|Fuel Economy (MPG combined)
|Cargo Space (cu.ft.)
Two compact SUVs are vying for your attention - which one do you go with? Well, this comparison guide between the 2021 Ford Escape vs 2021 Chevy Equinox will give you a complete rundown of how each SUV stacks up. From performance and interior space to technology and safety, find out what the important features are for both SUVs and how they provide value for drivers and passengers alike.
The 2021 Ford Escape is available across four trims, including the base S trim, the SE, the SEL, and the Titanium. Each of the trims after the base trim is also available in hybrid and plug-in hybrid iterations. The 2021 Chevy Equinox is also available in four trim formats but does not have any hybrid options. The trims include the base L, the LS, the LT, and the Premier.
At the heart of the two compact SUVs are powertrains designed to propel the vehicles forward with a sense of speed, precision, and fun. The more power a vehicle has, the more likely it will be enjoyable to drive on the highway. But sometimes, the speed and performance can come at the cost of other qualities, such as fuel economy. For compact SUVs, there is that fine balance between performance and range, and that's one of the elements that both the Ford Escape and Chevy Equinox attempt to capitalize on within their respective segments.
The 2021 Chevy Equinox has a single power plant option in the form of a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that produces 170 horsepower while delivering 203 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and is available with two different drivetrain configurations, including front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive.
The Equinox manages a solid fuel economy rating with its front-wheel drive configuration, achieving up to 26 miles per gallon in the city and up to 31 miles per gallon on the highway. The figures drop by a minuscule degree for the all-wheel drive iteration of the compact SUV, topping out at 25 miles per gallon in the city and 30 miles per gallon on the highway. The 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder also enables the Equinox to achieve a tow rating of 1,500 pounds.
The 2021 Ford Escape meanwhile offers two different engine options in front or all-wheel drive, both of which feature higher ratings than the Equinox. The first is the 1.5-liter EcoBoost turbocharged 3-cylinder, which manages 181 horsepower and produces up to 190 pound-feet of torque. The EcoBoost technology allows for maximum efficiency when it comes to fuel economy.
This is why the 1.5-liter EcoBoost I-3 engine is capable of achieving 28 miles per gallon in the city and up to 34 miles per gallon on the highway when in front-wheel configuration. The all-wheel drive iteration manages 26 miles per gallon in the city and up to 31 miles per gallon on the highway, so you actually get better fuel economy with the Ford Escape in all-wheel drive compared to the Chevy Equinox in front-wheel drive.
The optional 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost 4-cylinder delivers respectable fuel economy ratings while also offering more overall power and performance. The 2.0-liter produces up to 250 horsepower at 280 pound-feet of torque. The power does come at the expense of total efficiency, but this engine still manages 23 miles per gallon in the city and up to 31 miles per gallon on the highway. Of course, you have the option of the two available hybrid powertrains if efficiency is your goal.
The Escape also tops out its towing capacity at 3,500 pounds, which is more than double what you get with the Equinox. So from top to bottom, you just get more out of the Escape, whether it's horsepower, torque, fuel economy, or towing capabilities.
Both the 2021 Ford Escape and 2021 Chevy Equinox have a prestigious set of technological features resting at their foundations, but only one really manages to stand out from the other. This has a lot to do with the scale of the features available in both crossover SUVs. In that regard, the Ford Escape looks like the much better pick between the two.
The Chevy Equinox does have some impressive features, though, such as having automatic start/stop technology to help with fuel economy. The Equinox also features StabiliTrak, the electronic stability control system that manages to keep the Equinox on the road and from sliding on wet or slippery road surfaces. Some driver assists are also available to help with lane keeping, as well as alerting drivers of rear cross traffic and providing following distance indication.
Other standard and available technologies for the Equinox include an HD rear vision camera and HD Surround Vision. Teen Driver mode, featuring report cards and automatic safety checks when enabled, also comes standard across every available Equinox trim. On the infotainment front, you have access to the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 suite, featuring a 7 or 8-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, smartphone integration for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Wi-Fi hotspot utilization.
The Ford Escape has its own suite of technology to rival the likes of the Equinox, starting with the robust Ford Co-Pilot360 technology. To counter StabiliTrak, the Escape uses Curve Control, an anti-roll and stability management system that allows the Escape to hug turns and manage throttle control on wet or loose surfaces. Additional electronic traction control is also standard across the trim line-up of the 2021 Ford Escape.
Each trim also comes standard with BLIS, a blind-spot monitoring system with cross-traffic alert. Lane-keeping assistance and an SOS post-crash alert system are also standard, with AdvanceTrac, pre-collision assistance, and auto high-beam headlamps. Upper-end trims have access to active parking assistance and adaptive cruise control.
The Ford Escape also has its own infotainment suite in the form of the SYNC 3. It features voice-activated controls, an 8-inch capacitive touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and the other typical trappings of Wi-Fi and streaming technology. What's more is that the Escape comes with FordPass Connect, which allows you to access remote connectivity features for the Escape, as well vehicle location capabilities. The FordPass Connect also enables roadside assistance features, coinciding with the Co-Pilot360 safety suite.
Both the Escape and the Equinox also come with digital driver information display clusters, but the Escape has a 12.3-inch cluster and an added heads-up display for the upper-end trims. Both, however, offer SiriusXM satellite radio. One of the bigger differences is that the Escape makes adaptive cruise control standard on higher-end trims, whereas it has to be purchased as part of a separate package, even for the Equinox's Premier trim. The same applies to the premium audio system, which comes standard on the Escape Titanium trim and features a Bang & Olufsen 10-speaker setup. For the Equinox, there is only an available Bose 7-speaker system, which must be purchased as part of an optional infotainment package, giving a clear edge to the Escape.
Interior comfort and capacity features for an SUV are extremely important. In the comparison between the 2021 Ford Escape vs 2021 Chevy Equinox, both the compact SUVs offer up seating for up to five passengers across two rows. The Equinox comes with a variety of cabin amenities, such as an 8-way power driver and front passenger seats. Active noise cancellation is also standard on all trims, so sound stays inside the cabin, and external noise stays outside the cabin.
Dual-zone automatic climate control, heated driver and front passenger seats, as well as available heated rear outboard seats and leather-appointed perforated upholstery, represent the upper-end luxury amenities within the Equinox. There is also the availability of ventilated driver and passenger seats, along with a leather steering wheel. Most of the more luxury-oriented features are either standard or available for the Premier trim.
For the Escape, dual-zone climate control, available leather steering wheel, and heated seats fill out the premium feature list. The Equinox does get the leg up on the ventilated seats, but the Escape gets the advantage with premium ActiveX seating material and premium interior Ice Blue instrumental cluster lighting with available interior ambient lighting. The Equinox definitely puts up the biggest competition in the interior department, but it's still not enough to overcome every other area where the Escape takes the lead, especially when it comes to performance and tech features.