Looks Matter: The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox FWD Premier 2.0T

Front 3/4 view of 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Premier 2.0T
The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Premier 2.0T.
In human beings, beauty is only skin deep.  In cars, that's true to some extent as well, but good looks can help move a lot more units off the dealer lots.  Which could mean the 2018 Chevy Equinox will be seen on a lot more streets and in a lot more driveways.

The last-gen Equinox was, to put it charitably, a bit homely.  Not only that, but a new one looked like it was ten years old in terms of the styling trends it reflected. There's a reason for that.  It was first sold in June of 2009. 

Rear 3/4 view of 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Premier 2.0T
2018 Chevrolet Equinox Premier 2.0T.
For 2018, GM's styling department is woke, as the kids say...totally tuned in to what a small crossover should look like today.  The new one is downright handsome....a bit of Audi in the front---a sleeker, less stubby look than last time on the sides.  And Chevy has unleashed some beautiful paint colors.

Our tester was the front-wheel-drive Premier 2.0T...the top of the line.  A two-liter turbo four with a nine-speed automatic transmission.  EPA estimate 22 city/29 highway.  Right in the sweet spot for the class.  Acceleration is good and the engine is smooth, responsive and quiet.

Specify the Premier and the base price of $33,585 brings a long list of standard equipment including four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, stability and traction control, tire pressure monitoring, keyless entry, keyless start, a theft deterrent system, rear vision camera, Teen Driver, a built-in system that not only monitors your teen's driving habits, but helps coach them, rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, side blind zone alert, 19-inch ultra-bright machined wheels, LED headlamps, daytime running lamps and taillamps, a power hands-free rear liftgate, trailering equipment, remote vehicle start, deep-tinted rear glass, leather-appointed seat trim, an 8-way power driver's seat (both driver's and front passenger's seats are heated), dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a six-speaker audio system and wireless device charging. 

Interior view of 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Premier 2.0T
2018 Chevrolet Equinox interior.
Inside is also a very attractive, up-to-date environment, with quality materials and worksmanship.   And it was here that I had...well, a revelation might be overstating it...but an impression I couldn't shake in the week that I drove the Equinox.  Someone, somewhere, recently, described Hyundai as a "South Korean Chevrolet"...the implication being that Hyundai had essentially targeted and, apart from pickup trucks, Suburban, Camaro and Corvette, occupied the traditional Chevy space of building a range of well-crafted family cars.

As I drove the Equinox, I realized that it felt like....an American Hyundai.  Enough grass grew under Chevrolet's feet in the nine years it sold the last-generation Equinox that this new one felt like a competitor to the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, rather than the other way around.  In some ways, it felt like Chevy benchmarked Hyundai.  Maybe they did.   As we made clear in our recent review of the Santa Fe Sport, it's a vehicle worth emulating.   The Equinox could do worse.  And in fact, the Equinox does better in fuel economy (22/29 to the Sport's 20/27).

Our tester had options, two packages and two individual:

The Sun, Sound and Navigation Package, a power sunroof, nav, and a Bose Premium seven-speaker audio system with HD Radio, for $2,620.

The Confidence & Convenience II Package, an eight-way power seat for the front passenger, ventilated front seats and heated rear outboards, a heated steering wheel, low speed forward automatic braking, forward collision alert, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, following distance indicator, safety alert seat (it vibrates in place of warning chimes), surround vision (a backup camera giving a birds-eye view of the car and what's around it) and automatic high beam control.

Ivy metallic paint (which everyone...I mean everyone...complimented. $395.

Roof rack cross rails. $270.

Add $895 destination charges and you get the number at the bottom of the window sticker: $39,660, which is only about $1,300 more than a comparably-equipped Santa Fe Sport, and some of the things on the Equinox we drove aren't available at all on the Sport.

All in all, the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is  a vastly improved, fully competitive small crossover.