The Chevrolet Equinox is a big hitter for the brand. It’s a competent vehicle in a popular and competitive segment. For 2018 Chevy has a new Equinox. The vehicle is smaller, more refined, has better engine options, and better styling. We recently had the chance to drive the Equinox with the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder under the hood at an event in Joliet, IL, at the Autobahn Country Club. We drove a short drive route around the area to see what the new Equinox is all about.

Family Friendly and Ready for the Masses

2018 Chevrolet Equinox profile view

Climb inside the Chevrolet Equinox and one thing becomes immediately apparent. This is a family vehicle with ease of use as its main priority. Everything is ergonomically where you want it. The MyLink Infotainment system is clear and easy to use and can be had with plenty of features including OnStar, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, and many other apps. The gauge cluster is simple and the information display between the speedometer and tachometer is simple and clear.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox interior

The cabin isn’t unattractive but there’s a lot of hard plastics and relatively lower-rent materials throughout. This is pretty typical of GM products. While we weren’t impressed with the material quality, it did seem like everything was well put together. The Equinox feels sturdy. It feels like it will put up with the rigors of a busy mom or dad and a few crazy kids. There’s a no-nonsense quality to the cabin of the vehicle. It’s not pretentious. The designers built it knowing their audience, and this is a refreshing quality.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox seats

The seats are comfortable and spacious, and the cargo area is large enough to be competitive in the segment. The exterior of the vehicle is attractive and non-polarizing. It will blend right in with the rest of the SUVs and crossovers in the carpool lane. The front features a grille and headlight layout that puts the Equinox in line with the rest of Chevrolet’s vehicles. It fits right in with its brand siblings.

Easy to Control and Plenty of Power

2018 Chevrolet Equinox wheel

When Chevrolet redesigned the Equinox they went all out putting together a new engine lineup, reducing weight by about 400 lbs, and revising just about everything in terms of driving dynamics. The 2018 Equinox is the best driving version of the model yet.

The engine lineup goes as follows: 1.6-liter turbodiesel that produces 136 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque, and 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder punching out 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Our tester had the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in it.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox rear

The 2.0-liter engine is powerful and the standard nine-speed automatic transmission that mates to the engine put the power down to the wheels well. More than once, we made the front tires squeal with minimal effort. Acceleration is strong and shifting gears happens quickly.

Steering and handling were better than we thought they would be. The Equinox doesn’t exactly feel sporty, but it's much more nimble than we expected. The steering wheel is void of feedback, but that doesn’t matter much for a vehicle in this segment. Two of the highest points of the Equinox are ride quality and noise level. It’s very quiet on the road, and the suspension soaks up the bumps with ease. If you’re looking for a comfortable commuter or cruiser, the Equinox delivers. We didn’t have a chance to drive the vehicle on the highway, but the area we did drive it had some patches of seriously rough pavement and the vehicle ate them up without issue.

The Best Chevy Equinox Yet

2018 Chevrolet Equinox rear 3/4

Chevrolet’s Equinox has always been a pretty popular vehicle. That being said, most people seem to choose the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, and Nissan Rogue over it. Well, that might change. We think the 2018 Equinox has the goods to take it to the bestselling vehicles in the crossover segment. Previous Equinox models were a little too big and thirsty to really be competitive with these other vehicles, but the 2018 model offers a lot in a more compact package. We could see people giving it a chance.

From a ride quality, noise level, and technology standpoint, the Equinox shines. It’s not as fun to drive as the Honda CR-V or Mazda CX-5, but it offers what crossover drivers are more likely to need: practicality and ease of use. That’s not to say the competing vehicles do a poor job in these areas, but the Equinox seems to be seriously focused on what matters to many shoppers. This could yield excellent results for Chevy.

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