Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A silver 2024 Chevy Equinox is shown driving on a road from a 2024 Chevy Equinox vs 2024 Ford Escape competition.

Make the Most of Your Commute in the 2024 Chevy Equinox

Suppose you’re among the millions of Americans who slide behind the wheel every workday and travel double-digit miles to the office; in that case, it’s essential that your vehicle be both comfortable and economical. You need a vehicle that can compensate for your stressful commute with cozy accommodations, robust infotainment, and seamless connectivity—and you also need a ride that passes more gas stations than it patronizes.

Matchups like the 2024 Chevy Equinox vs 2024 Ford Escape highlight a growing category that favors commuters who want the comfort and efficiency of a sedan but with better second-row seating, more cargo space, and off-road capabilities. For those keen to tighten their purse strings, the 2024 Equinox has the lowest entry price, at just over $25k for the base trim; along with its fuel-sipping manners (with fuel economy ratings that top 31 MPG on the highway), Chevy tees up a commuter-friendly SUV with low ownership costs and does so without stripping the base model bare.

When it comes to commuting, two critical factors tend to take center stage: affordability and comfort. How can you decide which SUV works best for your lifestyle and budget? Looking at the base price is a great start, but you also want to consider what features will ease the everyday commuting doldrums. Upgrading to a higher trim could provide such niceties as a larger touchscreen and additional convenience features, like a hands-free power liftgate. In the competitive compact SUV category, the 2024 Equinox is a bright light for commuters on a budget.

Affordability and Fuel Efficiency

If your commute involves double- or even triple-digit daily mileage, your first concern is probably fuel economy. The 2024 Equinox shines at saving drivers on gas. With a standard 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and the Equinox’s tight dimensions, you’ll get 26 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway. Chevy outfits the Equinox with a 15.6-gallon fuel tank, extending your range and getting you to and from work with fewer stops.

The 2024 Ford Escape Active—this compact SUV’s base trim—achieves the very same fuel efficiency ratings (per the most recent EPA figures) but comes at a much higher starting price. How much higher? Nearly $3,000 more, which can add a substantial premium to your monthly payment. (Note that both the 2024 Equinox LS and the 2024 Escape Active offer front-wheel drive as standard and all-wheel drive as an option.)

Ford’s 1.5-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder delivers 180 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque, while Chevy’s 1.5-liter I-4 is nearly the same, achieving 175 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque. So, why spend an additional $3k for the Escape when that’ll get you the same fuel economy ratings and only a meager power bump?

Chevy’s four-trim 2024 Equinox lineup includes the LS, LT, RS, and Premier. All-wheel drive is available on all four trims, which might make sense for high-mileage drivers with concerns about inclement weather. Either way, the 2024 Equinox is arguably the best value in the category—and automotive journalists agree, citing this compact SUV’s affordability across its trim lineup, which is good news for buyers who might want to opt for a more expensive trim that offers supplementary features.

A red 2024 Ford Edge is shown parked near a Ford dealer.

Comfort and Convenience

Chevy earned the #1 spot on JD Power’s list of the highest-quality new vehicles in the compact SUV category—a distinction the competition can’t claim. This win comes in part because the Equinox lineup includes a well-equipped base trim and three others that increase the list of standard features while managing to remain affordable. You’ll find the essentials on the base 2024 Equinox LS, including a 60/40-split rear folding seat that allows drivers to configure the interior for oversized cargo; up to 63.9 cu.ft. of cargo volume is on offer with the Equinox, along with more hidden storage under the rear cargo floor.

Inside, the Equinox comes with a standard 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen. Opting for the LT or RS unlocks the option to upgrade to a larger 8.0-inch screen, which then comes standard on the top-of-the-line Premier. Equinox LT buyers who choose to upgrade to the larger touchscreen will also receive additional USB data ports, a 120-volt power outlet, and a heated steering wheel as part of the bundled Infotainment Package. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is included on all four trims, along with an available Wi-Fi hotspot that buyers can activate with a monthly subscription.

Moving up to the 2024 Equinox LT adds approximately $3k to the base price, which might be worth it for drivers seeking additional cabin comforts. The Equinox LT includes a power driver’s seat and Chevy’s Confidence & Convenience Package, which bundles standard dual-zone automatic climate control, driver and passenger heated seats, and a power programmable liftgate. This package includes additional driver assistance features and a remote engine start, which will come in handy on chilly mornings.

Safety and Driver Assistance

Both the 2024 Equinox and the 2024 Escape come standard with multiple driver assistance and convenience features. Chevy Safety Assist and Ford Co-Pilot360 each include a handful of systems that utilize onboard cameras, radar, and sensors to monitor the road surrounding your vehicle and alert you to potential hazards. On the highway, you can rely on these systems to monitor your vehicle’s blind spots and help you stay centered in your lane. Additional optional features on the Equinox include Adaptive Cruise Control, which automates the process of slowing down and speeding up to match current traffic conditions.

Ford also lists Adaptive Cruise Control as optional on the base Active trim. Both the Equinox and the Escape provide standard automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking (which works at low speeds to detect any walkers or bike riders that enter your lane of travel), and collision alert systems. Also standard is automatic high beams, a system that switches from low- to high-intensity illumination on its own, so you can keep your focus on the road when driving at night.

The 2024 Equinox earned the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s top rating—five stars overall—which is an achievement that will add peace of mind to your daily commute. Because both the Escape and the Equinox offer available all-wheel drive, buyers have the option to add it for more traction and easier ride handling when off-road or during snowy or stormy weather. Both models also come with LED headlights and a rearview camera to aid with backing out of parking spaces.

A red 2024 Chevy Equinox is shown parked near a city curb.

Commuter-Friendly, Wallet-Friendly, Not Hard to Find

New vehicle buyers with practical must-have lists are discovering that affordable SUVs are increasingly difficult to find. It seems most manufacturers are more focused on loading their base trims with advanced technology and bundled equipment that quickly adds dollars to the price tag. While a side-by-side comparison of the 2024 Chevy Equinox LS and the 2024 Ford Escape Active reveals that the latter includes a longer list of standard features, be prepared to pay around $3k more.

If you’d rather avoid paying for features you don’t need just to get essentially the same performance and fuel economy, consider the 2024 Equinox. The bottom line is that Chevy’s base-trim Equinox is substantially more affordable, and you’re not giving up anything in the critical must-have category. Should you decide to upgrade to the Equinox LT, you’ll unlock access to other equipment packages that can be added on as you see fit, as opposed to accepting a lot of high-priced equipment and features you may not want on the Escape.