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A red 2023 Ford Escape ST is shown from the side while parked during a 2023 Ford Escape vs 2023 Chevy Equinox comparison.

Which Is More Practical: the 2023 Ford Escape or the 2023 Chevy Equinox?

There are certain vehicles on the market that are just generally understood to be practical choices. Those shopping for compact SUVs may express interest in the 2023 Ford Escape or the 2023 Chevy Equinox and be met with, “Those are both practical vehicles.” This is not a contest to determine whether these vehicles are practical; that is a foregone conclusion. Instead, let’s examine whether there are areas where one might find a little bit of a lead or advantage between the 2023 Ford Escape vs 2023 Chevy Equinox. After all, one does want to be cautious with an investment of this size and importance.

Of course, qualifying terms like “more” or “better” are subjective, and what one person craves might be a significant disqualifier for another. However, when comparing the 2023 Ford Escape and the 2023 Chevy Equinox in an apples-to-apples showdown, it’s clear that there are a few areas where one stands out just a little more in terms of functions and features drivers enjoy. Take a look at how these practical SUV models stack up in performance, technology, and overall practicality.

A Closer Look at Power and Performance

This feels like a somewhat unfair place to start a comparison, but facts are facts. So, the 2023 Ford Escape is more endearing to practical SUV drivers right away in this category, as it offers two potential gasoline engine options and two hybrid options to the 2023 Chevy Equinox’s single, solitary option. Every Equinox is equipped with a 175-hp 1.5L turbocharged DOHC 4-cylinder engine that provides an exceptional 203 lb-ft of torque. Admittedly, this isn’t a bad option if one has no choice in the matter.

That being said, the Escape’s base engine is a turbocharged 1.5-liter 3-cylinder that’s good for 180 hp. It doesn’t have as much torque at 199 lb-ft, but those who chose the turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder engine will have 250 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque at their disposal. Both the Escape Hybrid and Escape Plug-In Hybrid are powered by a 2.5L Atkinson-Cycle I-4.

Front-wheel drive is standard on all Chevy Equinox and all 1.5L engine-equipped Escape models. All-wheel drive can be optioned for any Equinox or Escape trim level, though Escape models equipped with the 2.0L engine will have standard all-wheel drive. Furthermore, the Escape is offered with AWD Disconnect, which automatically senses when extra torque is unnecessary and turns the system off. The result is less drain on fuel economy without impacting the car’s overall performance.

A blue 2023 Chevy Equinox Premier is shown from the side while parked.

Technology: From Super-Practical to Advanced Luxury

Technology is everywhere in the 2023 Ford Escape and the 2023 Chevrolet Equinox, from the cabin to the headlamps and beyond. The 2023 Escape is offered in a myriad of trims to allow drivers to select their ideal vehicle: Base, Active, ST-Line, ST-Line Select, ST-Line Elite, and Platinum. The three ST-Line trims are new for 2023 and include a sportier look both inside and out. The ST-Line Select and Elite models are also available with the conventional hybrid powertrain, in addition to a standalone plug-in hybrid model.

The 2023 Equinox is offered in LS, LT, RS, and Premier trims. Major differences include exterior styling, available options, and tech features. For example, choosing the LT trim unlocks the opportunity to add on the Confidence and Convenience Package, which includes dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, and a power programmable liftgate. With the exception of the heated seats, which are optional, these features are standard on Ford’s second-tier trim- the Active.

But what if we compare top trim to top trim? The Escape Platinum includes bonus driver assistance features, such as Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Lane Centering, and Speed Sign Recognition. Adaptive Cruise Control is optional on the Equinox Premier, and those other technologies aren’t offered. The Platinum is equipped with Ford’s SYNC 4 infotainment system, accessed through a 13.2 LCD touchscreen. The Premier is decked out with an 8-inch HD color touchscreen system.

The Practicality of the Escape and Equinox

For many drivers, it’s not about how state-of-the-art the radio is or how many different buttons you can push. It’s about whether it’s a good car in the long run. Both are equipped with an admirable amount of standard safety equipment. The Escape includes standard Ford Co-Pilot 360 Technology, which provides each model with Pre-Collision Assist, the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), a rearview camera, the Lane-Keeping System, and Auto High Beam Headlamps.

The Equinox includes the Chevy Safety Assist suite of technology, which includes Automatic Emergency Braking, a Following Distance Indicator, Front Pedestrian Braking, and Forward Collision Alert, as well as Intellibeam Auto High Beam Assist and Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning. Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert is available as an optional feature on all but the Premier trim, where it comes standard.

Fuel economy is another practical consideration for many drivers. Ford’s hybrid Escape offers the most impressive numbers here, but since Chevy doesn’t have a hybrid option, it’s unfair to mention that. However, the 2023 Escape’s 1.5L engine provides decent figures, with front-wheel drive models offering 27 MPG on the city streets and 34 MPG on the highway. Choosing the all-wheel drive option with this engine drops those numbers to 26 MPG in the city and 32 MPG on the highway.

The 2.0L 4-cylinder is a bigger engine with a lot more pep and is paired to a standard all-wheel drive. The drop in numbers isn’t too extreme, though, with a reported 23 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway. The real shock, however, is that the 2023 Chevy Equinox doesn’t rate as impressively on fuel economy as you might think. Despite its 1.3L engine providing a conservative amount of power, front-wheel drive models offer a fuel economy of 26 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway. All-wheel drive drops those numbers to 24 MPG and 30 MPG, respectively, lower than the extra peppy big engine on the Escape.

A brown 2023 Ford Escape is shown from the side.

Defining “Practical” in a High-Tech World

Most of the defining differences between the 2023 Ford Escape and the 2023 Chevy Equinox are technology based. But only some are the type of driver who desires specific equipment like a heated steering wheel or more buttons to push to turn things on and off. It’s perfectly ok to prefer a driver-friendly “analog” car over a tech-heavy command module that you find intimidating. Depending on which type of driver you identify with, getting the most cutting-edge technology might not be at the top of your list of priorities.

If you equate the term “practical” with “basic,” then the Equinox may be better suited to your driving needs. If, instead, you define “practical” features as “things I will use regularly and be grateful to have when I need them,” then it might be reasonable to focus a bit more energy on researching the Escape. The results of Ford’s mid-cycle refresh are evident in the 2023 Escape, and while the 2023 Equinox may be a practical and decent SUV, there are just a few areas in which it simply cannot compare to the new Escape.