2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV First Drive Review: Finally, Chevy gets compact right

2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV First Drive Review: Finally, Chevy gets compact right

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DETROIT –  Last week we reviewed the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST for the first time. An electric reimagination of the Silverado – Chevy’s best seller and a profit generator for years – what could be more important? How about the 2024 Chevy Equinox EV? We’re serious.

The Equinox is Chevy’s new electric offering for everyone. It’s an attractive and affordable compact crossover with a lot of range. The Silverado EV is expensive and well, obviously, a truck. Not everyone needs that. But the world runs on compact crossovers. While it’s debatable that the current crop of electric crossovers (VW ID.4, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Nissan Ariya, Tesla Model Y, etc.) belongs to the traditional “compact” segment, especially in terms of price and body style, Chevrolet finally enters that fray. Moreover, it does so with a product that unequivocally lands in the compact SUV segment that’s so popular.


“We really do believe that this is the one that’s going to crack the code,” says Brad Franz, Chevy marketing director for cars and crossovers. “It’s not just about paying $100,000 to get the range that Equinox is going to provide.”

Or as Chevy vice president Scott Bell put it, “We’d be foolish not to get after this business.”

The Equinox EV comes in two main versions. The front-wheel-drive, single-motor model offers 319 miles of electric driving with 213 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. The all-wheel-drive, two-motor variant can travel 285 miles and produces 288 hp and 333 lb-ft. That isn’t as much of a performance jump as you’ll find in other EVs, which speaks to the rear motor being a smaller induction motor that mostly responds to front-wheel slippage as internal combustion all-wheel-drive systems do. But that also means the price premium is a comparatively modest $3,300. The lineup is further divided into the LT (pictured in blue above) and sportier RS trims (pictured in white above), each of which have several levels of equipment.

Chevy says the Equinox regains up to 77 miles of range in 10 minutes on DC fast charging with its 150-kilowatt maximum (a merely average figure these days, though a big-time improvement on the old Bolt), while Level 2 charging at 11.5 kW, which is a typical home charger maximum, provides up to 36 miles of range per hour. It’s also capable of bi-directional charging, allowing you to turn it into a generator, although you’ll need separately purchased accessories to do it.

Although it doesn’t drop down as low in terms of price, the Equinox EV arrives as the de facto replacement for the Bolt EV. Chevy says Bolt buyers are an educated, relatively affluent set, and it hopes to grab some of them while bringing in a new crowd. And any Chevy owners ready to switch over from their gas-powered cars, well, the Equinox EV is also for them. The brand is casting a huge net, but knows it has a lot of competition. Give or take a few grand, the Equinox EV could be cross-shopped with the various SUVs listed above,  the smaller and cheaper Kia Niro EV and Hyundai Kona Electric, or even some lower-spec Ford Mustang Mach-E models. Not to mention the Chevy Blazer EV, and the Bolt itself, which is returning in 2025.

Plus, Chevy has never made a best-in-class compact vehicle. “We are dealing with everyone else’s Silverado,” Franz admitted.

That said, the Equinox is perhaps the most-anticipated vehicle we’ve tested this year. It has style, range and is built by one of the oldest, most familiar car brands in history. Almost everyone has driven a Chevy at some point in their life.

With that in mind, we approach a red 3RS front-wheel-drive model with black wheels parked outside Detroit’s Shinola Hotel, near where General Motors will relocate its headquarters next year. It’s a fitting starting point for our test drive, given GM’s deep history with the city and the symbolic moment of rebirth for the community and automaker.