Though it’s not quite at the top of the sales pyramid for its segment, the Chevrolet Equinox has benefited from American consumers’ wholehearted embrace of crossovers, with sales of nearly 2 million units since its launch in 2009. It’s now the second best-selling model for Chevy after the Silverado pickup.
Chevrolet introduced an all-new third-generation version of its flagship crossover for 2018, giving it a sleeker, more sculpted exterior look that’s more in line with other Chevrolet car models and shaving 400 pounds off the vehicle’s total weight, a 10 percent reduction. Coupled with its efficient trio of newly turbocharged engines, that adds up to impressive gains in fuel economy (more on that later). There’s also new technology including a Safety Alert seat, surround-view cameras, low-speed automatic braking and forward collision warning.
It comes with a standard 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that loses 12 horsepower from the outgoing engine but tacks on 31 more pound-feet of torque. There’s also an available 1.6-liter turbo diesel engine, both mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Upgrading to a 2.0-liter borrowed from the Buick Envision brings a nine-speed automatic. The standard engine is available in front- or all-wheel-drive.
This buyer’s guide aims to help you make an educated decision about whether or not to buy the 2018 Chevy Equinox. We’ll include safety and reliability ratings, engine specs, horsepower, fuel economy ratings and pricing, and we’ll conclude with a summary of Autoblog’s most recent test-drive of the Equinox.
Is the Chevy Equinox safe?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2018 Chevy Equinox an overall four-star safety rating out of five possible stars for protecting the driver and passengers against injury. NHTSA gives the Equinox five stars for frontal crash protection and four of five stars for both side crash and rollover crash protection.
Meanwhile, the Equinox earns “good” ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in almost every category — driver- and passenger-side small overlap crashes, moderate front overlap, side crashes, roof strength, and head restraint and seats. It gets a “superior” mark in front crash protection, with optional equipment, but it gets a “marginal” mark for headlights, one of IIHS’ newer areas of focus, and an “acceptable” rating for child seat anchor ease of use.
Ratings may differ for Equinoxes from other model years, so be sure to visit the NHTSA and IIHS websites to review ratings on the specific vehicle you’re researching.
Is the Chevy Equinox reliable?
J.D. Power’s most recent ratings for initial quality centered on the 2017 Equinox, which was part of the previous generation.
It gave the Equinox four out of five possible stars — “better than most” — for overall quality, three stars — “about average” — for overall performance and design, and five stars — “among the best” — for predicted reliability.
A quick note here that Autoblog has voiced some concerns with the way J.D. Power weighs serious and less-serious reliability issues, which you can read about here.
According to NHTSA, there was one recall of the Equinox made in August 2017 affecting 2,905 vehicles over a right front intermediate driveshaft that could fracture and separate, potentially causing the vehicle to lose propulsion and risk a crash. The recall targets the Equinox, GMC Terrain and Acadia.
How much interior and cargo room does the Chevy Equinox have?
With seating for up to five people, the 2018 Chevy Equinox offers 40.9 inches of leg room up front and 39.7 inches in back. Headroom is 40 inches in the front seats and 38.2 inches with a sunroof, and 38.5 inches in the rear or 36.9 inches with a sunroof. Cargo volume is 63.5 cubic feet with the rear seat folded down, or 29.9 cubic feet behind the rear seat.
By way of comparison, the 2018 Toyota RAV4, the top-selling crossover in the U.S. in 2017, offers 42.6 inches of front leg room and 37.2 inches in the backseats, with 38.9 inches of head room in both the front and rear.
Chevy Equinox engine specs and horsepower
The Equinox comes with the 1.5-liter turbocharged direct-injected four-cylinder as standard. It makes 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque. Upgrading to the 2.0-liter turbo bumps those figures up considerably, to 252 hp and 260 lb-ft.
There’s also a 1.6-liter turbo diesel engine, the most fuel-efficient (more on that below). It delivers 137 hp and 240 pound-feet of torque.
The Equinox is available in four trim levels: L, LS, LT and Premier. The latter two trims break down further:
- 1LT — 1.5-liter
- 2LT — 2.0-liter
- 3LT — 1.6-liter diesel
- Premier 1LZ — 1.5-liter
- Premier 2LZ — 2.0-liter
- Premier 3LZ — 1.6-liter diesel
How fuel efficient is the 2018 Chevy Equinox?
The Equinox illustrates part of the appeal of crossovers of its ilk: They offer fuel economy previously seen only in smaller sedans or compact cars. Here’s how the EPA rates the Equinox and its different configurations:
- 1.5-liter turbo four-cylinder, six-speed automatic, FWD — 26 mpg city, 32 highway, 28 combined
- 1.5-liter turbo four-cylinder, six-speed automatic, AWD — 24 mpg city, 30 highway, 24 combined
- 2.0-liter turbo four-cylnder, nine-speed automatic, FWD — 22 mpg city, 29 highway, 25 combined
- 2.0-liter turbo four-cylnder, nine-speed automatic, AWD — 22 mpg city, 28 highway, 24 combined
- 1.6-liter turbo diesel, six-speed automatic, FWD — 28 mpg city, 39 highway, 32 combined
- 1.6-liter turbo diesel, six-speed automatic, AWD — 28 mpg city, 38 highway, 32 combined
The 1.6-liter diesel versions, which are the most fuel efficient, break down like so:
- Six-speed automatic — 30 mpg city, 52 highway, 37 combined
- Nine-speed automatic — 31 mpg city, 47 highway, 37 combined
How much does the Chevy Equinox cost?
The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox starts at $24,575 for the L trim, while the Premier 2.0-liter turbo starts at $34,595. Both prices are inclusive of the $995 destination freight charge.
Use Autoblog’s Smart Car Buying program powered by TrueCar to search out competitive local pricing and savings on the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox.
Autoblog Chevy Equinox review
Autoblog editor John Beltz Snyder drove the 2018 Chevy Equinox near the Smoky Mountains between Greeville, S.C. and Asheville, N.C. and found it game for the hills.
“The Equinox promises to continue to be a popular vehicle, and owners are sure to be pleased with the 2018 model,” he writes. “We were with the overall package, and it should compete well in this segment against cars like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.”