2018 Chevrolet Equinox debuts with fresh styling, more tech, and a diesel engine

The compact crossover segment is booming, to the point that these small utility vehicles are outselling traditional sedans. That’s great for many carmakers, but not Chevrolet, because the Detroit automaker’s Equinox has never been a particularly competitive model in this segment.

The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox hopes to change that. It incorporates styling and technology from other recent Chevys, and benefits from both a diet and a revamped lineup of powertrains. The latter includes a diesel option that is unique among compact crossovers in the U.S. market. Will that be enough to turn the Equinox from perennial also-ran to SUV champ?

On the outside, the 2018 Equinox wears updated styling that borrows heavily from other current Chevy models, such as the Malibu and Cruze. The two-tier grille design in particular ties the Equinox closely to those two sedans. At the back, horizontal taillights emphasize the Equinox’s width, and blacked-out trim gives the impression of a wraparound rear window for a sleeker look. Chevy also claims to have cut 400 pounds, a 10-percent weight reduction compared to the outgoing model.

Just like the exterior, the powertrain offerings have been completely revamped. The Equinox now offers only turbocharged four-cylinder engines, with the base 1.5-liter unit producing 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque. The optional 2.0-liter turbo is definitely the sportiest of the bunch, with 252 hp and 260 lb-ft. Finally, the 1.6-liter diesel musters 136 hp and 236 lb-ft. Chevy also expects this engine to return 40 mpg on the highway. The 2.0-liter gasoline engine gets a nine-speed automatic transmission, while the other engines get six-speed autos. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive optional.

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The interior got a full rework as well, with a raised central touchscreen similar to the arrangement in Chevy’s Bolt EV electric car, plus another digital display sandwiched between analog gauges in the driver’s cluster. The 2018 Equinox features a low, almost car-like driving position that gives it a sportier feel, but may turn off traditional SUV buyers used to sitting up high. The rear seats offer decent but not overly generous legroom, and the cargo area has a nice wide aperture that should make loading bulky items easy.

The 2018 Equinox certainly doesn’t skimp on tech. It gets Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system with 7.0-inch or 8.0-inch touchscreens (depending on the model), as well as available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot (which does require a separate data plan). The Equinox also gets Chevy’s remote app, which allows drivers to do things like lock and unlock the doors or start the engine from a distance.

Proving just how much these systems have proliferated over the past few years, the 2018 Equinox is also packed with driver-assistance features. Available features include: low-speed automatic braking, forward collision alert, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, rear park assist, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, a 360-degree camera system, and the safety alert seat, which vibrates when one of the myriad systems detects something amiss.

The gasoline versions of the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox go on sale in spring 2017, with the diesel following in the summer. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.