Road Test: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Diesel

Road Test: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Diesel

Compact Crossover Fuel Economy Leader

While the world was distracted by Volkswagen’s diesel woes (resulting in them dropping the wonderful TDI engine from their line-up), Chevrolet snuck in with a very nice turbodiesel that quietly has earned them top fuel economy numbers in the two models where it is available. Clean Fleet Report drove the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox FWD Premier Diesel, and became an instant fan of this versatile, fuel-sipping compact crossover.


2018 Chevrolet Equinox Diesel

The diesel Equinox has it all–crossover room and utility, an AWD option and the best fuel economy in its class

All-new for 2018, the Equinox 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine puts out 137 horsepower and 240 pounds-feet of torque. The six-speed Hydramatic automatic transmission did what it does best by maximizing shifts and efficiency for excellent fuel economy. The EPA’s rating is 28 city/39 highway/32 combined mpg. But our real-world experience with diesels is that the EPA numbers are conservative—and were they ever this time! In 381 miles of 80-percent highway/20-percent city driving throughout Southern California, Clean Fleet Report achieved an average of 38.2 mpg. But in a 109-mile freeway run using cruise control and not exceeding 65 mph, we achieved an impressive 43.6 mpg. These numbers rival, if not exceed, those of hybrids. We are confident you will get similar numbers on your road trips.

It is important to note that fuel economy reported by Clean Fleet Report are non-scientific, and represent the reviewer’s driving experience in our reviewer’s city. If you live in cold weather, high in the mountains or spend time in the city or stuck in rush hour traffic, then your numbers may differ.

Driving Experience: On the Road

The front-wheel drive 2018 Chevrolet Equinox diesel handled well, with confidence and good road feel on the highway. Maneuvering in town, including parking, was easy in what is a well-balanced crossover. The smooth and stable ride was aided by front MacPherson struts with a stabilizer bar and the rear multi-link suspension. Cornering was level even during quick direction changes, and never felt top heavy. The Michelin Premium LTX all-season tires, riding on 18-inch aluminum wheels, were quiet and sure-footed. Wind noise was not noticeable and the engine was quiet.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox Diesel

Near silent running

Now, about that engine noise. Since it is a diesel, there is a real expectation of hearing a rattle-rattle-rattle coming from under the hood. The only time this is evident, if only the slightest volume, is when first starting the engine. Otherwise, the engine noise is muffled inside the cabin so there is no indication the Equinox is being powered by a diesel, as opposed to either the gasoline 1.5L or 2.0L turbo engine options.

There was plenty of power on the open road where the Equinox diesel would cruise all day at 70+ mph. Getting up to that speed was nothing to brag about, with zero–to-60 times right around 10 seconds to move the 3,327-pound crossover. When the torque kicks-in at 2,000 rpm and the horsepower at 3,750 rpm, the pull is stout and there are no second thoughts for maneuvers such as freeway onramps and passing big rigs on the open highway. So, when merging with highway traffic, it will be necessary to tromp on the accelerator for what seems like a long time before getting in line with the masses, who are most likely exceeding the posted speed limit.

Stopping felt a bit long, but the pedal feel was firm with no fade. The suspension and the stability control were tuned nicely, so the four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and brake assist made for straight and true stops.

Designed to Impress

The redesigned 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is recognizable by its smooth design. It does not have unnecessary scoops and cladding. The pointed front end, with a tasteful chrome grill and swept-back LED headlights, is topped by a clamshell hood. The roof, with chrome rack rails, barely finds a flat spot. Once it rises from the windshield it begins sloping to the rear hatch, which is topped with a shark fin antenna and a built-in spoiler and rear wiper. The power, hands-free hatch is bordered by LED taillights, and has a subtle blue Eco badge designating this Equinox as diesel-powered.

Inviting Interior

2018 Chevrolet Equinox Diesel

Inviting you to stay a while

Clean Fleet Report tested the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox with the Premier trim line, which pretty much included everything you would want or need for an accommodating driving experience. Everything in the interior is within easy reach, with leather seats front and rear. The leather quality is a notch below what we usually see in a top-of-the-line crossover, but it was functional, including the perforated and heated power front seats. The leather rear seats, which include a folding armrest with cup holders, split 60/40 and are best suited for two adults, or three children.

The center dash in our Equinox Premier housed an 8.0-inch color touchscreen housing the rear vision camera and Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system, which included Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The six-speaker sound system plays AM/FM/CD/MP3/AUX and Sirius/XM (with a 90-day introductory subscription). The Bluetooth worked very well for voice recognition. Most of the entertainment is controlled by switches on the leather-covered steering wheel. We would have liked knobs and wheels to control the radio, but the touch system worked well after a short learning period.

The Equinox Premier is well-equipped with convenience features including: wireless phone charging, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, remote keyless entry with remote start, power door locks, cruise control, dual zone automatic climate control, tire pressure monitor, keyless push button on and off, and three years of OnStar.

A note regarding OnStar: a simple push of a button connects you with a friendly General Motors representative to handle emergencies, directions and general assistance to make your driving experience safer and more enjoyable. This is one area where GM is the industry leader and after the three-year service plan expires it is well worth renewing.

Safety, Pricing and Warranties

The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox comes with an extensive list of standard and optional safety features. Since some of the features are available on higher trim levels and through packages, we advise getting your car with as many advanced driver technology and safety features as possible.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox Diesel

The crossover story starts & ends with space

Features available on the Equinox include 10 airbags, a theft deterrent system, forward emergency braking and collision warning, stability control, cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, rear park assist, vehicle stability management, traction control, lane change and side blind zone alert.

The 2018 Equinox comes in three trim levels with three engine options. Clean Fleet Report’s Equinox FWD Premier Diesel, with no options, had an MSRP of $32,985, excluding the $945 destination charge. Diesel model prices start at $31,695 while the entry-level gas model (L 1.5L Turbo) is $24,575. All-wheel drive adds about $3,700 to the base price.

The 2018 Equinox comes with these warranties:

  • Bumper To Bumper    Three years/36,000 miles
  • Powertrain                  Five years/60,000 miles
  • Roadside Assistance  Five years/60,000 miles
  • Corrosion                    Six years/100,000 miles

Observations: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox FWD Premier Diesel

The Equinox is Chevrolet’s second best-selling vehicle in its line-up, only trailing the Silverado pickup. As such an important part of Chevrolet’s quiver, they are not only protective of the Equinox with the gasoline engine options, but by adding the turbodiesel engine have taken the lead in fuel economy for the compact crossover segment.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox Diesel

Enough style; abundant fuel economy

The design is clean and contemporary, but not jerk-your-head-in-awe styling, which most likely is what Chevrolet was going for. The Equinox has to

remain popular with small families and empty nesters; being the trendiest small crossover in the crowd isn’t necessary.

The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox diesel holds its own with competitors regarding fit and finish, technology, safety features and styling. If you are in the market for a small crossover that gets excellent fuel economy, then visiting your Chevrolet dealer and taking a lengthy test drive should be on your To Do list.

Whatever you buy, Happy Driving!

Related Stories You Might Enjoy: Compact Crossover Competition

Tech: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Ecotec 1.6L Turbodiesel

Road Test: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox (gas)

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News: 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Introduced

Road Test: 2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid (John’s view)

Road Test: 2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid (Steve’s view)

News: Honda CR-V Hybrid Previewed

Road Test: 2018 Honda CR-V

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Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at

News: Ford Does the Electric Slide

News: Ford Does the Electric Slide

Ford Moves to Electrify Its Lineup; Stays with Trucks

Ford gathered the media this week to say what virtually every other automaker has already explicitly stated—cars and trucks are getting electrified. The subtext was: Ford is not going to be left behind, but the company is also not going to step away from its cash cow pickups and SUVs.

Clean Fleet Rerport was there. Ford led with its trucks and followed with its SUVs, then brought hybrids and electric vehicles into the discussion as the clean up.

Ford F-150

The F-150 is the king of the hill at Ford

The Ford F-150 is the king at Ford. It’s been the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. for 37 years; the best-selling pickup for years beyond that. In its presentation, Ford boasted that the company brought in $41 billion on that model alone. If the F-150 were a stand alone company, it would have more revenue than Nike or Coca-Cola. Ford has dropped EcoBoost engines into the F-150 and intensified the use of aluminum throughout the truck, dropping weight and increasing fuel efficiency.

Up next for the pickup is a 3.0-liter diesel engine that comes later this year, followed by a hybrid powertrain in 2020. The goal as always is to increase efficiency while maintaining capability for customers.

In addition, Ford will reintroduce the compact Ranger next year.

After Trucks Come SUVs

Number two at Ford are SUVs. Ford’s Explorer broke the category open in the 1990s and they haven’t let up since. The compact Escape and the current Explorer carry the bulk of Ford’s SUV sales right now, but the just-introduced subcompact EcoSport will be part of an eight-vehicle lineup by 2020. Five of those SUVs will have hybrid powertrains.

Ford Future SUV

Ford sees a big future for SUVs

Probably acknowledging the juggernaut that is cross-town rival Jeep, the new SUVs will not only have the environmental credentials from their hybrid powertrains, but will also stress off-road capability and performance (borrowing from the F-150 Raptor phenom).

As it showed with its move to aluminum in the F-150, Ford is not afraid to throw its volume products into radical change. That’s the rationale it presented to media this week. While not the full-shift of a Volvo committing to electrify all of its product line in a few years, Ford did say it would hybridize its high-volume models—the F-150, Mustang, Explorer, Escape and Bronco.

Ford promises that its next-generation hybrids will not be as space-intrusive as the current ones (check out storage in the Fusion and C-Max) and, at least as important for the customer, less expensive. The reduced packaging and cost are behind Ford’s expanded embrace of the technology.

Battery Electrics Too

With its only battery electric (BEV) offering the compact Focus, Ford has not made any inroads into either the market or public consciousness. At the last Detroit Auto Show, Ford teased its next BEV. The implication in the grainy video was it combined the performance of a Mustang with spaciousness of a crossover, but all under electric power.

Ford Hybrids

Ford’s pledge is to take hybridization mainstream–Mustang/F-150/Explorer

The 2020 model will be the first of six BEVs Ford will put on the market during 2020-22.

Ford also renewed its commitment to the commercial vehicle segment (where it commands a 38 percent market share), though without any nod to increased efficiency (other than the new diesel engine in the Transit Connect).

In addition, Ford said it was bundling its driver-assist technologies in a package branded as Ford Co-Pilot360.  It’s also moving to implement over-the-air- updates to software, something that Tesla has done for years.

Maybe one of most significant announcements Ford made is that its goal is to accelerate the new product cycle for the company. It’s current showroom product averages 5.7 years in age. By 2020 it says that age will drop to 3.3 years. The reliance on trucks and SUVs, which tend to have longer product cycles, may have lulled Ford into this type of product cycle. The good news, if as they cite, 50 percent of vehicles by 2020 could be SUVs, the customer expectation is they will respond like most passenger cars, which get a two-year refresh and full redo every four years.

The bottom line is Ford has stepped up to the bar and said it intends to complete with advanced technology and electrification, hedging only that they will continue to offer what they see as the vehicles most want—trucks and SUVs.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy: Ford News & Tests

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Flash Drive/Event: 2018 Jeep Wrangler and 2019 Jeep Cherokee

Flash Drive/Event: 2018 Jeep Wrangler and 2019 Jeep Cherokee

Legendary 4X4 Tradition Continues in New Skins

Jeep invited the media to the Santa Monica Mountains in early March to drive the all-new 2018 Wrangler and the new 2019 Cherokee. Our off-road driving reinforced the long tradition of Jeep being sure-footed off the pavement—and impressively so. But stay on the roadways, and the driving attributes, especially of the Cherokee, continue to impress.

Clean Fleet Report takes a look at our brief time in both vehicles and will follow-up in the coming months with in-depth Road Test reviews.

2018 Jeep Wrangler

2018 Jeep Wranglers are all-new, but keep the Jeep look

The All-new 2018 Wrangler

The last time the Wrangler was redesigned was in 2006, which is more than a few lifetimes for a design re-do. Wrangler fans are loyal and were excited that the all-new 2018 Wrangler retained much of the same look, but with refined features that only enhance the off- and on-road driving capability.

The 2018 Wrangler comes in two- and four-door models in up to four trim levels with these base MSRP.

Sport                      $26,995 (2DR); $30,495 (4DR)

Sport S                   $30,195 (2DR); $33,695 (4DR)

Rubicon                 $36,995 (2DR); $40,495 (4DR)

Sahara                    $37,345 (4DR)

Each trim level adds increased features as standard equipment, with the Rubicon being the version that is the most off-road capable. First introduced in 1986, the Wrangler continues as a body-on-frame design that has a removable windshield, roof, side windows and door panels. Stripped-down, the Wrangler is ready for serious off-road adventuring.

2018 Jeep Wrangler

The Wrangler remains a capable off-road machine

The 2018 Wrangler has two power plants. The 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 has Jeep’s eTorque mild-hybrid technology, which includes automatic stop/start, electric power assist and regenerative braking.  The 2.0-liter engine has an output of 270 horsepower (hp) and 295 pound-feet of torque (lb.-ft.) and is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, with 285 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, is mated to a standard six-speed manual, with the eight-speed automatic transmission being optional.

Clean Fleet Report had the opportunity to drive Wranglers with both transmissions (with the V6) off-road, and felt the manual offered a bit more old-school driving fun. However, the automatic was smooth and gave us complete confidence, whether climbing or descending a steep and rutted grade. Out on the pavement, the automatic shifted smoothly and would be a good option for those who spend the majority of their time commuting.

A 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 with 260 hp and a whopping 442 lb.-ft. of torque is scheduled for the 2019 model year. It should get the 2019 Wrangler into the AWD 30 MPG Club.

The New 2019 Jeep Cherokee

The Jeep Cherokee has a more premium look for 2019 with a new front fascia, hood and LED headlamps. There are five wheel designs, hands-free power lift gate and a dual-pane sunroof. The interior has been massaged with satin chrome and piano black trim.

The 2019 Cherokee comes in six trim levels with these base MSRP.

2019 Jeep Cherokee

More conventional looks, but a Jeep underneath

Latitude                   $24,690

Latitude Plus          $26,495

Limited                    $30,375

Trailhawk                $33,320

Overland                  $36,275

Trailhawk Elite       $36,315

Clean Fleet Report recently reviewed the 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland here.

There are three engine options for the 2019 Cherokee. The all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 engine (shared with the Wrangler and other models) has 270 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. The 3.2-liter Pentastar V6 delivers 271 hp and 239 lb.-ft. of torque. The most fuel-efficient engine is the 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir2 with 180 hp and 170 lb.-ft. of torque. All are mated to a nine-speed automatic with the 4X4 models getting the Jeep Active Drive system with Drive Lock.

Clean Fleet Report drove the V6 Cherokee Trailhawk off-road and were impressed with the grip level for a vehicle most owners will keep on the highway.

Observations: 2018 Wrangler and 2019 Cherokee

2019 Jeep Cherokee, 2018 Jeep Wrangler

Jeep holds onto its customers by being consistent

Jeep arguably has the most loyal and devoted fans and owners. Ever heard of the Jeep Jamboree? No other manufacturer has a program where their vehicles are put through such a rugged test by the actual owners. Of course, the Jamboree was created by Jeep owners 65 years ago and only garnered Jeep’s full endorsement well into its now life. Jamboree and the Jeep’s manufacturer are now inseparable.

Clean Fleet Report will drive several Jeep models in the coming months, so make sure to check back for news and reviews. Until then, know that if you are looking for off-road fun combined with a well-mannered street SUV, both the 2018 Wrangler and 2019 Cherokee will meet your needs.

Whatever you end up buying, enjoy your new car and as always, Happy Driving!

Related Stories You Might Enjoy: Other Jeep Adventures

Road Test: 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland

Road Test: 2017 Jeep Renegade Altitude

News: New Jeep Wrangler to Get Hybrid, Diesel, Plug-in Options

Road Test: 2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk

First Drive: 2015 Jeep Renegade


Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at

News: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Gets Diesel Engine, Edgy Styling

News: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Gets Diesel Engine, Edgy Styling

Diesel Move Is Big Surprise

Hyundai pulled the covers off the all-new fourth generation 2019 Santa Fe SUV this week in South Korea. Heavy with car models and light on crossover SUVs, the new Santa Fe is a big deal for the automaker; it’s the company’s second best-selling model with more than 133,000 sold in the U.S. last year.

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

For 2019, Hyundai moves the Santa Fe down a new path

The midsize crossover will offer the usual naturally aspirated and turbocharged four-cylinder gas engines, but the biggest news is that the U.S. will be getting a diesel option. But before getting into specifics about what is known about the drivetrains and other details, there are changes for model identification.

The outgoing generation lineup had two distinct models: the two-row Santa Fe Sport and the Santa Fe, a longer-wheelbase three-row model. The new 2019 short-wheelbase, five-seat vehicle will be called simply Santa Fe, with the longer-wheelbase version called Santa Fe XL for now. The company also confirmed that an even bigger eight-seat crossover was on the way with an all-new name.


For those who want torque and the best fuel economy, there’s an optional 2.2-liter CRDi turbodiesel, which arrives in early 2019. Hyundai says the diesel will crank out “around 200 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and an estimated 320 pounds-feet of torque at 1,750 rpm.” Fuel economy numbers weren’t released, but expect the highway number to be in the 30s. Strangely, the diesel version of the Santa Fe is the only model that has what is described as an “occasional use” third-row seat.

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

The diesel and AWD logoa

Most buyers will likely opt for one of the gasoline engines. The base Santa Fe will offer a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine making an estimated 185 horsepower. The upgrade engine will be a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making an estimated 232 horsepower. All engines come mated to a new in-house-designed eight-speed automatic transmission and will have the option of Hyundai’s Htrac all-wheel drive.

Other changes beneath the sheetmetal are a revised suspension, particularly in the rear, to provide a smoother and more comfortable ride. Hyundai will also offer an optional load-leveling suspension to maintain a consistent ride height, even when loaded with cargo or towing.

New From the Ground Up

The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe has a new look that is less crossover and more SUV than before. The styling is revolutionary next to today’s comparatively staid version. The new model incorporates the automaker’s latest design cues, including a new take on the company’s “Cascading” grille, along with LED daytime running lights at the top corners of the front end with LED headlights that are clustered below that. With more upright body panels, larger rear quarter glass, and a 2.8-inch growth spurt in overall length, the Santa Fe stands out next to more conservatively styled competitors.

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

The Santa Fe interior gets an upgrade, too

Along with additional interior space, there’s an all-new dashboard design that incorporates a 7.0-inch tablet-style infotainment system and an available digital gauge cluster. All trim levels receive Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, while a navigation system and a head-up display that projects an 8.5-inch image on the windshield giving driving and navigation information is optional. Upper trim levels include a larger eight-inch screen with Hyundai’s latest AVN 5.0 navigation system and a 630-watt, 12-speaker surround-sound Infinity audio system. Thankfully, there are knobs and buttons to control climate and audio controls.

Fittingly for a family vehicle, the 2019 Santa Fe incorporates some interesting safety features. Smart Sense, which will be standard on trim levels SE and higher, will come with forward collision warning and avoidance, blind-spot warning, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, a 360-degree camera system, rear cross-traffic warning and collision avoidance, and automatic high beams.

Safe Exit Assist, a system that monitors vehicles approaching from the rear and prevents passengers from throwing open the doors and potentially stepping in front of a passing car, motor cycle or bicycle is folded into Smart Sense. So too is rear seat occupant alert. It uses ultrasonic sensors to detect motion of kids or pets in the back so they are not locked inside the vehicle.

On sale this (2018) summer, the 2019 Santa Fe will be joined by at least two other new Hyundai SUV models this year, including the entry-level Kona subcompact and the Nexo fuel cell. Pricing for the new Santa Fe will be available closer to the release date.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy: Midsize SUV Competion

Road Test: 2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

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Road Test: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox

Road Test: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox

Third Gen’s a Charm

The Equinox compact crossover has been a big hit for Chevrolet, but the latest model is hitting new high marks for fuel economy. With nearly two million sold since its debut in 2004 as a 2005 model, the all-new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox represents a third generation after a long life for the second (2010-2017). It’s one of five Chevrolet crossovers/SUVs.

2108 Chevrolet Equinox

You’ve seen this look before, but not in a high-mpg compact crossover

If you like the look of the Chevrolet Malibu, Cruze, and Volt, you’ll appreciate the Equinox’s new design. It’s sharply drawn, but thankfully, not overdone. The latest chiseled brand face is there, as is a multi-faceted hood and a high, straight shoulder that mimics the look of big brother Suburban and Tahoe. Though all-new, the vehicle still evokes the general feeling and proportions of the old model, which is a good idea, considering its success.

New Inside

Inside, you can see the influence of the siblings as well. There’s lots of movement along the dash and doors, with black control panels and silver accents, and chrome sparkles on the vents and handles. The center of the instrument panel provides useful information straight ahead. The speedometer, common today, goes up to an unattainable 160 mph.

2108 Chevrolet Equinox

Lots to like in the Equinox interior upgrades

The fat, leather-wrapped steering wheel is GM standard, but that’s a good thing. It flaunts lots of handy buttons for controlling audio and other features, so you can keep your eyes on the road.

There are two USB ports in the front of the center console for using and charging devices. You can plug in your phone and see it projected on the 7 or 8-inch center screen, thanks to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Efficiency Boost

Part of the goal of the new Equinox, besides to look fresh, is to increase efficiency, which is why about 400 pounds was taken out of this model. It still comes in at between 3,274 and 3,682 pounds, but that’s significant nonetheless.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox

The Equinox’ interior can take you long

Crossover vehicles like the Equinox are very popular today, because they combine the higher-riding, greater-hauling, cooler-looking SUV experience with a comfortable-riding car platform. The Equinox has a firmness to the ride that feels just right, and the leather buckets are comfortable for commuting. I didn’t have a chance to take this one on a long trip, but it looks well up to the job.

Many Choices

This compact hauler comes in four trims—S, LS, LT, and Premier. And there are three engine choices, too, all of which are turbocharged. The base engine is a 1.5-liter four with 170 horsepower (hp) and 203 pounds-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque. My Cajun Red Tintcoat tester was a top-level Premier, but had this base engine. You can step up to a 2.0-liter four with 252 hp and 260 lb.-ft. It may not appeal to you, but if you’re interested in a diesel, a new 1.6-liter unit is optional, with a mere 137 hp, but a hearty 240 lb.-ft. of torque. Diesel is surrounded by controversy today, after the revelations of malfeasance at VW, but it offers higher fuel efficiency and range for certain applications.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox

Options are many, but you’ll want to check out what you can get in the center stack

The 1.5-liter four seems up to the job in this car. It was unmemorable, but didn’t leave me feeling let down, either. The existence of the 2.0-liter option means you can get added grunt if you know you’re going to be carrying several passengers and cargo, which could affect performance significantly. The 2.0-liter engine is mated to a new nine-speed transmission, while the 1.5 gets a traditional six-speed.

My 1.5-liter-equipped tester earned EPA numbers of 24 city/30 highway/26 combined. Those are not bad stats. Green numbers are a pair of 5’s for Smog and Greenhouse Gas.

You can choose front-wheel or all-wheel drive in this crossover. The all-wheel drive system automatically disconnects from the rear axle when not needed, for greater efficiency. Having this choice means that if you live in sunny California and are not planning on skiing, you can skip AWD and save a few bucks while improving your miles-per-gallon numbers by two.

Options, There Are More Than a Few

There’s a vast set of safety features, many standard and some optional—too many to list here. See for details.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox

Let’s not forget what crossovers are all about–space

Pricing starts at $24.525 for the S model. My Premier tester had the base engine, but included the Sun, Sound & Navigation package ($3,320) and charged $395 for the Cajun Red paint. The package does include a power sunroof, 19-inch wheels, MyLink Navigation and a Bose Premium seven-speaker system, so the total came to $39,040. That’s one pricey compact crossover.

The all-new Equinox is truly North American, built in Canada with a U.S-sourced engine and transmission and 40 percent Mexican parts. It’s a very important entry in the growing compact crossover segment, battling the two perennial favorites, the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, as well as the popular Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, and the rest. With this introduction, Chevrolet’s fleet is looking very fresh.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy—the Competition

Road Test: 2018 Honda CR-V

Road Test: 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Road Test: 2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid

Road Test: 2017 Ford Escape

First Drive: 2017 Mazda CX-5


Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at

News: Chevrolet Silverado Diesel Signals Resurgence

News: Chevrolet Silverado Diesel Signals Resurgence

Four of Five Light-duty Pickups Will Now Offer Diesel Engines

Like Samuel Clemens’ famous anti-epitaph, the death of diesel engine during this past year has been greatly exaggerated, if you look at the news coming out of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Saturday, Jan. 13, Chevrolet announced that its 2019 Silverado pickup will get a healthy dose of car tech along with a stout diesel engine that will allow it to go toe-to-toe with the just-announced 2019 Ford F-150 diesel and two incumbents, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and Nissan Titan XD.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

With the Duramax six, all three pickup leaders now will offer diesels

The Chevrolet Silverado Duramax diesel is an inline six that GM’s Global Product Development Chief Mark Reuss said would be the “best-performing” engine in the class. No specs were released, so it is unclear if Reuss was talking about horsepower, torque, fuel economy or some combination of them all. More details were promised soon.

The new Duramax and the revised carryover 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V8 will mate up with a new Hydra-Matic 10-speed transmission to optimize fuel economy. Those engines will also get something GM is calling Dynamic Fuel Management, which has the ability to shut off cylinders not needed for acceleration. That technology, on which they didn’t elaborate, sounds like Tula Technology’s Dynamic Skip Fire that Clean Fleet Report recently test drove. The engine also will add start-stop capability.

Materials News

In another swipe at its cross-town rival, Chevrolet made a major point of its up to 450-pound weight loss without simply swapping out steel for aluminum. GM took a much more complicated path of analyzing each part and component on the truck and determining the best material to use that would deliver weight reduction while maintaining durability, safety and functionality.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

Chevy’s weight-loss program meant using different materials throughout the truck

That process results in the 2019 Silverado, which ends up with aluminum doors, hood and tailgate, steel body panels and bed, high strength steel chassis and advanced high strength steel for some of the key structural pieces of the cab (they ended up with seven different grades of steel in the truck in the end). The same analysis resulted in substitutions such as carbon-composite second stage-springs that saved more than 12 pounds wherever they were used compared to the previous stamped steel units.

The weight reduction program is even more remarkable when you look at the dimensions of the new truck. It has grown almost four inches in wheelbase and 1.6 inches overall compared to its predecessor. Those extra inches have been used to increase cabin and cargo space.

In addition to weight reduction, the Silverado also got some serious wind tunnel work to reduce aerodynamic drag. Engineers also added features borrowed from car models such as the air curtains in the grill first seen in the sixth generation Camaro.

And All the Car Tech

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

Inside, the Silverado gets even more car-like

The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado (as well as its GMC Sierra cousin, which will be introduced later this year) receives a healthy dose of previously car-based technology. Reuss promised the new Silverado would be “the most connected” truck GM has ever offered. They didn’t announce all of the features, but said the Silverado will get wireless phone charging, 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity, Apple Car Play, Android Auto and more features to be announced later.

Chevrolet’s adding three new trim levels to the Silverado so customers will now be able to choose from nine different models of the pickup. The packages highlight options designed for odd-roading and different tire-wheel combos. Compared to passenger cars, pickup trucks remain highly customizable vehicles, something Chevy clearly wants to tap into.

New 2019 Chevrolet Silverados are expected to go on sale this fall. Pricing will be announced closer to launch, but it’s likely there will be little change from current pricing because of the highly competitive truck market.

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