I tried in vain, but I couldnât track down a proper early â60s surf rock station on the SiriusXM radio during my time driving the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox. I was imagining the Beach Boysâ classic â409â every time I planted my right pedal in this improbably powerful compact crossover. Sadly, the basic facts and figures donât lend themselves to poetic lines like âSheâs real fine/my four oh nine:â
Cotton Picker Doffer Assembly
My apologies for the not-quite-Brian Wilson earworm. Few crossovers inspire anything, let alone any hint of song. This Chevrolet Equinox has plenty of power (and torque steer), but can it measure up beyond the engine room?
Speaking of this lovely 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, it has perhaps the best start/stop system Iâve ever experienced outside of a hybrid. In most vehicles equipped with this nominal fuel-saving feature, I tend to deactivate it due to the abrupt shaking that occurs upon restart. Not on the Equinox. While I could tell from the gauges that the engine had shut down and restarted at a traffic light, I couldnât feel or hear it. It was that seamless. Bravo, General Motors.
The driving experience is generally quite good â road noise is muted, and there was no harshness when I pounded a poorly marked speed bump at speed. I hate to trot out the old car mag trope, but I did find the steering to be remarkably numb and over-boosted â except at the extremes of travel, where the steering felt artificially heavy as the wheel approached the stops.
Stomping on the throttle, the 252 horsepower overwhelms the front tires, creating torque steer unlike anything Iâve felt since driving a heavily-modified âtunerâ car many years ago. It was controllable, certainly, but it’s out of character for an otherwise sedate family hauler.
Interestingly, our corporate overlords up in Canada can’t get this package. There, the 2.0-liter is only available with all-wheel drive. The 1.5T-powered Equinox starts at $27,340 Canadian. AWD models start at $29,740, and AWD 2.0T models start at $35,740 CAD.
Anyhow, controlled application of the right foot is advised when driving any turbocharged vehicle, lest you become overly familiar with the local gas stations. While the EPA estimates 25 mpg in mixed driving, my admittedly city-biased test loop returned an unimpressive 20.5 mpg. Stay out of the intoxicating boost and that figure should improve â I just couldnât restrain myself.
Itâs not often I receive comments while driving a test vehicle (unless the car is unusually exotic or otherwise odd). However, I lost count of the bystanders who remarked about the stunning green finish applied to this Equinox. Officially named Ivy Metallic, this hue is marvelous and kudos to Chevrolet for offering something beyond the typical variations on gray, silver, titanium, and pewter. Naturally, Ivy Metallic is a $395 extra-cost option, but I believe itâs well worth standing out in a parking lot of meh.
Beyond the paint, the Equinox is inoffensively styled, with a couple of slashes in the profile view that seem to hide a bit of the visual bulk.
A close look reveals an inconsistency in the chrome trim surrounding the windows. As seen below, the trim was lifting on the rear passenger door of this Equinox.
Attempts to push the trim back into alignment only saw it stubbornly return to its raised position. Iâm not certain if the adhesive has let loose, or if an aggressive car wash dislodged the chrome, but itâs a disappointing letdown.
Iâll contain my serious nitpicking to the middle of this review, but the convergence of the vinyl door trim and the plastic door card (seen above on the left rear door) isnât as well finished as one would hope for a crossover looking to compete with the best from Japan and Germany.
Here, the soft material isn’t well tucked in beneath the plastic, leading to a gap that will at the very least gather debris. Knowing that young families make up the bulk of Equinox drivers, I can easily see a small set of idle hands picking away at this gap during a road trip.
Aside from this, the Equinox looks to have a solid interior. Some will certainly complain â as journalists always do regarding GM products, it seems â that the dash and door panel materials are hard and cheap. Here, I remind you that kids will be beating on this interior, and a sturdy piece of plastic will likely remain presentable for years, where a softer-touch material may easily deform, if not tear, from the abuse of a few over-sugared kids.
The hexagonally quilted cloth interior again may seem low-rent, but itâs bulletproof and comfortable. A couple of stifling hours spent behind the wheel were pleasant and sweat-free. The seats themselves had one of the widest ranges of travel and adjustment Iâve seen in any vehicle â I could go from five inches of headroom to brushing the sunroof with a long press of a button.
I’ve read complaints elsewhere about the distance to the touchscreen, and yes, it is a bit more of a stretch for the right hand than in some other cars. But it’s a difference of, possibly, an inch or two, and the well-placed steering wheel buttons control nearly every function with ease.Â The optional Android Auto (and Apple CarPlay, though I don’t have any fruit-powered electronic devices with which to test) are welcome additions, and work perfectly.
As some here know, Iâve been encouraging my beloved wife to move on from her 12-year-old Chevrolet Trailblazer â mostly for fuel economyâs sake, though Iâm also tired of fixing everything that fails from the wrath of road salt.
Her largest concern for any replacement is interior space. While certainly an EPA class or two below the old body-on-frame SUV in real numbers, the Equinox feels positively spacious considering the relatively small exterior footprint. The kids had plenty of space in the second row, mercifully preventing them from kicking me in the back all day long. Cargo volume is plentiful for any gear we might need for a weekend of soccer, softball, and cheerleading events. Coolers, camp chairs, and the other detritus of suburban escape all fit beautifully.
Overall, the little details let the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox down. If the fit and finish was a bit better executed, this would be a more-than-worthy competitor to segment leaders from Honda, Toyota, and Nissan. While the extra power in this 2.0-liter Equinox is welcome and interior space is excellent, Iâm not sure the additional performance justifies the fuel economy penalty.
Iâll admit Iâm looking forward to the diesel-powered Equinox, which should hopefully bring excellent efficiency to the compact crossover segment.
The fabric does look and feels cheap in person. But the bolstering is a bit much. Was not comfortable.
I don’t like it and can’t even describe it. It’s not as dark as forest green, not as light as light green, it’s just GREEN dude. Like the greeniest green that ever was green.
I like the vehicle and will put it on my shopping list with the Forester, CRV(worst stereo ever) and RAV4.
My sister-in-law just switched to a Forester after having owned VW since the mid 1990s. But in her social group I think it was almost expected that she get something like a Forester.
The base models with AWD and the CR-V L getting the old 2.4l and Equinox 1.5T, the Honda is $5,000 more on cars.com. Step to the EX vs Equinox both with 1 5T AWD and the CR-V is still $2,000 more expensive.
Think Honda residuals are excellent? Check out 3 year old off lease with less than 40,000 moles and the Equinox costs more!
Window trim doesn’t line up 100% on my wife’s less than a year old Terrain either. Way to fix that GM.
It could be that the tires are responsible for some of that torque steer. Our car was horrible with the OEM tires and 285hp. As in “Holy crap where did you learn to drive” looks from the passenger when pulling out to pass on a two lane road. A fresh set of real tires and there is little to no torque steer at all. Plus, with the new tires I have traction when it is cold, wet, snowy or any other condition that isn’t sunny and a dry 80*.
The underhood packaging of the turbo also had me a bit nervous. There’s a whole lot of wires/rubber/plastic right within several inches of the turbocharger. How all of that will hold up with high temperatures and heat cycling is a bit iffy IMO. I suppose the engineers did the appropriate testing, but I’ve dealt with totally-turbo-cooked rubber hoses and such before on a WRX and it’s not pretty.
Not only did the engineers test it appropriately, they ensured that it will return 45mpg while climbing the continental divide at 150mph when equipped with the optional Normgasm Tune.
Kudos, to offering green paint and a strong engine, though. If I were somehow obligated to buy a crossover pod those elements could be persuasive. I’d rather Toyota just have kept the 2GR-FE in the RAV4, though. 11 years later and the power/economy/durability balance of that trucklet is still very appealing.
Yeah that previous gen Rav4 with the 2GR was something else. As I recall in 2006 it was literally the fastest Toyota sold in the US that year (speaks more to Toyota’s abandonment of the sports car market more than anything else I suppose). I will say, for as much as I slag the current gen Rav4 for the pre-refresh suspension stiffness and park-bench rear seats, it is a marked step above the previous one in terms of comfort and NVH. My wife’s uncle has a 2012 (4cyl sadly), the ride in that thing is freakishly stiff and the seats are way undersized. Noisy as well.
Toyota just needs to dust off the gen 1 Highlander line and start cranking them out again, with the current 2GR motor. That was a high-water mark for Toyota crossovers IMO in terms of quality, looks, size, etc. They still fetch a crazy premium even very used with high miles.
The LT is $8,000 for a nice $26K. The loaded one is also well discounted on cars dot com. It is a peppy piece at mid-$20’s to $30’s consider a CR-V is similar price.
What’s old is new again—-even post-prepackaged General Motors taxpayer subsidized bankruptcy (giving many employees, vendors/suppliers, etc. the screwjob).
General Motors makes absolute garbage and will continue to as it’s part of their bloated, grossly incompetent corporate executive DNA.
Even Caddidriver admits that his new Cadillac XT5 loaner was a POS, so it doesn’t matter if it’s a 30k Chevy or $48 Cadillac built on the same scrap-pile — it’s all garbage.
My 2013 Santa Fe has a similar motor…and the driving experience seems similar….lots of power, too much for the wheels. Lots of fun after a rolling start. Good mpg if you don’t get into the boost too much.
“As big as the difference in power and torque looks, the naturally aspirated Santa Fe was actually quicker than the turbo in our own testing. The 2.4-liter variant went from 0 to 60 mph in 8.3 secondsâthe turbo model took 8.4 seconds. This was a great improvement for the turbo because the 2015 model that we last tested completed the 0-60-mph test in 9.3 seconds….”
Does it come with a loaded .357 Revolver in the driver side door-pocket, for when the sea of cheap, poorly-grained plastics and other noxious materials is the straw that breaks the back of the drudgery, and the driver needs immediate relief from this sort of existence?
I was just about to post the same sentiment. After looking at this thing and reading the review I am just depressed.
Jeez what a boring soulless vehicle. I don’t mean to imply that every vehicle on the road needs to be immensely entertaining, but does it have to crush your soul ON PURPOSE?
I dont know what you were expecting. Its a CUV. Its replacing the Captiva outside of the US. Typical GM, great driveline, questionable everything else.
Also, about that 9-speed: any relation to the 9-speed unit universally condemned in Mopar applications? Any observations re shifting performance or lack thereof?
This is a totally different transmission from the notorious ZF 9-speed. So far it seems to be getting positive reviews.
I’m not bragging so don’t put me down, I’ve got the most boring set of wheels in town. When someone comes up to me, I don’t even try, ’cause if I tried to race ’em, yeah I know I would cry.
She’s my little deuce liter, you don’t care what I got. Little deuce liter, you don’t care what I got.
Just a little deuce liter with a forced induction mill, When I stomp on the gas it’s like I’m standing still. She’s connectivity enabled with Bluetooth and more, She’ll do 100, but I’m still feeling bored.
She’s my little deuce liter, you don’t care what I got. Little deuce liter, you don’t care what I got.
She ain’t got no clutch or a short shift kit, Her motor drones on when I punch it. And if that ain’t enough to make you groan, There’s one more thing, I have an 8 year loan.
And coming off the line when the line turns green, I get passed by more cars than I ever seen. I get pushed out of shape, and it’s hard to steer, When I fall victim to the torque steer.
She’s my little deuce liter, you don’t care what I got. Little deuce liter, you don’t care what I got. ……
The smart investor is going to start hoarding 3.6L Equinoxes – those are sure to shoot up in value! It’s not an equally soulless mediocre appliance that’s no quicker and marginally thirstier, no, it’s an engaging, analogue driving experience, and the discerning buyer will recognize that soon, driving up values just like air-cooled Porsches!
while i dont mind FWD SUVs if you’re purely urban and that kind of idiotic FWD wheelspin is kind of funny, I would suggest that the 4wd option is a good thing where weather is inclement and its a useful thing if you’re an aggressive urban driver.
I know Buick is saying color is back, and I know many in the B&B have lamented the 50 shades of gray and beige we generally can buy today. I for one am hoping that Buick leadership is right, and colors in cars are returning again.
Exactly. It’s been far too long since manufacturers turned out green cars. One element of the 90s that is welcome to return.
No mention of required Premium gas? I would have thought the GM engineers would have solved that problem along with the torque steer. Not to mention, unlike CRV, et. al., the constant $$ on Equinox’ hoods. In 2017, the outgoing V6 was available only with AWD, which, BTW now in 2018 models disengages unless needed a’la RAV4. Obviously, if you want to save gas, stay off the turbo. Otherwise, hoon whenever possible. If the popularity of the older model is any indication, these should sell well.
I thought it was recommended. The GM 2.0T in the 250-260 HP config has previously been premium recommended, unleaded OK. GMPP Stage 1 upgrade made it premium fuel required.
According to the Owners Manual I found online, “For the LTG 2.0L L4 turbo engine,premium unleaded gasoline meeting ASTM specification D4814 with a posted octane rating of 93 is highly recommended for best performance and fuel economy. Unleaded gasoline with an octane rated as low as 87 can be used. Using unleaded gasoline rated below 93 octane,however, will lead to reduced acceleration and fuel economy.If knocking occurs, use a gasoline rated at 93 octane as soon as possible, otherwise, the engine could be damaged. If heavy knocking is heard when using gasoline with a 93 octane rating, the engine needs service.”
Obvious deal breaker for many people, especially those who miss the V6 in the old model. Looks like the engineers were pressed for time and couldnât solve the issue, and these are lost premium sales.I drove a1.5T AWD model and it had about the same performance as the old 2.4 . Perfectly adequate for the intended purpose.
I have to question the veracity of this. There are many places in the country you can’t buy 93 Octane gas – west coast, mountain states. Best I can buy here is 91 octane.
APaGttH, Not sure if your question is directed to me. All I can tell you is that information is from the owner’s manual found at: https://www.manualslib.com/manual/1226036/Chevrolet-Equinox-2018.html?page=255#manual
Since Mountain States sell lower octane gas, starting at 85 rather than 87 up to 91 instead of 93, I suggest the issue is with the technical writer who worked on this manual. It should specify Premium only rather than use octane rating.
Not to argue, JerseyRon, since I agree with the intent of your statement, there are some few stations along the mid-Atlantic states that carry 93 octane; Sunoco, for one.
It only makes sense that higher altitude states would limit that as the thinner air affects how the engine burns it. On the other hand, a turbocharged engine really shouldn’t notice it as much as it pushes 2-4 atmospheres, depending on brand and performance grade.
This one’s been done to death on the 3.6 HFV6 boards. Different engine but, 87 is in the manual. The engine will run all day on 87. Interestingly the power output rated is on 91. It appears marketing dictates the 87 octane required, the engine computer will just compensate.
“Some will certainly complain â as journalists always do regarding GM products, it seems â that the dash and door panel materials are hard and cheap. Here, I remind you that kids will be beating on this interior, and a sturdy piece of plastic will likely remain presentable for years, where a softer-touch material may easily deform, if not tear, from the abuse of a few over-sugared kids.”
I can’t prove it, but it’s been rumored that Sugared kids do ride in other types of vehicles, too. Unless it’s a requirement for Equinox owners to prove they have particularly abusive children, that’s a pretty lame defense for cost-cutting. Cheap is cheap, and Chevy should be called out for it without justification.
Look at a used Q7 that likely served as soccer shuttler. You cannot spare interior dressing to cover scratches on every seat back and the front dash of the soft touch mateials.
Check out out a Lexus NX or Range Rover for the same hard plastics just made of thicker material with less of a hollow sound.
Love that green colour. The new Tiguan is also offering a green along with the Habanero colour. About time manufacturers offered actual colours. Ford also has their Bohai Bay Mint, which is also very unique.
Fuel economy is a bit disappointing though. I imagine the diesel version will take care of that. Looking forward to an Equinox diesel review.
I doubt Bohai Bay Mint will ever extend past the Fiesta though, just Chevy’s Mint won’t go past the Spark. Imagine a mint mustang convertible though?
I like it too. It’s nice to see nice metallic colors instead of the same old white, black, grey, etc.
Yes, it is nice to see. Of course, it’s one thing to see it in a press fleet car. It’s another thing to see it on dealer lots, with options you want.
Its good that the author posted some high res megapixel interior shots… I do like the exterior design and the seats look as does general trim however the dash buttons console etc look sub Korean spec. let alone mid japanese nissan subaru mazda spec
i get that this is base ($30k) but would really love it if GM made the interiors a bit more upspec. Will wait for the $40k lux models but really who wants to pay $40k for a CUV.
Don’t know about the ’09 – ’13 fours, but my ’02 Saturn Vue had a good little four that survived 130,000 miles with me and family before finally getting traded off.
Let’s hope so. The DI 2.4L motors are a disaster with their timing sets. I’d be curious to see if there is a pattern associated with people cheaping out on oil and running really long oil change intervals (iirc Chevy initially recommended a 10k interval on synthetic, then shortened to 7500 miles). My brother has diagnosed a number of poor running newish 4 cylinder Equinoxes that turned out to be off by several teeth on the camshafts from stretched chains causing jumping.
Seems the decades long issues at Cadillac seem to have spread to the volume focused plebeian division. I can’t believe they are still above ten percent market share.
“The GDI combustion process is introducing more soot into the engineâs oil. The soot that a GDI engine creates is carbonaceous and not like regular soot created in a non-GDI engines. This has captured the attention of both car manufacturers and lubricant manufacturers.
GDI-produced soot has been found to react with certain lubricants and additive packages in a very unique way. Traditionally, soot leads to the thickening of engine oil and eventually the formation of sludge. But this soot tends to cause engine wear. The combination of combustion acids, fuel dilution from incomplete combustion and GDI soot, has been found to be a substantial reason for accelerated timing chain wear. It may not be a coincidence that GMâs 2.4 and 3.6 engines â which suffer from timing chain issues â use gasoline direct injection.”
I drove a 1.5L turbo AWD that had few options and cloth interior and the MSRP was just around $33k, which I found ludicrous. I hated the 1.5’s vibration and noise but more I hated the front seats which had really short cushions and no thigh support. Perhaps this one had power seats so they could be adjusted to make up for some of that?
Lousy seats seem to be the norm these days. Most of the competition also has crappy seats, even in the top line trims.
I’m a 5’6″ man and the seats were woefully unsupportive for me. In comparison, the Mazda CX-5 felt like a BMW with sport seats. Note I never complain about head room, LOL.
Thatâs quite a nit to pick on fit and finish, judging by the pictures. Iâve had three âNoxâs – 013, 016, and now 017. Their F ânâ F was at least as good as my two RAVâs. Inside, the cloth seats are indestructible while the hard plastics, while cheap looking hold up well despite a tendency to scuff easily.
Our 2015 Terrain has 45,000 miles and it the in Teri or leather and trim pieces never scratched from multiple dogs from 20-70 lbs. Just wipe with some interior vinyl/leather treatment and they look like new. Couldn’t say the same for the inlaws old 2010 Corolla with scratches all of Liver the center dash and radio area.
“I tried in vain, but I couldnât track down a proper early â60s surf rock station on the SiriusXM radio during my time driving the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox.”
60’s on 6 annoys me since they almost entirely play soul and late 60’s Woodstock garbage. It’s as if the early 60’s didn’t exist.
Amen. But Cadillac missed out. Just had a brand new XT5 loaner while my Escalade was in for regular maintenance. Entire time I kept checking to see if a window was open, the road noise from the tires was THAT BAD. And they were Michelins. Wish I could say the same about the start/stop, found it abrupt and loud.
We had a 2017 LaCrosse as a rental. I was so impressed with the stop/start system. Even better than the 2015 Mercedes GLK350 I had as a rental (and racked similar miles on). Practically invisible. The 3.6L V6 with auto stop and DoD racked up over 30.2 MPG combined for us over 1512 miles, and I wasn’t gentle with the pedal. 30.2 MPG combined with 310 HP under my right foot?
Oh Really? Is there developed criteria/standards for testing stop-start systems? No, “mine works real good while I’m throwing cotton-candy bales from my Silverado to the unicorns” doesn’t count. Data that can be sourced, not anecdotes is the only credible evidence.
Once I had an older body style Malibu loaner which had the start/stop feature and I hated it. On the new Malibus, I had the opportunity to drive one, and I couldn’t believe the difference!
Too much money. Loaded, these are over $40,000 dollars. My brother was waiting for the new Equinox and once he found out what they cost he bought a fully loaded Honda CRV Touring AWD with no regrets.
Your hyperbolic bull$hit about the steaming piles of $hit made by General Motors, one of the worst-run corporations of all time, producing some of the worst vehicles of all time (past and present), increasingly made of Chinese (and Indian and Thai and Mexican) lowest-cost-bid parts, and increasingly assembled in 3rd world and emerging market nations, is hilarious.
I can’t stand the course Honda is on, including their idiotically-run Acura division, yet one Honda or Acura, for all of its faults (and I would buy neither any current-production Honda or Acura), will have approximately 1/10th the defects of any GM vehicle, be approximately 450% more reliable and durable, and have approximately 200% better resale value.
Now quick! Regale us with comical stories of Trifecta-tuned Clown Bruick Encores, Chinese-assembled and made of 88% Chinese parts Envrisions, and other strongholds of $hit General Motors’ vehicles!
62.7 miles per gallon at 85 miles per hour, pushing 543 horsepower at the crank (and 555-lbs feet of torque Buick Enclaves!
Fantastic colour on the crossover equivalent of an Elantra (IE for people who put no thought or emotion into the car buying process whatsoever). Now if they’d offer it on the Camaro maybe I’d consider one over a Mustang…
You cannae change the laws of physics. If you want to flog a 4000-pound vehicle, you’re gonna burn some gas. Turbos aren’t magic, they give you power when you want it…at a cost. If you want to avoid the fuel economy penalty, drive accordingly. Assuming the EPA numbers are attainable, they’re pretty impressive. About the same that my Element gets, and no one’s ever going to compare it to a 409.
Where else can you find misaligned trim pieces and panels? On a $50k 2018 Honda Odyssey. The Odyclub forum is full of them. Not such a big deal on a $27k Equinox.
Green..Unless it is on a Morgan, Jag, MG; pass. Perhaps it was the years I worked at a Subaru store and seemingly every blasted Outback was some color of green.
I think I have come to conclude I have low expectations or perhaps am low class. I read about the ‘hard plastics’ found in this that or the other and how others find it offensive or lacking. Late I have been test driving used C6 Vettes’, and they are riddled with hard plastics especially the armrest/middle storage (the aftermarket has several options that look nice to solve this though) and I just don’t care. I really don’t. Am I Ferrari shopping? No. But for 20k, I am all in for some low mileage MT LS goodness as my winter beater hard plastic interior that may or may not align perfectly be damned.
Yet another category were GM is calling 3rd place (at best); a True Product Champion!!! At 138,000 miles this vehicle will be strong contender in the “Baby Momma got it at a PHPH Lot” category.
I love the green, but Jane Fonda’s headband-cum-chinstrap needs to go. Can Chevrolet pick a new design language anytime soon?
Post time: Apr-18-2019