2018 Chevrolet Equinox: Packs Less Weight, More Engine Options

Whether Chevrolet’s decision to reveal the 2018 Equinox on the autumnal equinox was the result of a Zenlike coincidence or simply a ham-handed corporate marketing shtick, it’s undeniable that an overhaul was long overdue. Introduced way back in the 2005 model year alongside the Pontiac Torrent, the Equinox was revamped for 2010. It was cosmetically refreshed last year, but the mechanicals were virtually untouched. Buyers didn’t seem to mind, however, as Equinox sales to date have topped 2 million units, and it’s currently the second-best seller in the Chevrolet lineup; only the full-size Silverado pickup reels in more buyers.

Lighter and Leaner

If there is one single attention-grabbing highlight for the 2018 Equinox, it’s the claimed 400-pound weight reduction. The weight loss likely indicates a slightly smaller footprint that would put the model in step with competitors such as the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape. Size-wise, the previous Equinox always felt as if it were an eighth grader sitting in a fifth-grade class.

The basis of this reinvention is a version of General Motors’ D2U architecture. While it is similar to the underpinnings of the 2016 Buick Envision, GM engineers said the Buick platform was finished first, and they “decided to go in a different direction” for the Equinox—and presumably the revamped GMC Terrain—which means the Buick and Chevrolet models have a fairly low percentage of shared parts.


The new architecture allows for a low cowl and a correspondingly low-mounted instrument panel, which Chevy says makes for improved visibility. A new “denim style” seat fabric claims high durability while allowing aging boomer peaceniks to live out their unfulfilled AMC Gremlin Levi’s Edition fantasies. Transporting cargo becomes a tad easier, too, thanks to forward-tilting rear-seat bottoms that allow for a flat floor when the backrests are folded.

The styling embraces the latest bow-tie design ethos as seen on the Cruze, the Malibu, and the Volt. The new Equinox features chrome trim on all models, standard projector-beam headlamps, and LED daytime running lights. Horizontal taillamps use nearly every inch of the Equinox’s width, and they’re illuminated by LEDs on higher trim levels.

Power Trio

For 2018, the Equinox kisses the ancient naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder goodbye and instead offers buyers a choice of three turbocharged engines. Gasoline-fueled 1.5- and 2.0-liter turbos are available, both mated to GM’s new nine-speed automatic transmission. The third engine is—get this—a 1.6-liter turbo-diesel. We expect the latter to be a class exclusive, at least for a while. (This engine also powers the new-for-2017 Cruze diesel.) Also new is an all-wheel-drive system that disconnects the rear axle’s driveshaft when not needed, for reduced friction and improved mileage.

No matter the season, it would be showroom suicide to introduce a new model without a full suite of infotainment and connectivity features, and the Equinox has plenty. Available 7.0- and 8.0-inch MyLink infotainment systems are designed to accommodate Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; an OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot is available to keep occupants tethered to the internet at all times.

The list of available safety features is similarly comprehensive. It includes numerous radar- and camera-based adaptive technologies. The optional forward-collision warning comes with a following-distance indicator and low-speed automatic braking; there’s also lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. New parents might be keen on the rear-seat alert (first seen on the 2017 GMC Acadia), which reminds them not to leave tots in the back seat. And the available Teen Driver monitor, like that in the Malibu, lets parents of older kids keep electronic tabs on their progeny’s driving habits.

The 2018 Equinox is set to hit North American showrooms not long after the winter solstice—figure the first quarter of 2017—before making its way to approximately 115 additional global markets later next year. We’ll have complete pricing and equipment details closer to the vehicle’s release date.