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Mainstreaming EVs One Compact SUV at a Time: 2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV Review

The Equinox EV works hard to feel as normal a compact SUV as possible. That makes it comfortable, but — in some ways — less attractive than other EVs.
2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV(Photo/Robin Warner)
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Cruising down a riverfront boulevard east of Detroit, I set one-pedal drive to high and lift my right foot. Suddenly, my head flings forward and the Equinox quickly rolls to a stop about 100 feet ahead of the stoplight I intended to reach.

At what feels like more than 0.4G of deceleration, Chevrolet manages to extract energy from movement and recharge the battery more aggressively than any battery electric vehicle I’ve tested in a while — maybe ever.

Meet the Blazer EV’s little brother, the 2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV. Available with both front- and all-wheel-drive powertrains, this two-row, compact crossover SUV hopes to attract more mainstream shoppers away from internal combustion propulsion.

Single motor, front-wheel drive versions offer 319 miles of range from its 85kWh battery pack. It provides information to its driver via an 11-inch digital instrument cluster and entertainment from a massive 17.7-inch center display.

No need to tread far from where the Chevrolet folks developed this new economical EV SUV. I eagerly headed to Detroit to traverse Michigan’s highways and boulevards to see how the bowtie brand envisions mainstream electric motoring.

In short: In front-wheel-drive guise, Chevrolet built a practical, but also no-frills mode of transportation. You get 213 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque to haul around the 85kWh Ultium platform, two-row machine. It’s enough, but only just. Going all-wheel-drive increases horsepower and torque considerably but adds to the cost and saps range. Regardless of powertrain, you get a spacious, comfortable, practical crossover SUV in a stylish enough package. And, the base price of just $43,295 before any federal or state incentives, makes it alluring for those looking to transition away from internal combustion without changing much else.

2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV

Specs

  • Vehicle 4-door, 5-seat, compact crossover SUV
  • Dimensions 190.6" L x 76.9" W x 64.8.7" H, 116.3" wheelbase
  • Cargo (seats up/down) 26.4/57.2 cu.-ft.
  • Powertrain FWD- single electric motor, AWD- 2 electric motors, one mounted on each axle
  • Power FWD- 213 hp/236 lb.-ft., AWD- 288 hp/333 lb.-ft.
  • Transmission/Driven wheels Single-speed drive down gears/front- or all-wheel-drive
  • Range FWD- 319 miles AWD- 285 miles
  • Peak charging 150 kW, 77 miles of range in 10 minutes

Pros

  • Spacious interior
  • Quiet, above average, well isolated cabin
  • Google built-in part of the massive center display
  • Competitively priced

Cons

  • No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
  • Merely adequate power for FWD
  • Rather weird paddle shifter to decelerate
  • Busy styling, especially in the rear
  • No frunk

2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV Review

2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV
(Photo/Robin Warner)

Don’t Confuse This With an Equinox

Yes, the two compact crossovers from Chevrolet share a name and a purpose, but little else. Chevrolet did not retrofit an Equinox platform to carry the Ultium battery. But, instead it used the Ultium platform to build an Equinox. After all, this Equinox EV spans more than 7 inches longer, nose to tail. It’s also wider and lower, and it rides on an 8.8-inch longer wheelbase than its internal combustion engine-powered (ICE) sibling.

Granted, the two share similar looks, but the Equinox EV stands out right away with a minimalist front grille and a large bumper in front. In back, you get a busy, angular rear end with a roof-mounted spoiler above a heavily raked rear windshield and an extended decklid just beneath it.

Furthermore, the Equinox EV benefits from a massive center display screen, more than 6 inches larger than its ICE counterpart.

2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV
(Photo/Robin Warner)

But, it suffers with less interior space, offering 57.2 cubic feet for cargo with the second row folded, versus the ICE Equinox’s 63.2. With both rows up, you get 26.4 cubic feet of space for stuff in the EV.

Whirring Along

Unlike the Blazer EV, one 85kWh battery pack covers the floor of the Equinox EV, regardless of powertrain choices. From there, you choose between a single motor drive unit to power the front wheels or two drive units, the second mounted in back, to power the rear axle and provide what Chevrolet calls “eAWD.”

Even though Chevrolet used a smaller, induction rear axle motor, adding it bumps power to a much healthier 288 horsepower and 333 pound-feet of torque. That compares nicely to the FWD’s 213 horsepower and 236 pound-feet, which needs a full, long, agonizing 8 seconds to reach 60 mph from rest. Going eAWD drops that figure to a clean and quick enough 6 seconds to 60.

2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV
No frunk on this EV; (photo/Robin Warner)

The contrast in power feels even more pronounced on the interstate. The front-wheel-drive Equinox EV strains to transition to the fast lane without a pep talk from your right foot first. Meanwhile, the eAWD willingly squirts up to speed with power in reserve. 

Don’t get me wrong; both powertrains respond to your input right away. It’s just that FWD responds — let’s say — quietly. Even if you stomp on the accelerator at a green light, the front wheels do not spin at all and only gently nudge your backside into the seat. It’s fine. But, as modern BEVs go, it’s slow.

2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV
(Photo/Robin Warner)

Refueling

The 400V system charges at rates up to 150 kW. Chevrolet says you’ll get an additional 77 miles of range for every 10 minutes on a fast charger. That’s well behind the Hyundai Ioniq 5 or Kia EV6, which can handle up to 250 kW, but is competitive otherwise.

If you instead plug into a Level 2 charger, expect to gain 36 miles of range for every hour connected. If the Equinox EV starts with a totally dead battery, it will need close to 9 hours before showing 100% battery again.

Inside

2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV
(Photo/Robin Warner)

Sticking with just two rows of seats, all passengers enjoy healthy amounts of leg, shoulder, and headroom. In my 2LT test car, rear occupants enjoyed two USB-C ports. If you get a 3LT or higher trim, second-row folks get heated seats, too.

In front, the seats provide plenty of space and reasonable comfort. Chevrolet does not offer much bolstering in the seats, but the driver benefits from adjustable lumbar support. The front seats do provide three levels of heat. And, the driver will keep hands warm on the heated steering wheel.

Though, depending on your passengers, you may need to barter over temperature on the single-zone climate control. Again, the 3LT offers two zones.

2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV
(Photo/Robin Warner)

Regardless of trim, the driver uses an 11-inch digital instrument cluster. That’s next to a 17.7-inch center display, which visually dominates the front row. And, with Google built-in, you gain access to Google Maps, Google Assistant, and Google Play, all welcome features in any modern car.

Moreover, scroll the screen to page two and you’ll see Spotify, Waze, and more. All of it standard. 

Unfortunately, Chevrolet does not offer much in the way of phone connectivity. No Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto, which is annoying, frankly. It’s Bluetooth or nothing. As a consolation prize, Chevrolet installed two more USB-C ports up front.  

Chevrolet excluded another piece, a start button. Just like a Polestar 2, the vehicle recognizes you and the key have arrived, and simply asks you to press the brake and everything comes alive. One benefit over the Polestar setup, the 17.7-inch screen includes a digital button to turn the vehicle off, if you wish, which I appreciate.

2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV
(Photo/Robin Warner)

Behind the Wheel

My time spent in the Equinox EV included Detroit’s city streets, a bit of suburbia, and quite a lot of freeway travel. Even at freeway speeds, Chevrolet isolated the cabin from road and wind noise better than I expected. This Detroit-based brand wants consumers to shop this EV against other mainstream compact SUVs, not just other BEVs. And in the cabin isolation department, it’s a frontrunner.

And the ride is perfectly pleasant as well. The Equinox EV soaks up bumps in the road with ease. Detroit offered plenty for me to test. On the other hand, when the going gets twisty, the Equinox feels a bit pudgy.

Roll on to the accelerator on a freeway on-ramp, and the front end washes away early as the whole body leans over. It’s perfectly stable, just not engaging. I know, I know, we’re talking compact SUVs here, but the Honda CR-V still ekes out driving enjoyment in similar situations.

My Test car did include the $2,700 Active Safety Package 3, which adds Super Cruise among other things. Manufacturers have made many driving aids ubiquitous these days, and enthusiasts like me often find them cumbersome. But, Super Cruise allows sustained hands-free driving, automatically changes lanes when it sees an opening, and generally handles interstate driving in a tolerable way.

It’s automated enough to lower freeway driving stress. And it’s fantastic that GM now offers it on multiple brands, including its least expensive EV SUV.

2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV
(Photo/Robin Warner)

Whoa! Slow Down

Over the years, I grew to love one battery electric feature: one-pedal driving. Time behind the wheel already taught your right foot to sensitively apply throttle to smoothly accelerate, now that same foot can also handle slowing the vehicle down. Brilliant! 

Chevrolet’s latest EVs do it better than just about everyone. If you turn on one-pedal-drive and set it to high, the Equinox EV will slow at what feels like nearly half a G, plenty of stopping power for everyday city driving without ever touching the brake pedal. If you prefer less, the normal setting still slows quickly enough for most city driving scenarios.

Prefer to coast? The third setting for one-pedal-driving is off, easy peasy. But, if you want to use it on occasion, Chevrolet offers one paddle on the left-hand side of the steering wheel that mimics the high setting, as long as you hold the paddle down. Personally, I find this odd and prefer using my feet, but for some, this is novel.

2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV Review: Summary

2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV
(Photo/Robin Warner)

Chevrolet offers two trims of Equinox EV: LT and RS. Generally, the RS trims look a bit sportier than the LTs and cost a bit more. But the two largely come similarly equipped. 

However, Chevrolet offers sub trims, of sorts. At the moment, if you go to Chevrolet.com, you choose between a 2LT, 2RS, 3LT, or 3RS. But later in the year, Chevrolet plans to add a fifth 1LT, which will include quite a bit less content and a much lower price.

And, all of the above come in both FWD and eAWD. Going eAWD adds $3,300 to the price.

The upcoming 1LT costs just $34,995, including a $1,395 destination charge. That’s impressively low, considering you still get federal and state incentives. Subtracting the federal credit gets you down to $27,495.

Alas, at the moment, the least costly Equinox EV is the 2LT. It runs $43,295, including destination, but before all the tax credits.

For the money, you get an Equinox. By that I mean, you get what feels very much like any other compact SUV, it just happens to run on batteries. If you feel a nudge to transition away from internal combustion power, but dislike change otherwise, the Equinox EV boldly shucks its EV-ness and makes the transition easy.

However, you also lose a bit of the EV quirky coolness that other makes deliver. Then again, quirkiness isn’t mainstream. And, Chevrolet hopes that the Equinox EV will be.

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Robin Warner

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