We love uncovering a hidden automotive gem, especially when it has managed to fly under the radar and avoid attracting mainstream attention. When we find one that isn’t getting the press it deserves, we get the privilege of revealing it to the public. Sure, it might bother the early adopters who had hoped to keep the good news all to themselves, but we think the 2021 Chevy Equinox Premier deserves the limelight.
At first glimpse, the 2021 Equinox is an attractive and generously sized compact SUV. With almost 64 cubic feet of cargo space and seating for five, it capably ticks all the utility boxes for small crossover buyers. With four trim levels – the base L, the LS, the LT, and the high-end Premier – there’s a properly equipped and affordably-priced Equinox for everyone.
We decided to take a deeper dive into the trim ranges and look for Easter eggs within each that truly delivered special features: equipment that significantly differentiated them from the pack. Chevy has historically offered clever trim-specific appearance packages to help buyers customize their vehicles, and as it turns out, the Equinox is no exception.
We break down the Equinox Premier here, including the Redline Edition and a few of the other equipment packages we’d add to further outfit it with all the goodies. If your crossover wish list includes upgraded features and luxury appointments, you’ll want to take a look for yourself. The Redline Edition takes sporty good looks to the next level, making it an indisputable contender in the fierce compact crossover battle.
Equinox Premier: Price and Features
The top-of-the-line Equinox trim doesn’t come with an equally high-end price tag, a fact that will pleasantly surprise luxury seeking shoppers. For a starting MSRP of $31,400 ($34,295 with all-wheel drive), buyers will get a fully-equipped crossover with plenty of plush finishes and convenience features. We love the convenient standard hands-free power liftgate that opens with a simple swipe of the foot under a conveniently located sensor, as well as the LED headlights and taillights. Fog lights are also standard on the Premier trim, along with heated power outside mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators.
On the interior, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot is standard (you pay for data via a data plan), as are 8-way power driver and front passenger seats, soft ambient interior lighting, an HD 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Nine driver-assist safety technologies are also available, including Rear Park Assist, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, and Forward Collision Alert. Small touches, like the two standard seat setting memory presets and a generous smattering of USB charging ports located throughout the interior cabin, are convenience-oriented extras that enhance the fun-to-drive vibe the Equinox Premier delivers.
Redline Edition Overview
The Equinox Premier top-end trim is offered with Chevy’s Redline Package. The Redline package is not just an appearance package; when equipped with the Redline package, the Equinox Premier transforms into a different – and better – version of itself. It’s what we call a trim-within-a-trim, and unless you’re specifically looking for it, you might miss it on a first pass.
When thinking about the Equinox Premier Redline Edition, it helps to remember the old adage; the devil is in the details. The Redline Edition combines seemingly small exterior trim enhancements to achieve a deceivingly sportier curb profile. Understated is the keyword here because Chevy designers figured out that going big might result in a gaudier, less believable finished result.
The Redline Edition includes dramatic 19-inch black wheels with just a dash of bright red accenting to draw the eye without disrupting the overall monotone black theme. The glossy black wheels are accompanied by 19-inch all-season tires and feature a center cap with the Chevy bowtie emblem. Choosing the Redline Edition automatically opts buyers in on the jet black perforated leather interior trim color.
The grille is completely redesigned and features a black bowtie emblem that blends with an open weave redline-only grille pattern. The Equinox nameplate is accented with red on both front doors, making it pop and drawing the eye. Black mirror caps and a subtle black window surround complete the look, which is geared toward pumping up the Equinox’s sportier characteristics.
Some describe the Equinox Premier Redline Edition as a street-inspired take on the original. While we don’t disagree, what draws us to the Redline Edition is its exclusive features. None of the equipment in this package is available anywhere else in the Equinox lineup. The best part? This package adds less than $900 to the Premier’s already affordable price tag.
Additional Equipment Packages
The 2021 Equinox Premier is nicely equipped on its own, but there are a few notable add-on packages that buyers on the hunt for extra luxury, tech, and safety features will love. For just a little more, these packages equip the Equinox with every imaginable extra.
The Infotainment II Package, which adds a little over $1,000 to the Equinox Premier’s price tag, comes with an upgraded high-definition 8-inch infotainment touchscreen with connected navigation. It runs on Chevy’s latest operating system, Chevrolet Infotainment 3, and delivers lightning-fast touch response and a crisp HD display. The package also includes an upgraded 7-speaker Bose audio system.
We recommend pairing the Infotainment II Package with the Confidence & Convenience II Package. It will set you back around $1,700, but the package is full of safety and comfort features you won’t know how you ever lived without. These include Adaptive Cruise Control, HD Surround Vision, a heated steering wheel, heated rear outboard seats (the middle seat is not heated), and ventilated front seats.
Some of these packages can be combined, with overlapping equipment favoring the more advanced or more luxurious option, but choosing the Redline Edition means you can’t add the Infotainment II Package. We recommend visiting Chevrolet’s website and building your Equinox Premier with their handy online build tool.
You Still Have Choices With the Top Trim
As you’re wading into the murky compact crossover waters, know that there are choices that can get you a reasonably-priced vehicle that doesn’t compromise on features. The Equinox Premier is a perfect example. Here, you get all the tech, safety, and convenience equipment you want in a vehicle that – fully equipped – will run you well under $40,000.
We love that Chevy offers unique add-ons, like the Redline Edition, so buyers can customize their crossover to make it stand out a little more from the rest. That’s important in this category, especially because crossovers tend to fall into a similar exterior styling rut that can trigger a case of the blahs.
Is the Premier the Trim for You?
Overall, our team loves the versatile and affordable 2021 Equinox across its entire trim range, but the Equinox Premier stands out as a great marriage of value and standard/available features. It’s genius to design a trim lineup that attracts buyers across a spectrum, and the Equinox does just that. At its least expensive, the Equinox starts at a wallet-friendly $23,800 and still manages to include plenty of advanced safety and infotainment technology, so it doesn’t feel like a base model at all.
We’d invest in the Equinox Premier, though, for its robust equipment offerings and for access to the Redline Edition package. Dollar-for-dollar it’s a good investment because when it comes time to trade it in or sell it, used car buyers will favor the Premier trim for its advanced technology features. Features like an HD 8-inch infotainment touchscreen will age well and still feel fresh even a few years from now.
We wish the Premier could be equipped with both the Redline Edition package and the Infotainment II Package, but for some reason adding the latter cancels out the former. That’s our only gripe, and it’s a small one. Final verdict: the 2021 Chevy Equinox Premier wins our vote as the best-equipped compact crossover. Will it win yours?