Caraganza First Drive Review 2018 Chevy Equinox



First impressions they say, (whoever “they” are) are everything. People judge a stranger within a minute by how they look.

Sadly, at my age the first impression anyone gets of me is that of an upper middle aged chubby man with thinning hair and an unkempt beard.

Same with cars. Whether it’s an old rust bucket or a top of the line supercar, we make judgements of a car based on the way it looks.  Doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true, it’s just the way we think.

Most of us can’t be objective, unbiased, which is the problem with judgements whether they be people or a car; a rust bucket will run terribly; a supercar will leave you breathless and wanting more, a middle aged chubby guy, well, I’ll leave that to your imagination.

That’s why through the years I’ve made the conscious effort to be objective, judge a person on who they are and not what they look like; and judge a car from the inside, and after I’ve had a chance to drive it.

I had to work had at that unbiased objectivity recently. Becuse Chevy delivered me a new 2018 Equinox for a week, and the first impression was a very good one indeed.

The Equinox is all new for 2018; it’s smaller and lighter, with a new design that falls more in line with others in the fleet like the Volt, Malibu and Cruze.

This new Equinox is offered as a L, LS, LT and top of the line Premier.

Above the base L, you can opt for all-wheel drive. All levels have keyless entry and ignition, rearview camera, along with Bluetooth, OnStar with a 7-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker audio system.

I had the LT for my week with the Confidence and Convenience package that had rear cross traffic alert, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a power liftgate among other things.

You can outfit the top of the line Premier with all manner of things, like a panoramic sunroof, leather, navigation and a seven-speaker Bose audio system with HD radio. It also moves the wheels up to 19-inch, and sends the price upwards towards $40,000.

Under the hood the standard engine is a turbocharge 1.5-cylinder four cylinder with 170 horses and 203 lb-ft of torque. My LT had the optional turbocharged 2.0 with 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. A 1.6-liter diesel (137 hp, 240 lb-ft) can also be had.

The 1.5 has a six-speed automatic, the 2.0 a nine-speed automatic, and the diesel a six speed.

When I first studied the specs, I thought the 2.0 might be a bit anemic.  I was so wrong; first impressions.

As part of the redesign, the new Equinox has shed 400 pounds.  And Chevy points out that this loss of weight does not mean interior room was shrunk.  Having never been in the old Equinox, I can’t attest to that claim, but I can attest that the interior room is adequate, and like any small crossover, will work for most.



Something I found to be more than adequate, not anemic, was the power on the road.  I was frankly a bit taken aback at just how much power the Equinox has. An aggressive push of the pedal can launch the Equinox and on more than one occasion produced a somewhat surprising (and pleasing) tire chirp from the front wheels. Well done Chevy, well done.

The ride was smooth, interior noise no worse than anything else, and beyond the annoying start-stop feature there was very little I didn’t like.

For once first impressions carried over. The good looking Equinox is a very good crossover, with nice features with price (for my LT) hovering around $30,000. It made a good impression on me, and as Chevy’s number two best seller behind the Silverado, it seems to have made a good impression on those shopping for a crossover.

And after my week with it, I can certainly understand why.

Of course, I’m still that middle aged chubby guy with thinning hair and a scraggly beard.

The 2018 Chevy Equinox (LT)

MSRP: $29,145
MSRP (as tested): $32,980
Engine (as tested): 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, 252hp @ 5500 rpm, 260 lb-ft torque @2500-4500 rpm.
Transmission (as tested): 9-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 22 city, 29 highway, 25 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested, mixed conditions): 26 mpg
Base Curb Weight: lbs     3448

Exterior Dimensions
Wheelbase: in     107.30
Length, Overall: in     183.10
Width, Max w/o mirrors: in     72.60
Height, Overall: in     65.40
Track Width, Front: in     62.20
Track Width, Rear: in     62.20

Interior Dimensions
Passenger Capacity:     5
Passenger Volume: ft³     90
Front Head Room: in     40.00
Front Leg Room: in     40.90
Front Shoulder Room: in     57.20
Front Hip Room: in     54.20
Second Head Room: in     38.50
Second Leg Room: in     39.70
Second Shoulder Room: in     55.50
Second Hip Room: in     51.70
Cargo Volume to Seat 1: ft³     63.50
Cargo Volume to Seat 2: ft³     29.90

Basic:3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain:5 Years/60,000 Miles
Corrosion:3 Years/36,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance:5 Years/60,000 Miles
Maintenance:2 Years/24,000 Miles

Greg Engle