For 2018, Chevrolet’s Equinox crossover has been fully redesigned, downsized, and lost 400 pounds. And it’s now powered by three turbocharged engines, one of which is a diesel that we tested.
Aside from its smaller size, the new Equinox possesses attractive styling and shapely lines. And although it has a smaller footprint, its interior remains spacious and comfy for a family of four.
Three engine choices are offered starting with a 1.5-liter turbo inline 4-cylinder rated at 170-hp and 203 lb/ft of torque for EPA mileage estimates of 24/30 mpg in AWD form; then there’s a 2.0L, turbo inline 4 with 252-hp and 260 lb/ft of torque for an EPA of 22/28 mpg; and the one we tested, a 1.6L turbo diesel inline 4-cylinder with 137-hp and 240 lb/ft of torque for a EPA’s of 28 city, 38-highway mpg with a 6-speed automatic transmission. If opting for the FWD version, highway EPA is 40 mpg for the 1.5L.
Somewhat surprising is that the diesel has a tow capacity of 1,500 pounds, whereas the 2.0L gasoline engine can pull 3,500 pounds. Diesel’s are inherently better tow machines, but not in this case.
According to Chevy, the 1.6L turbo diesel Equinox has greater highway mileage than the 2017 Toyota RAV4 hybrid and Nissan Rogue hybrid. Equinox Diesel has a 577-mile cruising distance, that is helped by Start-Stop engine technology.
For a 3,693-pound AWD crossover, acceleration is spirited from a standing stop and during passing maneuvers. And what was especially surprising was that diesel rattle, that is so typical of oil burners, was surprisingly faint with the windows closed and when accelerating. Once underway the rattle is not noticeable.
If you opt for the diesel, you have to read the owners manual regarding the Diesel Exhaust Fluid, and starting the engine in cold weather. The diesel fluid goes into a separate filler hole (blue cap) next to the diesel fuel filler hole (green cap).
Equinox is offered in base L, LS, LT (that we tested) and top-line Premier. Each trim model gains more features and options.
The LT came with a generous amount of features including rear camera, remote start, teen driver, rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert, side blind zone alert, heated front seats and more.
A 7-inch display is standard, but the test car came with the optional 8-inch LCD. The display offers Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Onstar. Optionally available is a birds-eye view camera that gives a 360-degree surround view around the car.
Equinox comes standard with 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability with texting capability. The infotainment system also includes several apps plus a nifty weather map with temps and five-day forecasts.
All HVAC controls are easy to use and a driver’s information display nestles between the dash gauges. AWD has its own switch on the console and when activated, a notation appears on the drivers’ display. It’s then that power is sent to all four wheels. Disengage it and power only goes to the front wheels.
Although it has a commendable AWD system, off-road jaunts are limited to mild terrain as undercarriage clearance is not conducive to any serious off-roading. Add to that its shod with all-weather tires, not mud/snow tires, which would be preferred.
Front cloth seats are comfy and supportive and are covered with a quilted, long wearing type material. The back seats are nicely padded and can accommodate three children or two adults with loads of leg and headroom. Step-in is an easy 18 inches that is made easier with wide opening doors.
Back in the cargo area, there’s 29.9 cubic feet of space with the rear seats upright, and 63.5 with the seats folded. Perhaps more meaningful, the area measures 35 inches deep, 42.5 wide and 30 high with the seats upright. Flip them and depth extends to 65 inches.
Beneath the cargo floor is a false floor offering shallow space to stow small items out of sight. And beneath that, is the space saver tire.
Equinox LT was shod with Bridgestone 17-inch tires that provided a smooth, quiet ride with the suspension doing an admirable job of soaking up roadway bumps and thumps. Handling too is adept although the feeling resembles that of a minivan with its higher seating position, short hood and shorter length. That length however, allows easy parking in tight spots and it’s nimble in traffic.
Also attractive is Equinox’s price. With only one option of Sun & Infotainment Package ($2,395) that throws in a panoramic sunroof, power adjustable lift gate, Chevy Mylink audio system, luggage rack and more, the base price of $32,240 bottom lines at $35,580 with delivery. A reasonable price for an AWD crossover with diesel power.
Diesel engines, incidentally, normally last way beyond the cars’ warranty period, and although diesel fuel costs more than gasoline, the savings come in fuel economy and longevity.
And as the second best selling Chevy after the Silverado pickup, Equinox should remain a top-seller in its class.