come in handy to some folks looking into two-ton crossover vehicles, but this is up to the consumer to decide how necessary these features are in preventing accidents for them and saving on insurance.

3.3. Interior Comfort and Convenience

On the inside, the Equinox is decorated with an eye for both convenience and comfort. The center console has been redesigned to slide back 8 inches, providing drivers with easy access to an assortment of items. In the rear of the vehicle, the Multi-Flex seat has been installed; it is able to move backwards or forwards as much as 8 inches, providing passengers with the opportunity to increase either the legroom or the rear storage space. The tilt feature has made a return, allowing the rear seat to be tipped further back in the event that a rear passenger finds themselves inclined to take a nap. This tip feature works quite well; the seat leans back to a point that may indeed make a passenger fall into a slumber, ideal for long car trips. And after a long car trip, everyone wants to stretch their legs a little. Equinox now has heated rear seats, making it much easier for a passenger to do so on a cold wintery day. The CR-V also has a tilt feature on the rear seating, allowing passengers to adjust their seat for optimal comfort. The rear seating area of the CR-V seems quite spacious, and the rear seats are able to recline, but it lacked features that set it apart from any other vehicle. In comparison to the Equinox, the CR-V did not have as many convenience features but for the most part met the standards of a compact SUV in today's market. Both are quiet and comfortable to drive and have rear AC vents to keep passengers cool during the summer months. The Equinox, however, takes the slight edge.

4. Price and Value

Both the Equinox and CR-V can be had for a pretty reasonable sum. The base two-wheel drive Equinox LS starts at $22,995, while the base two-wheel drive CR-V LX comes in at $21,545. That's only a $1450 difference, however the next level up from the CR-V LX, the CR-V SE starts at $23,295, while the next step up for the Equinox is the 1LT starting at $23,185 or the 2LT at $24,135. Fully loaded, an Equinox can top out at $31,785 for a top-level all-wheel drive LTZ, while a top-level 4WD CR-V EX-L is $30,895. Overall, these two vehicles are pretty close in terms of pricing. Coming into play, however, is the type of deal you can snag. With a shaky economy, GM is more than likely to offer more cash back and zero percent financing deals as well as having cheaper parts to replace or maintain, so the Equinox might be a better value in the long run if you can obtain a good deal. In terms of all-out resale value, historically, any Honda vehicle holds value over time better than any GM vehicle and the CR-V will more than likely follow that trend. Chevrolet vehicles are infamous for taking pretty big depreciation hits over a short period of time and the Equinox is still relatively unproven in the market. Overall, when it comes to which vehicle will cost less to own, the CR-V takes it in both the short and long run due to small cost-saving measures and overall higher resale value.

4.1. Pricing Comparison

The Chevy Equinox equipped with a V6 engine and all-wheel drive starts at $28,215. The top-of-the-line LTZ trim starts at $30,515. The Honda CR-V is on average $1000 cheaper for each trim level. A CR-V with leather and navigation is similarly priced to an Equinox with cloth and no option for navigation. Visit TrueDelta's car price comparison. Over the short-term ownership period the Honda CR-V is cheaper to own. In 3 years it will cost $1100 less and in 5 years the difference is $650. Ownership costs for the CR-V are lower than average while costs for the Equinox are higher than average. Keep in mind that the Honda CR-V has been rated as having the best resale value in its class, which will result in it being even cheaper in the long run. The Chevy Equinox is expected to retain an average resale value which is better than its previous generations, but still not as good as the CR-V. An estimation of the exact 3-5 year depreciation cost for each trim level comparative to the CR-V can be found in our depreciation analysis. In any case the Honda CR-V beats the Chevy Equinox on value by a significant margin.

4.2. Resale Value

Although resale value is not something you can put your finger on or touch, it is an important part of the purchase process. It can be defined as the amount of money you would get when you sell the car to someone else. For example, a car with a five-year resale value of $20,000 which was bought new for $25,000 would have depreciated at an estimated rate of only $1,000 per year. This is considered to be a good value. According to IntelliChoice, the Chevrolet Equinox holds its value better than the Honda CR-V. After 5 years the Equinox is estimated to be worth $16,203 and the CR-V $16,175. This is all dependent on the condition of the vehicle and Chevrolet offers the industry's best coverage, the 3-year/36,000 mile Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty, with no deductible, and the 5-year/100,000 mile Powertrain Warranty, which is fully transferable. So if anything should go wrong, the coverage is still available for the new owner. This is a great advantage and something to consider because if an Equinox and a CR-V were in the same condition after 5 years, the Equinox would get 100% of its potential resale value if anything had been fixed under warranty. Like depreciation, residual values can also be compared. These are the same as resale values and are usually how depreciation is calculated. Honda claims that "the CR-V will retain more of its original value than any other vehicle in its class" but residual values specified by Honda are not near as high as the values specified for the Equinox. The average residual value after 24 months for a CR-V is 52% and only 46% for a 2006 model based on data from Edmunds.com. GM is continuously working to improve the value and quality of its vehicles and evidence of this can be seen as residual values for Chevrolet vehicles have actually risen in 2006. Even in comparison to Toyota and their luxury line Lexus, Toyota at 46.4% and Lexus at 51.5% do not come close to the residual values for Chevrolet at 47.8% and Cadillac at 49.3% according to a news release from GM. It can be said that vehicles can retain their value when consumers know that they are better quality and a certain percentage increase of residual values would be expected after a rise in new vehicle prices. This indicates a step forward for GM and Chevrolet.


Abualqumboz, M. S., Martin, R. S., & Thomas, J. (2022). On-road tailpipe characterization of exhaust ammonia emissions from in-use light-duty gasoline motor vehicles. Atmospheric Pollution Research. sciencedirect.com

Ho-Nguyen-Tan, T. & Kim, H. G. (2022). Level set-based topology optimization for compliance and stress minimization of shell structures using trimmed quadrilateral shell meshes. Computers & Structures. researchgate.net

Nicoletti, L., Romano, A., König, A., Köhler, P., Heinrich, M., & Lienkamp, M. (2021). An estimation of the lightweight potential of battery electric vehicles. Energies, 14(15), 4655. mdpi.com

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