If you’re looking for information on a newer Chevrolet Equinox, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Chevrolet Equinox Review
Tagging into the round-house-punch-flinging donnybrook the compact crossover segment has become is the redesigned 2018 Chevrolet Equinox. More compact and lighter than before, the third-generation Equinox could be characterized as scrappy. Although every fighter dreams of the championship belt, the Nissan Rogue or the Honda CR-V seem to have that prize pretty tied up right now. Chevy would probably settle for its renewed crossover to simply move up the list of contenders.
Chevrolet has certainly armed the Equinox with ample tools to get the job done. High on its list of assets is an array of three turbocharged engines, one of which is a diesel. One of the easier-to-use infotainment touchscreens in the segment is another check in the "Plus" column. Toss in the comfortable and functional cabin, and the Equinox is poised to win more than a few rounds.
Equinox has a secure spot in Chevy’s lineup as its second-best selling vehicle behind the Silverado.
What’s New for 2018?
The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is the crossover’s third generation, and it’s completely redesigned. See the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox models for sale near you
What We Like
Choice of three turbocharged engines; quiet ride; all-wheel drive available on all grades but L; flat cargo floor with rear seat folded; 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capable
What We Don’t
Too many hard plastic surfaces; driver-assist/safety technologies not available on lower grades
A 3-punch powertrain combination may be Chevy’s most effective Equinox marketing tool. All three are turbocharged and each should appeal to a different subset of buyers. Anchoring the go-making choices is a 170-horsepower 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. It ushers output to the wheels by way of a 6-speed automatic transmission. The government estimates its fuel economy at 26 miles per gallon city and 32 mpg highway. Pony up the $3,680 extra for AWD, and both city and highway mileage drop by 2 mpg.
The more performance-minded buyer can opt for the 252-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that’s mated to a 9-speed automatic tranny. Its government-estimated mileage is 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway. Adding AWD doesn’t alter city mpg, but does scrub one mpg from the highway number.
Drivers passionate about squeezing out as many miles per gallon as possible can find that with the 137-hp 1.6-liter turbo diesel. Although that’s a lower pony count than the 1.5L, it generates 240 lb-ft of torque to the 1.5L’s 203 lb-ft. It puts power to the pavement via a 6-speed automatic transmission. The governments pegs mileage numbers at 28 mpg city/39 mpg highway.
Standard Features and Options
The Equinox’s eight trim levels are based on the engines. The 1.5L has four grades, while the 2L and 1.6L turbo-diesel have two grades each.
L 1.5L Turbo ($24,525) is the most affordable model, offering a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, six airbags, air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, Teen Driver Mode, cruise control, full power accessories, remote keyless locks, active noise cancellation, rearview camera, tilt-telescopic steering wheel with redundant audio controls, auto on/off headlights, heated folding outboard mirrors, 17-inch aluminum wheels, OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot, and MyLink 6-speaker audio system with 7-in touchscreen, USB port, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Chevy offers no factory options.
LS 1.5L Turbo ($26,455) increases the standard equipment on the L with rear carpet floor mats, a compact spare tire, jack and compass. Available options include keyless entry keypad, as well as a couple of weather-protection packages.
LT 1.5L Turbo ($27,695) adds to the LS gear with high-intensity discharge headlights, satellite radio capability, 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat, second-row manual seat release levers in the cargo area, a leather-wrapped shift knob and deep-tinted rear glass. Options include Confidence and Convenience Package with remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, blind spot monitoring, lane-change alert, rear cross-traffic alert, heated front seats and the Sun & Infotainment Package with a panoramic power sunroof, upgraded MyLink audio system with 8-in touchscreen, a 120V power outlet and dual USB data ports.
Premier 1.5L Turbo ($31,735) includes all the features and goodies in the option packages in the LT 1.5 and adds heated leather seats with memory, hands-free power liftgate, power-folding outboard mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote start, LED headlights and taillights and roof-mounted luggage rack. A Driver Confidence and Convenience Package II offers a safety alert driver’s seat, forward-collision warning, low-speed automatic braking, IntelliBeam headlights, birds-eye surround-vision cameras, 8-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, heated rear outboard seats and a ventilated driver’s seat. An available Sun, Sound and Navigation Package includes a panoramic sunroof, MyLink with navigation, upgraded 7-speaker Bose audio system and 19-in aluminum wheels.
LT 2.0L Turbo ($30,090) builds on the LT 1.5 Turbo content with the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, 9-speed automatic transmission, 18-in bright aluminum wheels, chrome dual outlet exhaust and heated folding outboard mirrors. It offers the same option packages as the LT 1.5 Turbo.
Premier 2.0L Turbo ($34,530) is essentially the same standard content and option packages as the Premier 1.5L Turbo, but with the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.
LT 1.6L Turbo Diesel ($31,435) basically has the same standard content and option packages as the LT 1.5L Turbo, but with the 1.6-liter turbo diesel. Plus, the Sun & Infotainment Package also includes the power liftgate.
Premier 1.6L Turbo Diesel ($33,930) reflects the standard equipment and option packages as the Premier 1.5L Turbo, but with the turbo diesel.
Neither the government nor the IIHS has crash tested the 2018 Equinox. Every Equinox comes with six airbags, a rear-vision camera, Teen Driver and an OnStar telematics system with a 3-month free trial. A long list of available safety technologies include birds-eye surround-vision camera system, forward-collision warning with following-distance indicator, low-speed automatic braking, IntelliBeam headlights, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic assist. With the safety alert seat, warnings are transmitted to the driver’s seat cushion in the form of vibrations.
Behind the Wheel
Generally, the Equinox performs as we expected. That is, it drives like a small crossover. Overall, the ride is pleasant with the seating height delivering excellent visibility. The steering is quick and spot on. It handles sweepers with surefooted consistency when not pushed too hard. With the 1.5L turbocharged 4-banger, it concerns itself with just getting the job done. There are a number of small crossovers out there armed with a fuel-sipping 4-cylinder engine more concerned with delivering solid fuel economy than lighting up the tires. The Equinox 1.5L Turbo joins that crowd.
If you want more gusto when stepping away from a red light or passing slower traffic on a 2-lane rural road, Chevrolet offers the 2.0L Turbo. Playing the role of the "just right" baby bear is the 1.6L Turbo Diesel that delivers loads of torque, but still effectively manages fuel consumption.
Other Cars to Consider
Honda CR-V — We can’t have a conversation about small crossovers and not include the segment sales-leading CR-V. Honda gave it a ground-up redesign for 2017, keeping it in the crosshairs of every competitor out there.
Nissan Rogue — A sales winner for Nissan, the Rogue actually outsold every SUV and crossover for a couple of months earlier in the year. Its attractive price and passenger-friendly performance contribute to its popularity.
Jeep Renegade — Jeep hit the sweet spot with Renegade. Not only is it comfortable, but it delivers on Jeep’s promise for rugged off-road worthiness. It’s a pint-size, less complex, more affordable Grand Cherokee.
Kia Sportage — Although it offers less cargo room than many of its competitors, the Sportage earns a spot on this list because of its value pricing. Loads of passenger space, comfy ride and tons of content puts the Sportage solidly in the hunt.
Choosing an Equinox engine option really depends on how you’ll use it. For urban driving and highway cruising, the 1.5L turbo will do quite nicely. Ditto for the 1.6L turbo diesel that goes to the front of the class for open-road fuel economy. If having some fun trumps mileage concerns, the 2.0-liter will take care of that.