Short Report: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox 2.0T

2018 chevrolet equinox Ron Westphal Chevrolet Aurora IL
The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox offers crisp styling and solid utility, but at what price?

It’s still early in the year, but the redesigned 2018 Chevrolet Equinox—the brand’s entry in the competitive small crossover segment—is already the fifth best-selling vehicle in America. There’s little doubt that its crisp new sheetmetal and all-turbo engine lineup have a lot to do with the Equinox’s newfound popularity, although I suspect Chevrolet’s $199 per month advertised lease offer plays a role as well.

Ron Westphal Chevrolet stocks many new 2018 Equinox along with late-model pre-owned models.  Call us now at 630-898-9630.

Chevrolet has already sold more than 2 million examples of the Equinox in its former guise. But going without a redesign for eight years, or a significant upgrade in terms of technology, meant that consumers increasingly chose Honda’s CR-V, Nissan’s Rogue, and Toyota’s RAV4, flocking to those models in greater numbers.

Now, the manufacturer that once offered the public such commuter classics as the Nomad, the Chevelle, and the Nova has a chance once again to vindicate itself against unrelenting competition.

Built on the General Motors Theta platform—the same used for the slightly more upscale GMC Terrain—the new Equinox shares styling cues with the new Traverse, its larger stablemate in Chevrolet’s crossover lineup. Translated, that means it is visually appealing.

Back in 2014, when Chevrolet introduced the seventh-generation Corvette, Ed Welburn, GM’s global design chief, promised the sports car’s angular styling would make its way to cars like the MalibuCruze and Volt. GM kept Welburn’s promise, and finally carried the bold creases and angular forms over to the Equinox this year, giving it a more aggressive, modern look.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox at Ron Westphal Chevrolet in Aurora, ILThe redesign went more than skin-deep. The interior is all new, too, and Chevrolet says the new Equinox has shed 400 pounds over the outgoing version. It’s also now available with low-speed automatic emergency braking, a 9-speed automatic transmission and a diesel engine option, although these upgrades add quite a bit of cost to a vehicle that should be, in theory, an economically-priced model.

Inside, Chevrolet gets an A for execution. Dash panels and instruments come together nicely and even hint at quality craftsmanship. The hinting fizzles when your eyes see and fingers touch the materials used to complete the job. Cheap-looking plastic abounds, and gives the vehicle’s interior a feel that I would call “Uberey.” In fact, sitting in the back seat, it’s not difficult to imagine the Equinox being the ride you last hailed to the airport.

Comfort-wise, the new Equinox is good, but with a few caveats. The seats—especially the front ones—are supportive and well cushioned. For larger drivers, the stall formed by the driver’s-side door and the center console may be a bit narrow. I’m small and it was a good fit, but I could see someone larger wanting more lateral legroom in the driver’s side front foot well.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox at Ron Westphal Chevrolet in Aurora, ILAdditionally, the Equinox has tall doors, or short windows, depending upon how you look at it. The result is an interior atmosphere that recalls a World War II-era pillbox (although not to the extent of the Camaro, which has windows that are practically slits). Despite a dark back row, the Equinox’s rear seats are roomy, with plenty of head and legroom.

My favorite aspect of this vehicle is its practicality. At 29.9 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 63.5 cubic feet when they’re folded flat, the Equinox’s cargo volume is among the lowest in its class. But numbers aren’t everything. The way the rear cargo space is configured—with a long, wide floor—makes it easy to put a lot of stuff back there.

The Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4, by contrast, boast larger cargo volumes, but the space is tall rather than long, and doesn’t lend itself well to placing cargo that won’t topple. I’m thinking specifically of grocery bags, laundry sacks and boxes bound for the post office, none of which fare particularly well in a moving vehicle when they’re stacked on top of one another. The Equinox addresses this common crossover problem in the best way possible—by making the load floor more like a station wagon’s.Source:

Interior controls are simple and easy to use. All Equinoxes come standard with Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system, which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The color touchscreen in the center of the dash is 7 inches on lower-end models and 8 inches on higher-end models, including the Premier 2.0T I tested.

OnStar—GM’s mobile service provider—comes standard as well, and includes automatic crash assistance and navigation features. Customers will have to shell out anywhere from $20 to $35 per month for basic service after the 3-month free trial period ends. Wi-Fi is an add-on to OnStar, and can cost anywhere from $10 to $40 per month more. Sirius XM satellite radio is available on all but the lowest two trim levels, and adds another $10-$20 per month in service fees.

Dual-zone climate control, heated seats and a heated steering wheel are optional, as is the Bose 7-speaker premium sound system and panoramic sunroof. These options come as part of expensive equipment packages, though. The hands-free power rear liftgate is an available option on the top trim levels.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the new Equinox four out of five stars in its safety ratings.

High-tech safety features like low-speed emergency automatic braking, a blind spot warning system and a following distance indicator—all connected to the driver via an ingenious vibrating seat device—are only available on the top trim levels. A teen driver mode that allows parents to track driving habits and limit certain vehicle features is standard equipment on all models, as is a rear seat reminder system.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox at Ron Westphal Chevrolet in Aurora, IL2018 Chevrolet Equinox at Ron Westphal Chevrolet in Aurora, ILChevrolet decided to go with small-displacement turbocharged 4-cylinder engines for 2018, and is offering 1.5- and 2.0-liter gasoline engines and a 1.6-liter diesel.

Transmission options include 6-speed and 9-speed automatics, both equipped with a “manual” mode that allows the driver to select gears on the fly. As with other Chevrolet models, the selector button for that mode is mounted in a puzzling place—atop the shifter handle, where it is almost impossible to reach without craning your hand into a carpal tunnel-inducing fold.

The Premier 2.0T I tested came with a 252-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo four cranking out 260 pound-feet of torque with a very usable 2,500 rpm to 4,500 rpm range. Mated to the 9-speed transmission, it offered smooth, sprightly acceleration—more than adequate for anything you’re likely to encounter on public roads. The standard four-wheel-disc brakes are responsive, as is the electric power steering.

The EPA fuel economy rating for the 2.0T is 22 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on the highway, for an average of 24 mpg. On my test drive, which consisted of 60 percent highway and 40 percent city driving, fuel economy stayed right at 24 mpg. Compared with similarly equipped competitors like the Honda CR-V with a 1.5-liter turbo (29 mpg average), the Nissan Rogue with a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder (27 mpg average), and the Toyota RAV4 with a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four (25 mpg average), the Equinox 2.0T ranks last in efficiency but first in power.

Fans of the Chevrolet small crossover who are concerned about fuel economy can stick with the less powerful, less expensive standard 1.5-liter turbo (26 mpg average), or the 1.6-liter turbo-diesel (32 mpg average).

Economy comes at a price

2018 Chevrolet Equinox at Ron Westphal Chevrolet in Aurora, IL

The Equinox has less cargo volume than other models in its class, but the way the space is configured is more usable.

(BENJAMIN PRESTON)

With its fresh styling, utilitarian cargo hold and—in 1.5-liter gasoline and 1.6-liter diesel offerings—competitive fuel economy numbers, the Equinox is an appealing alternative to other small crossovers.

In base trim, its sub-$25,000 price is attractive, too, although at that level, you aren’t getting all-wheel drive or any colors other than silver or white. Options like all-wheel drive and brighter colors push the price past $28,000, and with heated seats and different engine and transmission options, the sticker can quickly shoot beyond entry-level SUV territory.

The Premier 2.0T I drove had a sticker price of more than $37,000. Despite the fact that I genuinely liked its look and feel, in my opinion, that’s too much to pay for an Equinox. Though Chevrolet’s design department cranked out a solid set of upgrades on this year’s model, it felt like I was being tricked into thinking a basic crossover was nicer—and worth more money—than it actually was.

Mostly, it was lack of attention to detail with regard to the little things: the cheap, hollow thud when I closed the doors; the awkward manual shift selector toggle switch; the chintzy dash and door panels. But it was enough to convince me that there was better value to be had in a compact crossover from another car company.

With its fresh styling, utilitarian cargo hold and—in 1.5-liter gasoline and 1.6-liter diesel offerings—competitive fuel economy numbers, the Equinox is an appealing alternative to other small crossovers.

In base trim, its sub-$25,000 price is attractive, too, although at that level, you aren’t getting all-wheel drive or any colors other than silver or white. Options like all-wheel drive and brighter colors push the price past $28,000, and with heated seats and different engine and transmission options, the sticker can quickly shoot beyond entry-level SUV territory.

If you would like to see or drive a brand new Equinox, call Ron Westphal Chevrolet in Aurora, IL at 630-898-9630.  Or, visit our website anytime.

Thanks for reading this article about the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox.

Short Report: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox 2.0T – NY Daily News

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