12 Best Family Cars: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox
When you’re competing in the market’s bloodthirstiest segment, you’d better have some strong weaponry on your side. The all-new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox offers plenty of pluses for families shopping for a compact SUV, both expected and surprising. Offering three engine choices, handsome interior and exterior styling, excellent road manners, and a grab bag of standard features to delight both you and the kids, the new Equinox has earned its place in a league historically owned by the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V and Ford Escape.
Surprises and delights
Is the new Chevrolet Equinox the be-all and end-all of compact SUVs? Certainly not, but it absolutely has more to offer buyers than any Equinox before it. To start with, there are many who will argue that the Equinox is the best-looking vehicle in the segment, and the quality of the interior is particularly gratifying and roomy in both rows. It’s also 400 pounds lighter than its predecessor, and on the road, the Equinox exhibits impressive manners. All the while, the cabin remains peaceful thanks in part to Chevy’s work with noise-cancellation technology. All-wheel drive is available at every level.
One of the biggest headlines for the new Chevy Equinox, however, is how much standard equipment you get. Every Equinox, no matter the trim level or price, comes loaded with comforts and conveniences that you might have to pay extra for on competitors. Keyless entry and push-button starting are standard, as are automatic on/off headlights, an electronic parking brake, and three 12-volt power outlets. The base model’s 7-inch color touch screen with Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities. Outside, the side-view mirrors are heated and the door handles are body-color.
For mom and dad, Teen Driver mode lets parents set up certain restrictions on the car and receive an in-vehicle report that lets them review their kids’ driving habits. For everybody, a backup camera is standard and 360-degree Surround Vision is available. Note that rear cross-traffic alert and forward automatic braking are not available on lower-rung models, and adaptive cruise control isn’t available at all.
Which Equinox you buy is all about which of the three available engines you choose, and that all depends on your family’s personality.
If your kid’s walls are plastered with Corvette and Camaro posters, but you’re working with a limited budget for your 5-passenger people hauler, then your Chevrolet family may end up with the turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder. This adequate 170-horsepower engine is available at every level of Equinox, from the $24,500 L trim to the equipped-to-impress $31,750 Premier model. The primary benefits are the low starting price and pretty good fuel economy numbers.
If great fuel economy is your family’s prime motivation, then the Equinox powered by Chevy’s 1.6-liter turbocharged diesel engine – starting just under $31,500 for the LT model -- will put you at the head of the pack for mpg. The front-wheel-drive Equinox diesel is rated to bring home an impressive 39 miles per gallon on the highway.
And if your family needs power to feel complete, the 2018 Chevy Equinox has just the engine for you: a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that’s worth bragging about. Starting at just a tick above $30,000 in Equinox LT trim, the 2.0-liter engine and 9-speed automatic transmission (the rest of the line uses a 6-speed automatic) combine to deliver 252 horsepower with surprisingly acceptable fuel economy. This is the 2018 Equinox setup we’d most highly recommend by far, both because of the equipment level at the price and the 2.0-liter engine’s impressive 3,500-pound towing capacity.
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