The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is a compelling compact crossover SUV alternative to the class-leading Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5. Smaller than its predecessor, the new Equinox sacrifices almost nothing in terms of interior space. With a standard 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, it's easily competitive in its market, but having the option of a powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder or a 1.6-liter diesel with great highway fuel efficiency makes it even more attractive. but we're excited for power of the just-released 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and the fuel efficiency of a 1.6-liter diesel.
You'll Like The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox If...
If you're a Chevy loyalist in the market for a compact crossover SUV, then you've found your ride. Even those new to the brand should take a look though, as the Equinox is a good-looking, nice-driving, and nicely featured compact SUV. Let's not forget the fuel-smart diesel and more powerful 4-cylinder.
You May Not Like The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox If...
If you demand the highest-tech safety features at the lowest possible price, then the fact that the new Equinox saves its active safety for the top-line Premier model may turn you off. Road trippers will miss the availability of active cruise control, too.
The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is all-new this year. Based on an all-new architecture, it's smaller than its predecessor, but still offers about the same interior space. The 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder is supplemented by a more powerful 2.0-liter turbo and a fuel-efficient 1.6-liter turbocharged diesel.
Chevrolet may have shrunk the Equinox exterior by several inches, but it managed to keep the interior dimensions close enough to its larger predecessor that you're unlikely to notice the difference. What you will notice is the additional refinement. The Equinox boasts soft-touch surfaces where they matter on the doors and center console, and a textured paint that gives hard surfaces a softer veneer. The front and rear seats are admirably comfortable, and the rear seats offer heaters, unusual for the class. While the new Equinox loses a bit of cargo room, it's mitigated by the under-floor storage.
Like its Cruze cousin, the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox debuts as one of the best looking vehicles in its class. While not dazzling us with styling excesses, the Equinox nonetheless goes from dowdy to daring, with sharp lines, tasteful chrome accents, and spot-on proportions. We like the way the Chevy family grille has evolved over the past couple years, and it looks particularly good on the blunter face of an SUV, unlike some other family faces. The available Redline package adds black-out trim and other sporty touches, and it looks good as long as you can perfectly synchronize the red stripes on the wheels when you stop.
For now, the only engine available in the 2018 Equinox is the 1.5-liter turbo, with 170 horsepower. Good news is that it's a more than satisfactory powerplant for the Equinox. With a 6-speed automatic driving either the front wheels or all four wheels, the little turbo handily gets the Equinox going, even on the hilly roads around the border between the Carolinas. At stops, Chevrolet has practically perfected its idle-stop feature to the point that we don't mind there's no "off" switch. There's a surprising bite to the suspension around town, not uncomfortable, but enough that you're rewarded when you test the cornering ability of the Equinox. The powerful 2.0-liter engine isn't let down by the chassis, delivers strong passing torque on the highway, and is rated to tow an impressive 3,500 pounds. The new Equinox is quiet as well, making it easy to enjoy a conversation or just listen to the audio system. In parking lots, the around-view camera considerably aids maneuverability.
The base 2018 Chevrolet Equinox L starts with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of about $24,500, including the $895 destination charge. We suggest skipping the LS ($26,400) and heading straight to the LT ($27,650, $30,090 for the 2.0-liter version) with its additional standard equipment and better options. Leather and automatic climate control are only available on the Premier ($31,700, $34,530 for the 2.0-liter), and if you want the advanced safety tech you'll have to order the Confidence & Convenience II package, adding another $1,900 to the price. A 1.6-liter diesel engine is available on the LT ($32,460) and Premier ($34,940) trims, boasting better fuel efficiency than the 1.5- and 2.0-liter configurations. Navigation is part of a $3,300 package that includes a panoramic roof. Pick all-wheel drive ($1,750), and suddenly you're uncomfortably close to $40,000. That's quite a bit higher than loaded versions of the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4, but at the mid-range the Equinox is more competitive price-wise. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid, and note that resale value for the Equinox has not been a strong suit.
The price-leader 2018 Equinox L model comes with niceties like keyless door locks and ignition, and a rear-view camera. The 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system includes Bluetooth for streaming music and for phones, and also features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard. High-tech features include start-stop for the 1.5-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine, an electronic parking brake, a USB port and auxiliary input for the audio system, and even active noise cancellation and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. Safety features include 10 airbags and stability control, and for an extra nth of fuel economy there are active shutters in the grille that close at speed for better aerodynamics.
Besides all-wheel drive and your choice of the more powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder or fuel-efficient diesel, most options are defined by trim level. The LT is the most mainstream model, and it adds HID headlights, a power driver's seat with lumbar, heated outside mirrors, and cargo-area-mounted rear seatback releases. The Premier adds leather seats with memory, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, a hands-free power liftgate, dual-zone climate control, and additional USB ports. Active safety systems like collision mitigation and lane-keeping assist are only available on the Premier as part of an option package; navigation and a panoramic sunroof are also available.
Yes, we love diesels for their torque and fuel economy. And we love powerful, turbocharged 4-cylinders because...well, they're quick. While no Porsche Macan, the Equinox has good enough handling chops that we wanted more power than the 1.5-liter turbo offered. Luckily, there's 252-horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque available with the Equinox's new 2.0-liter four.
1.6-LITER DIESEL ENGINE
Chevrolet has given us a 4-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine that you just don’t see in the class anymore. With an estimated 39 highway mpg, it promises plenty of drive time in between stops to the pump.
Under the Hood
The base engine on the 2018 Equinox is a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 170 horsepower. It's a surprisingly stout engine in the Equinox, and even with the 6-speed automatic transmission, it offers decent acceleration in both front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) models. If that's not enough, you can upgrade to a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 252 horsepower and a 9-speed automatic transmission, or the 1.6-liter diesel 4-cylinder with its 236 lb-ft of torque and a 6-speed automatic. Fuel economy promises to be competitive, although the diesel -- with as much as 39 mpg highway economy -- could wind up being the class leader.
1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4
170 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
203 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/32 mpg (FWD), 24/30 mpg (AWD)
1.6-liter turbocharged diesel inline-4
137 horsepower @ 3,750 rpm
240 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/39 mpg (FWD), 28/38 (AWD)
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
252 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 mpg (FWD), 22/28 mpg (AWD)
With the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox, GM has brought to market an extremely competitive compact crossover SUV. Smaller than its predecessor, the new Equinox is still similar in size to rivals like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5, with a roomy and comfortable interior. Standard is a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that's easily competitive with the rest of the competition, and if power is your thing, a 252-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter with a fuel-smart 9-speed automatic transmission is also available. A 1.6-liter diesel engine is also an option, with an estimated 39 mpg on the highway. On the tech side, there's standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and available active safety features like lane-keeping assist and an around-view camera. Unfortunately, they're an option on the most expensive Equinox Premier, pushing the price well beyond its competitors.