2018 Chevrolet Equinox Driving Impressions

Performance of the 1.5-liter base engine is solid and efficient, helped by turbocharging. Clearly, it’s more impressive than the 2.4-liter engine in the previous Equinox. The 1.5-liter is quieter, too, emitting a refined exhaust sound and a touch of turbo whistling when pushed. Because peak engine torque is readily available, a base-engine Equinox can take on upgrades with little hesitation.

Chevrolet’s 6-speed automatic transmission is less appealing, especially when shifting manually. Even if the additional power from the optional 2.0-liter engine isn’t essential, it gets a slicker 9-speed automatic rather than the older 6-speed. Upshifts occur smoothly, while little gear-hunting occurs during downshifting.

Passengers can anticipate a quiet, comfortable ride, remaining composed even on undulating pavement.

Feedback from pavement surfaces is minimal, but that’s hardly uncommon among crossovers. Body motions are more noticeable than a Mazda CX-5 would transmit, but handling capability of the Equinox ranks as adequate. Standard 17-inch tires may yield an uneasy driving experience at times.

Pavement rumble and roar are mostly muted, regardless of tire choice. Wind noise, in contrast, can be a problem. Though pleasing to some ears, the sound of the 1.5-liter engine might be considered intrusive by others.

Base-engine fuel economy isn’t class-leading, but tolerable. The 1.5-liter version is EPA-rated at 26/32 mpg City/Highway, or 28 mpg Combined. All-wheel drive drops the estimate to 24/30/26 mpg.

Fuel-efficiency sinks with the optional 2.0-liter engine, which is EPA-rated at 22/29 mpg City/Highway, or 25 mpg Combined. All-wheel drive drops that estimate to 22/28/24 mpg. Chevrolet claims the front-drive Equinox Diesel should achieve 40 mpg in highway driving.

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