Ladies and gentlemen, the 40 mpg crossover has arrived—or at least it will early next year, when the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox goes on sale boasting a trio of turbocharged engines designed to squeeze the most out of a gallon of gas.
Or diesel, as it turns out. The Equinox will become the first turbodiesel crossover offered to American buyers, a bold move for the bowtie brand in the wake of Volkswagen's massive diesel scandal.
But General Motors says that the Equinox's optional diesel will meet all federal standards (presumably without cheating like VW) and that it should achieve 40 mpg on the highway.
There will actually be three turbocharged powertrains on offer, with the diesel serving as the flagship:
- The base engine is a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder rated at 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque.
- The mid-level motor is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder rated at 252 hp and 260 lb-ft.
- And then there's a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel, checking in with 136 hp and 236 lb-ft.
So far, Chevy has only announced estimated highway fuel economy figures of 31, 28, and 40 mpg, respectively. All three engines will be paired exclusively to automatic transmissions and, like the outgoing Equinox, they'll be offered with either front- or all-wheel drive. The base 1.5-liter and the turbodiesel will utilize 6-speed automatics, while the 2.0-liter gas motor gets a 9-speed automatic.
That all-wheel drive system will be capable of disconnecting the driveshaft on dry, high grip surfaces to save fuel, too.
More than engines
There's more to the Equinox than its new engines, however. Chevy says it's an all-new model from the ground up. Stylistically, the crossover is clearly evolutionary, but it draws heavily from the look pioneered by the current Chevrolet Malibu.
A new structure saves 400 pounds over the current Equinox, which was, admittedly, a plump little crossover. Part of that weight savings is no doubt due to the fact that the new Equinox is about 4 inches shorter than its predecessor, checking in at a "right size" 183.1 inches head-to-toe.
The Equinox remains a five-seat crossover and will square off against the Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester, and Honda CR-V, among others.
The look is much the same inside, with a modified dual cowl dashboard that houses a host of familiar Chevy switchgear, including the automaker's Intellilink infotainment system. Equinoxes will come standard with a 7.0-inch screen and will offer an 8.0-inch display with, predictably, compatibility for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the automaker's OnStar 4G LTE wi-fi hotspot.
A new "kneeling" rear seat features a bottom cushion that tilts forward when the seat backs are lowered, which delivers a fully flat floor.
On the safety front, the Equinox will offer a much higher level of equipment: available features will include:
- low speed automatic emergency braking
- adaptive cruise control
- lane keep assist
- lane departure warning
- rear cross traffic alert
Look for more details about the Equinox, including pricing and trim details, to be announced closer to its on-sale date early next year.