Chevrolet’s Equinox EV takes shape “around $30K”
Chevrolet knows that EVs must be affordable before they can become truly popular—a machine of the common people. To that end, it has built the Equinox EV, which starts at precisely … it hasn’t said. “Around $30K” is all we know. (And we’ve known that since January.)
Pessimistically, we’d put our money on an MSRP of $30,995, not including destination. Best-case scenario? All-in, under $30K.
You’re likely to add onto the base price, anyway. If you want heated front seats, for instance, or 300 rather than 250 miles of range, you’ll immediately graduate from the base, 210-hp, 1LT model to the 2LT. 300 miles is the highest range offered across the Equinox EV line, available only on the single-motor, FWD configurations. Opt for the dual-motor driveline, and you’ll gain 80 hp and four driven wheels at the cost of 20 miles of range—280 in total. All Equinox EVs accommodate 150kW DC fast-charging.
Once you’ve settled the matter of single- versus dual-motor driveline, you’ll need to decide on creature comforts and techy goodies. The repetitions of “available” indicate that many options (a black roof, a sunroof, a 17.7-inch infotainment screen) will come at extra cost, rather than standard, so you’ll need to beware of price creep on lower trim levels. (In all: 1LT, 2LT, 3LT, 2RS, 3RS.)
A few key differentiators between the trims: The larger, 17.7-inch infotainment screen only comes on the top three trims, which are differentiated cosmetically by 20- rather than 19-inch wheels, among other things. (Any trim starting with a 3 gets 21-inch rims.) The fancy Bose stereo is reserved for 2RS and 3RS models. Adaptive cruise control does not come standard on the “base-plus” 2LT, though you can add it on. The top two trims come standard with a fancy tailgate that opens not at the press of a button or the swish of a foot but your presence; it scans for the key fob and, as you walk to the rear of the vehicle, will automatically open. (It’s a nice thought, but we reserve judgement until we actually live with the feature. Ever tried to close the garage door and forgot that you left the minivan’s rear door open?)
One thing you’ll always pay extra for: Super Cruise. Chevrolet’s hands-free driving tech is a surprisingly tech-intensive feature on this egalitarian EV—aside from the Bolt, it’s far more familiar on Cadillacs and GMCs—and you can expect it to cost a premium. It isn’t a total “hands off and worry not” situation, of course; the orchestra of sensors, cameras, and pre-loaded map data works with a driver-facing camera and infrared sensors to ensure the driver remains attentive, even with their hands off the wheel.
The electric Equinox is quite a bit larger and lower than its combustion-powered sibling: nearly 3 inches wider, over 7 inches longer, and about two inches lower to the ground. The growth is demanded by the Ultium platform and a not-to-subtle reminder that the ICE and EV models share little but name. That name, however, is powerful by virtue of its familiarity: The Equinox is second only to the Silverado in sales volume, selling between 238,000 and 346,000 units from 2012 to 2020. Ford cashed in the performance cachet of the Mustang name for the Mach-E; Chevrolet wants to leverage the dependability and ubiquity of the Equinox for this mass-market Ultium EV.
The first available Equinox EV trim will be the 2RS, arriving in the fall of next year, but Chevrolet promises to offer the full stable of trims within the first year of production. Even in the best-case scenario, however, it won’t be the only sub-$30K EV on the market; Nissan owns the bargain title with the $28,375, 149-mile Leaf. What the Chevy will boast is more mileage, a far fresher interior, a higher SUV stance, and heavy dose of red, white, and blue. That’s a powerful proposition.
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