The 2018 model has three powertrain options, all of which have turbocharged inline-4 engines. The base 1.5 liter produces 170 horsepower and 203 lb. ft. of torque. A diesel-fueled 1.6 liter produces 137 horsepower and 240 lb. ft. of torque. Both of these engines are mated with a six-speed automatic transmission. The top-of-the-line 2.0 liter produces 252 horsepower and 260 lb. ft. of torque. It is mated with a nine-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional for all trims apart from the base L trim, which only comes with front-wheel drive. With the most powerful engine in testing, acceleration is snappy and responsive. Turbo lag is non-existent and it launches to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, which is above average in the compact SUV category. Chevrolet has tuned the engine very well to get the Equinox through every traffic scenario. However, torque steer is prevalent when it has this much power going through the front wheels only. Where the weight loss for this year’s model really makes its case is in the handling and cornering. The handling was sure-footed through the turn and stable off the apex. The steering is also light and the vehicle turns at will without much resistance. The Equinox is easy to maneuver even in the busiest streets. Braking performance did not disappoint either, taking only 115 feet to stop from 60 mph. That figure is also above average in its category and in everyday situations the brakes were reliable. They were responsive to the pressure exerted on the pedal, which was assuring.
The base L trim features automatic headlights, LED running lights, engine start-stop functionality, heated mirrors, rearview camera, keyless entry and ignition, push button start, USB port, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Chevrolet Teen Driver system, 4G LTE, WiFi hotspot (subscription needed), voice recognition, and an infotainment system with 7-inch touchscreen and six-speaker sound system. The LS trim is the L trim in the all-wheel drive configuration and some additional accessories and more exterior options. The LT trim steps it up with xenon headlights, power-adjustable seats with lumbar support, and satellite radio. The Sun and Infotainment package upgrade to an 8-inch touchscreen and five additional USB ports throughout the cabin. The Confidence and Convenience package includes a power liftgate, automatic climate control, heated front seats, and now comes with advanced safety and driver aids. The Premier trim is the top-end option that includes all the features in preceding trims and adds LED taillights, fog lights, auto-dimming mirrors, hands-free liftgate, ambient cabin lights, driver-seat memory functions and a wireless charging pad. The Convenience and Confidence II package adds a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, power-adjustable heated rear seats, and more advanced safety and driver aids. The Sun, Sound and Navigation package then adds a sunroof, navigation, HD radio, and a seven-speaker Bose sound system.
The 2018 model has been tested by the NHTSA and it earns a 5-star frontal crash rating, a 4-star side crash rating, and a 4-star rollover rating. Overall it achieves 4-star safety rating. The IIHS also has tested the SUV and it earns a “Good” score for crashworthiness and “Superior” in front crash prevention. However its headlights were only rated “Marginal” for crash avoidance and mitigation. Advanced safety and driver aids are optional and they include rear parking sensors, automatic high beams, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and intervention, and a 360-degree camera. Chevrolet’s Safety Alert Seat is also included which is a vibrating alert in the driver’s seat that warns of a possible front crash risk.
The 2018 model measures 183.1 inches in length, 72.6 inches in width, 65.4 inches in height, and has a 107.3-inch wheelbase. The Equinox has been redesigned for this year and while the silhouettes are similar from last year’s model, the new one looks sleeker. The front fascia now has swept back headlights that looks more aggressive. The taillights are also thinner and sleek and the rear looks more tapered. The L and LS trims comes standard with 17 inch wheels while the LT has 18 inch wheels. The Premium trim has the 19 inch wheels as standard, and also comes with roof rails.
With a low ground clearance, getting into the Equinox is hassle free. The doors almost open fully even in cramped parking lots but beware if near a tall island or curb because the door isn’t high enough to avoid them. There is ample headroom and legroom for the passengers, but the sunroof will take up head space in the rear. Up to five people can sit inside and the comfort of the seats were good and remained comfortable even when the trip got longer. The leather quality is not the softest and needs time to break in, but surprisingly the perforations did not feel any cooler. Lumbar support for the front seats is not the best and could be positioned better. Ride quality on the Equinox is superb considering the handling has sporty tendencies. The suspension was able to absorb the imperfections on the road with ease. The noise inside the cabin is attenuated decently but not as quiet as its competition. However, the air circulation was uneven and only reached a small area in front of the torso.
Behind the second row of seats is 30 cu. ft. of space for cargo, and it expands to 63.5 cu. ft. of space when the second row is folded down.