Chevrolet Equinox LS Vs LT: Which Trim is Right for You?
The compact SUV’s combination of value, space, and ease of use are appealing to many consumers. Another key factor to the Equinox’s success is the amount of choice the vehicle offers. Currently there are four trim levels to choose from and two additional special editions. Most of these come with the choice of front- or all-wheel drive as well.
For the purposes of this in-depth look, we are focusing on the two entry level trims for the vehicle. It’s the Chevrolet Equinox LS vs LT, compared over eight key categories. Below, we evaluate in detail whether the entry level LS has enough equipped features to satisfy owners, or if the price increase to the LT is worth the added content.
Both trim levels come with 17-inch alloy wheels as standard. The LS can be upgraded to 18-inch wheels for an extra cost, while the LT can have 18-inch or 19-inch wheels as an option. Sticking to the exterior, the LT has body-colored mirrors and rear tinted glass. These two features are optional on the LS. With the fog lights, it’s a different story as they are standard on the LT, but not available on the LS.
Both trim levels can be had with additional packages that increase the vehicle’s exterior look. Starting with the LS, there’s the Midnight Edition that includes gloss black 18-inch wheels, body color mirrors, black emblems, a black mesh grille, and more.
The LT has a similar package called the Blackout Package. It features a black painted grille, emblems, mirror caps, and logos. There’s also the Hit The Road Package for the LT that equips roof rack cross rails and molded assist steps.
When it comes to passenger space, there isn’t much difference between the Chevrolet Equinox LS vs LT. Both include 40.0-inches of front headroom and 38.5-inches for those seated in the rear.
Legroom up front clocks in at 40.9-inches, while rear seat riders have 39.9-inches of legroom. All Equinox models include five passenger seating and there’s more than enough room to fit three adolescents across the rear bench. Alternatively, four adults should easily fit in the Equinox as well.
Regardless of trim level, the Equinox offers a single drivetrain. It’s a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes a decent 175 hp and 203 lb-ft. of torque. It’s paired to a six-speed automatic transmission that can send power to the front- or all-wheels, depending on customer preference.
Like the engine, both trim levels include the same basic suspension setup that’s tailored more for comfort than aggressive handling.
When it comes to fuel economy, there is no difference between the Chevrolet Equinox LS vs LT. The difference lies in which wheels are driven. For front wheel drive versions of the Equinox, expect to see fuel economy figures around 26 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.
All wheel drive models take a bit of a hit when it comes to fuel economy. Officially, they are rated at 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.
Cargo and Towing
Cargo capacity is another area where there’s no difference with the Chevrolet Equinox LS vs LT trim levels. Behind the rear seats there’s 29.9 cubic feet of space for various items. If more room is needed, fold down the rear seats and total cargo volume expands to 63.9 cubic feet.
Regardless of trim or drivetrain, the Equinox is rated for a maximum of 1,500 pounds when it comes to towing.
In terms of safety, the Equinox comes well equipped, even in base LS trim. Both the LS and LT include automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, pedestrian braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, rear seat reminder, and OnStar. Of course, the latter requires a subscription to use.
Optional on either the LS or LT are front park assist and rear cross traffic alert. The LT takes safety a step further by offering optional surround vision, adaptive cruise control, as well as front and rear park assist.
Tech and Features
Front and center to the driver on the LS trim level is a 3.5-inch monochromic display screen in the gauge cluster. The LT replaces this screen with a 4.2-inch color version that features more information and customization. While on the topic of screens, the standard infotainment system in the LS and LT is a 7-inch touchscreen. The LT can be upgraded to the larger 8-inch screen while the LS cannot not.
Other standard equipment in the LS trim includes push button start, keyless entry, available on-board WiFi, as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The LT features all these items as well as illuminated sun visors and a power driver’s seat. The power seat can be added to the LS though, for an additional charge.
Both trim levels can also have remote start added as an option. But the LT features an extensive list of features that can be added for additional fees. These include dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a leather wrapped steering wheel, a power lift gate, a heated steering wheel, a panoramic moonroof, and navigation.
The LS front-wheel drive is the starting point for the entire Equinox lineup and starts at $27,995. Add all-wheel drive to the LS and the prices bumps up to $29,595. The major LS option packages include the Midnight Edition for $595 or the Sport Edition for $595. There’s also a $785 LS Convenience Package, as well as Side Blind Zone and Rear Cross Traffic Alert which costs $200.
The LT with front-wheel drive starts at $29,095. Like the LS, adding all-wheel drive to the LT bumps up the price by $1,600 to $30,695. Special editions of the LT include the $1,025 Blackout Package and the $1,195 Hit the Road Package. Equipment groups for this trim include the $1,200 Safety and Infotainment Package, $1,595 Confidence & Convenience Package, and $200 Side Blind Zone with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
Chevrolet Equinox LS vs LT: Verdict
As is always the case, there’s no single answer for everyone when deciding between two trims like the Chevrolet Equinox LS vs LT. The LS comes quite well equipped and should satisfy anyone looking for simple, safe, and usable SUV transportation. The fact it comes with optional all-wheel drive is a major plus as well.
For those that want a bit more content, we’d be inclined to get the Equinox LT with both the Safety and Infotainment Package, as well as the Confidence & Convenience Package. Pricing, even with all-wheel drive, keeps it below $35,000 for a well-equipped compact SUV.
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A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.
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