Turbocharging has been an enticing engineering choice on today's automotive landscape as manufacturers continue delivering vehicles with greater fuel economy and smaller, more efficient engines to move the (lighter-weight) metal.
Chevrolet took a very deliberate approach to redesigning its Equinox compact SUV in a very competitive segment. Earlier this year, we tested the base Equinox that's powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine (read our review here) that delivered 32 mpg on the highway in a package that reduced 400 pounds of weight.
That model evolved from its past with handling improvements, new safety features, and connectivity to spare.
Chevrolet has now rolled out the turbocharged 2.0-liter that makes about 80 more horsepower and swaps the standard six-speed for a nine-speed transmission.
Both changes bring welcome upgrades to the driving experience. Because the 2.0-liter starts at $30,090, which is about $5,615 more than the 1.5-liter model, fleets will likely opt for the base model. We tested the front-wheel-drive Equinox Premier that would retail for $36,770.
Fuel economy comes in at 29 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in the city with a 14.9 gallon tank. The all-wheel variant loses only 1 mpg on the highway and remains on par in the city with a 15.6-gallon tank.
A third powertrain coming later this summer should provide greater intrigue, as Chevrolet will offer an Equinox powered by a 1.6-liter turbo-diesel engine.
Turbo Version Delivers on Performance
The option that sets the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox apart in a crowded segment is the new 2.0L turbo engine, which brings the power output to a substantial 252 horses. Our Equinox turbo FWD always had more power to give, even over a weekend with a full cabin and loaded with camping gear. The nine-speed transmission delivered a smooth launch onto busy freeways. Our test Equinox averaged 22.4 mpg over 400 miles.
You can only get the turbo Equinox in LT and Premier trim, but going for the Premier trim, which we drove, adds features that make it feel on par with some luxury crossovers.
Our Equinox came with the Confidence & Convenience II package, which adds $1,895 to MSRP and features a suite of active safety features. The Safety Alert Seat — which vibrates your hindquarters to alert to road dangers — takes some getting used to. But passengers should appreciate avoiding auditory beeps when another vehicle encroaches the safety parameters.
The most valuable feature of the package has to be Surround Vision, a 360-degree view that marries rear, forward, and side cameras with a bird’s eye view. In addition to a complete view of the immediate environment, Surround Vision alleviates the stress of parallel parking and tight parking spots.
The 2018 model offers slightly less cargo space than the outgoing model, and remains on the lower end of Equinox’s competitive set.
Editor's note: Chris Brown, executive editor of Auto Rental News and Business Fleet, contributed to this article.