The Chevrolet Equinox, Chevy’s compact SUV, has remained largely unchanged since it was redesigned at the beginning of this decade. That’s an eternity in today’s automotive industry where buyers are always looking for the newest features and technologies.
Chevrolet clearly waited too long before offering us a new product, but the good news is that consumers now get plenty of features, and the latest-generation Equinox is certainly competitive. Apart from the structural, aesthetic and conceptual upgrades, not to mention the endless technology additions (safety included) to the options catalog, there are now three engines to choose from.
Their objective: to better serve the product, obviously, but above all to make us forget the medieval engines that were found until recently between the front wheels. Gone are the 2.5-liter four-cylinder and 3.5-liter V6 engines, and in come three new four-cylinder engines, all featuring a turbocharger.
A big step forward
The Equinox marketed from 2010 to 2017 was not a bad product, but it wasn’t extraordinary either. So there was a lot of room for improvement, and GM certainly took advantage of it. A revised and modernized design to go along with a redesigned interior that aims to be more user-friendly and refined is basically what you get with the new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox.
The equipment is more complete than ever, from the entry-level LS model to the fully-loaded Premier edition. If the number of amenities climbs as you go from trim to trim, standard equipment is also quite impressive. The list includes a rearview camera, keyless entry with push-button start, and heated seats, nothing less. Add to this the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems, as well as the 4G LTE Wi-Fi access, and you have a fairly extensive list of no-charge options that buyers want.
This fall, the 2018 Equinox will offer three separate engines, one of which will be a diesel. For now, however, only one engine is offered, namely a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder unit with 170 horsepower and a maximum torque of 203 lb.-ft. Performance is adequate, nothing more. Moreover, its towing capacity is limited to 1,500 pounds. That said, to get around town, the 1.5-liter’s capability should be fine for most buyers.
When it comes to fuel economy, Chevrolet promises 9.2 liters per 100 kilometers in the city and 7.3 liters on the highway for a combined 8.3 liters per 100 kilometers.
Our result during our brief contact with the vehicle: 8.1 liters per 100 km.
The 2018 Equinox is therefore doing better than Ford and its EcoBoost solution, but we’re a long way from Mazda’s SkyActiv technology.
And that summarizes well what this new Equinox is; A compromise product.
Format and Performance
The Equinox is shorter overall than the outgoing model with a slightly shorter wheelbase as well. Fortunately, cargo space remains almost unchanged (1,798 liters compared with 1,803 when the rear seats are lowered). Nevertheless, cargo capacity is less than its main competitors in the segment, the Ford Escape, the Honda CR-V, the Toyota RAV4 and the Nissan Rogue.
On the road, the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is once again all about compromise. First and foremost, we appreciate the compact SUV’s soft suspension and impressive soundproofing. On the other hand, this is not a sporty vehicle by any means. It doesn’t like sudden maneuvers and reworks lack of speed, a laziness shared by the mechanics and the six-speed automatic transmission that equips this version.
In terms of comfort, the 2018 Equinox stands out for both front and rear passengers. A more vertically adjustable seat would have been desirable for the driver, however; and beware if you’re over six feet. Finally, three-quarter visibility is excellent, and there is also a 360-degree camera to help with parking. On the other hand, the compact SUV’s turning radius could be better.
The compact SUV segment has become the most popular across the automotive industry, and automakers are putting their best foot forward to seduce buyers. At the top are the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5. The Nissan Rogue is perhaps the one that comes closest to the Equinox, in the sense that it is also a compromise product. In the past, the quality of the competition left little room for the Chevrolet representative. The new model brings it closer to its rivals who will now have to keep an eye on the American SUV.
In the end, it’s the consumer who wins.
Price of the various versions: $ 25,197 for the LS model, $ 28,195 for the LT and $ 31,795 for the Premier trim.