Most of us have heard the saying, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”
That could have been said about the Chevrolet Equinox, one of Chevrolet’s best and most consistent sellers almost since the day it was introduced for the 2005 model year and especially over the last half dozen years. U.S. sales have topped 200,000 vehicles each of the past five years, reaching a high-water mark of 277,589 in 2015.
But Chevrolet used a different saying in its approach to the Equinox, seemingly saying, “We can make a good thing even better.”
That is what the all-new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox offers. Yes, the 2018 models are already out at places such as Vande Hey Brantmeier Chevrolet Buick in Chilton, even though there is still more than half of 2017 left to go.
“The response has been good,” said Sales Manager Dennis Kendall of Vande Hey Brantmeier. “It’s bigger than the other stuff it competes with.”
The redesigned 2018 Chevrolet Equinox has actually reduced some of its measurements compared to the 2010 to 2017 version, but only slightly—and it has increased room in other areas. Front shoulder room has seen the largest increase at 1.4 inches. All changes—plus or minus—are relatively minute.
More important changes
But the other changes to the new Equinox are more important and substantial. That includes the introduction of an available 1.6L, 136 hp turbodiesel which is rated at 40 mpg highway.
The new Equinox is also 400 pounds lighter than its previous version, 4.7 inches shorter, and has a wheelbase which is 5.2 inches shorter. The reduced weight also helps with gains in fuel efficiency.
To preserve ride quality, boost handling performance, and add steering precision, Chevrolet hard-mounted both the front and rear suspension subframes to provide a 20 percent stiffer structure. The Macpherson strut front suspension cradle is now anchored to the frame in six positions instead of four with a stiffening bar running across the structure as well.
As a daily driver of an early Pontiac Torrent—virtually the same vehicle as the Equinox of the same year except for some styling differences—I can attest to the fact that my test drive of the 2018 Equinox showed me a vehicle which indeed is built even “tighter” and better than it has been in the past.
Package offers a lot
Kendall also pointed out that the 2018 Equinox offers the Driver Confident and Convenience Package. That includes rear park assist, rear coss-traffic alert, side blind zone alert with lane change alert, remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, driver and front passenger heated seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and universal home remote.
The side mirrors alone in this package have multiple features to them—they are heated, power adjustable, manual folding, the color of the vehicle’s body, and have turn signal indicators on them.
I also was intrigued by the power liftgate or, more specifically, the knob and push button switch just to the left of the driver which allows the rear liftgate to be set to open all the way, three-fourths of the way (in case space is tight in a garage or elsewhere), or not at all. An available feature allows the liftgate to be opened by passing your foot under the rear of the vehicle in case your hands are full.
The black Equinox I drove had the 1.5L, 170 hp turbocharged gas engine with an overall mileage rating of 26. In addition to that engine and the diesel mentioned earlier, a 2.0L, 252 hp turbocharged gas engine also is available.
As for features which caught my eye, I really liked the backlit gauge which provides both a digital and more traditional speedometer. I also liked the digital temperature setting readouts on both of the dual climate control knobs.
The backup camera is a nice feature, as is the deep storage well between the front seats which also is equipped with a small light which goes on when the lid is opened.
More options to like
This Equinox had cloth seats, push button all-wheel drive, a convenient location for the USB and MP3 jacks, push button start, lighted interior mirrors, and the touch screen information center found in most new vehicles these days. An available feature on that screen is a virtual bird’s-eye view of the vehicle using four cameras—the standard rear vision camera, a forward-looking camera in the front grille, and one under each side mirror of the vehicle.
Some of the other listed options on the Equinox I drove included a tire pressure monitor, keyless open, a theft deterrent system, and five-year basic Onstar service which Kendall said includes Remote Link. That feature allows drivers to use an app on their phone to remotely start their car.
The Teen Driver feature also available on the 2018 Equinox allows parents to give a different remote to young drivers which monitors their driving habits and also sets a maximum radio volume.
I have always been a big fan of the Equinox. It is a car which makes a lot of sense for a lot of different drivers—young, old, single, family, etc. And now more than a dozen years after it was first introduced, Chevrolet’s very good Equinox has been made even better.