The Chevrolet Equinox is a compact crossover that competes in an increasingly crowded segment. Automakers are introducing new models and revamping old ones at a steady rate in hopes of luring buyers. It’s easy for lesser crossovers to get lost in the crowd, but the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox offers plenty of reasons for shoppers to take a closer look.
This year’s Equinox shows off a new design that keeps it from blending in with the pack. Crossovers don’t need to be edgy, but it’s nice to have something that doesn’t look dull. The grille is bold and aggressive with just enough accents to give it character, making the overall effect modern and attractive.
There are four trim levels, three engines, and available all-wheel drive, so buyers have lots of options. That range of engines includes a base 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, and a 1.6-liter turbo diesel four-cylinder. We drove the top-of-the-line Equinox Premier with the 2.0-liter engine and came away impressed.
Here’s the thing: Crossovers are focused on utility, not driving dynamics. It’s all about having enough room for the family (and their stuff) in addition to tech and safety features. What often gets lost in the mix is making sure a crossover is a car you actually want to drive. The Chevrolet Equinox doesn’t miss that.
The turbocharged two-liter provides 252 horsepower with 260 pound-feet of torque paired to a smooth nine-speed automatic transmission. Press on the gas and you’re rewarded with plenty of power to accelerate into even heavy highway traffic. If you need a little extra speed for passing, the Equinox delivers, and it does so without a fuss. The engine never sounds strained, and even when it’s working hard, the sound is kept outside the cabin rather than causing unwelcome noise for passengers.
Handling is equally impressive for a crossover with tight, controlled steering that responds quickly to driver inputs. It’s an easy vehicle to drive and one that won’t be tiring on that family road trip. Adding to the drive quality is a smooth ride that makes short work of potholes and uneven pavement.
Whether you’re sitting up front or in the second row, this crossover is roomy and comfortable. The Equinox Premier comes standard with leather seats that are heated and ventilated for the driver and front passenger. They’re supportive without being stiff and have minimal bolstering, which is great for those with a larger build.
Rear seats aren’t quite as plush, but there’s still lots of legroom and headroom for tall passengers. There’s room for three with heated outboard seats for winter weather, but as with most crossovers, it’s best for only two rear passengers, except on shorter drives. If the rear passengers are kids, then there’s more than enough space for all.
The interior of the Equinox Premier is top-notch with leather door inserts and a variety of plastics that keep it from looking down-market. Instead, the Equinox looks like it’s aiming for entry-level luxury. It’s a surprisingly luxe interior. That comfort and visual appeal are enhanced further with an eight-inch color touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, wireless device charging, and safety features including standard Teen Driver.
It has the style, features, and comfort buyers seek in a crossover, but it will fall short for some in cargo capacity. There’s 29.9 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 63.5 cubic feet behind the front seats, which is less than some competitors. On the plus side, there’s a hands-free power liftgate with a wide opening, and the Equinox can tow up to 3,500 pounds. Still, if cargo is a priority rather than passengers, the Equinox might not be the ideal choice.
The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox focuses on the features crossovers buyers demand. It offers a wide range of trims, is roomy and comfortable, has good technology and safety features with an exceptional ride. Pricing ranges from $24,575 to $38,295.