The Equinox has been Chevrolet’s second best-selling vehicle after its Silverado trucks, with nearly 2 million sold to date. The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Premier steps onto the playing field ready to shine. It has new styling cues and improved aerodynamics that not only enhance its appearance but operational efficiency as well. The Equinox serves as a compact crossover from Chevrolet that is suitable for all lifestyles. On that basis, it wouldn’t be out of line to think of the model as a scaled-down Traverse.
The Equinox used to come with a choice of two engines. You could get a 2.4-liter four-cylinder or a 3.6-liter V6. Chevrolet mated both those engines to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Chevy replaced both naturally-aspirated units with smaller, turbocharged powerplants. The new engines feature an auto start/stop feature. Unfortunately, you can’t override it, but it is relatively non-intrusive.
This 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is available in four trim levels: L, LS, LT, and Premier. You can buy all trim levels in either FWD or AWD configurations.
Unlike the old Equinox, Chevrolet now offers three turbocharged four-cylinder engines. As standard, there’s a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that produces 170 horsepower and 203 lb-ft of torque. The smaller engine comes mated to a Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic transmission. An optional 2.0-liter turbo and a 1.6-liter turbo diesel engine variant will soon be available as well. GM coupled the 2.0-liter engine to its new nine-speed automatic transmission. As with the 1.5-liter, Chevrolet mated the 1.6-liter turbodiesel to a 6-speed automatic.
The Equinox development team sought to create an all-new compact SUV that represented the perfect balance of style, function, and efficiency. Jeff Perkins, Equinox design manager states,
“Working closely with the aerodynamics team, we were able to craft a final design that is the ultimate win-win scenario, and together we reached the aerodynamic goals intended to give the new Equinox an efficiency-enhancing edge on the highway with the sculpted look and cargo space we set out to achieve.”
FWD, 1.5-liter 2018 Equinox models offer an EPA-estimated 26/32 City/Highway MPG.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
The engineering and design teams focused on developing a refined vehicle shape that maintained key proportions of a small crossover. Additionally, they also delivered the utility and functionality that customers in this segment look for. The Equinox’s exterior expresses a lean, sculpted form sporting Chevrolet’s signature styling cues. It displays a lean, muscular skin and sculpted shapes Chevrolet also bestowed upon the Volt, Malibu, and Cruze. It’s a richer, more detailed design featuring chrome trim on all models. Projector-beam headlamps come standard, as do LED daytime running lamps. At the rear, horizontal taillamps emphasize the Equinox’s wide stance. On higher trim levels also feature LED taillamps.
GM cut the Equinox’s overall length by 4.7 inches to deliver a right-sized vehicle that’s easier to park and maneuver. Despite the smaller exterior dimensions, they managed to increase interior volume by 3.5 cubic feet. More than 500 hours in GM’s wind tunnel produced an exterior that not only maintained the essence of the intended design but reduced wind resistance by 10 percent over the previous model.
New, electronically-controlled upper and lower grille shutters contribute to greater aerodynamic performance. On the highway when engine-cooling needs are reduced, they close, pushing more air around the vehicle and reducing drag. Other “aero” features include a larger rear spoiler, designed to help reduce turbulence at the rear of the vehicle. At the rear corner, a series of “air trips” are incorporated for air separation at the edges of the taillamps. New tire deflectors aid in achieving the same aerodynamic advantage as a traditional air dam without compromising the Equinox’s sculpted design form. Finally, underbody panels on FWD models improve airflow beneath the vehicle.
The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Premier is a fresh and modern compact SUV. It features an expressive design, increased cargo space, the latest connectivity, and an expanded roster of available safety features. Its increased cargo area comes with new storage features such as a large, hidden underfloor storage space and a flat cargo floor that makes loading and unloading easier. Purposeful technologies are included to enhance passenger safety, as well as comfort and connectivity. Teen Driver is also offered, along with new safety features such as Safety Alert Seat, Surround Vision, Forward Collision Alert with Following Distance Indicator and more.
The Equinox’s all-new architecture allowed Chevrolet to take advantage of additional interior space. To that end, they offer a down-and-away instrument panel. The low windshield base also provides a commanding outward view. New elements such as available denim-style seat fabric blend style with high-durability. A new “kneeling” rear seat enhances functionality. With it, the bottom cushions tilt forward when the split-folding seats are lowered, yielding a flat floor for easier loading.
Putting the Equinox to the test
To showcase this latest Chevrolet Equinox in a real-world application, the Bowtie team put together a media drive – “Find Your Own Road”. Teams of automotive journalists were given a choice of six different drive routes from Greenville, South Carolina to Ashville, North Carolina and back, with pre-selected points of interest along the way. Journalists were allowed to mix and match sites along the way while putting the Equinox through its paces.
My driving partner and I drew a 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Premier 1.5T for the first leg of our quest. GM sets the base sticker price for the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Premier at $34,435. However, the Sun, Sound and Navigation Package, Tintcoat paint and destination charges elevated the final sticker to $39,045.
We completed the return leg of our journey in another Equinox, finished in Silver Ice Metallic with the Medium Ash Gray interior. A FWD version, its base price was $30,790. The final MSRP stood at $36,940 after factoring in its Sun, Sound and Navigation Package, Confidence and Convenience Package II, front license plate bracket and destination charges. Later on my home turf, I had the opportunity to drive a FWD Equinox with the 2.0-liter engine and nine-speed automatic. This one wore an Ivy Green metallic finish pictured above. The interior was executed in black with contrast stitching.
These latest iteration Equinox models performed admirably on all fronts. We covered virtually all driving scenarios from scenic, twisting back roads to high speed freeways, with congested urban traffic thrown in for good measure. The weather changed from hot and humid to cold rain and hail, and back to sunny landscapes.
All the while, Chevrolet swathed the Equinox in modern comfort features. Heated and ventilated front seats, flat-folding rear seats, panoramic sunroof, surround vision, 4G LTE WI-FI and user interface intuitive added to the convenience and practicality. All the interior controls and switchgear were pleasantly intuitive. Connectivity included the MyLink infotainment system designed to support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
GM’s Teen Driver program is available, which allows parents to set controls through the use of multiple specific keys. The system automatically activates certain safety features and allows the setting of some specific features while limiting the use of others. It also reviews their driving via a “report card” feature that records vehicle data regarding driving behavior, in order to encourage better driving habits. Probably not a bad idea for some parents as well.
The new Chevrolet Equinox is stable, handles with agility and positive steering feel and rides smoothly. The paddle shifters work well and without hesitation. The ride quality is firm but smooth and acceleration is brisk with no noticeable turbo lag.
The 2018 Chevy Equinox Premier trim with the 2.0-liter turbo is an ideally-sized, reasonably efficient compact SUV. The diesel-powered choice might suit some consumers more, but I haven’t experienced the diesel example yet.
2018 Chevrolet Equinox Review: Smaller on the Outside, Bigger on the Inside:
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Premier FWD
|Price as Tested:||$39,660|
|Engine:||2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, turbocharged inline four-cylinder with VVT and Direct Injection|
|Horsepower:||252 hp @ 5,500 rpm|
|Torque:||260 lb-ft @ 2,500-4,500 rpm|
|Transmission:||Nine-speed automatic with manual shift capability|
|Drivetrain:||Transversely-mounted front engine/front-wheel drive|
|Suspension:||Front: Independent MacPherson strut with side- loaded modules, coil springs and direct acting stabilizer bar
Rear: Independent four-link with coil springs and trailing arm and stabilizer bar
|Brakes:||Power-assisted four-wheel discs with Duralife rotors and low drag calipers, ABS, ESC, and Stabilitrak with Traction Control|
|Tires:||Hankook Ventus S1 Noble 2 P235/50 R19|
|Fuel capacity:||15.6 gallons|
|Fuel economy (EPA):||22 City/29 Highway/25 Combined MPG|
|Turning Circle:||37.4 feet|
|Curb Weight:||3,540 pounds|