Nov 242017
 

At Latino Traffic Report (LTR), the chance for a back-to-back comparison of automotive competitors is rare, but sometimes, lightning strikes. Such was the case with the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox and the 2017 Nissan Rogue. Sharing a similar shade of exterior paint (Cajun Red and Palatial Ruby, respectively), they looked like brothers from another mother, but they were not. They were rivals that distinguished themselves in several ways.

Testaments to the increasing popularity of the small SUV segment, both models are top sellers for their brands. Equinox sales have reached nearly two million units since its launch and it is Chevrolet’s second-best selling vehicle overall, after the Silverado. Similarly, new sales records designate the Rogue as Nissan’s top-selling vehicle in the United States.

The two were nimble for city driving but the redesigned Equinox, also lighter by 400 pounds, felt much smaller compared to the outgoing model. It arrived in the mid-range LT trim as opposed to the Rogue, which came in the top-of-the-line SL AWD trim.

Under the hood, the Equinox offers three engine choices, all turbos—a 1.5-liter, 2.0-liter, and a 1.6-liter turbo diesel (a segment exclusive). I drove the 2.0-liter with 252 horsepower and 260 lb.–ft. of torque.

Rogue SL seats

The Rogue can be equipped with a choice of two four-cylinder engines, a 2.0-liter on the hybrid or a 2.5-liter matched to the Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission with Sport and Eco mode switches. I drove the latter that produced 170 horses and 175 lb.–ft. of torque, giving the Equinox the power advantage. The Rogue, however, should have been more fuel efficient, with an EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy rating of 25/32 mpg compared to the Equinox’s 22/29 mpg rating. But I averaged 25.4 mpg with the Rogue and 26.7 mpg with the Equinox.

Equinox LT seats.

An SUV earns its stripes with utility, beginning with seating and cargo capacity. Both offer seating for five but the Rogue can also seat seven on lower trim levels with an optional third row. On the test model, the heated, two-tone leather seats elevated the Rogue’s interior, while the Equinox had quilted cloth seats. Both have 60/40 split second-row seats that fold flat. Inside, the Equinox there’s up to 63.5 cubic feet of maximum cargo space with the second row folded but the advantage goes to the Rogue with 70 cu. ft. of cargo room.

These family vehicles are not without safety innovations. Both SUVs equip all trim levels with rearview cameras but the Rogue tops that with its optional and innovative around view monitor on the SL trim. For the 2018 model year, a blind spot monitor will be standard on the Rogue but not on current models.

Rogue dash.

Chevy, however, offers its own signature safety technology, starting with Teen Driver (standard) that allows parents to set controls in order to encourage safe driving habits, even when they are not in the vehicle. The optional and improved Safety Alert seat on the test Equinox buzzed the left or right upper thigh as a warning and the available Rear Seat Reminder, also on the test model, pinged when the ignition was turned off to remind me to check the back seat before locking the SUV.

Equinox dash.

The standard MyLink infotainment system on the Equinox that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, can be matched to a standard seven- or an available eight-inch-diagonal color touchscreen, included on the test model via the Sun and Infotainment Package ($1,995). Other convenience features included cruise control, air conditioning, and keyless start. The Confidence and Convenience Package ($1,945) added a power liftgate, heated front seats, and side blind zone alert.

Nissan Connect with Navigation was included on the Rogue SL along with a seven-inch display, Nissan Voice Recognition for navigation and audio, and a motion activated tailgate. The SL Premium Package ($2,020) added a panoramic sunroof, and the Platinum Package ($770) added intelligent cruise control, among other features.

Available in four trim levels, and FWD or all wheel drive (AWD) combinations, pricing for the next-generation 2018 Equinox starts at $24,525. The as-tested price came to $34,375. The Rogue comes with three trims as well as a hybrid and the all-new Rogue Sport and a choice of FWD or AWD. Pricing starts at $24,795. The as-tested pricing came to $31,365.

Sí The Equinox included innovative safety technology like Teen Safety, OnStar, and Rear Seat Reminder.

The Rogue offered better value, with seating versatility, five or seven, as well as convenience technology like a power liftgate, plus a blind spot monitor that will soon be standard.

No: Important safety technology, like a blind spot monitor, was unavailable on the base trim levels of the Equinox.

The Rogue was less fuel-efficient than expected.

 

 

Aug 072017
 

Believe it or not, the battle of the bulge (the war with the scale not the German counteroffensive in 1944) affects cars too. Dropping pounds can produce certain challenges for vehicles but in the search for better fuel economy, it’s worth it. Chevrolet took 400 pounds off of the all-new 2018 Equinox and Latino Traffic Report recently attended the launch in Asheville, North Carolina to test drive the redesigned compact sport utility vehicle (SUV). Turns out it has more to brag about than just being lean.

“In a word, crossover customers want one thing, everything. From comfort and connectivity to efficient performance and safety, the all-new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox delivers on all counts,” said Steve Majoros, director of marketing, Chevrolet Cars and Crossovers.

Turbos have been at the heart of Chevy’s approach to fuel economy and it really ramps up with the Equinox, which offers a choice of three—a 1.5-liter, 2.0-liter, and a 1.6-liter turbo diesel (a segment first). This makes the Equinox the first Chevrolet model in North America to use an all-turbocharged, multi-engine powertrain lineup. The 1.5-liter and diesel are matched to a six-speed automatic and the 2.0-liter is matched to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

GM estimates that the highway fuel economy on front wheel drive (FWD) models equipped with the 1.5-liter will reach 32 miles per gallon (mpg) on the highway, 29 mpg with the 2.0-liter, and 40 mpg with the diesel.

For many manufacturers, the compact SUV market is the new sweet spot and Chevrolet is no exception. Equinox sales have reached nearly two million units since its launch and it’s Chevrolet’s top selling SUV and second-best selling vehicle overall, after the Silverado.

An elegant interior complements the new exterior design, particularly on the top trim levels that offer striking color combinations for the leather seating and accents.

Inside, there’s also 3.5 cubic feet of interior volume for a total of up to 63.5 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, this despite a reduction in overall length of 4.7 inches, making it easier to park and maneuver.

This family vehicle is not without safety innovations. A rearview camera is standard on all trims, as well as Teen Driver that allows parents to set controls and review in order to encourage driving habits, even when they are not in the vehicle. The optional and improved Safety Alert seat buzzes the driver’s left or right upper thigh as a warning and the available Rear Seat Reminder pings when the ignition is turned off to remind drivers to check the back seat for children. These and other safety features like a blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert are available although only on higher-end trim levels.

The MyLink infotainment system designed to support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, can be matched to a standard seven- or an available eight-inch-diagonal color touchscreen. Other convenience features include cruise control, air conditioning, and keyless start.

Available in L, LS, LT and Premier trim levels, and FWD or all wheel drive combinations, pricing for the next-generation 2018 Equinox will start at $24,525.