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2018 Chevrolet Equinox 1.5T Premier First Test

On Monday, June 12th, 2017

The Chevrolet Equinox was one of the lesser-known compact crossovers in the market, and it didn’t really help that, in terms of size, it was slightly larger than most of its competitive set. Now sized appropriately and packing more tech, the all-new 2018 Equinox is looking to take a bite out of the rapidly growing compact crossover pie. Available with a range of turbocharged engines and a wide variety of convenience and active safety features, the Bow Tie brand’s redesign crossover is now more family friendly. But does it have what it takes to go up against segment stalwarts such as the Honda CR-V? Let’s find out.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox

Under the hood of our 2018 Equinox test car is a 1.5-liter turbo-four with 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque paired to a six-speed automatic gearbox. At the test track, associate road test editor Erick Ayapana found the transmission shifts too early in Normal mode and used the manual shift button to get the quickest run to 60 mph of 9.2 seconds, finishing the quarter mile in 16.9 seconds at 91.2 mph. This makes the 2018 Equinox one of the slower entries in the compact crossover segment alongside the Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape 1.5T EcoBoost, and the Kia Sportage 2.4, all of which took 9.0 seconds or longer to hit 60 mph and the quarter mile in 16.0 seconds or longer. Stopping from 60 mph took 119 feet, which is mid-pack, and it was during the braking tests where we noted that the Equinox had good body control and short pedal travel.

On the figure eight, the 2018 Equinox showed that it had secure handling, thanks to its balance between understeer and oversteer. It finished the figure-eight course in 27.7 seconds with a 0.61g average and produced an average of 0.83g of lateral acceleration on the skidpad. Road test editor Chris Walton noted that the stability control wasn’t fully defeatable and would randomly turn itself back on; however, it didn’t interfere much. The toggle switch on top of the gear lever for manual shifting also proved infuriating due to its slow responses. Walton also noted the lifeless steering, which he described as “very light, numb, and feeling like the proverbial video game.”

Interior build quality is another weak point of the 2018 Equinox because soft-touch materials have been mixed in with hard, brittle plastics even in areas near touch points such as the door panels, dash, and center console. The steering wheel, in particular, highlights the crossover’s inconsistent build quality because the plastics in the back of the spokes don’t appear to have been glued properly and was already peeling off. Furthermore, there was a rattle in the cargo area of our tester that couldn’t be pinpointed and got louder when you drove over rough road surfaces.

The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is a step forward, especially when it comes to tech features. It stands apart because of its user-friendly user interface, straightforward controls, and the availability of features usually found in more expensive vehicles. Chevrolet’s MyLink multimedia system is an example of what infotainment units should be: easy to use and shouldn’t require you to pull out a user’s manual in order to figure out its functions. However, the 2018 Equinox suffers from a number of issues such as inconsistent build quality, a transmission that always wants to be in the highest gear, and the unavailability of active safety features on lower trims levels. As a result, an otherwise solid effort falls mid-pack, especially when you consider the $37,295 as-tested price. Even with all the features you get at that price, the 2018 Equinox is still a tough proposition especially when you consider its flaws.

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