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.

Performance Pros

Chevrolet Equinox
  • 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.

Performance Cons

  • 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.

Interior Pros

  • 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.

Interior Cons

Chevrolet Equinox
  • 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.