By Mauricio Lezcano / carsntravel.com / Photos GM Media
For 2018, the all-new Chevrolet Equinox offers a fresh and modern compact SUV, featuring an expressive design, increased cargo space, the latest connectivity, expanded roster of available safety features including the segment’s first turbo-diesel engine.
Fresh, new design
The new Equinox’s expressive exterior has a lean, muscular skin echoing the global Chevrolet design cues and sculpted shapes seen in the Volt, Malibu and Cruze. Extensive aero development in the wind tunnel influenced the sleek shape.
It is a richer, more detailed design featuring chrome trim on all models and Malibu-inspired styling. Projector-beam headlamps are standard, along with LED daytime running lamps. At the rear, horizontal taillamps emphasize the Equinox’s wide stance, while up-level models feature LED taillamps.
The new Equinox’s overall length was reduced by 4.7 inches to further right-size the vehicle for customers, making it easier to park and maneuver. Despite the smaller exterior dimensions, interior volume increased by 3.5 cubic feet. The reduced length, however, posed another challenge to aero efficiency, because it is tougher to push a shorter shape cleanly through the air.
The interior takes advantage of the Equinox’s all-new architecture to offer a down-and-away instrument panel, while a low windshield base provides a commanding outward view. New elements such as available denim-style seat fabric blend high style with high-durability, while a new kneeling rear seat enhances functionality. With it, the bottom cushions tilt forward when the split-folding seatbacks are lowered, allowing a flat floor for easier loading, cargo area has increased, with new storage features such as a large, hidden underfloor storage space and a flat cargo floor that makes loading and unloading easier.
The 2018 Equinox offers purposeful technology, helping to keep passengers safe, comfortable and connected; Chevrolet’s latest connectivity technologies are front and center, including 7- and 8-inch-diagonal MyLink infotainment systems designed to support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as an available OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.
1.6L turbo-diesel: max efficiency and capability
The 2018 Equinox is slated to be the only competitor in the North American segment with a diesel choice for customers seeking the ultimate in fuel economy and SUV capability. It is expected to offer a GM-estimated 40 mpg highway.
The 1.6L turbo-diesel is an all-new design, with output SAE-certified at 137 hp at 3,500-4,000 rpm and 240 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,000 rpm. A variable-geometry turbocharger helps generate a broad torque band that makes the engine very responsive at low rpm. It also features stop/start technology and is one of the industry’s most refined diesels.
Turbocharging uses the force of exhaust gases exiting the engine to drive an air compressor, which packs more air into the engine than it would draw naturally, for a more potent combustion that generates greater power. The system generates little or no boost in light-load conditions, for small-engine efficiency. More power is only a press of the gas pedal away, as the turbo generates boost under heavier loads to provide larger-engine performance on demand.
The 1.6 turbo-diesel is paired with GM’s all-new 9T50 nine-speed automatic transmission, which features a higher 7.6:1 overall ratio to enhance efficiency and smaller steps between the gears, compared to six-speed designs, to enhance refinement.
An on-axis design, where all the gears are in line with the crankshaft, and GM’s first application of a selectable one-way clutch, help reduce the package size of the 9T50, making it roughly the same size as a six-speed transmission.
The new Equinox is the first Chevrolet model in North America to use an all-turbocharged, multi-engine powertrain lineup. That includes the segment-exclusive 1.6L turbo-diesel that will offer customers excellent efficiency and capability. 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.
Manufacturer’s suggested starting retail price starts at 30,490.00, for the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox FWD LT Diesel, the one I drove included the Sun & Infotainment Package $2,395.00 (Power Sunroof, Luggage Rack Side Rails, Rae Liftgate Power System, Chevrolet MyLink Audio System, Driver Info Color Display, Power Outlet 120 Volt and 2 USB Ports Auxiliary Input Jack), and it came in at $33,830.00 including destination charge $945.00. The Estimated fuel economy is rated at 28 mpg City and 39 mpg Highway with the 1.6L Turbo Diesel DOHC 4-Cylinder engine.