With 2016’s autumnal equinox passing into the history books, summer is over and fall is here. And to mark the occasion, Chevrolet took the opportunity to give us our first look at the all-new 2018 Equinox — see what it did there? The Equinox is old (it debuted in 2005, and this generation has been on sale since 2010), but it’s hugely important to Chevy. The compact crossover is the brand’s second biggest seller behind the Silverado, with over 2 million examples sold to date. Now, it’s on a new platform, is lighter and leaner, and has styling that brings it much closer to the rest of Chevy’s current lineup.
The Equinox ditches the ancient Theta platform that it shared with ghosts like the Suzuki XL7, Pontiac Torrent, Saab 9-4X, and Saturn Vue, and joins the Buick Envision on General Motors’ modern D2U architecture. The changes amount to a claimed 400-pound weight loss, and likely a slight size reduction. The lightened, stronger architecture should help make the family car both safer and more efficient.
But the biggest changes come under the hood. A trio of engines replace the aging 2.4-liter inline-four: an entry-level 170-horsepower 1.5-liter turbo, a 252-horse 2.0 turbo (the same engine found in the Envision) mated to GM’s nine-speed transmission. Interestingly, a 1.6-liter, 136-horsepower turbodiesel engine is also available, which signals that major automakers haven’t given up on diesel just yet. The powerplants are all a little less potent than the outgoing model’s range-topping, 301-horse 3.6-liter V6, but with 10% less mass to move around, the new crossover should easily be able to keep up with traffic.
Chevy calls the Equinox’s clean-sheet design “lean and muscular.” We don’t know if we’d go that far, but it is a lot more stylish than its predecessor. The brand’s signature cross-bar grille and front fascia bear a strong resemblance to models like the Volt, Malibu, Cruze, and Impala. All models will come standard with projector-beam headlights and LED daytime-running lights, and LED taillights are available on higher trims.
But being a family crossover, the majority of the improvements are inside. The new architecture allows for a bigger, lower windshield for better visibility, durable “denim-style” upholstery, and a host of tech and safety features. Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system is standard on either 7- or 8-inch touchscreens, and both are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. And like most GM models, it’s available with OnStar’s 4G-LTE Wi-Fi hotspot too.
On top of the new architecture and powerplants, the Equinox has a new switchable all-wheel drive system that sends power to the front wheels when the extra traction isn’t needed. Between this and the host of new safety alerts, it should appeal to families who want a safe, modern crossover first, and something stylish second.
Luckily, the Equinox does both, or at least better than the outgoing model did. The 2018 Equinox should be more than enough to keep Chevy’s bread-and-butter crossover on top, and might even be enough to grow its share in the segment. Only time will tell, but from here, it looks like Chevy has put in the work to keep its best-selling non-truck on top.