The small SUV segment is probably the best one in the market because the size that is larger than a sedan but smaller than a full-size SUV is the perfect sweet spot for most families or single drivers. The combination of a manageable size and pleasing aesthetics makes small SUVs desirable for all. However, two of the top small SUVs, and the fiercest competition, are the 2021 Chevy Equinox vs 2021 Honda CR-V. Each round will cover a specific category so that you can see which vehicle is best. In the end, you should be able to make a more educated decision on which crossover is right for your daily driving needs. Let’s get started!
Round 1: Performance
The first thing you are probably wondering is how do these models stand up against one another in terms of power and performance. Since they are both compact crossovers, you can expect them to be peppy and get good gas mileage. Each of these models has a single engine offering that comes with it, but which one is better overall?
Starting with the 2021 Chevy Equinox, the standard engine is a turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder that pumps out 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque. This model comes with standard FWD (AWD is optional) and a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission. It has a stellar fuel economy set at 28 MPG combined (25 MPG city/30 MPG highway) with FWD.
Comparing this motor to the only available powertrain for the Honda CR-V, you might be inclined to favor the Honda. It uses a turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder as well. However, this one is partnered with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and your choice of FWD or AWD. Generating 190 hp and 179 lb-ft of torque, it gets approximately 30 MPG combined (28 MPG city/34 MPG highway) with FWD.
Both of these models do offer AWD that lowers the fuel economy on each by a small margin. You also get up to 1,500 pounds of towing capacity when either model is fully equipped. So, the decision between which engine is better is really up to preference.
The Verdict: While the 2021 Honda CR-V does have slightly better torque, the 2021 Chevy Equinox takes the top spot for torque. Also, the fuel economy on both of these engines is around the same. However, if we were to choose, we would lean towards the engine in the Equinox as having the slight edge over the CR-V.
Round 2: Safety Suites
Let’s discuss safety suites. Both the 2021 Chevy Equinox and the 2021 Honda CR-V come with standard packages that include numerous driving aids that help prevent accidents. On the Equinox, it is called the Chevy Safety Assist suite; for the CR-V, it is known as the Honda Sensing Suite. But what’s included in each one?
The Chevy Safety Assist suite includes Intellibeam Auto High Beam Assist, Forward Collision Alert with Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, and a Following Distance Indicator. Meanwhile, the Honda Sensing Suite comes with Auto High-Beam Headlights, a Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Departure Warning, a Lane Keeping Assist System, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow. Let’s take a closer look at the features.
Both models come with very similar safety systems, which is great as both vehicles will provide you with a safe driving experience. Both of the automatic high beams (Intellibeam on the Equinox and Auto High-Beam on the CR-V) will instantly toggle to low-beam projections if another vehicle is detected to be oncoming. You won’t have to worry about temporarily blinding another driver on the highway.
Next, we have the forward collision alert systems – the Forward Collision Alert with Automatic Emergency Braking and the Collision Mitigation Braking System. These are essentially the same feature with slightly different names. Using a front-facing camera and sensors, this system will determine if you may hit an obstacle up ahead. If you have the potential for a collision, then the system will notify you to take evasive action. If no input is given by you to avoid a collision, it will trigger the automatic emergency brake system. This will then bring the SUV to a halt before an incident occurs.
Then, both vehicles also come with a two-in-one system that includes lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, which are the Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning on the Equinox and the Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assist Systems on the CR-V. Using side-mounted sensors to monitor the lines on the road, the departure system will alert you if you begin to drift outside the designated lane. If you do not correct your path, the assist feature will gently guide you back to the center of the lane.
Finally, the Equinox comes with a Following Distance Indicator, and the CR-V comes with Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow. These are similar in that they both allow you to choose a following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, and the system will let you know if you are following too closely. The difference is that an adaptive cruise control system lets you choose a speed limit and will maintain that following distance for you. Even though the Chevy Safety Assist suite doesn’t come with adaptive cruise control as a standard, you can opt for it.
The Verdict: Both compact crossovers are equally matched in terms of standard safety packages. While Honda does include the flashier Adaptive Cruise Control, you can easily get the same feature added to the Equinox. Either way, both of these models will keep you safe and secure on the road.
Battle 3: Optional Safety Systems
If you want more safety features in your new SUV, then you can opt for stand-alone elements in either vehicle. However, the offerings are slightly different. Let’s see what each model has.
For the 2021 Chevy equinox, you can add Adaptive Cruise Control, a Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, a Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Park Assist, and HD Surround Vision. As for the 2021 Honda CR-V, you can add the Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Monitor and an Automatic-Dimming Rearview Mirror. You can already see that the Chevy has more options.
The Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert and the Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Monitor are essentially the same systems. Using side-mounted cameras and sensors, this system will let you know when another vehicle has entered your blind spot. This will notify you that it is unsafe to change lanes. The Lane Change Alert specifically will let you know whether or not it is safe to change lanes. It’s meant to bolster the side blind zone alert. The Rear Cross Traffic Alert on the Chevy Equinox will detect any moving obstacles that pass behind your vehicle while you are traveling in reverse. Finally, the HD Surround Vision provides you with a top-down view of your surroundings, and the Rear Park Assist makes backing into or out of a parking spot a breeze.
As for the CR-V, it can be fitted with an Automatic-Dimming Rearview Mirror. This tones down the glare from other vehicles’ headlights at night automatically. You won’t have to flip your rearview mirror up to avoid being blinded, and it is a surprisingly convenient feature to have.
The Verdict: The 2021 Chevy Equinox offers more stand-alone safety systems that you can add than the 2021 Honda CR-V. While both of these vehicles have some desirable features, we have to say that the Equinox just offers more.
The Final Verdict
There are many more areas that can be compared for the 2021 Chevy Equinox vs 2021 Honda CR-V. Overall – in terms of power, performance, and safety – the 2021 Chevy Equinox is the clear winner here. With a powerful engine option plus a well-rounded safety suite, the CR-V really can’t beat it. Plus, don’t forget about all of the stand-alone options that you add into the mix. At the end of the day, only you know which vehicle is best suited to your daily driving needs. However, we strongly recommend the Equinox over the CR-V. Get in touch with your local Chevrolet dealership to schedule a test drive today and see what makes the 2021 Chevy Equinox the better choice!