Here at CarBuyerLabs, we review a lot of new vehicles. Our job is to sift through pages of technical specifications and third-party reviews to find the vehicles that have that little something extra, the right mix of qualities or characteristics that make it a winning choice. So, we compared the 2021 Chevy Equinox vs 2021 Nissan Rogue to discover which one had the goods.
If you’re seeking a compact crossover SUV with a full complement of desirable features, great safety ratings, and a price tag that won’t put you in the poor house, we have some great news. Between the Equinox and the Rogue, you have a couple of very worthy contenders, but as we dug a little deeper, it was clear which vehicle should earn a spot in your driveway.
In this category, it’s hard to differentiate. A lot of these vehicles offer similarly-equipped trims and an equivalent amount of interior space, making it tricky to choose. The good news is, you’re really choosing between shades of great because each of the vehicles in the compact crossover category offers something special.
Maybe your search is all about value, or you’re perhaps you’re seeking the latest technology. Whatever your criteria, it pays to dig deep and really compare each option, so you’re sure it delivers in the areas that are important to you. I think we all can agree that safety, value, and reliability are universally important, but we also know todays’ buyers want connectivity and fun extras.
Let’s look more closely at the Equinox and the Rogue. We’ll compare everything, from pricing to features, so you can see each vehicle’s strengths or uncover something that might not be quite right. Take a closer look at these two category leaders – you might be surprised at what you discover.
Price and Value
Buyers on the entry-level side of the category will be interested in starting MSRP as a baseline for determining value. The 2021 Chevy Equinox starts at a surprisingly affordable $23,800 for the base L trim, while the 2021 Nissan Rogue S base model comes in higher, at $25,750. That nearly $2,000 difference is enough to raise your monthly payments, so it’s something to consider if your biggest priority is affordability.
Both the Equinox and the Rogue are available with all-wheel drive, but it’s optional. If you want an all-wheel drive Equinox, you’ll have to move up to the LS trim, and when you do, the base price tag increases to $29,195. The 2021 Rogue S with Intelligent all-wheel drive added ups the price to $27,150. That’s a pretty big difference regardless of which vehicle you choose, so if you’re looking for the least expensive option, we recommend skipping all-wheel drive.
What about the other end of the trim range? We like to compare fully-loaded trims to see if there are value patterns throughout the lineup. On the Equinox, the top-of-the-line Premier trim with front-wheel drive starts at $31,400. The upper-level Rogue Platinum with front-wheel drive has a starting price of $35,530.
Overall, on a dollar-to-dollar comparison, you’ll drive home in an Equinox for less money than the cost of a Rogue, despite which trim you select. That’s helpful to know, especially when you’re on a set budget. If your heart is set on an all-wheel drive powertrain, the Rogue S all-wheel drive is the better bargain, but that shouldn’t be the only thing you judge your decision on.
Safety abounds in both of these leading models, thanks to a standard suite of driver-assist technology available across the entire trim range. The Equinox includes six standard driver-assist technologies, called Chevy Safety Assist, and the Rogue meets that number with its Safety Shield 360 suite of six similar features.
The individual technologies vary slightly but essentially are the same. They include automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and other features designed to keep the driver alert and contribute to a safer overall driving experience. Both automakers offer additional optional safety systems and equipment, but the Equinox has something the Rogue doesn’t: Teen Driver.
Chevy’s innovative Teen Driver feature is designed to monitor and regulate typical teen driving behaviors, like forgetting to buckle seat belts, a tendency to drive a little fast, and the distracting habit of playing music so loud that it disrupts concentration. The Teen Driver system allows parents to create controls and receive alerts to cut down on these behaviors and keep new drivers safe.
The in-vehicle buckle-to-drive feature will not allow drivers to take the vehicle out of park until it detects that occupants have fastened their seat belt. In addition, the radio will automatically mute, giving teens a little more incentive to stay safe and remember to buckle up. The system generates driving report cards that help parents understand their teen driver’s habits and provide a tool for learning and correction.
Infotainment and connectivity have moved from the nice-to-have column to the can’t-live-without column in recent model years. That’s because our smartphones go everywhere with us, and they contain our music, provide a gateway for communication with friends and loved ones, and even act as navigation devices. We no longer have the luxury of simply wanting to stay connected: our jobs, families, and lives depend on it. Automakers are answering the call by developing software and operating systems designed to merge the smartphone and the vehicle, turning our cars into mobile hotspots, and creating an access point to smartphone data from intelligently designed infotainment touchscreens.
The Equinox offers a standard 7-inch touchscreen on entry models and an upgraded 8-inch option on higher-end trims, while the Rogue makes an 8-inch screen standard. An even larger 9-inch touchscreen is available on the upper-level SL and Platinum trims. We also have to give props to the Rogue for its available 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 10.8-inch Head-Up Display. Both vehicles come with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and offer optional wireless charging and an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot. One footnote: infotainment touchscreens are only as great as the systems that operate them. Chevy gets extra props for its MyLink interface.
Which One Will You Choose?
Comparisons are almost always revelatory, and this one is no different. Our net-net outcome paints a straightforward picture of value across the trim range of both these popular crossovers, but if you’re after the lowest-priced vehicle, head to your Chevy dealer and test drive an Equinox. It’s the most affordable option. If it’s all-wheel drive you’re after, the lowest priced all-wheel drive-equipped vehicle is the Nissan Rogue S.
As for safety, we’ll call it a draw unless you have teenagers. If you do, you’ll want to take a much closer look at the Equinox. The available Teen Driver technology is an invaluable tool designed to keep young, inexperienced drivers safe and allow well-meaning parents to monitor their driving behavior from afar. The report card feature is especially notable because it offers a data-driven overview of what happens when your teen takes the wheel.
If you want the biggest infotainment touchscreen possible, we’ll steer you (no pun intended!) toward the upper-end Rogue trims. Just be aware that pricing starts to creep into the mid-$30,000 range, so be prepared to pay more. As far as operating systems go, Chevy’s connectivity and software interface is lightning-fast and designed for ease of use. Sure, you’ll sacrifice an inch of touchscreen square footage, but the difference is pretty negligible.
Bottom line: these two vehicles, the 2021 Chevy Equinox and the 2021 Nissan Rogue, are solid contenders in a category rife with great options. Our suggestion is to determine what matters most to you, then use our guide to select the vehicle that best matches your wishlist. The best news of all is that you can’t go wrong with either one.