Subaru Forester vs. Chevy Equinox: Which is Better?

The Subaru Forester and Chevrolet Equinox are two compact crossovers in a very similar price range, but which of these SUVs offers the best overall package?
Written by Cameron Thiessen
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Both the 2022 Subaru Forester and the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox fall into the compact crossover/SUV class. But the Subaru Forester wins out when it comes to performance, style, and cost of ownership.
The Chevrolet Equinox may be one of the most popular compact crossovers on the new car market, but that doesn’t mean it’s one of the best. On the other hand, the Subaru Forester offers many of the favorite elements of Subaru performance in a smaller size than the more well-known Outback. It offers better towing capacity, standard all-wheel-drive, and better engine performance when properly equipped.
So which of these SUVs is right for you? The
car insurance
gurus at
have all the information you need to make a decision between these two compact SUV mainstays. We’ll investigate initial prices, trim options, long-term ownership costs, performance specs, interior and exterior dimensions, and more.
And make sure to download Jerry’s trustworthy insurance shopping app that can find you huge savings on your
—or your
Chevrolet insurance costs
, depending on the decision you make!

Forester vs. Equinox: which is more expensive?

Starting MSRP
Starting MSRP
Forester Base
Equinox LS
Forester Premium
Equinox LT
Forester Sport
Equinox RS
Forester Limited
Equinox Premier
Forester Wilderness
Forester Touring
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The Chevrolet Equinox and Subaru Forester’s trim levels are very similar, although the Forester Wilderness stands out as the one trim among these 2022 models that can tow 3,500 pounds. You can spend more money on a Forester than an Equinox if you want, but a base model Forester does barely have a more affordable price than the entry-level Equinox LS.

Ownership costs

When it comes to cost of ownership, these two models are nearly identical.
According to Edmunds’ estimates, you’ll save only about $600 over the course of five years of ownership with an entry-level Forester trim over an Equinox.
These two models will cost about the same amount of money to fuel—you’ll save about $100 per year on fuel driving the Subaru, and repairs for the Forester will cost about the same on average as the Equinox.
Maintenance costs are slightly more expensive for the Subaru, but the Equinox will depreciate in value ever-so-slightly more.

Insurance costs

According to Edmunds, annual
Subaru Forester insurance costs
are about $15 lower than
Chevrolet Equinox insurance costs
Edmunds expects a five-year cost of $6,457 for the Forester Base and $6,538 for the Equinox LS. That being said, these averages don’t necessarily give an accurate picture of what you’ll actually pay for your car insurance, since prices vary greatly between states and even between drivers. Luckily,
can help you find the best prices available for your auto insurance, no matter what you drive!

Winner: it’s a tie!

There’s hardly anything between these two models in terms of price unless you’re comparing specific individual trims. While the Subaru Forester has the cheapest base model and lower ownership costs, you could end up spending quite a bit more on a higher trim.

Subaru Forester vs. Chevy Equinox: In-depth comparison

Body style and size

There’s a lot of similarity between these two compact crossover/SUVs in terms of size. They’re about the same length and height—with no more than a couple inches of variation between them. However, the Subaru Forester does a much better job of using its interior space to its full potential, offering more interior room overall—more passenger space and more potential space for cargo.
Here’s how the dimensions of the 2022 Subaru Forester and Chevy Equinox measure up:
2022 Subaru Forester
2022 Chevrolet Equinox
105.1 inches
107.3 inches
Passenger volume
111.6 cubic feet
103.5 cubic feet
Headroom (front/rear)
41.2/39.6 inches
40.0/38.5 inches
Legroom (front/rear)
43.3/39.4 inches
40.9/39.9 inches
Cargo volume w/seats up
28.9 cubic feet
29.9 cubic feet
Cargo volume w/seats down
74.2 cubic feet
63.9 cubic feet
Ground clearance
8.7 to 9.2 inches
7.6 to 8.0 inches
Base curb weight
3454 lbs
3465 lbs
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The Subaru clearly wins out in the dimension category. It’s a more “truck-ish” SUV than the Equinox is, with a higher ground clearance, a slightly lower curb weight, and a distinctly more spacious interior.

Engine and performance

There’s only one engine available for the Subaru Forester: a 2.5-liter flat-four with 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. No matter which trim level you choose, it’s paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and a
standard symmetrical all-wheel drive (AWD)
In terms of performance, this isn’t exactly an exciting powertrain. The CVT lacks personality, and its acceleration time is a measly 8 seconds to get from 0 to 60 mph. However, it definitely does its job. Most Forester models can tow up to 1,500 pounds, but the Forester Wilderness comes with a retuned transmission that’s designed to perform better in off-road conditions and allows for up to 3,000 pounds of towing capacity.
The Chevy Equinox also only has one powertrain for the 2022 model year—the upgraded 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is no longer available. Every Equinox trim gets a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four with 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque. It’s managed by a 6-speed automatic transmission.
FWD is standard on all trims, and traction-improving all-wheel drive is available on each for an extra charge of $1,600.
Each Chevrolet Equinox can tow up to 1,500 pounds, matching the majority of Equinox models, but in terms of enjoyability, the Equinox is even slower than the Forester. It takes 8.9 seconds to accelerate to 60 mph.

Fuel economy

The Subaru Forester (without the Wilderness trim’s alternate transmission) is the most fuel efficient of these two models. Driving a Subaru Forester Base, you’ll get 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Opting for the Wilderness trim reduces fuel economy to 25/28 mpg (city/highway).
The fuel economy of the Chevrolet Equinox isn’t really all that different—you’ll notice the biggest difference in efficiency during highway driving. FWD models get 26/31 mpg (city/hwy) and AWD reduces mileage by1 mpg.


Both models get five-star overall crash test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), each only losing a single point in the Rollover Rating category.
However, only the Subaru Forester gets the highly-sought-after 2022 Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The Equinox loses serious points for slow and short seat belt reminders and an updated side crash test that prompted a score change from “Good” to “Marginal.”


Starting with the most important technology features, both models are equipped with their version of what has become an expected piece of driver assistance tech: namely automatic emergency braking.
The Forester comes standard with adaptive cruise control, but it’s optional on the Chevy Equinox. However, the standard Equinox LS has a more robust safety features suite, adding lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist to the previously mentioned features.
Higher trims of each model get more advanced safety features—such as parking sensors, 360-degree cameras, and rear cross-traffic alert. The Subaru’s EyeSight safety features suite is more complete in higher trims than the Equinox equivalents, offering an Automatic Emergency Steering feature and their DriverFocus distraction mitigation system.
In terms of other tech, both feature onboard Wi-Fi, although it doesn’t come with the standard Forester model. Both have touchscreen infotainment systems with optional larger 8-inch screens and industry-standard smartphone connectivity. Navigation and premium audio upgrades are also available for both systems.

Interior and comfort

With a more spacious interior, the Forester starts with a leg up on the Chevy Equinox in this category. However, when it comes to interior materials and styling, the Equinox has the more comfortable and aesthetically-pleasing cabin. Neither offers all that much to write home about—these vehicles are designed with affordability in mind, rather than luxury.
As trim levels go up, both offer luxuries like leather seats and heated seats. However, the Subaru has a far more complete set of luxuries available than the Equinox, like a moonroof, heated steering wheel, and gesture controls for climate settings.

Winner: Subaru Forester

While these two vehicles are very similar, the 2022 Subaru Forester does come out on top as the better compact SUV/crossover model. It offers more space, increased towing capability, better fuel economy, and a faster, more powerful engine, all for essentially the same ownership costs.
Especially if you’re looking for an SUV more suited for rough terrain, the Forester’s increased ground clearance and standard AWD should be enough to sway your decision.

How to save on Subaru insurance costs

Regardless of whether you choose the Subaru or the Forester, you’ll pay less money than the national average for
car insurance
costs, thanks to their compact size, great safety ratings, and affordable upkeep costs. But you can always find even more savings on your car insurance—with
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