2020 Chevrolet Equinox vs. 2019 BMW X3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the Chevrolet Equinox’s rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The BMW X3 doesn’t offer height adjustable seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Equinox are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The X3 doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

Both the Equinox and the X3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

Chevrolet’s powertrain warranty covers the Equinox 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than BMW covers the X3. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the X3 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 9 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Equinox’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Equinox first among compact SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The X3 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 7th.

Engine

The Equinox’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 4 more horsepower (252 vs. 248) and 2 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 258) than the X3 s/xDrive30i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Chevrolet Equinox 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. is faster than the X3 s/xDrive30i:

Equinox

X3

Zero to 60 MPH

6.6 sec

6.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.1 MPH

91.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Equinox gets better fuel mileage than the X3:

MPG

Equinox

FWD

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/31 hwy

AWD

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/30 hwy

X3

RWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/30 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

3.0 turbo 6-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

The Equinox has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The X3 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chevrolet Equinox 2.0 turbo 4-cyl., for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the X3.

Brakes and Stopping

The Equinox stops shorter than the X3:

Equinox

X3

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The Equinox has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The X3 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Equinox Premier handles at .83 G’s, while the X3 xDrive30i pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Equinox’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the X3 xDrive30i’s (37.4 feet vs. 39.4 feet).

Chassis

The Chevrolet Equinox may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 600 to 750 pounds less than the BMW X3.

The Equinox uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The X3 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Equinox has .6 inches more front legroom and 3.5 inches more rear legroom than the X3.

The front step up height for the Equinox is 1.3 inches lower than the X3 (17.2” vs. 18.5”). The Equinox’s rear step up height is 1 inches lower than the X3’s (17.5” vs. 18.5”).

Cargo Capacity

The Equinox has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the X3 with its rear seat up (29.9 vs. 28.7 cubic feet). The Equinox has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the X3 with its rear seat folded (63.9 vs. 62.7 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Equinox Premier’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The X3 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

The Equinox offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The X3 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Equinox’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The X3 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Equinox’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The X3 does not have an oil pressure gauge.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Equinox LS/LT/Premier’s available exterior keypad. The X3 doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system, and its BMW Assist can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Equinox has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the X3 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

Consumer Reports rated the Equinox’s headlight performance “Good” to “Very Good” (depending on model and options), a higher rating than the X3’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Equinox Premier keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The X3 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Equinox (except L/LS) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The X3 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Equinox owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Equinox will cost $700 less than the X3 over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Equinox is less expensive to operate than the X3 because typical repairs cost much less on the Equinox than the X3, including $401 less for a water pump, $154 less for a muffler, $293 less for a starter, $78 less for fuel injection, $354 less for front struts, $263 less for a timing belt/chain and $897 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Chevrolet Equinox will be $12911 to $15487 less than for the BMW X3.

Recommendations

The Chevrolet Equinox outsold the BMW X3 by over five to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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