Redesigned 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Revealed, Optional Diesel Power
1.6L Turbodiesel Joins 1.5 Turbo and 2.0 Turbo Gassers in Equinox Engine House
The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox enjoyed a warm reception at its unveiling party last night. The all-new (and aptly named) SUV shared the evening with the autumnal equinox, or first day of fall, and the 2018 Equinox kicked off the season with a bang, showing a stylish new SUV that will feature tons of space and, most interestingly, an available diesel engine.
Chevy is touting its new volume crossover as “the perfect balance,” offering customers a blend of efficiency, performance, style, and practicality, with a measure of the company’s in-car technology coming along for the ride. The Equinox’s designers certainly got the style part down, as the crossover features fresh, new styling that looks much better than the outgoing model’s. Although it keeps its predecessor’s unique rear pillar treatment and overall proportions, the design is much more mature, taking cues from the Volt and Bolt electric cars, Cruze compact, and Malibu sedan.
However, the Equinox wears Chevrolet’s split grille and squinting headlights better than the company’s sedans, and the bodyside surfacing that looks awkward on the Malibu looks very much at home on the Equinox. The tasteful use of chrome on the Equinox’s window surrounds, bumpers, and rocker panels furthers the impression of premium style. While the front end and sculpted side profile are donated from Chevy’s car division, squared-off and blacked-out D-pillars give the rear of the compact crossover a sort of Tahoe/Suburban vibe.
Under the skin, the 2018 Equinox will sport an all-turbo powertrain lineup, starting with the base 1.5L turbocharged I-4. Producing an estimated 170 hp and 203 lb-ft, the engine offers a bit less power but a lot more torque than the outgoing Equinox’s base 2.4L I-4. A massive weight loss of about 400 pounds should easily make up the power deficit, giving the new crossover improved handling, performance, and efficiency. As such, it’s not a stretch to imagine the 2018 Equinox with the base 1.5L turbo to hit 30-plus mpg on the highway (we expect even more, as the current Equinox is rated at 32 mpg). It gets a nine-speed auto for optimized performance.
Stepping into the 2.0L turbocharged I-4 brings 252 hp and 260 lb-ft on board. Those numbers are significantly less than the outgoing Equinox’s 3.6L V-6, which makes 301 hp and 272 lb-ft. As such, don’t expect the 2.0 turbo to out-accelerate its predecessor, even with its significant weight savings. However, Chevy estimates the 2.0T to achieve around 28 mpg highway, which is a major improvement over the V-6’s 24 mpg. And since most consumers shopping for a compact CUV prefer tractability and efficiency to straight-line speed, they should be satisfied by the 2.0L engine’s strong turbo torque when merging and small-engine economy when cruising. A nine-speed auto helps achieve both goals.
The most interesting addition to the Equinox is its optional 1.6L turbodiesel I-4. The all-aluminum engine will produce 136 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, enabling the family SUV to achieve a Chevy-estimated 40 mpg. Mated to a six-speed automatic, the diesel engine is one of the first in the crossover world, and it will likely be the segment’s only oil-burner for some time. While its power output is eclipsed by almost every other crossover on the market, its torque should make up for it, with plenty of down-low twist for accelerating away from stoplights or joining freeway traffic. Also found in the Cruze compact car, the diesel should be adequate for daily driving and long highway slogs.
The 2018 Equinox has an overall length of 183.1 inches, with a wheelbase of 107.3 inches and an overall height of 65.4 inches. The new crossover is 4.7 inches shorter and 0.9 inches lower than its predecessor, and wheelbase is down 5.2 inches as well. Overall width is up 0.1 inch, to 72.6, but in general, the 2018 Equinox is smaller than the vehicle it replaces, sized more like a traditional compact crossover than the midsize-tween 2016 Equinox. Interior space is down slightly in almost every metric, but not by more than an inch, meaning passengers of most shapes and sizes will be comfortable in both the front and rear seats. Maximum cargo space goes up slightly to 63.5 cubic feet, thanks to a “kneeling” rear seat that folds completely flat to increase available space.
Inside, Chevy’s MyLink technology comes with both of the available infotainment systems (featuring 7- and 8-inch diagonal screens). Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility should help minimize distractions, and an available 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot spreads data to passengers. The company’s Teen Driver setting helps parents monitor their kids’ driving habits, while a suite of advanced safety features include the available Safety Alert Seat, Surround Vision, Forward Collision Alert, low-speed automatic braking, lane-departure monitoring, Lane Keep Assist, cross-traffic monitoring, and a rear-seat alert system that reminds busy parents to grab their parcels, purses, and kiddos before leaving the car.
With modern styling, slimmer dimensions, and a long list of standard and available features, the Equinox should provide something for almost every compact-crossover shopper. However, it’s the optional diesel engine that really puts the 2018 model on the map, with almost hybridlike efficiency and tons of torque. That engine is the Equinox’s ace in the hole, offering something unique in an otherwise vanilla vehicle segment. Most shoppers will be impressed by the Equinox’s blend of size, style, and features, but us enthusiasts can’t wait to sample that diesel.