The 2018 Equinox has been redesigned, and the results are impressive.
Modeled in the new style of other Chevy models (Volt/Malibu/Cruze), the Equinox is more attractive as well as more practical.
The 2018 Equinox weighs 400 pounds lighter than the previous version (about 10 percent less). Weight numbers are 3523 lbs. on the FWD version, 3693 lbs. with AWD.
Storage is improved and it’s roomy in both rows (better than most compact SUVs in this regard). You can also add a nice sunroof that goes all the way to the back of the vehicle. The seating is quite comfy, even though it’s cloth and not leather (it’s more of a denim style).
Getting back to storage, you have 29.9 cubic feet for storage with rear seats up; then an impressive 63.5 cubic feet with rear seats down. 17,18 or 19 inch wheels are offered.
HOW’S THE RIDE?
The 2018 Chevy Equinox TD is powered by a 1.6-liter turbo-diesel engine, that is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission; FWD is standard and AWD is offered
Numbers on the engine are 137 hp; and 240 lb.-ft. of torque, and the vehicle features independent front and rear suspensions.
The Equinox TD is a modern diesel, with none of the smells that people would complain about from diesels of the past. This is much cleaner, but it’s also a bit louder than normal gas engines.
To be kind, driving the Equinox TD is not a thrill. It’s quite slow to get up to speed (roughly 10 seconds to go 0-60) and this is where all the efforts to boost fuel mileage have a downside.
The overall drive is not unpleasant, and handling is not bad due to the weight loss the Equinox took for 2018, but getting up to speed is a chore and could be a dealbreaker for some folks.
The towing capacity is also pretty low, at only 1,500 pounds for the diesel Equinox (3,500 for the non-diesel Equinox).
One quick note: Due to the diesel engine, Equinox TD owners will have to change out the DEF fluid (diesel emissions fluid) approximately every 6,000 miles.
This is an area where Chevy (and GM) generally excel, and that’s the case here with the Equinox TD. It features the automatic start/stop feature that stops the engine at lights and starts it again when you move. Some people won't like that, but it’s never bothered me..
The MyLink infotainment system is well-designed for touch use and responsive to voice commands. Since this is a GM vehicle, Onstar is also featured, capable of everything from automatic emergency calls to getting navigation routes sent to car.
The Equinox TD supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, keeping up with modern times in that regard; A 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot is also offered.
Also cool is the Teen Driver feature option, which lets parents monitor kids’ activity in car and set controls, which is sure to ease the mind of anyone with a teenager.
Other safety options include: Safety Alert seat (seat warns you with a buzz if you leave your lane); Surround Vision monitor; Forward Collision alert with Following Distance Indicator; Forward Auto Braking; Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning; Rear Seat Reminder (reminds you to check for people sitting in back of the car before leaving); Rear Cross Traffic Alert (a must when backing out in tight spaces); Blind Zone Alert (for lane changing help); and six standard airbags.
So basically, you’re covered on all things safety if you load up the Equinox.
One of the benefits of diesel is increased fuel mileage, and it shows here.
The FWD version gets 32 mpg city/40 mpg highway (with a 14.9 gallon tank, so up to 600 miles per tank); AWD version gets 31 city/37 highway (with a 15.6 gallon tank, so roughly 570 miles per tank)
That blows out of the water all standard SUVs/crossovers in its class, and even outdoes hybrid offerings in the class.
PRICE, BOTTOM LINE
The 2018 Chevy Equinox I tested came in at $35,580, including the sunroof and infotainment package. Base price for non-diesel Equinox starts around $25K, diesel version starts about $31K.
If you’re a fan of the Equinox and are deciding whether to go for the diesel vs. the standard version, it really comes down to a couple things. First, are you willing to accept that it’s not the quickest getting up to speed. Then, if you are, are you willing to pay the premium to get the diesel -- and to determine that you’ll need to assess your driving needs and how much money the diesel will save you. (For comparison purposes, the non-diesel FWD offers 26 city/32 highway, and the non-diesel AWD offers 24 city/30 highway). Essentially, you’re getting 6 to 8 extra miles per gallon with the diesel option.
Independent of the diesel choice you make, the Equinox’s upgrade for the 2018 model was very successful, and it’s become one of the better vehicle in this always-popular class of compact crossovers (which also includes the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, GMC Terrain, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage and more). The redesign can only help it gain ground on much of the competition.
As to whether the diesel option is for you, that’s a choice all buyers must make, but I have to give Chevy a lot of credit for bringing the diesel option to this model as well as their smaller Cruze, as it’s increasingly rare in the U.S. auto world.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.