2018 Chevrolet Equinox Diesel First Test

When we tested the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox last year with its base 1.5-liter gas turbo-four, we came away with mixed feelings. The engine was good, but the transmission frequently wanted to get to the highest gear, kicking you out of the turbo-four’s powerband. Now, we’ve got another 2018 Equinox, this one powered by a 1.6-liter turbodiesel I-4. We tested the new Equinox diesel to find out how much the extra torque really improves the driving experience.

The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox diesel, which wears a TD badge on its liftgate, shares the same 1.6-liter turbodiesel I-4 with the Cruze TD and the GMC Terrain diesel, which means you have 137 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque on tap. Like the Terrain, the Equinox TD comes with a six-speed automatic transmission instead of the nine-speed in the Cruze TD.

Out on the streets of Los Angeles, it became clear that the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox diesel was tuned primarily for comfort because its suspension absorbs imperfections well and keeps the cabin civilized.

The six-speed automatic isn’t as frustrating in this application because the generous amount of torque allows the gearbox to stay in higher gears but still gives you the necessary passing power. However, like other applications, this transmission is still stingy with downshifts, and it will take a few seconds to give you one after you’ve buried your foot into the accelerator pedal.

You’d think that with the addition of a diesel exhaust fluid tank that the 2018 Equinox TD would have less space, but the crossover retains the same cabin with 29.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row that can be expanded to 63.5 cubic feet — those numbers are decent, but no match for the Toyota RAV4 or the Honda CR-V.

The icons on the system with the 7.0-inch screen are smaller, and some of the functions are buried in menus. Playing music from a flash drive plugged into the main USB port, for example, requires you to hit the media button and then the menu button on the bottom right before you can choose between artists, albums, and playlists.

In this class, until Mazda introduces a diesel-powered CX-5, the only options are the Equinox and GMC Terrain diesels. If you insist on a diesel crossover instead of a less efficient option such as the Honda CR-V, our 2018 SUV of the Year, or the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, you’ll get a torquey engine, great fuel economy, and a comfortable crossover. Make sure to get the Sun & Infotainment package because for a better infotainment system, additional USB ports, and an upgraded multi-information display to boot.