The compact SUV class is extremely competitive and lucrative, with most automakers not only having an offering, but also having that vehicle be one of their top-selling items.
For 2025, the Equinox lineup is condensed to three trim levels: LT, RS and an Equinox-first Activ. We’ve seen other Chevy models get an Activ trim, which is a slightly more rugged-looking, soft-road variant that is a bit more than an appearance package but doesn’t approach the capabilities of the brand’s iconic Z71 trims.
The sole engine choice remains a 175-horsepower, turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder, but the six-speed automatic transmission from the current model has been replaced by a continuously variable automatic for versions with front-wheel drive and an eight-speed auto for those with all-wheel drive. Selectable drive modes are new to the Equinox with the 2025 model, but since this was a static presentation, we’ll have to wait to see what (if anything) is new about the driving experience.
As the last of Chevrolet’s existing SUV lineup to get a redesign, the Equinox is no longer a pudgy and plain-looking rental lot crossover, but a sculpted and more rugged-looking SUV. The 2025 model is wider and taller than its predecessor, and each trim level gets its own unique front styling to set it apart from its siblings. I saw Activ and RS examples during my visit; the Activ’s grille looks wider and more vertical, giving it a more trucklike vibe, while the RS grille looks narrower and sportier.
Design elements we’ve seen in other Chevy SUVs, such as the narrow LED daytime running lights above the grille and larger headlights below, fit in with the brand’s current design language, and the more sculpted shoulder along the sides ends in what Chevrolet designers call a “gill” that makes up a handsome C-pillar design. Two-tone roof options are available, with the Activ getting a white roof option and the RS a black one, and they help set the two trim levels apart from each other; I think they look better than images I’ve seen of Equinoxes with body-color roofs.
The Activ also gets actual all-terrain tires that increase its off-road capability slightly, but it sees no significant changes to its suspension or AWD system. Its tires are paired with trim-specific 17-inch wheels that enhance the rugged look. With such small wheels, hopefully they also enhance ride comfort, but we’ll have to wait and see. The base LT trim also gets 17s, while the sportier RS comes with 19s as standard or, for the first time on an Equinox, optional 20-inch wheels.
Inside the new Equinox, Chevrolet continues its efforts to unify its SUVs’ looks. The gear selector moves from the center console to a column-mounted electronic gear selector we’ve seen in other Chevrolets, opening up the center console for more storage and even a pass-through area below it.
All new Equinox models come with an 11-inch digital instrument panel and an 11.3-inch touchscreen display. Both are existing designs we’ve praised in other Chevrolets, and both continue to look great in the Equinox. The touchscreen has standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility, plus Google Built-In. The latter is nice to have and works well when it works, though we’ve had issues with it in earlier models and it does require a data connection to fully function. A bevy of intuitive, physical climate controls below the screen further enhance the Equinox’s user-friendliness.
Materials feel much nicer in this Equinox, and each trim has a unique interior look and layout. The RS gets a flat-bottom steering wheel, lots of sporty red accents, and red and blue stitching on its faux-leather seats, while the Activ has unique two-tone faux-leather and microfiber suede upholstery, as well as a slightly different-looking dashboard design. Both had plenty of soft-touch materials, too, and also a lot of plastic areas. The nicer materials inside the Equinox felt higher-quality and premium for the class, but a few competitors like the Honda CR-V and Mazda’s CX-5 and CX-50 are still a notch above.
Interior room was also very competitive for the class. At 6 feet, 1 inch tall, I had plenty of room in the front and back. Both models I sat in had fixed metal roofs
Other welcome touches include additional standard safety features, such as adaptive cruise control, and higher-end features like a 360-degree camera system and GM’s rearview camera mirror (in case the traditional rearview mirror is obstructed) are optional. A proximity hands-free power liftgate is also available for added convenience.