By Michele Spencer
The Equinox earns the top spot on the list of family sport utility vehicles because it has everything that a busy family needs in a transporter/grocery getter/road tripper, and has a strong and powerful engine with nice handling to keep the driver very happy, at a very competitive price.
One of the features that sets the Equinox apart from other SUVs is one simple tech feature: If you opened a back passenger door during the outing, you will be reminded by a message on the driver’s display screen to check the back seat once the car is turned off. This feature needs to be standard on all vehicles, considering the stories in the news about kids and animals being left behind.
The Equinox is a two row compact SUV which seats five. The size of the Equinox is about the same as a Honda CR-V, a Ford Escape and a Mazda CX-5. There’s 30 cubic feet of rear cargo space. The cabin is quiet, comfortable and roomy, with standard heated, leather-trimmed seats, 10-way driver’s seat adjustments, and a telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel. There are lots of places to stow items in the console. The panoramic sunroof (fully retractable) and glass roof let in as much light as desired with one-touch switch controls.
There are excellent cameras and displays for safe backing up, moving forward toward an object, and for those crucial side views. When the (as tested) Equinox senses that it is too close to an object in front, the driver’s seat will vibrate lightly to alert them of the situation.
In order to increase MPG, the engine shuts off at common stops. Once the foot is lifted off the brake, the engine restarts automatically.
Volume and temperature controls are by knob and button, instead of by screen touch, which is exactly how they should be so that the driver isn’t distracted performing common correction tasks on the road.
The Equinox was very close to the 25 MPG combined fuel economy rating (22 city and 29 highway) with a lot of stop and go Los Angeles traffic and a bit of open highway. The engine is responsive and there are no issues with getting quick speed when necessary. The turning radius is acceptable for the crossover segment.
As a tow vehicle, the tester could haul up to 3505 pounds. The 1.5 liter gasoline and 1.6 liter diesel versions could haul 1500 pounds.
Chevy has improved the Equinox with this model year. The tech and safety features on the 2018 Equinox combined with its handling and good MPG make it a no-contest champion over the top-selling compact crossover in the US, the Honda CR-V. Its closest competition would be the Mazda CX-3 and CX-5. The Equinox has gone from so-so to highly recommended.
The Equinox base price is $33,585.00, plus the destination charge of $895 for shipping from Canada, making it competitive in its segment as a sensible family vehicle with enough zip to make the driver a happy camper.
2018 Chevrolet Equinox FWD Premier 2.0 Liter Turbo
Engine: 2.0 liter turbocharged gasoline engine (as tested); Also available in 1.6 liter turbo diesel engine and 1.5 liter gasoline engine, either AWD or FWD.
Transmission: 5 speed automatic
Wheels: 19 inch
Lights: LED headlamps and tail lamps, daytime running lights
Trailering equipment: standard, all models
Remote vehicle start, at press of button on remote key
Heated seats: Driver and front passenger
Rear split-folding seats
Audio: 6 speaker system
Connectivity: MyLink audio, 8 inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, OnStar, 4G LTE wi-fi hotspot.
Packages on vehicle as tested: “Confidence and Convenience II” Package : Power adjustments on front passenger seat, ventilated driver and passenger seats, heated steering wheel, low speed forward automatic braking, forward collision alert, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, following distance indicator, safety alert seat, surround vision, intellibeam auto high beam control, and roof rack cross rails. ($1895.00) “Sun, Sound and Navigation” Package: Power sunroof, Chevrolet MyLink navigation, 7 speaker Bose sound system, HD radio. ($2620.00)