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2018 Chevrolet Equinox LT AWD Review By John Heilig


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THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Mid-Atylantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox LT AWD
ENGINE: 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4
TRANSMISSION: 9-speed automatic
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 252 hp @ 5,500 rpm/260 lb.-ft. @ 2,500-4,500 rpm
WHEELBASE: 107.3 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 183.1 x 72.6 x 65.4 in.
TIRES: P225/60R18
CARGO CAPACITY: 29.9/63.5 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)
CURB WEIGHT: 3,327 lbs. #/HP: 13.2
TOWING CAPACITY: 3,500 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Hyundai Tucson, Ford Escape, Jeep Cherokee
STICKER: $24,525 (base)
BOTTOM LINE: The 2018 Equinox is a significant upgrade to Chevrolet’s second most popular vehicle (behind Silverado).

When thinking of small to mid-size SUVs, one wouldn’t necessarily think of the Chevrolet Equinox. But it is Chevy’s second-best selling vehicle, behind the Silverado pickup, so a lot of people obviously do think of the Equinox. 

Our tester actually arrived the week after driving the Silverado, so there was significant culture shock in switching between vehicles. Once I got over the size differential, I began to enjoy Equinox’s attributes a bit more.

First, there’s the new styling from the redesigned Equinox. There’s a significantly restyled hood and the side styling has more creases than Princess Di’s wedding dress. Projector beam headlamps light the way.

Under the sculpted hood rides a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four. The quiet engine delivers good power for the 3,327-pound vehicle, and its operation is quiet. There is little or no engine noise, although some tire noise intrudes into the cabin on less-than-perfect road surfaces. That isn’t Chevrolet’s fault.

The 9-speed automatic is smooth. Except on acceleration, you barely feel it shift.  However, with the relatively small engine, start-stop technology and the 9-speed automatic, I felt fuel economy was low at 19.5 mpg during our test run. Even the estimated EPA readings of 22 city/ 28 highway aren’t that great. Granted, we didn’t do a whole lot of highway driving, but we did have a couple of long runs that should have pushed the numbers up.

The Equinox is equipped with all the amenities. Entertainment has all the bells and whistles. We usedApple Car Play for entertainment and phone. It was simple to connect, and as with most Bluetooth applications, once you’re hooked up, you stay hooked up.

The clear instrument panel has a tachometer, information panel and speedometer, reading from left to right. Fuel level and water temperature gauges run across the top. The information panel scrolls among a digital speedometer, fuel economy set, fuel range, oil life, tire pressure and assorted other screens. We settled for the digital speedometer. The dash style brought to mind the Impala’s, which I liked verity much.

We were kept comfortable in some very hot weather thanks to a functioning HVAC system, We used remote start from the key fob to fire up the engine and HVAC before we entered the car. I know this usually works in winter to warm up the vehicle. It also works in summer to cool it off. Front seats are comfortable with good side support. As a matter of fact, I was surprised by the side support which was more suited to a sportier vehicle. The rear seats also have some side support, even for the center seat, along with a flat floor.

All four doors have places for water bottles. Additional interior storage consists of a large cubby at the base of the center stack with 12-volt, USB and AUX outlets. There are also a 12-volt and two USB outlets at the back of the center console for rear seat passengers. 

The rear hatch opens using either then key fob, or a switch on the driver’s door. It reveals a generous cargo area that can hold at least one golf bag diagonally. One owner of an older Equinox we spoke with said she would like to be able to put four golf bags in the back without having to lower the rear seat backs. It might be possible in this iteration, although we didn’t put it to the test.

For safety the Equinox is equipped with a blind spot monitor, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, teen driver feature that lets you monitor how your teen is driving, and a rear seat reminder. The latter beeps when you shut the engine off and a message appears on the instrument panel reminding you to check the back seat for packages, etc. My wife and I have ben known to leave food back there, so the reminder is a good one.

Now a discussion of color. Our tester was an interesting shade of green, called Ivy Metallic. First, it was unusual, since most of the vehicles I drive are either grey or black. My wife wasn’t thrilled at the beginning, but said the color grew on her during the week. Others seemed to have a like-not like so much attitude about it. There was no question that it was easy to find in a parking lot. All in all, the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is a nice package that is certain to continue the product’s strong sales success.