New Equinox rides with best in its class

The Queens County Advance - - COMMUNITY - BY RICHARD RUS­SELL

The Chevro­let di­vi­sion of Gen­eral Mo­tors has one of the most ex­ten­sive ve­hi­cle line­ups in the busi­ness. There is a full range of cars, rang­ing from the tiny Spark to the Im­pala.

There are the Volt and Bolt elec­tric ve­hi­cles, the Ca­maro and Corvette on the per­for­mance side, Colorado and Sil­ver­ado pick­ups, a full range of com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles and no less than five util­ity ve­hi­cles.

It is the lat­ter that we are look­ing at today, specif­i­cally the new 2018 Chevro­let Equinox which slots in be­tween the Trax and Tra­verse size-wise and be­low the truck-based Ta­hoe and Subur­ban.

Trucks pay the bills, but the sec­ond best seller among all these Chevro­lets is the Equinox. Built at the com­pany’s plant in On­tario — where a strike was re­cently averted when the com­pany re­minded the union it could eas­ily move pro­duc­tion else­where — the Equinox has caught the fancy of Cana­dian con­sumers for its prac­ti­cal­ity, value and home­grown ori­gins.

The third-gen­er­a­tion Equinox, in­tro­duced for the 2018 model year comes with new clothes, draped on a new plat­form. It is avail­able in L, LS, LT and Premium trim lev­els.

Ob­vi­ously fresh from the wind tun­nel, the 2018 Equinox’s new look is re­fresh­ing with de­sign cues from the re­cently redesigned Volt, Cruze and Mal­ibu.

It is read­ily rec­og­niz­able as a Chevro­let inside and out. The in­te­rior is mod­ern and fea­tures all the lat­est tech­nol­ogy, much of it stan­dard equip­ment on the test ve­hi­cle’s LT trim level.

There was a bit more hard plas­tic than I have come to ex­pect at this price point, but oth­er­wise I was im­pressed with the look and the er­gonomics.

There are two con­fig­urable dis­plays, one in the cen­tre of the in­stru­ment pod and the other dom­i­nat­ing the mid­dle of the dash, atop the con­sole.

The big one has a set of icons The all-new 2018 Chevro­let Equinox is a fresh and mod­ern SUV sized and de­signed to meet the needs of the com­pact SUV cus­tomer. Its ex­pres­sive ex­te­rior has an all-new, ath­letic look echo­ing the global Chevro­let de­sign cues seen on ve­hi­cles such as the Cruze, Bolt EV and Trax.hl. al­low­ing ready ac­cess to a va­ri­ety of in­fo­tain­ment fea­tures, with con­nec­tiv­ity front and cen­tre, rang­ing from a Wifi hot spot to Ap­ple Carplay and An­droid Auto.

When it comes to cargo ca­pac­ity, the Equinox has the com­pe­ti­tion beat. The rear seats fold in a man­ner that leaves a nice flat load floor, the lower por­tion flips for­ward and the back goes down.

The new Equinox has shed a fair amount of weight in the trans­for­ma­tion and this has al­lowed the com­pany to drop the rel­a­tively thirsty V6 en­gine op­tion and of­fer a trio of four-cylin­der units, all of them tur­bocharged and one of them a diesel.

Chevro­let is keep­ing mum on the diesel un­til pro­duc­tion and sales of the gas-pow­ered mod­els are well un­der­way. Look for it in the next three months or so.

We do have the num­bers for all three en­gines though. The 1.5-litre ver­sion pro­duces 170 horse­power and 203 lb.-ft. of torque, the 2.0 turbo puts out 252 hp and 260 lb.ft. and the diesel 136 and 236 re­spec­tively. The 1.5 and diesel get dif­fer­ent six-speed au­to­mat­ics and the 2.0 a new nine-speed.

The test ve­hi­cle had the midrange 2.0 and it per­formed ad­mirably. There is plenty of power

for ac­cel­er­at­ing and pass­ing and that re­mained true with four big adults aboard.

The per­for­mance num­bers show it to be two full sec­onds quicker in the zero of 100 km/h run than the 1.5-litre ver­sion and it will clearly be su­pe­rior should you chose to tow some­thing or reg­u­larly carry pas­sen­gers or heavy cargo.

The big sur­prise af­ter a few min­utes at the wheel hours with the new Equinox was its prow­ess in the cor­ners. The dif­fer­ence be­tween this one and its pre­de­ces­sors is dra­matic.

The new chas­sis is stiff and the sus­pen­sion tuned to not only ab­sorb nasty road sur­faces, but re­main flat when pushed in the turns.

The 2018 Chevro­let Equinox is a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment over the out­go­ing model and de­serv­ing of close com­par­i­son to any­thing in the class.

JES­SICA LYNN WALKER PHOTOS

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