2018 Chevrolet Equinox: Third generation is the best By Veeno Dewan

Chevrolet’s popular five-seater Equinox Compact Crossover is back for 2018 with some changes. Smaller, lighter, more compact and with a choice of engines, It is also cheaper and more value for money this time around. Exterior changes include a mild restyle and a shorter overall length. It is a pleasing non-polarizing design that will look good, even in a few years’ time.

In Canada, the Equinox features a base 1.5-liter gas engine with a 2.0 liter and a diesel-powered unit to follow. The base engine has a 170-horsepower and a 1.5-liter turbo. In LS, LT or Premier trim levels, each with a choice of Front or All-wheel drive. Value for money is a high point, with a base MSRP of $25,195 for the LS FWD. Buyers gain as standard equipment includes internet connectivity, push-button start, heated front seats, rear-view camera, 17-inch aluminum wheels, and a remote starter.

Technology upgrades include a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and OnStar with 4G LTE WiFi hotspot are all standards, as is Sirius XM on LT and Premier.  The LT and Premier are each available with Comfort & Convenience or True North package that includes features such as a panoramic sunroof, premium Bose audio, and hands-free power lift-gate. Various optional alert-and-assist safety technologies in GM’s “Protect” safety suite are available and include features such as blind-spot, rear cross-traffic, and forward-collision alerts, and automatic emergency braking. The upscale Premier model includes such features as dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, power windows, door locks and liftgate, power-heated outside mirrors, rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, blind zone alert, and a rear-view camera. We tested the top level  Equinox Premier edition (base priced from $34,195) with the 1.5-liter turbo engine. It has an All Wheel–Drive and the $5,965 True North Edition options, pack that offers: power sunroof, 19-inch wheels, as well as dual-zone automatic climate control. It has a keyless entry, power windows, door locks and liftgate, power-heated outside mirrors, rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, blind zone alert, and a rear-view camera. It also features a Surround Vision and a slew of other safety aids—such as Lane Departure Warning and Driver Safety Alerts.

The Equinox features an impressive-looking cabin with neat design touches. There is an upscale feeling of quality with raised stitch detailing in the front dash console, tasteful chrome, and a robust, substantial feel to the trim. The interior is relatively roomy with good visibility. The smart dash features an instrument cluster with a reconfigurable information display and an excellent eight-inch center console touchscreen. GM’s MyLink infotainment systems, interconnectivity, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, as well as an available OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot,  are all supported.  The rear split seats tilt and fold forward allows a flat rear load floor with up to 1,798L of space. (846L behind the back seat). There is an extra 2.8-cubic-foot storage nook under the rear cargo hold. A hands-free power liftgate is available and makes loading and unloading easier.

On the road, the Equinox features excellent, confident handling. In fact, the steering is much tighter and more precise than the previous model.  The tester was a high-level Premier version with the base 1.5-liter turbo four, six-speed automatic transmission, and All-Wheel Drive, putting out a respectable 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque, the engine offers a zero to 100 km/h time of about 9.5 seconds.  Traction to the AWD system’s rear wheels, by the way, can be disconnected when needed to improve fuel efficiency.  With a good engine choice, buyers have options. Haul a lot of passengers and towing a trailer? I would opt for the 2.0L turbo engine with 252 hp/260 lb-ft, and the nine-speed automatic). The interesting awaited 136-hp 1.6L diesel with 236 lb-ft (A segment first) also sounds like an ideal choice as well.

To sum up, there is a lot to commend the new 2018 Equinox, a lighter smaller package increases fuel efficiency, There is a good roster of standard equipment, a decent cabin, and good handling. Highly recommended.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox 1.5 AWD Premier Edition

Priced from $34,195. Price as tested with options, destination charge and AC Excise tax- $41,190