$17,906 - $29,102

2018 Chevrolet Equinox Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox was new.


Performance: 7.4

The fully redesigned 2018 Chevrolet Equinox has generally mediocre performance. Its standard engine can be slow to accelerate, with an unresponsive transmission. Its fuel economy, however, is above average. The Equinox also has a smooth and compliant ride, with confident handling.

  • "Performance-wise, the 2018 Equinox is nothing to write home about, but a few adjustments have been made to punch things up a bit in this department. Chevy has made the Equinox four inches shorter, shaving off five inches from the wheelbase and dropping 400 pounds in total body weight. … With the reduction in size comes a slight dip in horsepower, but the turbochargers boost torque and responsiveness earlier in the rev range. Combine that extra pep with steering that's noticeably heftier than the Toyota RAV4 or the Nissan Rogue, and you've got a hint of flavor in an otherwise bland class of vehicles." -- New York Daily News
  • "Chevy has improved on the old model's spongy brakes and excessive body roll, but the steering remains too soupy for any curvy-road thrills. It's a vague, slow-ratio process to point the SUV in new directions, and feedback doesn't improve much through long sweeping turns. For sheer driving fun, the Ford Escape and Mazda CX-5 are still kings of the hill." -- Cars.com

Acceleration and Power

The standard engine in the 2018 Chevy Equinox is a 1.5-liter turbocharged four cylinder. Paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, it produces 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque. Two other powertrains will be introduced later in the year: a 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine that produces 137 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine that, along with a new nine-speed transmission, produces 252 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.

With front-wheel drive, the standard engine earns an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. With all-wheel drive, it drops to 24/30 mpg city/highway. GM estimates the 2.0-liter engine at 28 mpg/highway and the turbodiesel at 40 mpg/highway.

The Equinox's base engine provides decent power and torque, but it's hampered by a sluggish transmission. Acceleration is also somewhat delayed, with slow throttle response.

  • "On the road, the 1.5-liter works harder to motivate the heavier crossover than it does in the Malibu, but it remained impressively smooth and strong when pushed. Though small, the turbocharged engine provided great torque, only to be let down by the somewhat lazy six-speed. It's not a dealbreaker, we just wish it wasn't so eager to settle down so quickly into a higher gear." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "With such solid and composed handling, it's a shame that the standard powertrain isn't more eager. The turbo 1.5-liter inline-four produces a decent amount of low-end torque, but the lazy six-speed automatic doesn't make the most of the output. The transmission is keen to shift into higher gears, presumably to benefit fuel economy on the EPA test cycle, which would be more tolerable if the downshifts weren't so sluggish when more power is requested. The little four-cylinder also seems buzzier and less refined than it is in the Malibu sedan, likely because it's working harder to move this heavier crossover. Manual shifting capability is possible in the transmission's L setting but can be operated only by an awkwardly placed toggle switch atop the gear lever (paddle shifters aren't available)." -- Car and Driver
  • "A shorter body combined with less weight means the little 1.5-liter puts out plenty of power to motivate the Equinox up the hills, down the highway and around town. … My only complaint from behind the wheel is the throttle lag. Press on the gas and the engine takes a good second to respond to the input, making it tough to accelerate out of corners or out of a sticky situation." -- CNET

Handling and Braking

The Chevy Equinox displays stable and confident handling, with precise steering and little body roll around turns. It also rides smoothly and shuts out most exterior road and wind noise.

  • "Our first driving stint was in the front-drive LT trim, which is expected to be the volume model. In addition to being pleasantly surprised by the capability of the powertrain, we found the car to be well poised on the undulating and twisting roads through the mountains. The Equinox LT is balanced in the turns, and the ride is pliant. The chassis felt stable and upright as weight transferred side to side and front to rear repeatedly over many beautiful miles. The LT comes with 17-inch wheels and rubber with big sidewalls, which complained audibly as they struggled for lateral grip. While the feeling of control through the steering wheel is sufficient, there isn't a lot of physical feedback from up front." -- Autoblog
  • "Indeed, the new Equinox soaks up bumps with nary a quiver through the cabin. There's remarkably little body roll and the ride is expertly damped, with well-controlled wheel motions and no sensation of body float. Road and wind noise are impressively hushed, something that two of our favorite small crossovers, the CR-V and the Mazda CX-5, struggle with. Combine the Equinox's overall sense of solidity with its nicely weighted, accurate steering and firm, progressive brake pedal, and it adds up to impressive dynamic capabilities." -- Car and Driver
  • "While we cruised the fabulous Blue Ridge Parkway, the Equinox continued to impress. Road and wind noise was kept to a minimum and the chassis was confident and capable. It's not as dynamically thrilling as the Mazda CX-5 or perhaps even the CR-V, but it remained composed through some fairly tight curves. We particularly took notice of the AWD version's greater stability through the Parkway versus that of the front-wheel-drive variant. The FWD Equinox felt moderately quicker than the AWD variant, however." -- Automobile Magazine

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