2018 Chevrolet Equinox

2018 Chevrolet Equinox Review

Chevy reinvents one of its most popular vehicles, the Equinox, with impressive results.
3.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Cameron Rogers
Edmunds Editor

In 2016, the Chevrolet Equinox outsold every other vehicle in GM's lineup except the Silverado pickup. Not a bad year, but the Equinox still didn't do as well as its competitors from Ford, Honda, Nissan and Toyota. That's not a complete surprise since the segment favors the latest and greatest, and the Equinox has stayed more or less the same since 2010. We appreciated the previous model for its copious interior and cargo room, but it was clear the Equinox was uncompetitive in terms of performance, comfort and value. That changes with the debut of the redesigned 2018 Chevrolet Equinox.

The new Equinox is smaller and lighter than the vehicle it replaces, and it's powered exclusively by turbocharged four-cylinder engines with standard engine stop-start technology. Chevy says the most economical of these, an optional 1.6-liter diesel engine, will achieve an impressive 40 mpg on the highway. Even if you don't go for the diesel option, the standard engines all deliver improved fuel economy figures compared to the previous Equinox.

The downsizing has barely impacted the Equinox's spacious interior. There's plenty of legroom for tall passengers in all outboard seats — though the panoramic sunroof reduces headroom for those in the rear — and the back seats fold flat at the pull of a lever to increase the size of the cargo area to 63.5 cubic feet. You'll appreciate the extra space because the 29.9 cubic feet behind the rear seats is smaller than most in this class.

The Equinox features plenty of advanced safety equipment, from standard items such as a rearview camera and Chevy's Teen Driver reporting feature to a top-down parking camera system and lane departure warning and intervention. Tech features are also abundant, with every Equinox boasting a touchscreen display and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability.

The Equinox is not the most exciting compact crossover to drive, but it is one of the best all-rounders in the class. If you can look past its small cargo area, you'll be rewarded with a comfortable ride, roomy cabin and one of the best touchscreen systems in the business.

Notably, we picked the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox as one of Edmunds' Best Small SUVs for this year.



what's new

The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is fully redesigned for 2018. It's slightly smaller overall compared to its predecessor, but the reduced weight combined with more efficient engines pay off at the pump.

we recommend

The L is a great deal, but it's a special order-only model so you won't find it at the dealership. The LS costs more and doesn't add much, so best to skip to the midgrade LT. Its slight price bump from the LS is justified by the inclusion of xenon headlights, a power driver's seat and tinted windows. It also opens the door to the Confidence and Convenience package, which adds advanced safety equipment and a few luxury features.

trim levels & features

The base L model seems like a great deal, until you realize that it's a custom-order model and you'll have to wait for it to be built. You'll find the LS at practically any dealer, but it doesn't offer much more than the L for the added price. Best to skip straight to the LT, which is just a bit more expensive and includes more features and access to additional options. If you want the LT and its two packages, the leather-trimmed Premier includes it all.

Three engines are offered on the Equinox. The standard engine is a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder (170 horsepower, 203 pound-feet of torque) matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. A more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter engine (252 hp, 260 lb-ft) is optional and comes standard with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Also optional is a fuel-efficient 1.6-liter diesel (137 hp, 240 lb-ft) mated to a six-speed automatic. The 1.5-liter engine is the only engine available now. The optional engines won't be offered until later in the model year. Until we have a better understanding of the features offered in conjunction with the selection of the diesel and 2.0-liter engines, the following trim breakdown applies solely to the 1.5-liter engine.

The front-drive-only base L is well equipped, and it comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, a fuel-saving engine stop-start system, a rearview camera, heated mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, a driver information display, height-adjustable front seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Chevrolet's Teen Driver watchdog modes, Bluetooth, OnStar (with 4G LTE connectivity and Wi-Fi hotspot), a 7-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker audio system with a USB port, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

It's a built-to-order trim, however, so you're most likely going to see the next-level LS on dealer lots. It's pricier and doesn't add much besides rear floor mats, a spare tire, a tire jack and a digital compass. It does open the door to an expanded range of exterior colors and availability of all-wheel drive, however, so it's worth considering if you want the least expensive AWD model.

Stepping up to the LT adds xenon headlights, rear privacy glass, a leather-wrapped shift knob, an eight-way power driver seat (with two-way lumbar adjustment), auxiliary rear-seat release levers and satellite radio.

The LT offers two notable feature packages. The Sun and Infotainment package adds a panoramic sunroof, an upgraded driver information display, an 8-inch touchscreen, a second USB port in the front, two USB ports in the armrest bin and two charge-only USB ports in back. The Confidence and Convenience package includes rear parking sensors, a power liftgate, remote engine start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring that also detects rapidly approaching cars in the next lane.

Finally, the range-topping Premier includes the above packages (minus the panoramic sunroof, which can be added separately), along with 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, foglights, auto-dimming mirrors, roof rails, a hands-free liftgate, chrome exterior trim, ambient interior lighting, driver-seat memory settings, perforated leather upholstery and wireless device charging.

Even the top-trim Premier leaves some goodies on the table. Standard on all-wheel-drive models and optional for front-wheel-drive models is the feature-heavy Confidence and Convenience II package. It adds automatic high-beam control, a top-down, 360-degree parking camera system, a heated steering wheel, an eight-way power passenger seat, ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, lane departure warning and mitigation, Chevy's Safety Alert seat, a meter that measures the distance (in time) between you and the car in front, and forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking at low speeds. The Sun, Sound and Navigation package builds on top of this package with 19-inch wheels, the panoramic sunroof, navigation and a seven-speaker Bose audio system with HD radio.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Premier (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 9-speed automatic | FWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.5 / 5.0

Driving

4.0 / 5.0

Acceleration5.0 / 5.0
Braking4.0 / 5.0
Steering4.0 / 5.0
Handling5.0 / 5.0
Drivability2.5 / 5.0

Comfort

3.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort3.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort4.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration3.0 / 5.0
Climate control2.5 / 5.0

Interior

3.0 / 5.0

Ease of use3.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out3.0 / 5.0
Driving position2.5 / 5.0
Roominess2.5 / 5.0
Visibility3.0 / 5.0
Quality2.0 / 5.0

Utility

3.5 / 5.0

Small-item storage3.5 / 5.0
Cargo space3.0 / 5.0

Technology

4.0 / 5.0

Audio & navigation4.0 / 5.0
Smartphone integration4.5 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
The upgrade from the base 1.5-liter engine to the 2.0-liter is well justified with the amount of power and efficiency it delivers. On top of that, the Equinox has impressive handling on a twisty road. The only downside is the big turning radius that affects U-turns and parking.

acceleration

edmunds rating
The 2.0-liter turbo option gets you one of the best engines in the class. Acceleration is smooth and very manageable in everyday driving, but the front-wheel-drive model can generate torque steer when you floor it. Ours needed only 6.4 seconds to reach 60 mph, which is quicker than rivals.

braking

edmunds rating
The brakes feel nice and dependable. The pedal effort is appropriate for this kind of vehicle, and response is neither grabby nor lazy. It just feels right. Our Equinox executed a panic stop from 60 mph in 115 feet, a solid result in the compact SUV class.

steering

edmunds rating
Steering effort is what we expect from a small crossover, with low effort at parking speeds and more weighting at highway speeds. The vehicle tracks straight on most surfaces, and ample on-center feel makes for a relaxing drive. But we noticed some squirm on roads with longitudinal rain grooves.

handling

edmunds rating
The Equinox is surprisingly capable and balanced on a challenging twisty road. The handling limits are surprisingly high and approachable in these conditions, and it's just about as fun to drive as the class-leading Mazda CX-5.

drivability

edmunds rating
We're deducting points for an unusually large turning circle. Multi-point turns are a common occurrence with this car on streets where rivals can make a simple U-turn. We noticed this when nosing into crowded parking lots, too.

comfort

edmunds rating
Aside from the poorly placed air vents on the dash and the rather stifling leather upholstery, the Equinox gets high marks for comfort. Driving for many hours on end will not cause any undue fatigue. All things considered, it's comparable to other SUVs in the class.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
The front seats are well-shaped for long hours on the road, though the lumbar adjustment seemed a bit too low, pushing on the top of the hips. Cushioning is adequate, but the perforated leather didn't breathe very well without the ventilation activated. The rear seats offer good thigh support.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
The majority of ruts and bumps are well-absorbed by the compliant suspension. The car feels remarkably solid on the road without any harshness. This is especially impressive when you consider how well the Equinox handles.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
Road and wind noise is noticeable but not at all intrusive. On paper, it's as comparably quiet as the Honda CR-V, but in practice it sounds marginally louder.

climate control

edmunds rating
The vertical vents flanking the touchscreen do a poor job of distributing air. The only part of the driver they're able to cool are your knuckles. The ventilated seats are very effective at reducing the stifling nature of the leather upholstery.

interior

edmunds rating
The Equinox interior is attractive and mostly well-configured. But we would prefer the steering wheel to telescope further and wish the panoramic sunroof wasn't as intrusive for rear passengers.

ease of use

edmunds rating
The touchscreen is awkwardly angled away, making it prone to catching glare and obscuring the display. Otherwise, the layout of the controls is logical, and operating the many systems is fairly intuitive.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
The step-in height is low enough for smaller passengers to get in with minimal effort, and the doors are small enough to open wide in tight parking spaces. But the bottom edge of the doors are low and prone to scraping on high curbs.

driving position

edmunds rating
There's a good range of seat adjustment, but the steering wheel doesn't telescope far enough for average-size adult drivers, forcing them to sit closer and more upright than many will prefer.

roominess

edmunds rating
There's a wealth of room up front, but rear seat headroom is limited by the panoramic sunroof. Unfortunately, that sunroof is mandatory if you want to add the navigation system or premium audio.

visibility

edmunds rating
The front roof pillar is a bit thicker than you'll find in rivals, somewhat obstructing the view through left turns. Visibility out the sides and back is typical for other compact SUVs, with some reliance on the rearview camera needed in tight spots.

quality

edmunds rating
The interior materials quality is disappointing for the class and even more so when you consider how expensive the Equinox is. Hard plastics are one thing, but the textures are mismatched and there's a definite downmarket look and feel. They were *this* close to getting it right, too.

utility

edmunds rating
While the Equinox doesn't have an abundance of cargo space compared to rivals, it should still handle the bulk of everyday hauling. When you consider some of the thoughtful features, it's easy to give it a nod for the lack of on-paper capacity.

small-item storage

edmunds rating
There are plenty of bins, pockets and trays to hold your personal effects. The trays for cellphones are particularly helpful with rubberized coverings to keep objects in place.

cargo space

edmunds rating
In terms of cargo capacity, the Equinox is slightly below average, but we think there's plenty of space. Still, it's well below the capacity of the Ford Escape, the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4. The self-folding rear seats and underfloor storage are praiseworthy additions.

child safety seat accomodation

edmunds rating
The LATCH anchors are easy to find and hook up to, and there's plenty of space for forward-facing seats. Rear-facing seats fit well if the passenger seated ahead doesn't slide the seat into the last third of seat travel.

technology

edmunds rating
Chevrolet gets high marks for tech, curing many of the ills that plagued past models. It has plenty of features that are standard throughout the lineup, and the inclusion of six USB ports ensures all devices will be charged.

audio & navigation

edmunds rating
The MyLink infotainment system is easy to use and packed with plenty of features, and the screen has sharp and modern graphics. The optional Bose premium audio is surprisingly powerful with excellent clarity.

smartphone integration

edmunds rating
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard equipment. There were no glitches to speak of, and it's more intuitive than the MyLink system. It's a good substitute for the optional navigation system that forces you to add the panoramic sunroof. Also, there are six USB ports.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.