New Equinox rides with best in its class
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 home-grown 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 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.
The big one has a set of icons 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. Model: Engine: Transmission:
NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 10.9 / 8.3
Length: 4,652 mm
Width: 1,843 mm
Wheelbase: 2,725 mm
Weight: 1,508 kg
Price: $37,195 base, $43,490 as tested including freight
Competition: Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Cherokee, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV 4, VW Tiguan
Standard equipment on test vehicle: Infotainment system includes 20-cm colour touchscreen with MyLink, Bluetooth streaming for music, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, satellite radio, rear park assist and cross-traffic alert, blind spot alert, rear view camera, LED headlights, 19-inch alloy wheels, power lift gate, auto-dimming power mirrors, leather seating, memory setting for driver seat and mirrors, dual zone automatic climate control, wireless charging, 110-volt power outlet, power windows, locks and driver seat, keyless entry, heated front seats, cruise control.
Options on test vehicle: Mossaic black metallic paint, $495; True North Edition, $5,795, power sunroof, navigation, Bose speakers, low-speed forward automatic braking, surround view camera, forward collision alert, lane departure warning and keep assist, automatic high beams, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and steering wheel, eight-way power passenger seat.
2018 Chevrolet Equinox Premier 2.0T AWD
turbocharged, 2.0litre, four-cylinder, 252 horsepower, 260 lb.-ft. of torque, regular fuel
nine speed automatic, all-wheel drive