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Sibling Rivalry: 2021 Chevrolet Blazer vs. 2021 Chevrolet Equinox

Which 5-passenger, middle-weight Chevrolet SUV is right for you?

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Between its sub-compact Trax and full-size Suburban, General Motors' Chevrolet brand offers a wide selection of SUVs. In the meaty middle are the compact Equinox and mid-size Blazer. Both of these Chevy SUVs offer room for up to five passengers, can be had with front- or all-wheel-drive, and provide a stellar combination of SUV-like utility and carlike driving characteristics.

Taking its name from one of the original truck-based SUVs, the Chevrolet Blazer badge was resurrected last year. Sharing the same GM platform as the Cadillac XT5, the 2021 Blazer is a modern 5-passenger mid-size SUV with styling inspired by Chevrolet’s sporty Camaro and talents better suited to the pavement than serious off-roading.

The Chevrolet Equinox has always been a popular choice as family transportation for Canadians. Now in its third generation, which arrived for the 2018 model year, the 2021 Equinox shares its chassis with the Cadillac XT4, Buick Envision and GMC Terrain and is an established player in the highly-competitive compact SUV class.

Read on to find out which of these Chevy SUV siblings is suitable for you.

 

Price

With a starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of $27,198 CDN for the base, front-wheel-drive (FWD) LS trim, the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox is one of the most affordable compact SUVs in its segment. The LS trim comes with keyless entry and push-button start, an infotainment system with a 7-inch display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, four USB ports, and General Motors' Teen Driver system that can set parameters and relay information on driving habits. Adding traction at all four wheels is still under $30,000 ($29,598 CDN). The topline $35,398 CDN Premier trim adds such niceties as blind-spot monitoring, a hands-free power liftgate, leather interior, 8-inch touchscreen, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats and exterior mirrors, and rear parking sensors.

Competing one rung up in the mid-size SUV class, it’s no surprise pricing for the 2021 Chevrolet Blazer starts where the Equinox leaves off. Blazer pricing begins with the base, FWD LT at  $37,498 CDN and includes features such as an 8-way power-adjust driver’s seat, SiriusXM radio, deep-tinted windows, compact spare tire, and road-side tool kit, plus the availability to add more options. Traction at all four wheels adds $2,400 CDN. The topline $49,398 CDN Premier trim includes the optional V6 engine, AWD, and features not available on the Equinox, such as an 8-speaker Bose audio system, power-adjust steering wheel, driver memory settings, ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats.

Winner: 2021 Chevrolet Equinox

 

Interior 

Although the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox and Blazer are both 5-passenger SUVs and cast a similarly-sized shadow, there are plenty of differences once inside.

Except for front headroom and rear legroom space, the mid-size Blazer offers more passenger room than the compact Equinox. The Blazer also offers more cargo space behind its rear seats: 864 litres versus the 846 found in the Equinox.

Subjectively, the pricier Blazer delivers a more appealing and upscale interior over the less expensive Equinox. All Blazer trims include an 8-inch touchscreen display that’s easy to see and use, especially with volume and track buttons beneath. One of the Blazer’s coolest features is one similar to the Chevrolet Camaro: the climate vents also act as giant knobs to change temperature. A twist of the fan housing to the left or right lowers or raises the temperature, respectively.

Winner: 2021 Chevrolet Blazer

 

Performance & Fuel Economy

No matter what trim you opt for, every 2021 Chevy Equinox is powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 170 horsepower and 203 lb-ft of torque mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The Blazer offers two powerplants: a 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder; and a 6-cylinder that makes 308 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. Each engine uses a 9-speed automatic transmission. With more power, the Blazer can out-tow the Equinox, too: up to 4,500 pounds (2,041 kilograms, compared to the Equinox’s 1,500 lb (681 kg ) rating.

Where the Equinox beats the Blazer is at the pumps. The most fuel-efficient FWD Equinox scores a combined city and highway estimate of 8.4 litres per 100 kilometres (L/100 km), compared to the Blazer’s 9.8 estimate. The same applies to the AWD versions. The Equinox is estimated at 8.8 L/100 km, while the most frugal AWD Blazer scores 10.1.

Winner: Tie


Ride and Handling

On pavement, we found the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox’s ride on the softer and more comfortable side. Cornering is acceptable but not as athletic as that of the Blazer. And if you stay within the Equinox’s compact SUV rivals, a Subaru Forester or Jeep Cherokee is better suited to off-pavement excursions.

The 2021 Chevrolet Blazer does an excellent job balancing road imperfections while keeping body roll in check and bringing a bit of excitement when hustling around corners. Selectable drive models include Sport, Tow, and Off-road (probably the mode that will be used the least) that change the steering, throttle, and transmission responses. The AWD and sportier $46,698 CDN Blazer RS has quicker steering action. In any version, drivers will notice the Blazer’s quiet cabin (active noise cancellation helps here), excellent forward vision, and confident braking.

Winner: 2021 Chevrolet Blazer

 

Safety

The 2021 Chevrolet Equinox comes well equipped with automatic emergency braking, forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist, plus automatic headlights as standard equipment. However, if you want adaptive cruise control, you'll have to step up to the top-line Equinox Premier, then pay extra for a $2,496 CDN package that includes a powered front driver's seat, rear safety Alert Seat, and heated rear seats.

The Equinox’s larger sibling is no slouch in the safety department, either. Standard safety on the 2021 Blazer includes Chevrolet Safety Assist automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, lane-keep assist with lane-departure warning, following distance indicator, forward collision alert and Intellibeam auto high beams. The $42,898 CDN Blazer True North trim adds lane-change alert with side-blind zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert and rear park assist.

Winner: Tie

 

Overall Winner: 2021 Chevrolet Blazer

If a low price and excellent fuel economy are at the top of your middleweight Chevrolet SUV buying list, the 2021 Equinox is the better choice in this pair of Chevy SUV siblings. However, if your budget is big enough, we think the 2021 Chevrolet Blazer is a better choice.

With a more luxurious and roomier interior, the ability to tow more, a more comprehensive range of engines, and a more refined ride and handling package, we have no problem declaring the 2021 Chevrolet Blazer the winner over its Equinox sibling.

Specs

2021 Chevrolet Blazer

2021 Chevrolet Equinox

 

Engine(s)

2.0-litre turbocharged I4

3.6-litre V6

1.5-litre Turbocharged I4

Horsepower

2.0T – 277 hp @ 5,000 rpm

3.6 - 308 hp @ 6,700 rpm

170 hp @ 5,600 rpm

 

Torque

2.0T - 258 lb-ft @ 1,500-4,000 rpm

V6 - 270 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm

203 hp @ 2,000-4,000 rpm

Transmission

9-speed automatic

6-speed automatic

Fuel Economy

2.0T FWD – 9.8 L/100 km (11.0 city, 8.3 hwy)

2.0T AWD – 10.1 L/100 km (11.3 city, 8.7 hwy)

V6 AWD- 11.4 L/100 km (13.1 city, 9.4 hwy)

FWD – 8.4 L/100 km (8.9 city, 7.7 hwy)

AWD – 8.8 L/100 km (9.4 city, 8.0 hwy)

 

 

Warranty

3 years/60,000 km

3 years/60,000 km

Max Seating Capacity

5

5

Curb Weight

1,870-1,929 kg

1,485 kgs

Wheelbase

2,863 mm

2,725 mm

Overall Length

4,862 mm

4.651 mm

Width

1,948 mm

1,844 mm

Height

1,702 mm

1,661 mm

Headroom, Front

1,011 mm

1,016 mm

Headroom, Rear

980 mm

978 mm

Legroom, Front

1,041 mm

1,039 mm

Legroom, Rear

1,006 mm

1,013 mm

Shoulder Room, Front

1,501 mm

1,453 mm

Shoulder Room, Rear

1,488 mm

1,410 mm

Cargo Volume, Behind Rear seats

864 L

847 L

 

Towing Capacity

4,500 lbs (2,041 kgs)

1,500 lb (681 kg )

 

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