2021 Chevy Equinox vs 2021 Subaru Forester

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  • 2021 Chevy Equinox

    A silver 2021 Chevy Equinox 1LZ is angled left.

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    2021 Subaru Forester

    A green 2021 Subaru Forester is angled right.

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    203Torque (lb-ft)176
    7Standard Screen Size (in)6.5
    6Standard Speakers (qty)4

    SUVs are a popular segment for buyers in today's market, particularly small SUVs that offer amenities that mesh well with modern life. Most drivers need a vehicle that drives comfortably on roadways, offers convenience and technology, and provides a safe driving experience with a wide array of safety features. To satisfy a modern driver's desire for a higher ride height, more space for passengers and cargo, and the ability to accommodate adverse driving conditions, the SUV is now a best-selling favorite for all manufacturers. Two of the top sellers that drivers often consider are the 2021 Chevy Equinox vs 2021 Subaru Forester.

    Even though the Forester is favored by those who live in snowy climates because it comes standard with all-wheel drive, the Forester continues to be a largely utilitarian vehicle with less attention to interior comfort for passengers. Unless you live outside of town on a dirt road, most drivers are likely to prefer the quieter cabin, supportive seating, and higher quality of the 2021 Equinox, which also offers the option of all-wheel drive for bad weather performance. A far more comfortable ride and more attention to making daily life simpler are aspects Chevy considered with the 2021 Equinox, and it is well-regarded as a reliable family vehicle.

  • Standard Features

    A red 2021 Chevy Equinox is shown from the side parked in a gravel driveway.When comparing the entry-level features for the 2021 Equinox and the 2021 Forester, several of the features are similar on paper. The differences lie in subtle appearances and small conveniences that often make a big impact when you need to use a vehicle every day. For instance, both the Equinox and Forester come standard with 17-inch wheels fitted with all-season tires, but only Chevy has standard aluminum alloy wheels. Subaru puts steel wheels on the Forester, and alloy wheels cost extra. Steel wheels are heavier and generally not as attractive as aluminum alloy, which is why most buyers prefer alloy wheels.

    Other standard features on the exterior include powered, heated mirrors for the 2021 Equinox, which are missing on the base model Forester - a seemingly large oversight on a vehicle that is supposedly designed for bad weather. There are also the subtle cues of the styling and material quality that are likely to draw the eye. Overall, the 2021 Equinox simply has a higher quality appearance, both on the exterior with its modern details in the cladding, windows, and shape, and on the interior with higher quality materials and more attractive styling. The Forester tends to have a more utilitarian and sparse appearance in general, which may not be as pleasant to drive every day.

    Interior Comparison

    On the inside, both SUVs come standard with cloth seats, which are manually adjusted in the front and are 60/40 split-fold in the rear. A tilting and telescoping steering wheel, along with plenty of interior space for passengers, is offered by both brands. Technology features include Bluetooth, voice-commands, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and either Chevy's OnStar or Subaru's StarLink for emergency response on the road or roadside assistance. However, speaking of roadside assistance, Chevy offers this service for five years or 100,000 miles, while Subaru only provides complimentary roadside assistance for three years or 36,000 miles.

    Warranty Coverage

    The warranties differ on other points as well. Along with roadside assistance, Chevy also provides courtesy transportation. A free maintenance visit in the first year, plus six years or 100,000 miles of rust-through protection, is also standard for the warranty. Only five years of corrosion protection are included for the Subaru. Overall, Chevy's warranty covers more for a lower price tag and will keep you driving confidently for longer.

  • Comfort

    A dark gray 2021 Chevy Equinox is shown from a high angle with a family congregating in the rear.The entry-level trim for many vehicles can often be sparse when it comes to desirable features, but not always. Though the 2021 Forester has some desirable standard features to draw in buyers, the entry-level models are light on comfort, and the appearance of the exterior and interior comes across as low-budget. In comparison, the 2021 Equinox utilizes materials that look and feel more upscale, and the seating has better support and is more comfortable for long drives. Even though the Forester boasts slightly more passenger and cargo space, the Equinox has better quality materials and more attractive interior styling. For buyers seeking to be comfortable for commutes or family vacations, the 2021 Equinox is likely to be a better fit.


    Getting into both SUVs is simplified with keyless entry, but only the 2021 Equinox offers keyless entry and push-button start at the base level trim. Another consideration in favor of the 2021 Equinox is the quiet cabin. With an acoustic laminated windshield and active noise cancellation, the Equinox shuts out the sounds of the highway or the city streets for a more serene drive. The Forester does not offer sound buffering against the outside noise, and this is yet one more aspect of how low-budget the Forester seems despite its higher price tag. Other conveniences to consider may seem small on paper but loom large in daily life.


    Modern life calls for a smartphone. Even on vacation, we rely heavily on our personal devices to navigate, stay entertained, and find sightseeing locations or places to eat. Charging your device in your vehicle can be more than just a convenience, so the 2021 Equinox makes four USB ports standard on all trims, with ports in front and back. Combine this convenience with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and your smartphone integrates seamlessly with your Equinox. Subaru includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, but only the top trims have more than two USB ports, which means if you travel with family, you will be juggling who gets to charge their phones.

    If your family relies on WiFi for phone usage, Chevy offers a standard 4G LTE WiFi hotspot in the 2021 Equinox. Subaru does not supply this option for entry-level Foresters, so buyers will need to purchase the more expensive trims for this feature. Music lovers may also prefer the Chevy Equinox to the Forester, with a six-speaker audio system as standard compared to the four-speaker system in the Forester. That higher-quality sound will pair nicely with the convenience of the infotainment features, which are intuitive to use through the apps in the Chevy, and you have a larger 7-inch touchscreen standard too.

  • Safety

    A black 2021 Chevy Equinox is driving through a tunnel after winning the 2021 Chevy Equinox vs 2021 Subaru Forester comparison.Safety features are now focused on driver-assist technology, and manufacturers strive to offer more of these features every year. Both the Equinox and Forester were built to withstand impacts and have earned the highest five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA. When you look closer at the standard equipment, one of these vehicles stands out from the other. With the 2021 Equinox, Chevy incorporates its new Chevy Safety Assist suite of advanced technology to prevent or lessen the effects of potential impacts. Subaru integrates its own signature safety suite called EyeSight for the 2021 Forester.


    A few of the features included in these safety systems are similar, such as lane keep assist and lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and a pre-collision warning system that includes automatic emergency braking and front pedestrian braking. Subaru offers adaptive cruise control with lane centering, while Chevy adds a following distance indicator. Both vehicles will have standard traction and stability control, a rearview camera, and LED daytime running lights. While the adaptive cruise control may be handy for highway driving, the following distance indicator works at any speed and will prove more useful in daily driving situations.

    Passive Safety

    Passive safety features can make a bigger difference in daily life, too. Chevy offers parents the peace of mind of a rear-seat reminder, so you remember to check the back seat for sleeping little ones, a life-saving feature, especially in hot weather. For parents with new drivers in the family, Chevy Teen Driver allows you to set limits on speed and stereo volume, so you know your younger drivers will be safer even if you aren't in the vehicle. An electronic parking brake is more assurance for safety when you park on inclines, so you know your vehicle won't roll after you park it. Subaru provides none of the parent-oriented features of the Chevy. Such features are why parents often vote for the Equinox as a favorite family vehicle year after year.

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