The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox compact SUV has earned a Top Safety Pick in part because of its standard adaptive headlights. - Photo courtesy of IIHS.

The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox compact SUV has earned a Top Safety Pick in part because of its standard adaptive headlights.

Photo courtesy of IIHS.

Chevrolet's 2020 Equinox has earned a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, when the compact SUV is outfitted with the available HID projector headlights.

The Equinox aced six IIHS crashworthiness tests, scoring good ratings across the board. These included the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, head restraint, and passenger-side small overlap front tests.

However, in order to capture a Top Safety Pick award, vehicles also need an advanced or superior rating for vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention and a good or acceptable headlight rating.

The Equinox did not disappoint. Its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system demonstrated peak performance — earning a superior rating from IIHS engineers. The system helped the SUV avoid a collision in the 12 mph test and reduced its impact speed by an average of 22 mph in the 25 mph.

What’s more, although the rating does not factor into 2019 award criteria, the Equinox also earned an advanced rating for pedestrian front crash prevention.

Headlights are where competing vehicles can sometimes fall short in IIHS safety testing.

The 2020 Equinox comes standard with high-beam assist, a system that automatically switches between high beams and low beams, depending on the presence of other vehicles. Vehicles can earn extra credit in IIHS headlight tests for having high-beam assist because research has shown that drivers don't use high beams as often as they should.

This safety feature boosted the Equinox's available HID projector headlights to garner an acceptable rating — giving it the final element needed to earn the Top Safety Pick award.

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