2020 Chevrolet Equinox vs. 2019 Jeep Compass

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 Jeep Compass doesn’t offer comfort guides on its rear 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 Compass doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Equinox Premier offers an optional Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Compass only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

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

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Chevrolet Equinox is safer than the Jeep Compass:

Equinox

Compass

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

159

196

Neck Injury Risk

17%

41%

Neck Stress

190 lbs.

445 lbs.

Neck Compression

10 lbs.

38 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

363/349 lbs.

326/489 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.8 inches

Neck Injury Risk

26%

36%

Neck Stress

153 lbs.

235 lbs.

Neck Compression

51 lbs.

92 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

264/236 lbs.

299/387 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Chevrolet Equinox is safer than the Jeep Compass:

Equinox

Compass

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

55 G’s

56 G’s

Hip Force

630 lbs.

928 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The Equinox’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Compass’ (6 vs. 5 years).

There are over 25 percent more Chevrolet dealers than there are Jeep dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Equinox’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Equinox has a standard 700-amp battery. The Compass’ standard 500-amp battery and largest (optional) 650 amp battery aren’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Equinox’s reliability 22 points higher than the Compass.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Equinox first among compact SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Compass 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 Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 17th, 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 Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 52 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 24th.

Engine

The Equinox’s standard 1.5 turbo 4-cyl. produces 28 lbs.-ft. more torque (203 vs. 175) than the Compass’ 2.4 DOHC 4-cyl. The Equinox’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 72 more horsepower (252 vs. 180) and 85 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 175) than the Compass’ 2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Chevrolet Equinox is faster than the Jeep Compass (automatics tested):

Equinox 1.5

Equinox 2.0

Compass

Zero to 60 MPH

8.7 sec

6.6 sec

10.5 sec

Quarter Mile

16.7 sec

15.2 sec

17.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

83.1 MPH

92.1 MPH

76.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Equinox

FWD

Auto

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/31 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

AWD

Auto

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/30 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

Compass

FWD

Manual

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

23 city/32 hwy

Auto

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

22 city/31 hwy

AWD

Manual

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

22 city/31 hwy

Auto

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

Regardless of its engine, the Equinox’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Jeep only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Compass Auto.

The Equinox FWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Compass (14.9 vs. 13.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Equinox AWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Compass (15.6 vs. 13.5 gallons).

Transmission

The Chevrolet Equinox comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Compass.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Equinox 2.0T’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Compass:

Equinox 2.0T

Compass

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.3 inches

10.95 inches

The Equinox stops much shorter than the Compass:

Equinox

Compass

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

144 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

151 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Equinox has larger standard tires than the Compass (225/65R17 vs. 215/65R16).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Equinox has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Compass Sport.

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 Compass doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Equinox’s wheelbase is 3.5 inches longer than on the Compass (107.3 inches vs. 103.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Equinox is 1.5 inches wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than on the Compass.

The Equinox Premier handles at .83 G’s, while the Compass Trailhawk pulls only .73 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Equinox Premier executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.9 seconds quicker than the Compass Trailhawk (27.7 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 29.6 seconds @ .53 average G’s).

Chassis

The front grille of the Equinox uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Compass doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

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

Passenger Space

The Equinox has 3.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Compass (103.2 vs. 99.6).

The Equinox has .8 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front hip room, .5 inches more front shoulder room, 1.6 inches more rear legroom, 2.5 inches more rear hip room and .4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Compass.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Equinox’s rear seats recline. The Compass’ rear seats don’t recline.

The front step up height for the Equinox is 2.2 inches lower than the Compass (17.2” vs. 19.4”). The Equinox’s rear step up height is 3.2 inches lower than the Compass’ (17.5” vs. 20.7”).

Cargo Capacity

The Equinox has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Compass with its rear seat up (29.9 vs. 27.2 cubic feet). The Equinox has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Compass with its rear seat folded (63.9 vs. 59.8 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Equinox easier. The Equinox’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 28.6 inches, while the Compass’ liftover is 31.1 inches.

The Equinox’s cargo area is larger than the Compass’ in almost every dimension:

Equinox

Compass

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

34.9”/67.4”

32.4”/65.7”

Max Width

53.7”

53.8”

Min Width

40.7”

38.1”

Height

31”

29.6”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Equinox LT/Premier’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Compass doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

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 Compass doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

The Equinox’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Compass’ (1500 vs. 0 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Jeep Compass 4x4 is only 2000 pounds. The Equinox offers up to a 3500 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the Equinox (except L/LS), the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Compass doesn’t offer a memory 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 Compass 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 Compass does not have an oil pressure gauge.

On a hot day the Equinox’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Compass can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 Compass doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system, and its extra cost Uconnect Access can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

The Equinox has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The Compass has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Latitude/Trailhawk/Limited.

When the Equinox with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Compass’ mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Equinox offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Compass offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the Equinox and the Compass offer available heated front seats. The Equinox Premier also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Compass.

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 Compass doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Both the Equinox and the Compass offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Equinox has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Compass doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Equinox owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Equinox with a number “8” insurance rate while the Compass is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Equinox is less expensive to operate than the Compass because typical repairs cost less on the Equinox than the Compass, including $195 less for front struts.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Equinox first among compact SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Compass isn’t in the top three.

The Chevrolet Equinox outsold the Jeep Compass by almost two to one during 2018.

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

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