The compact SUV race has proven to be a long, uncompromising one. Updates happen often in order to satiate consumer demands. After dragging its Equinox crossover through a seven-year second generation, Chevrolet has redesigned the popular SUV for 2018.
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2018 Chevrolet Equinox Overview
What's New for 2018
The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is all-new and features a restyled exterior, an updated interior, a new 9-speed automatic transmission, and added safety technologies. The new Equinox also features the brand’s first all-turbocharged engine lineup, including a segment-first diesel.
Choosing Your Chevrolet Equinox
The Equinox ranks as Chevy’s second best-selling vehicle behind its Silverado full-size pickup. After watching the competition garner market share and awards with their new crossovers, the Bowtie brand updated its segment entry with new gadgets and gizmos but with relatively stable pricing.
The standard engine is a 1.5-liter, turbocharged inline-four that delivers 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque and is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 26 miles per gallon city, 32 highway, and 28 combined for front-wheel drive models. All-wheel drive configurations are rated at 24/30/26 mpg.
The 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder works with a nine-speed automatic and boasts 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The EPA estimates front-drive models will return 22 mpg city, 29 highway, and 25 combined while all-wheel-drive drops those figures to 22/28/24 mpg rating.
The upcoming 1.6-liter turbodiesel uses a six-speed automatic and delivers 137 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. Not yet tested by the EPA, Chevy estimates the diesel model will achieve up to 40 mpg highway. Both the 2.0-liter turbo and 1.6-liter diesel should arrive in dealerships sometime this summer and be offered in LT and Premier models only.
New available safety features include a safety alert seat that can vibrate to warn drivers, automatic braking, front-collision warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, rear seat reminder, and a surround-view camera system.
The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is available in four trim levels:
What makes the crossover such an attractive buy are amenities and affordability. Although Chevrolet kept pricing for the Equinox LT and Premier steady from 2017 for both front- and all-wheel drive configurations, the numbers listed above are still based only on the base 1.5-liter engine. Currently, with all the boxes checked, a 2018 Equinox Premier AWD will run an eye-opening $42,405. Until Chevy releases the 2.0-liter turbo and diesel models, our recommendation is the LT with the Confidence and Convenience Package, which will keep the tab at a reasonable $29,240.
2018 Chevrolet Equinox Review
The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is all-new, as Chevy downsizes its compact crossover to better compete with segment rivals. But a quiet ride and smooth suspension are offset by numb steering and cheap-looking interior trim bits that have no business being on a vehicle that can cost over $40,000.
Pricing and Equipment
The entry-level, front-wheel-drive L model – which you'll probably never see on dealer lots – has a base MSRP of $24,475, while a loaded, range-topping, AWD Premier checks in at $40,545. Both prices include an $895 destination charge. The volume model, though, will likely be the LT trim, with a starting price of $27,645 and standard features like:
- Steering wheel audio, phone, and driver information center controls
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- HID headlights and LED daytime running lights
- Power driver's seat with lumbar adjustment
- Second row seat release levers in cargo compartment
Those features are in addition to a standard, seven-inch MyLink touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatability, a rear view camera, Bluetooth, 4G LTE wifi, and active noise cancellation are standard on all trims, as is Chevrolet's Teen Driver technology. This system allows parents to program certain driving parameters as well as receive a report on driving behavior, making it perfect to make sure little Jimmy behaves behind the wheel. However, the only way to get advanced driver assists like low speed automatic emergency braking is by adding the $1,895 Confidence and Convenience II Package to either the top-spec Premier model.
As of this writing, the only engine choice is a turbocharged, 1.5-liter four cylinder boasting 170 horsepower and 203 lb-ft of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It comes with an EPA-estimated 26 miles per gallon in the city, 32 on the highway, and 28 combined. In the near future, Chevrolet plans on offering two additional engine options: a larger 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder matched to a nine-speed automatic, as well as a 1.6-liter turbodiesel.
- Although horsepower is down over the previous 2.4-liter powerplant, torque is up by 29 pound-feet and available sooner – between 2,000 and 4,000 rpm, versus the old engine's peak of 4,900 rpm.
- The six-speed automatic operates smoothly, upshifting and downshifting without a fuss.
- While the overall ride is very smooth, the Premier model's handling is the best of the bunch thanks to its optional 19-inch wheels and Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 tires.
- There's very little feedback to the driver through the chassis or the electric steering system.
- The Equinox LT's standard Michelin Premier LTX tires have a tendency to squeal at the slightest hint of spirited cornering.
- There's not much of an initial bite to the brake pads, which makes it harder to modulate the brakes.
- There's plenty of room in the back seats for two adults – even three on shorter trips.
- The interior ergonomics are very good, with clear instrumentation and an intuitive infotainment system and controls.
- Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is a killer trump card.
- Although Chevy has excised much of the hard plastic found in the outgoing model, what remains is still unacceptable – especially on Premier models.
- Front seats – especially those covered in fabric - are on the snug side.
- Cargo volume, at 29.9 cubic feet, significantly trails both the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
Lighter weight and a new turbo engine with a more useful torque curve make the latest Equinox much more competitive in the compact crossover segment.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
The interior, though much improved, still reeks of cheapness – especially in the top Premier trim level.
The Bottom Line
The latest Chevrolet Equinox, with better performance and more appealing exterior and interior styling, is a big step up from the outgoing model; but a cheap interior, middling driver feedback, and below-average cargo volume place it only mid-pack in the compact crossover segment.
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