With many comparable features, car shoppers might have a tough time comparing the 2021 Chevy Equinox vs 2021 Nissan Rogue. These SUVs are both leaders in the highly competitive compact segment and offer comparable passenger space and warranty coverage. However, they differ in a number of areas, including safety, reliability, and price.
Starting at $23,800, the 2021 Chevy Equinox is among the more affordable compact SUVs in its class. All Equinox models are available in front-wheel drive, with an optional all-wheel drive upgrade for the LS, LT, and Premier trims. While past models had a few different engine options to choose from, every 2021 Equinox comes standard with the same 1.5L turbocharged engine and six-speed automatic transmission. However, this is not a bad thing as the Equinox produces 203 lb-ft of torque to the Rogue’s 175 lb-ft. This added torque contributes to a peppier overall feel, with the Equinox clocking a 7.2 second 0 to 60 mph time to the Rogue’s 9.8 seconds.
The Rogue does have a slight advantage over the Equinox in terms of fuel efficiency thanks to its continuously variable transmission (CVT), delivering 30 MPG combined compared to 28 MPG combined for the Chevy. But this slight advantage at the pump loses a bit of its luster when one factors in the engine noise and sluggish acceleration. Some drivers have complained that the CVT system, which eschews traditional gears in favor of a flexible steel belt, creates a droning noise at higher speeds.
Both SUVs seat five comfortably, and they offer plenty of cargo space when you fold down the 60/40 split rear seats. However, one area where the Equinox holds a decided advantage is in its overall reliability scores. As one of the most dependable compact SUVs on the market, the Equinox not only requires fewer repairs, but those repairs are also cheaper to fix on average. This means drivers will not only pay less at the dealership but at the repair shop as well, making the Equinox an affordable option for those looking to enter the compact SUV market without shelling out big bucks down the road.
Style and Substance
Earning its first full redesign since 2015, the 2021 Nissan Rogue is sure to turn heads with its trendy new exterior styling. Inspired by Nissan’s new Juke model that is offered on the international market, the Rogue features a bold grill, tiered LED lighting, and an available two-tone color scheme that’s proved so popular on the SUV market as of late. The interior has seen a bit of a refresh as well, with leather upholstery and wood finishes available on some of the higher-end packages.
Trim options are carried over from previous iterations of the Rogue, with S, SV, and SL trims available, but the 2021 model also sees the addition of a Platinum trim. Starting at $35,000, the Platinum trim adds nearly $10,000 to the asking price compared to the base model, featuring quilted leather upholstery, heated rear seats, and a host of upgraded tech in the cabin.
The Equinox is a proven favorite and has gone largely unchanged for the 2021 model year, though Chevy has teased a styling overhaul planned for the 2022 model. In addition to the L, LS, LT, and Premier trims, Chevy’s best-selling SUV is also available in the popular Midnight and Sport Editions. These sporty upgrades feature a glossy black grille, black badges, black trim, black alloy wheels, quad exhaust tips. The interiors get a Batmobile-worthy update as well, with black upholstery, red stitching, and more. The main difference between the Midnight and the Sport is that the Midnight is only available in black.
For those opting for a more luxurious build, the 2021 Equinox Premier trim includes plenty of extra features that set it apart from the rest of the lineup and help it live up to its name. The Premier trim comes with 19-inch machined-face alloy wheels, French-stitched upholstery, and a glossy black finish to the interior console. If that wasn’t enough to set this Equinox apart, the Premier trim also features something of a novelty in a logo-projecting hands-free liftgate that displays the iconic Chevy logo on the asphalt behind the vehicle.
Technology at the Forefront
The standard model Rogue comes equipped with an integrated infotainment system featuring an 8-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Upgraded trims have larger infotainment and driver displays, an additional 10-inch heads-up display, wireless Apple CarPlay, and wireless cellphone charging. Other optional amenities include multi-zone climate control, heated seats, and built-in sunscreens.
Driving assistance features come standard on the base model Rogue, but the SL and Platinum models also offer Nissan’s semi-autonomous driving assistance system, ProPilot Assist. Combining Nissan’s Intelligent Cruise Control and Steering Assist systems, ProPilot Assist helps take some of the stress out of highway driving with automated slow down, stop, and acceleration features that aim to make the headache of stop-and-go traffic a thing of the past.
The Equinox also offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a host of new safety upgrades. Previously only available on select trims, the Equinox now comes standard with a host of advanced driving features such as automatic braking and high beams, lane-keeping assist, and lane departure warnings. Optional upgrades include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and automatic parking assist that will help your paint job remain pristine in even the tightest parking spots.
One feature that makes the Equinox a must-consider for any nervous parents is Chevy’s Teen Driver Technology. The innovative system gives parents the peace of mind they get from sitting shotgun with their fledgling drivers without actually having to be in the vehicle, allowing them to set speed limits and alerts, volume limits, and more. The Teen Driver Technology includes the first-of-its-kind Buckle to Drive system, which disables shifting and volume control until seat belts are engaged. It also includes an in-vehicle report card, allowing parents to track a range of safe driving metrics like maximum speed, forward collision alerts, overspeed warnings, and distance driven.
This expansive slate of safety features helps the Equinox edge out the competition, with the 2021 model outscoring the Rogue in NHTSA crash testing. Surprisingly, the new Rogue only received a 4-star overall safety rating and scored some embarrassingly bad 3-star and even 2-star ratings when it came to the critical frontal crash tests. Meanwhile, the Equinox aced its testing with perfect 5-star ratings in every crash test scenario and a 5-star overall safety rating.
The Equinox Maintains Its Position
For many drivers, the choice comes down to budget. Both compact SUVs enjoy similar fuel efficiency and impressive suites of driver-assist technology, but when you crunch the numbers, it’s difficult to justify the Rogue’s higher price tag considering the similarity between the two. The lower repair costs only tilt the scales further in the direction of Chevy’s popular SUV. However, when you consider the much better safety scores of the 2021 Equinox, the deal is sealed – especially if you have a new driver in your household who can benefit from Chevy’s Teen Driver Technology.