2019 Subaru Forester vs. Chevy Equinox: Comparing Crossover SUVs

Legendary compact SUVs like the Subaru Forester don’t grow on trees—they’re diligently designed and impeccably primped to make the most of every one of its nooks, crannies, and features. With the newly redesigned 2019 Forester, that flawless nature has never been more on display.


But how does the ’19 Forester compare with the Chevrolet Equinox, one of the best-selling crossovers in America? While the Equinox may talk the talk with sales numbers, the new Forester is the one that walks the walk. Here’s a side-by-side comparison between these two all-star family SUVs.

Forester vs. Equinox: Technology

In-car technology is where the Subaru excels. Perhaps the most notable piece of tech in the new Forester is its intuitive STARLINK infotainment system, which operates within either the base 6.5-inch touchscreen or the upgraded 8.0-incher. STARLINK is highly responsive, allowing users to speak or tap and swipe through the navigation software with ease. Mounted below it in the central stack are a series of quality features, including two USB ports, dual-climate controls, SI-Drive, an Enhanced X-MODE selector, and plenty of small-item storage bins.

Additional technological highlights in the 2019 Subaru Forester include HD radio, a 9-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, rearview-camera wipers, a power panoramic moonroof, and an available STARLINK Entertainment Anywhere package, which comes with 2 Apple iPad® tablets, Bluetooth headphones, and OtterBox® Defender iPad cases.

Comparing the base Subaru Forester with its counterpart, the Chevy Equinox L, it’s easy to see why the Subaru SUV is a better choice. The Forester comes with the following features that aren’t available on the Equinox: splash guards, front foglights, a raised roof rack, CD player, and a cargo area cover. In reality, lower-trim Equinox models are fairly sparse in the technology department. Equinox L trims are only available with FWD and a handful of features like USB ports and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay; the one-up LS adds frustratingly little to the mix—a compass, spare tire, and some exterior paint colors, namely—which ultimately forces shoppers to shoot for the stars with an Equinox Premier model.

Winner: Subaru Forester


Forester vs. Equinox: Comfort & Utility

Redesigned for 2019, the new Forester offers one of the best cabins in the compact SUV segment. Available niceties in range-topping Subaru Forester trims include everything from heated rear and front seats, a rare 8-way power passenger seat, 10-way power driver’s seat, high-end leather upholstery, soft-touch door paneling, an ample central storage center, automatic climate control, and top-notch lumbar support in all 5 seats. Best of all, with a power tailgate that offers a 51.3-inch-wide opening into the cargo area, the 2019 Forester is a utilitarian’s dream ride.

Sure, the Chevy Equinox can seat five, has a hands-free liftgate, and is comfortable enough to be a daily driver. However, the U.S. News critics said it best in their review of the Equinox: “The Equinox features a mix of high- and low-quality materials throughout the cabin, which leads to a middling overall feel and a decidedly less upscale feel than some competitors provide.” With less cargo room, passenger space, and poorer interior materials, the 2019 Equinox can’t compete with the new Forester SUV.

Winner: Subaru Forester


Forester vs. Equinox: Safety

The 2019 Subaru Forester is a safer SUV than the Chevrolet Equinox. The Forester received an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ while the new Equinox was not mentioned on their TSP list.

Standard safety features ensure the Subaru Forester continues its trend as one of the safest crossovers in America. In the base ’19 Forester model, owners benefit from standard EyeSight® Driver Assist technology, which includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-collision Braking System, Lane Departure and Sway Warning, and Lane Keep Assist.

DriverFocus debuts on the Forester Touring trim, as well, and it incorporates a head-tracking feature that senses the driver isn’t paying attention to the road. It even uses advanced facial recognition software to store memory settings for up to five drivers; just sit down to activate your personal seat and exterior mirrors settings.

On the other hand, base Chevy Equinox L models do not receive the same standardized treatment, as the only safety features included are Teen Driver and Rear Seat Reminder. To get a comparable array of safety features in the new Equinox, you’ll have to upgrade to the Equinox Premier model—and even then, many advanced safety systems are only available if you fork over extra dough.

Winner: Subaru Forester

Forester vs. Equinox: Specs

What’s the best way to compare the Subaru Forester to the Chevy Equinox? Take a test drive of each at your area’s Chevy and Subaru SUV dealerships.

Okay, but what’s the second-best way to compare the new Forester to the Equinox? Review their specs. Here’s how the 2019 Forester and Equinox differ on the stat sheet:

  • Passenger Volume: 111.9 cu. ft. (Forester) vs. 103.2 cu. ft. (Equinox)
  • Max Cargo Volume: 76.1 cu. ft. (Forester) vs. 63.9 cu. ft. (Equinox)
  • Front/Rear Headroom: 41.2”/39.6” (Forester) vs. 40”/38.5” (Equinox)
  • Front/Rear Legroom: 43.3”/39.4” (Forester) vs. 40.9”/39.9” (Equinox)
  • Front/Rear Shoulder Room: 58.2”/57.2” (Forester) vs. 57.2”/55.5” (Equinox)
  • Base Horsepower: 182 hp (Forester) vs. 170 hp (Equinox)
  • AWD Fuel Efficiency: 26 MPG city/33 MPG hwy (Forester) vs. 25 MPG city/30 MPG hwy (Equinox gas models)
  • Top Trim MSRP: $35,270 (Forester Touring) vs. $36,296 (Equinox Premier)

Overall Winner: Subaru Forester

Test Drive a New Subaru Forester in Birmingham

There’s a reason why the 2019 Subaru Forester was named one of Motor Trend’s SUV of the Year finalists. With an incredibly well-designed interior, amazing safety technology, and a great assortment of features, it’s a classy crossover that shouldn’t be overlooked. Come check out the Forester and its ingenious BOXER engine by visiting Jim Burke Subaru at 1301 5th Ave N in Birmingham, AL. Contact our Subaru dealership near Hoover at (205) 588-6281 to schedule a test drive or learn more about any of our current Subaru Forester lease offers.

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