Chevy Equinox Towing Capacity

How Much Can A Chevy Equinox Tow?

Chevy Equinox towing capacity (2) is required to be understood to determine which rigs can be safely (4) pulled with this SUV (3), as the towing capacity is a manufacturer´s specification that can be known (5). The Chevy Equinox is an SUV (6) manufactured by Chevrolet (9) and considered very safe (7) (8).

When looking for a vehicle with solid towing capacity, the maximum number isn’t the only value you should consider. Chevrolet recommends (1) for their Equinox models (10), that you select a trailer with a tongue weight of about 10 to 15% (12) (13) of its gross combination weight rating (GCWR) (11).

The Chevy Equinox towing capacity is up to 3,500 pounds with the 2.0-liter engine and up to 1,500 pounds with the 1.5-liter engine. Therefore, the towing capacity of the Chevy Equinox suffices for light travel trailers and pop-up campers in the 2.0-liter option while the latter can tow jet skis, stand-up trailers, and dirt bike trailers.

Model Name:1.5L Turbo1.6L Turbo2.0L Turbo
Towing Capacity:1,500 lbs.1,500 lbs.3,500 lbs.
Unladen Vehicle Weight:3,274 lbs.3,485 lbs.3,448 lbs.

With less power at its command, the smaller 1.5L engine models are only rated to tow up to 1,500 lbs. If you regularly tow big loads, the 2.0L seems a no-brainer with more than double the towing capacity.

When we consider the Chevy Equinox towing capacity, bear in mind that trailer tongue weight should be 10% to 15% of total loaded trailer weight (up to 350 lbs.). The addition of trailer tongue weight must not cause vehicle weights to exceed Rear Gross Axle Weight Rating (RGAWR) or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). Maximum trailer weight rating requires factory-installed trailering equipment.

The weight of passengers, cargo, and options or accessories will of course reduce the amount that you can tow.

Chevy Equinox towing capacity of around 1,000 pounds for a trailer without brakes and 1,500 pounds for trailers equipped with brakes.

This is much, much lighter than most vehicles, and includes the weight of the trailer. So if you have a 500-pound trailer, you only have 500-1,000 pounds left to tow at the most. This is somewhat limited, but you’re probably looking at hauling small loads anyway, like towing a mid-size ATV or 4-wheeler or trailering some lawn equipment.

Also keep in mind that the most your Equinox plus any cargo or trailer can add up to is 5,787 pounds if you have a front-wheel-drive SUV — 5,952 pounds for all-wheel-drive models.

That includes you, your spouse, kids, dogs, luggage, and so on in addition to whatever you’re towing.

Failure to adhere to these guidelines will result in premature wear and damage to many of the components of your vehicle, not to mention it compromises your safety.

On a couple of the earlier models, in regards of the Chevy Equinox towing capacity, it stated that if you had two passengers, the max. capacity (applicable models) was the higher 3,500 lbs. but with 5 passengers, that weight was reduced to 2,900 lbs.

The GCWR is always a good number to look at if you are unsure of the weight you can haul, in addition to the weight of passengers, cargo, etc.

Towing Capacity And Chevy Equinox Engines

The Chevy Equinox is available with two different engines you can choose from. This will affect the Chevy Equinox towing capacity, so we dedicate this paragraph to analyze them.

Chevy Equinox has two types of engines available: the base L trim and the LS trim come equipped with a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque. The other option is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 252 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, which is available as an upgrade on the LT and Premier.

Typically, the more powerful the engine, the more you can tow.

For RVers, we would recommend the option with the 2.0-liter engine, without hesitation. The larger engine comes paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. With this engine, the Chevy Equinox towing capacity increases notably and you could easily tow a lightweight boat, a pair of motorcycles, or a small travel trailer.

The Chevy Equinox towing capacity, particularly with the larger 2.0-liter engine. With the base engine, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, the small SUV can tow a maximum of 1,500 pounds. If you’re looking to tow a small pop-up trailer, a jet ski, a bumper pull, or a couple of dirt bikes and motorcycles, this engine would work well.

RPM For The Chevy Equinox Engines

The Equinox comes in either 1.5L or 2.0L 4-cylinder trims. The former churns out 170 horsepower at 5,600 RPM while the latter does 252 horsepower at 5,500 RPM. It’s a similar story when it comes to torque with the 2.0L overpowering the 1.5L with 260 horses at 2,500 to 4,500 RPM compared to 203 horsepower at 2,000 to 4,000 RPM.

Detailed Specification Of The Chevy Equinox Engines And Their Related Towing Capacity

  • EcoTec 1.5L Turbocharged Engine: This engine boasts a GCWR rating of 5,247 pounds when equipped with FWD and 5,467 pounds with AWD. What’s more, with either drivetrain, it gives the Chevy Equinox up to a 1,500-pound towing capacity.
  • 2.0L Turbocharged Engine: This larger, more powerful Chevy Equinox engine boasts a 7,694 pound GCWR rating and, when equipped, gives the Equinox a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds when also paired with the Chevy Equinox towing package!
Handling the All Wheel Drive (AWD) drivetrain from the Chevy Equinox. Towing is controlled easily in this SUV However, we did not have a good experience, and the dashboard of, for example, the Nissan Rogue was much more complete.

Comparison Of The Chevy Equinox Towing Capacity WIth Other Compact SUVs

When compared to other vehicles in its class, the Chevy Equinox remains competitive. Some towing capacities of other vehicles in its class, compact crossover SUVs, include the following:

  • Nissan Rogue: Up to 1,349 pounds
  • Toyota RAV4: Up to 1,750 pounds.
  • Mazda CX-5: Up to 2,000 pounds.
  • Subaru Outback: Up to 2,700 pounds.
  • GMC Terrain: Up to 3,500 pounds.
  • Hyundai Santa Fe: Up to 3,500 pounds (Only on the 2.0T trim).

Towing Features Of The Chevy Equinox

To enhance its towing capacity, the Chevy Equinox includes several vital towing features with the larger engine option, with the 2.0-liter engine.

Its heavy-duty cooling system allows the engine to work harder without overheating.

The 2-inch trailering receiver fits snugly on trailers, while the 7-inch wire electrical harness and seven-pin sealed connector give power to trailers’ brake lights, taillights, plate lights, and turn signal indicators.

The larger engine also includes a Tow/Haul mode button located on the center console. This feature helps the powertrain to tow the trailer. With Tow/Haul mode activated the transmission reconfigures the power dynamics so you can tow the maximum amount even when traveling uphill or tackling some off-roading routes.

You can also opt for the switchable all-wheel-drive system, which is ideal for rough or slippery terrain. This feature allows you to remain in the front-wheel-drive mode for most of the time to save on fuel and then switch to an all-wheel-drive when you need it while pulling the trailer.

What about the selection of the trailer hitch for the Chevy Equinox? The larger engine allows you to transport larger trailers. By using the right trailer hitch, you could potentially increase the towing capacity of the 2.0-liter engine to 4,500 pounds.

Suitable RVs To Tow With The Chevy Equinox

If you are looking to purchase a camper or trailer to use with your Equinox, remember that the weight listed is for an empty camper and trailer, and you most likely will add cargo to it. Try to calculate how much weight you will add to ensure you don’t exceed the maximum amount.

With the right trailer hitch, you could safely increase this to 4,500 lbs towing weight (or, 675 lbs tongue weight).

That means with a 1.5L, you’ll only be able to tow smaller trailers, such as some of these teardrop campers. With a 2.0L engine, you can take on something much heftier, such as the Airstream Caravel with more room to live.

But what if you have need of a trailer with an eye on hauling and not camping? Sticking with the 2.0L, something like Big Tex Trailer’s 35SV utility trailer (77-inch x 10-14 feet) should be well within your ability. With the 1.5L, you’ll still be able to haul the same trailer, but at nowhere near its full capacity.

Chevy Equinox Towing Safety

The Chevy Equinox towing capacity is not the only factor to consider to perform a safe tow. With disregard now of specifications such as the tow rating, we will consider how to improve safety in the towing, apart from the analysis of the towing capacity from previous paragraphs. This checklist can be useful.

  • Towing in new Chevy Equinox vehicles. An important thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t tow anything for the first 500 miles on the vehicle. Even after that, you need to limit your speeds and take frequent stops during the first 500 miles once you start towing.
  • Keep your speed down. In most states, it’s the law to keep it under 55 mph, not to mention that your Chevy Equinox owner’s manual suggests you tow at 55mph or less. While people regularly ignore these guidelines, they’re suggested for a reason.
  • Examine your brakes: You will place extra stress on the brakes when you tow anything, even with the addition of trailer brakes. Take a look at the pads and rotors to make sure they’re in good shape, and check the brake fluid under the hood. This means that before you tow, keep in mind that you will be putting extra stress on your Chevy Equinox braking system, even if you’re using trailer brakes. Visually inspect the pads and rotors and make sure you have enough brake fluid in the system.
  • Weight distribution hitch: A weight distribution hitch is not required to achieve the corresponding Chevy Equinox towing capacity. However, best practices recommend utilizing one.
  • Bring a spare tire: Both your Equinox and trailer should have spare tires that are in good shape.
  • Measure the tire pressure: Get out your tire gauge and make sure the tires to your Equinox and trailer are properly inflated.
  • Look at the wiring: Make sure to check the connectors before hitting the road with your trailer. Nothing is worse than dragging your trailer along the roadway.
  • Verify all lights work. Check that the running lights, turn signals, brake lights, and hazard lights all operate correctly.
  • Stay in a lower gear. Do not go into overdrive while towing. Keep it in a lower gear while towing so that a) the transmission slows the engine speed quicker in an emergency and b) you don’t strain the overdrive gear, which may not be designed for the stress of towing.
  • Secure your load. You don’t want your items to shift or fall while traveling, so make sure everything is secured.
  • Check your visibility. Once you have the trailer loaded, sit in your Chevy Equinox and adjust your side and rearview mirrors to make sure you can see.
  • Leave plenty of space. You’re going to need a lot more space to stop while pulling a trailer. Give yourself an additional car length at lower speeds, and even more at highway speeds!

Different Model Years

As we do every year, we continue tracking the Chevy Equinox towing capacity along with the modifications in the engine, whose changes can also influence the towing capacity of the vehicle.

2005, 2006, And 2007 Chevy Equinox Towing Capacity

​​2005 to 2007 Chevy Equinox Towing Capacity was rated at 3,500 lbs. max. for 2005-2007 models. The early years of the Chevrolet Equinox 2005-2007 only came with one engine option, the 3.4L engine, which was a 6 cylinder engine.

​3.4L​ (​6 cyl.)​FWD/AWD​​N/A​3,500 lbs.

2008 And 2009 Chevy Equinox Towing Capacity

2008 and 2009 models had two 6 cylinder engines that came equipped and the maximum Chevy Equinox towing capacity for either engine was a maximum of 3,500 lbs. These were the 3.4L and 3.6L engines.

​3.4L​ (​6 cyl.)​FWD/AWD​​N/A3,500 lbs.
​3.6L ​(​6 cyl.)​FWD/AWD​​N/A​3,500 lbs.

2010 2011 And 2012 Chevy Equinox Towing Capacity

The 2.4L engine had a maximum capacity of 1,500 lbs. and the 3.0L engine had a maximum capacity of 3,500 lbs.

The Chevrolet Equinox’s that were manufactured during 2010 2011 2012 had two different options, as far as engine configurations go, the 2.4L or 3.0L engines.

​2.4L​ (​4 cyl.)​FWD/AWD​N/A​1,500 lbs.
​3.0L ​(​6 cyl.)​FWD/AWD​​N/A​3,500 lbs.

2013 to 2017 Chevy Equinox Towing Capacity

The towing capacity for 2013-2017 for the Chevy Equinox is 1,500 lbs. for the 2.4L engine and 3,500 lbs. for the 3.6L engine.

The 2.4L and 3.6L engines were the two choices available.

From 2013-2017, there were some different engine configurations that were offered but it didn’t really change the towing capacity trends that we have been seeing.

​2.4L​ (​4 cyl.)​FWD/AWD​5,787-5,952 lbs.1,500 lbs.
​3.6L ​(​6 cyl.)​FWD/AWD7,937-​8,157 lbs.​3,500 lbs.

2018 To 2021 Chevy Equinox Towing Capacity

2018 to 2021 Chevy Equinox Towing capacity. Whereas the 2.0L engine had a larger towing capacity of 3,500 lb, the 1.5L, and 1.6L engines had the lower 1,500 lb. rating.

The 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 Chevy Equinox come with three different engine configurations, the 1.5L, 1.6L (diesel) and the 2.0L engines. The towing capacity was not affected by the drivetrain configuration, only the engine that was equipped.

​1.5L​ (​4 cyl.)​FWD/AWD​5,247 (with FWD drivetrain) – 5,467 lbs (AWD).​1,500 lbs.
​1.6L ​(​4 cyl.)​FWD/AWD​5,687 lbs.​1,500 lbs.
​​2.0L ​(​6 cyl.)​​FWD/AWD​​7,694 lbs.​​3,500 lbs.

Axle Ratio Configurations And The Towing Capacity

​There are a couple of different axle ratio configurations available and this feature can be somewhat relevant when it comes to the analysis of the Chevy Equinox towing capacity. The axle ratio configurations are not part of this study.

Sources And References

The sources of this article are the catalogs and a compilation of the manufacturer´s specifications released to the public and the protocols approved by the Department of Transport. Also, we have taken the following references below

  1. “2021 Chevrolet Equinox Unveiled At The Chicago Auto Show” from Autoblog (February 6, 2020)
  2.  “Planned Refresh Of 2021 Chevrolet Equinox Delayed Until 2022 Model Year”. GM Authority. 13 April 2020.
  3. “Chevrolet Equinox – 2022” Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  4. “2018 Holden Equinox pricing and specs | CarAdvice” Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  5.  “2018 Holden Acadia quick drive review | CarAdvice” Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  6.  “Holden Stops Commodore, Equinox Production” from GM Authority (October 17, 2018)
  8.  “The Best Emissions Strategy Is A Zero-Emissions Strategy”. Retrieved 16 October 2009.
  9.  Kim Reynolds (October 2008). “First Test: 2008 Chevrolet Equinox FCV – Waterworks: Fourteen Days In The Hydrogen Economy”Motor Trend. Retrieved April 1st, 2021.
  10.  Piellisch, Rich. “Nat G CNG for New GM Crossovers”. Fleets and Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  11.  Business Wire. 18 November 2013 Archived from the original on 20 April 2014.
  12. General Motors January 4, 2006 “GM Reports 392,041 Deliveries in December

Anthony Foxx

I am Tony, an RV designer and RV developer. I create bill of materials for RV manufacturers for travel trailers and fifth wheels. I worked as a freelance transportation consultant for Lyft. As an RV development consultant, I create customization trees for RV manufacturers who want to offer a solution to prospective customers to design their custom RV with variant configuration. Apart from this, I sell in Indiana trailer hitches, hitch balls, goosenecks and weight distribution systems where I provide advice to customers who want to know which is their towing capacity, which hitch ball should they utilize and how to deploy a weight distribution system. I do my best to explain all these processes and their installation, here in RV Favorites.

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