Chevy hopes for success with dawning of redesigned Equinox crossover

I’m writing my latest review just two days away from the winter equinox. It’s the darkest day of the year. Some find it depressing. I look at it as the beginning of more daylight which I love (yes, Vitamin D!). So it’s apropos that my review this week is on the 2018 Chevy Equinox, which is also facing a new dawn.

The previous generation Equinox had grown quite dated and stale. It still was a top-selling vehicle for General Motors, but it just wasn’t very exciting. Now with a complete redesign, this new generation Equinox steps into the light.

Not since 2010 had the Equinox been given a complete redesign, so it was high time. And now this new version is lighter, faster and more fuel efficient. And it looks more current, too. There’s a great deal of styling on the 2018 Equinox. The size is noticeable in the squattier posture, but thanks to some clever styling cues, it looks more elongated. It’s a perfect blend of car and SUV making it a true crossover. The front end is on the bland side but the side profile is gorgeous with sculpted and chiseled features.

The back side also lacks some styling, but I believe this was intentional as Chevy didn’t want to make it too stylized and age it more quickly. Since the last version lasted seven years, I suspect Chevy hopes to get a lot of life out this version, as it’s GM’s top-selling SUV.

There are three engines offered for the Equinox, all that are new for this vehicle. The standard 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder seems underpowered at 170 horsepower. It’s reminiscent of the previous-generation Equinox which had a no frills, no excitement driving persona. There will also be an exciting 1.6-liter turbocharged diesel. It will be fun to see how this powertrain performs, and I hope to review that in the near future.

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My tester was the highly recommended 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. It has adequate power at 252 hp. Plus, it has a very nice nine-speed transmission. This is the best transmission I’ve seen from GM (excluding the Allison series). My tester had front-wheel drive, but I would recommend the all-wheel drive option and sacrifice a tiny bit of fuel economy.

The five-passenger crossover has an impressive interior. The previous version of the Equinox felt sparse with a lot of harder materials. Now there is an abundance of soft touch points and the rear legroom and headroom are good, even for three adults.

Front passengers will enjoy premium cloth material and lumbar support. There’s a 4G LTE WIFI hot spot for OnStar subscribers. Behind the second row are 29.9 cubic feet of cargo room. This is improved over the last model, but still doesn’t feel like a lot of room when compared to other SUVs. However, the back seat is so spacious, you can accept the cargo volume for what it is.

There are four trims: L, LS, LT and Premium. My tester was the LT trim which has a base price of $29,145. The LT has xenon headlights, rear privacy glass and a leather-wrapped shifter. Plus, the nicer packages start at the LT trim, including the Sun and Infotainment packages. Those packages include an 8-inch touchscreen, power sunroof, luggage rack, side rails and additional USB ports. The infotainment system is fantastic in this vehicle. It’s easy to use and well organized. My tester had a final MSRP of $34,375.

The FWD Equinox with the 2.0-liter engine has an EPA rating of 22 mpg/city and 29 mpg/highway. In a week’s worth of mixed driving, I averaged 25 mpg. That’s about average for this segment, but is an improvement over the previous-generation Equinox.

As the 2018 model years start rolling and Old Man Winter starts rolling out (seriously, get out of here), look for more exciting models from General Motors as 2018 is shaping up to be a very big year for the automaker. Make no mistake, they need the Equinox to make a big splash. It’s tough messing with success, but Chevy seems to have found the sweet spot with this new Equinox.

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