|Max Towing (lbs)
|Rear Legroom (in)
The 2021 Chevy Equinox vs 2021 Nissan Rogue battle for the best overall compact crossover SUV rages on, in part because Chevy has put the focus on enhancing its broad lineup of SUVs with advanced safety and connectivity features today’s buyers demand. It’s long been thought that imports have the edge over domestic vehicles in those categories, but Chevy is proving otherwise. More than ever, these competing SUVs are striving to level the playing field, and the result is a big win for buyers. The compact crossover category enjoys about a 24% market share, which means close to one in every four vehicles sold are compact crossovers. It’s no wonder automakers are focusing heavily on product enhancements and improvements in this segment, and both Chevy and Nissan are no exception.
Buyers in this category typically look for value first, but they’re also pushing manufacturers to include as many standard luxury and advanced tech features as possible for the dollar spent. However, style is also very important. Buyers don't want a cookie-cutter design, and they don’t want boring. They’re looking to stand out, and they want the car they drive to reflect their unique personality.
Also, the utility is absolutely critical. Compact crossover drivers expect their car to support an equally active lifestyle and accompany them on adventures, like road trips and weekend getaways. Interior comfort and space play a huge role in their choice, as do features like all-wheel drive and traction control. Drivers are also expecting plenty of safety and driver assist features to keep them safe on their journeys.
With so many buyer demands, the competition has never been so fierce. How do these two popular models - the Equinox and the Rogue - stack up? Areas like safety, performance, and standard features matter to potential buyers, while more practical characteristics, like cargo capacity and interior space, are also important. Let's stack the 2021 Chevy Equinox against the 2021 Nissan Rogue and see which vehicle option is going to deliver the most value, comfort, and style that customers are looking for.
Value is such an important consideration for buyers in the compact crossover SUV category, and the 2021 Chevy Equinox shines. At a starting MSRP of just $23,800, the Equinox offers a nice contrast to the sticker shock buyers will feel after checking out the 2021 Nissan Rogue, which starts at $25,650. Price is critical in this segment because, although many buyers are looking to move up in size from the more affordable subcompact category, they may not have much room to stretch financially.
Sometimes, when choosing a base MSRP, the buyer has to live with a stripped-down version of a vehicle that looks nothing like the photos in the shiny brochure. Luckily for Equinox buyers, the value-priced end of the lineup - specifically the 2021 Equinox L - is loaded with comfort and convenience features, including a standard 7-inch infotainment touchscreen and a 3.5-inch diagonal driver information center.
The base Equinox also comes with a nice six-speaker audio system, it’s wired for an optional 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and the cabin is equipped with Active Noise Cancellation, which means a quieter ride. The base Rogue S, which is nearly $2,000 more, doesn’t offer an optional hotspot, and the base stereo comes with just four speakers. Drivers will notice a big difference in sound quality with two fewer speakers.
As always, you can upgrade everything as you move up in trims. Both the Equinox and the Rogue have available upgraded infotainment screens, cabin materials, and convenience features. However, with all those additions comes a higher cost, and the best value will still go to the vehicle that has more, to begin with: the 2021 Chevy Equinox.
Towing capacity is just one of many practical considerations buyers face when choosing an SUV. Planning to tow a trailer, a small RV, or a boat with your new SUV? Take note: the 2021 Chevy Equinox can tow up to 1,500 pounds, while the Rogue is only capable of pulling up to 1,350 pounds. With smaller towing capacity numbers, the extra 150 pounds that the Equinox can tow can make a lot of difference.
If you want to know the reason the 2021 Equinox can tow more than the 2021 Rogue, it all comes down to the engine. Surprisingly, the Nissan Rogue actually has a larger engine, but it is less effective. The Rogue comes with a 2.5L I-4 that can produce a respectable 181 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. On the other hand, the Equinox has a 1.5L turbocharged I-4 that produces 170 horsepower and an excellent 203 lb-ft of torque.
Compact SUVs are often family vehicles, which means interior cabin space is especially important. Nothing makes a commute seem longer than cramped seating. Luckily, the Equinox offers room to breathe and stretch out where it counts, with 39.9-inches of rear legroom versus the Rogue, which offers slightly less at 38.5-inches. That may seem like a small difference, but when you’re the one stuck in the back seat, you’ll be glad for the extra inch-plus of space.
The 2021 Chevy Equinox pushes the envelope of true luxury with the high-end Premier trim. Starting at a still affordable $31,400, the Equinox Premier delivers every imaginable creature comfort, including leather-appointed seats. The luxurious front seats are heated, and the driver seat has a memory feature. Add all-wheel drive, and the MSRP raises to $33,000. The similarly-equipped top-of-the-line 2021 Nissan Rogue Platinum kicks up the MSRP to $35,430. Add all-wheel drive, and the starting price goes up to $36,830.
At the mid-range, the Equinox delivers several special edition packages that transform it into a sportier version of itself. The Equinox Sport Edition includes a whole host of dramatic black exterior trim additions, including a black grille with black surround, black fog lamp surrounds, and front and rear Chevy bowtie emblems. The 19-inch glossy black aluminum wheels complete the look. Want an even more dramatic exterior look? Try the Equinox Midnight Edition, which takes the mid-range LT, includes all the Sport Edition trim, and adds special Mosaic Black Metallic exterior paint. The 2021 Rogue, while offered in four trims, doesn’t have special edition packages or exterior trim packages to spice up its style.
Overall, both the Equinox and the Rogue can be equipped with high-end luxury features, like a hands-free power tailgate, plush leather seating, and additional driver-assist features. At the end of the day, a fully-equipped Equinox with all-wheel drive is more affordable. Chevy even offers Equinox Premier buyers fun options like embroidered front row headrests and a special Redline Edition, which adds sporty red accents to the wheels and ‘Equinox’ badging.