2020 Ford Explorer vs. 2020 Chevrolet Equinox

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Ford Explorer are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Chevrolet Equinox doesn’t offer height-adjustable front seat belts.

Both the Explorer and Equinox have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Explorer has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Equinox’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Explorer has standard Post Collision Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Equinox doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Explorer ST/Platinum has standard Reverse Brake Assist that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Equinox doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Explorer’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Equinox doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Explorer and the Equinox have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

The Ford Explorer weighs 680 to 1695 pounds more than the Chevrolet Equinox. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

The Explorer’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Equinox’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability

The Explorer has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Equinox doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked 6th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Ford 5 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Engine

The Explorer has more powerful engines than the Equinox:

Horsepower

Torque

Explorer 2.3 turbo 4 cyl.

300 HP

310 lbs.-ft.

Explorer 3.3 DOHC V6 hybrid

318 HP

322 lbs.-ft.

Explorer Platinum 3.0 turbo V6

365 HP

380 lbs.-ft.

Explorer ST 3.0 turbo V6

400 HP

415 lbs.-ft.

Equinox 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

170 HP

203 lbs.-ft.

Equinox 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

252 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the Explorer Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Equinox doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The Explorer Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 3.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Equinox FWD’s standard fuel tank (18 vs. 14.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Explorer 2.3-liter’s standard fuel tank has 3.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Equinox FWD’s standard fuel tank (18.6 vs. 14.9 gallons). The Explorer V6 Turbo’s standard fuel tank has 4.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Equinox AWD’s standard fuel tank (20.2 vs. 15.6 gallons).

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Ford Explorer, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a nine-speed automatic is available for the Equinox.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Explorer’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Equinox:

Explorer

Explorer ST

Explorer ST opt.

Equinox 1.5T

Equinox 2.0T

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

13.6 inches

14.3 inches

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.4 inches

12.8 inches

13.8 inches

11.3 inches

11.3 inches

The Explorer ST’s optional front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Equinox are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Explorer has larger standard tires than the Equinox (255/65R18 vs. 225/65R17). The Explorer ST/Platinum’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Equinox (275/45R21 vs. 235/50R19).

The Explorer ST/Platinum’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Equinox Premier’s optional 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Explorer has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Equinox. The Explorer ST/Platinum’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the Equinox Premier.

Having a flat tire is dangerous, inconvenient and expensive. The self-sealing tires available on the Explorer can automatically seal most punctures up to 3/16 of an inch, effectively preventing most flat tires. The Equinox doesn’t offer self-sealing tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Explorer has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Explorer flat and controlled during cornering. The Equinox’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Explorer has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Equinox doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Explorer’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Equinox doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Explorer’s wheelbase is 11.8 inches longer than on the Equinox (119.1 inches vs. 107.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Explorer is 4.7 inches wider in the front and 4.7 inches wider in the rear than on the Equinox.

Passenger Space

The Explorer has standard seating for 7 passengers; the Equinox can only carry 5.

The Explorer has 49.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Equinox (152.7 vs. 103.2).

The Explorer has .7 inches more front headroom, 2.1 inches more front legroom, 5 inches more front hip room, 4.6 inches more front shoulder room, 2 inches more rear headroom, 7.4 inches more rear hip room and 6.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Equinox.

Cargo Capacity

The Explorer’s cargo area provides more volume than the Equinox.

Explorer

Equinox

Third Seat Folded

47.9 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

29.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

87.8 cubic feet

63.9 cubic feet

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

Explorer

Equinox

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

20.8”/49.8”/83.9”

n.a./34.9”/67.4”

Max Width

59”

53.7”

Min Width

48.1”

40.7”

Height

33.7”

31”

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Explorer. The Equinox doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

The Explorer’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Equinox’s (3000 vs. 1500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Chevrolet Equinox is only 3500 pounds. The Explorer offers up to a 5600 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the Explorer is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Equinox. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

The Explorer’s front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Equinox’s front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

The Explorer’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Equinox’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Explorer Platinum has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Equinox doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Explorer has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Equinox and isn’t available on the Equinox L/LS.

The Explorer ST/Platinum’s Active Park Assist 2.0 can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Equinox doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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

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