Looks like: A mini-Malibu SUV
Drivetrains: 170-horsepower, turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder; 252-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder; or 136-hp, 1.6-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder, six- and nine-speed automatic transmissions, and front- or all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Early 2017
The compact SUV continues to be one of the hottest segments in the U.S. with the likes of the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape and Jeep Cherokee pulling in buyers by the thousands. The old man on the block has been the Chevrolet Equinox, which sold well despite being long in the tooth. Now Chevy is ready to show us an all-new 2018 Equinox, redesigned from the ground up and set to bring shoppers into Chevy showrooms on merits instead of just on deals.
The new Equinox is a styling departure from the old one but ties in much better with the rest of the Chevrolet lineup. The front and back are heavily reminiscent of the latest Malibu and Cruze with their low-slung lighting, while the rest of the Equinox retains the chunky aesthetic of the last SUV. Overall, the new Equinox is about 4 inches shorter than the old model, but it doesn't look appreciably smaller.
With the switch to a new platform, Chevrolet's designers have been able to reconfigure the interior to a new look and layout. The dash is much lower than in previous models for better outward visibility, while the seat folding mechanism now employs what Chevy calls a "kneeling" seat system that enables a flat loading floor for the cargo area when the second row is stored. New materials are also included, including a denim-style seating material that hasn't appeared in a production car since the 1970s (excluding the limited-edition Volkswagen Beetle Denim). Thick pillars in the rear are still present, which may not improve visibility much, but the interior materials are considerably upgraded and again reminiscent of the Malibu.
The technology is updated as well, with the latest generation of the MyLink multimedia system offered up with either a 7- or 8-inch touch-screen. It supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, with an optional OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot for mobile device connectivity.
The bigger story is the switch to a new platform for the Equinox, which weighs in at nearly 400 pounds lighter than the old one. The new SUV features three powertrains: a standard turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder making 170 hp, an optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder pumping out a more robust 252 hp, or a segment first for the U.S. — a 1.6-liter turbo-diesel making 136 hp but 236 pounds-feet of torque.
Chevrolet is estimating highway fuel economy to be 31 mpg for the 1.5-liter, 28 mpg for the 2.0-liter and an impressive 40 mpg for the 1.6-liter diesel. The 1.5-liter gas and 1.6-liter diesel engines are both mated to six-speed transmissions, but the 2.0-liter motor gets a new nine-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard with all-wheel drive available, but Chevrolet did not specify if any powertrains were restricted to one or the other.
Where Chevrolet is really pulling out all the stops is in the safety department, bringing a full complement of available active and passive safety devices to the new Equinox.
A backup camera is standard, but a new around-view monitor is optional to provide a 360-degree top-down view of the Equinox's surroundings. New for the Equinox are GM's Safety Alert Seat, forward collision alert with low-speed automatic braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, lane change alert, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, and the rear-seat occupant reminder that debuted on the GMC Acadia last year. The Teen Driver system is also available, which allows parents of young drivers to set limits on certain vehicle functions and even provide a report card on how the vehicle was used.
The new Equinox goes on sale in early 2017 at dealerships nationwide. Check out the gallery below and click here for our video.