Test Drive: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox 2.0T
2018 Chevrolet Equinox FWD LT 2.0T
Class: Compact Crossover SUV
Miles driven: 210
Fuel used: 7.2 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 29.2 mpg
Driving mix: 35% city, 65% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 22/29/25 (city, highway, combined)
|CG Report Card|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Room and Comfort||B+|
|Power and Performance||B+|
|Fit and Finish||C+|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
Base price: $29,145 (not including $895 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Confidence & Convenience Package ($1945; includes power rear liftgate, remote engine start, heated front seats, dual-zone air conditioning, automatic climate control, universal remote, leather-wrapped steering wheel, blind-zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert, rear park assist), special paint ($395)
Price as tested: $32,380
The great: Good passenger room, pleasant road manners
The good: User-friendly infotainment system, sprightly acceleration from turbo engine
The not so good: Some mediocre interior materials in midline LT model
More Equinox price and availability information
Don’t be alarmed by that shuffling sound you hear. It’s just the compact-SUV field moving a bit of the furniture.
Specifically, it’s the sound of the downsized 2018 Chevrolet Equinox sliding down into the compact segment. This new Equinox is about four inches shorter and approximately 400 pounds lighter than its predecessor, enough of a change to move it out of the midsize-SUV class in Consumer Guide®’s estimation.
CG editors got to sample a front-wheel-drive example in LT trim, and with the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that became available as an alternative to the 1.5-liter turbo four that was the new Equinox’s sole powerplant at introduction. The 252-horsepower 2.0 engine is paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission—the 170-horse 1.5 is linked to a 6-speed autobox—and adds $1520 to the sticker price.
The LT is second from the top of the new Equinox’s model hierarchy, behind only the Premier. Below it are the LS and base L, though the latter is available only with front-wheel drive. The top three trim levels can be had with all-wheel drive.
LT standard equipment starts with 18-inch alloy wheels, heated power-adjustable exterior mirrors, 8-way power-adjusted driver’s seat, cloth upholstery, and manual air conditioning. Technology and connectivity items run to keyless opening and starting, a rearview camera, GM’s Teen Driver monitoring system, Chevrolet MyLink infotainment with a 7-inch color touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone interface, OnStar driver-assistance service, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and a 6-speaker audio system with satellite radio.
The test vehicle came with the $1945 Confidence & Convenience Package option with blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts, rear parking assist, a power liftgate, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, remote starting, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a universal home remote controller. With extra-cost Orange Burst Metallic paint and delivery, CG’s test truck that started at $29,145 bottom-lined for $32,380.
For its size, the reconfigured Equinox possesses fine passenger- and cargo-utility credentials. The good-looking patterned-cloth seats not only looked nice, they were cushy and supportive. Head- and legroom were good in the front row. Three adults will fit in back quite well—the floor is almost flat in the center and there’s enough headroom to make things more tolerable for a middle passenger. Rear legroom can be really good if front-seat occupants aren’t overly tall, but even if they do have to stretch out, there’s still pretty good second-row space. Entry and exit are easy, and step-in clearance is no obstacle. Forward and side vision are fine, but rearward visibility is somewhat compromised by the rear roof-pillar shape.
There’s generous cargo space that loads at bumper height through a wide opening. The second-row 60/40-split seats fold absolutely flat, and when they do, the cargo area can be really big at 63.5 cubic feet. (Levers in the right sidewall of the cargo hold conveniently allow for remote retraction of seats). A bit of additional space exists under much of the cargo bed.
Just don’t expect to be pampered by lush surroundings in anything less than an Equinox Premier. CG’s LT had limited soft-touch areas: the armrests and some of the upper door panels, the console-box lid, and the face of the dashboard ahead of the front passenger. As noted, it took an option package to add the feel of leather to the steering wheel. At least audio and climate controls are simple and direct to use, and a legible and colorful mix of dials and information readouts confronts the driver.
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All four doors have smallish door pockets with bottle holders. Front-seat personal-storage spaces include a deep, unobstructed console box; a good-sized glove box that is, unfortunately, set a little low; and two open cup holders in the console. Second-row denizens have a pouch on the back of each front seat, plus two cup holders set in the pull-down rear armrest.
The Equinox handled and rode fairly well on the not-always-perfect city and suburban expressways and surface streets that this tester covers on his daily commute. Steering is light but a little short on precision; braking is good. The 2.0-liter turbo delivers lively performance, and seems nicely in step with the 9-speed trans. (The 2.0 engine makes it possible for an Equinox to tow 3500 pounds.) In a test stint of 97 miles that included 50 percent city-type driving, this driver averaged 24.3 mpg, which was just about up to the EPA combined mileage estimate of 25 mpg. Projections for city and highway operation are 22 and 29 mpg, respectively.
Chevrolet notes that the Equinox is its second-best seller after the Silverado pickups. Of course, that status was achieved with a differently packaged vehicle. The 2018 Equinox will enter a new arena that is extremely competitive. Attractive prices and a pretty good powerteam (at least with the 2.0-liter) mean it won’t be going to a swordfight with a paring knife.
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