A dark blue 2020 Chevy Equinox is driving on a snowy road.

The 2020 Chevy Equinox is Fast

When looking for a compact SUV, you might notice that there are a lot of options. So many, in fact that it can be hard to narrow down your search. Knowing which compact SUVs to target can be difficult, which is why it is important to look at what each SUV offers. For instance, take the 2020 Chevy Equinox. This SUV stands out in a crowded segment by offering the most powerful engine in its class.

So, if you are looking for an SUV that offers more power and capability than its rivals, the Equinox is a great option. While compact SUVs do not offer the same utility as midsize SUVs, the Equinox, with its optional engine, can tow up to 3,500 pounds. This is important because you do not generally find this kind of performance in this class, with many compact SUVs going the route of small cars, and not offering a second, more powerful engine option.

Engine Options

A silver 2020 Chevy Equinox Redline Edition is parked in a warehouse.

With two engine options for the Equinox, you can choose between an efficient and capable base engine or a larger and more powerful top engine. Both engines offer a good combination of power and efficiency, and both engines are paired with good transmissions. If you are looking for a compact with the power of a midsize, the more powerful engine is a great option that will even allow you to tow an impressive 3,500 pounds. This means you will not have to spend the extra money on upgrading to a larger SUV if you need your SUV to tow. The base engine also offers a good deal of power and can tow up to 1,500 pounds, which is more of what you would expect from an SUV in the compact segment.

The base engine is a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4 with 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. This combination returns 26 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. With this powertrain, you can expect good passing and merging power as well as impressive fuel efficiency. If you are looking for a solid base engine, the Equinox is a great option for your family. The 203 lb-ft of torque in this engine is better than most of its competitors, and 170 horses are plenty to get this SUV moving.

But the top engine offered by Chevy is a rather special option for the class, and you won’t find many engines this powerful in the compact segment. This optional engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 with 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. And while the 2.0-liter engine is more powerful than most of its rivals, it also features excellent fuel efficiency with a rating of 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. With this much power, you will have the added utility of towing like a midsize SUV and lots of acceleration.

In another upgrade, the top engine is paired with a sophisticated nine-speed automatic transmission, making for a smooth and engaging powertrain. But both the 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter engines feature an automatic start/stop system that keeps the engine from idling when the Equinox is stopped to save fuel. All-wheel drive is also optional on every model except the base model if you happen to live in an area that sees frequent snow or ice.

The Equinox Can Move

With the top engine, the 2020 Chevy Equinox can go from 0 to 60 mph in less than 7 seconds, which is quicker than almost all other models in the compact crossover segment. You do not expect this kind of performance for what is traditionally seen as a family-oriented vehicle. But that is good news for you because now there is an option in this class that is both capable and powerful. When looking at other models in the class, you usually only have one engine option, and it is generally not a powerful engine.

While modern sports cars are now much faster than past iterations, it’s useful to put the Equinox’s 0-60 time in perspective. The 2010 Chevy Camaro V6, for example, has a 0-60 time of around 6 seconds, while the 1999 Chevy Camaro V6 has a 0-60 time in the 7-second range. So the 2020 Chevy Equinox falls somewhere between the two Camaros. While a modern Camaro would certainly do better, it is still impressive that the Equinox can put down sports car numbers.

A teenager is shown from the passenger seat driving a 2020 Chevy Equinox.

Is It Safe?

With all of that power, it’s a fair question to ask. You certainly want to feel good about the younger drivers in your family getting behind the wheel with best-in-class horsepower. So what does the Equinox offer in the way of safety features? Luckily, every 2020 Chevy Equinox comes with the driver confidence package. This is a great package that includes many advanced safety features.

Clearly, the 2020 Chevy Equinox is built for families, because it is loaded with the safety features every family should have when they get on the road. The driver confidence package includes many safety features like forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking. This system scans the road ahead and warns the driver if there is a chance of a collision with a vehicle or pedestrian.

Also included are lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist. These both use a camera to watch the road markings to make sure you do not drift out of your lane. If you start to drift, an alert sounds, and the system will even help steer you back into your lane if you do not make the required correction fast enough.

Another great standard safety feature included in the 2020 Chevy Equinox is Teen Driver. If you are a parent of a young driver, you will certainly appreciate this feature. With Teen Driver, you can prevent the disabling of active safety features and even set a maximum top speed.

Finally, the 2020 Chevy Equinox includes lane change alert with side blind zone alert, a following distance indicator (standard on all models), and HD surround vision. Surround vision gives you a 360-degree view of what is around the Equinox, while the following distance indicator can tell you how close you are to the vehicle ahead so that you can follow at a safe distance. This is a great feature for making you aware of when you are following too close.

Compact Power

If you are looking at the compact crossover segment and find it to be a little boring or sedan-ish, the 2020 Chevy Equinox is a nice option. With more power than the competition or even an older Chevy Camaro, you will definitely enjoy driving this compact SUV more than you would expect from what has become an uninteresting class of vehicles. The many standard safety features are nice too.

With an impressive towing capacity and a powerful engine, the 2020 Chevy Equinox stands out in a crowded class of popular SUVs. Offering nearly the utility and capability of some midsize SUVs, the Equinox proves itself where other vehicles in its class take the easy route. They might as well be sedans when it comes down to it because they do not offer the utility that the Chevy Equinox brings to the road. Plus, it’s faster than a Camaro, and it really doesn’t matter which one.