2018 Chevrolet Equinox

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
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Key Specs

of the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Base engine no longer feels underpowered
  • Quick turbo 2.0-liter
  • Firm but controlled ride
  • Intuitive multimedia systems
  • Much-improved gas mileage
  • Child-seat accommodations

The Bad

  • Steering and handling
  • Visibility
  • Front-seat comfort
  • Crash-avoidance tech costs extra
  • Some cheap cabin materials
  • Headroom with panoramic moonroof

Notable Features of the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox

  • Redesigned for 2018
  • Smaller, lighter than predecessor
  • FWD or AWD
  • 1.5- or 2.0-liter turbo gasoline engines
  • 1.6-liter turbo-diesel engine
  • Standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto

2018 Chevrolet Equinox Road Test

Kelsey Mays
The Verdict:

The new Equinox is less distinctive than its predecessor, which had a certain bigger-is-better appeal among smallish rivals. This one feels more like the rest of them, but it lands there with definite refinement.

Versus The Competition:

No longer a plus-sized entrant among compact SUVs, the redesigned 2018 Chevrolet Equinox takes direct aim at popular models from a long list of automakers.

The Chevrolet Equinox comes with front- or all-wheel drive in four trim levels (L, LS, LT and Premier) and three engines: two gasoline and one diesel four-cylinder, all turbocharged. We tested both gasoline engines in several FWD and AWD vehicles — one of them back-to-back against six other SUVs in Cars.com's 2017 Compact SUV Challenge.

Exterior & Styling

Gone is the old Equinox's wide-eyed expression and vertical taillights, replaced by thin lights at both ends that evoke the redesigned Chevrolet Malibu and Cruze. The new Equinox profile carries over a lot of elements, including the arched-forward C-pillars, even though it's nearly 5 inches shorter than before — the product of a new platform shared with the redesigned GMC Terrain and no other GM models in the U.S. (GM's stateside brands are Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC).

How It Drives

The new platform helps shed about 400 pounds — more than 10 percent of the Equinox's weight — and it's immediately noticeable. The new base engine is a turbo 1.5-liter four-cylinder with 170 horsepower, and it moves the Equinox with a punchiness its underpowered four-cylinder predecessor lacked. It's a noisy climb to higher revs, but the drivetrain's 203 pounds-feet of torque makes the ascent brisk enough.

There's still room for improvement, especially on the highway, where accelerator lag and a transmission that resists downshifting conspire against passing. But in a ...

The Chevrolet Equinox comes with front- or all-wheel drive in four trim levels (L, LS, LT and Premier) and three engines: two gasoline and one diesel four-cylinder, all turbocharged. We tested both gasoline engines in several FWD and AWD vehicles — one of them back-to-back against six other SUVs in Cars.com's 2017 Compact SUV Challenge.

Exterior & Styling

Gone is the old Equinox's wide-eyed expression and vertical taillights, replaced by thin lights at both ends that evoke the redesigned Chevrolet Malibu and Cruze. The new Equinox profile carries over a lot of elements, including the arched-forward C-pillars, even though it's nearly 5 inches shorter than before — the product of a new platform shared with the redesigned GMC Terrain and no other GM models in the U.S. (GM's stateside brands are Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC).

How It Drives

The new platform helps shed about 400 pounds — more than 10 percent of the Equinox's weight — and it's immediately noticeable. The new base engine is a turbo 1.5-liter four-cylinder with 170 horsepower, and it moves the Equinox with a punchiness its underpowered four-cylinder predecessor lacked. It's a noisy climb to higher revs, but the drivetrain's 203 pounds-feet of torque makes the ascent brisk enough.

There's still room for improvement, especially on the highway, where accelerator lag and a transmission that resists downshifting conspire against passing. But in a class known for modest power, this is more than adequate.



The optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (252 hp, 260 pounds-feet of torque) pairs with a nine-speed automatic transmission. It's legitimately quick, with low-end thrust and energetic revving that evokes the outgoing generation's lusty V-6. It makes for punchier overall acceleration than most other non-luxury compact SUVs we've tested, even with their optional engines.

Unlike so many other nine-speed automatic transmissions we've tested, GM's unit is more friend than foe, holding low gears when needed and kicking down multiple gears with little delay. Indeed, GM estimates the combo hits 60 mph in a brisk 6.5 seconds or so. That's on par with the old V-6, as is the new car's 3,500-pound maximum towing capacity. The 1.5-liter Chevrolet Equinox gets to 60 mph in the high 8-second range, officials said.

Despite its weight loss, the new Equinox maintains much of the refinement that distinguished the outgoing model. Wind and road noise are remarkably low, even over concrete patches. Our test cars (some with 18-inch wheels, others with 19s) exhibited some turbulence over undulating stretches of highway, but the Chevrolet Equinox's chassis is otherwise unfazed by rough pavement, with controlled — albeit firm — shock absorption and infrequent harshness. You can also get 17-inch wheels with higher-sidewall tires, which should theoretically soften things up more.



The Chevrolet Equinox is not, however, fun to drive. Chevy has improved on the old model's spongy brakes and excessive body roll, but the steering remains too soupy for any curvy-road thrills. A vague, slow-ratio process is required to point the SUV in new directions, and feedback doesn't improve much through long sweeping turns. For sheer driving fun, the Ford Escape and Mazda CX-5 are still kings of the hill.

EPA-estimated fuel economy ranges from 24 mpg for the AWD 2.0-liter four-cylinder to 28 mpg for the FWD 1.5-liter four-cylinder. Those figures are competitive for the class and far ahead of the old Equinox. The third drivetrain — a 1.6-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder (136 hp, 236 pounds-feet of torque) with a six-speed automatic — will arrive in late 2017 with an EPA-estimated 32 mpg with either FWD or AWD. That's impressive, but you'll have to factor the efficiency gains against the extra cost of diesel fuel. We haven't driven the diesel version of the Chevrolet Equinox.

The Inside

The dashboard is thematically similar to the redesigned Malibu's, which is a good place to start. But two days' driving confirmed one of our initial takeaways: The Equinox's new seats are a step backward. As compact SUVs go, the old Equinox had exceptionally big, comfy seats, while these ones are, well, ordinary. Headroom and seat height are good across the board, but the optional panoramic moonroof takes away nearly 2 inches of headroom front and rear. Get a car with this feature, and tall passengers in back will have to slouch.

The rear seats reclines a few clicks and collapses level with the cargo floor when you fold them forward, but doesn't slide like it once did. GM claims customer indifference toward the sliding function, but if you're in the minority and still want sliders, check out the Volkswagen Tiguan or Nissan Rogue. (Or White Castle.)
 
Behind the backseat is about 30 cubic feet of cargo room; there's a maximum of 63.5 cubic feet with the seats folded. That's roughly unchanged versus last year despite the truncated exterior, but anyone with serious cargo needs should look at the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Rogue. All three max out (on paper, at least) in the 70s.
 
Like before, bulky C- and D-pillars limit rear visibility, earning the new Equinox a last-place finish in our comparison of blind spot visibility among small SUVs. Still, the redesign traded last year's Stonehenge-sized head restraints for smaller ones you can flip down, which helps considerably.

Cabin materials are attractive overall, with stitched vinyl on the upper dash in higher trim levels and padded sections of the upper doors, front and rear, where your elbows rest. That's a rarity in back, where most competitors slap on some cheap plastic and call it a day. Some flatter plastics on portions of the doors and dashboard drew criticism from certain editors, and the flimsy turn-signal stalks don't inspire confidence. But other controls have a well-crafted look and feel, and a 7- or 8-inch MyLink infotainment system touchscreen sits on a raised plane for a subtle layered effect. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard, and higher trim levels have up to six USB ports and a 120-volt household outlet — enough to charge a small army of mobile devices.

Value in the Market

Entry-level pricing starts around $25,000 for the Chevrolet Equinox L (which GM officials insist you can really buy, as opposed to it being a fleet-only model seldom stocked by dealers), while a loaded Equinox Premier tops out in the low $40,000s. You'll have to pay close to the latter price to get must-have safety features like forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, which Chevrolet confines to an options package on the Premier. Even at that, the system works only at low speeds, versus rival systems that work across greater speed ranges.

As of this writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has yet to evaluate the Equinox's crash-avoidance technology or subject it to other crash tests. It passed our evaluation of car-seat accommodations with flying colors.

The Chevrolet Equinox's limited safety-feature availability conspired with other factors to relegate it  to a middling finish in our comparison of compact SUVs. GM's redesign is compelling in certain areas, but the class includes strong alternatives — from the CR-V and Tiguan, both champions of practicality, to the luxurious CX-5 and fun-to-drive Escape. Those are all must-drives for any compact SUV shopper; whether the Equinox ends up winning your wallet will depend on what you value.


2018 Equinox Video

The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox feels more like its immediate competitors than its predecessor, but it gets there with undeniable refinement.

Latest 2018 Equinox Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.8)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.6)

What Drivers Are Saying

(4.0)

Excellent over all vehicle for the price...

by Grandpa Frank from Novi, MI on October 19, 2018

We leased this vehicle almost 2 months ago as a replacement for our 2016 GMC Terrain V6 AWD. We considered the 2.0T bout with the additional cost and the requirement of premium fuel we decided on the ... Read full review

(5.0)

Love this SUV

by SonyaW from Bessemer, Al on October 17, 2018

I love my Equinox. I bought the LT Turbo Deisel version. It really does get over 40 mpg, has a very smooth ride and plenty of inside room. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox currently has 3 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2018 Chevrolet Equinox L

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Child Seat Anchors (Latch)

Ease of Use
acceptable

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Headlights

Overall Rating
marginal

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good
marginal

Small Overlap Front - Passenger Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
acceptable
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranties

Backed by Chevrolet
New Car Program Benefits
  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits
  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    5 model years or newer/up to 75,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    12 months/12,000 miles bumper-to-bumper original warranty, then may continue to 6 years/100,000 miles limited (depending on variables)

  • Powertrain warranty

    6 years/100,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    172-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All Program Details

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Equinox received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Latch or Latch system

A

Infant seat

A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

A

Rear-facing convertible

A

Booster

(second row)

A
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker