The long-awaited next generation of Chevrolet’s Equinox is here with the popular compact crossover surprising us with the availability of a diesel engine.
Redesigned from the ground up, Chevy’s second bestselling vehicle takes its more sculpted styling cues from Chevy’s most recent introductions like the Cruze, Volt and Malibu.
It might not rewrite the design rulebook, but it’s a big step up from the dated current model that has been around since 2010, especially inside where it benefits from all the latest tech advancements such as the availability of 7- and 8-inch MyLink infotainment systems supporting both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Other new elements that made their way inside the 2018 model is a highly durable denim-style seat fabric, and a new “kneeling” rear seat that enhances functionality by tilting the bottom cushions forward when the split-folding seatbacks are lowered, thus allowing for a flat loading floor.
In regards to safety tech, the 2018 Equinox offers a number of adaptive crash-avoidance features, including Forward Collision Alert with Following Distance Indicator, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, a haptic-feedback seat and a surround-view camera system. It also gets a Teen Driver feature that allows parents to set controls and review an in-vehicle report card to “encourage safer driving habits”.
The 2018 Equinox sits on GM’s latest Delta architecture shared with the new Cruze, shedding around 400 pounds (180kg) or a 10 percent reduction over its predecessor. Aside from the obvious benefits in fuel consumption and driving dynamics, GM says that the new platform also allows it to offer down-and-away instrument panel which together with the low windshield aid visibility.
“It is an all-new SUV from the ground up and one that takes on the industry’s biggest competitors with a stronger architecture, greater efficiency and more technology,” said Rick Spina, executive chief engineer. “And it looks great doing it.”
A total of three turbocharged units will be available, including the first diesel in a compact SUV in the States, a 1.6-liter direct-injection four-cylinder rated at 136hp (101 kW) and 236 lb-ft (320Nm) of peak torque paired to a six-speed automatic transmission claimed to return an estimated 40mpg (5.9l/100km) on the highway.
The other two (gasoline) engines are a 170hp (120kW) and 201 lb-ft (275Nm) 1.5-liter turbo offered with a six-speed automatic that gets a GM-estimated 31mpg (7.6 l/100km) highway, and a 252hp (188 kW) and 260 lb-ft (353Nm) 2.0-liter turbo matched to a new nine-speed automatic returning 28mpg (8.4 l/100km) highway.
“With three choices, customers can select an engine that offers more of the attributes that are important to them: efficiency, performance and capability,” said Dan Nicholson, vice president, Global Propulsion Systems. “The advantage for each is the power of a larger engine and the efficiency of a smaller engine.”
Front-wheel drive will come as standard, while an all-wheel drive system that can disconnect the rear axle to improve fuel economy being offered as an option.
The 2018 Equinox will go on sale in the first quarter of 2017 in North America, rivaling the likes of the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, before it rolls out to 115 additional global markets later in the same year, likely arriving in Europe as a successor to the Opel / Vauxhall Antara.