The all-new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is here and we have it in our garage. Past models have sold relatively well in the small SUV category. Canadian consumers bought 19,197 Equinox utilities in 2016, and…

2018 Chevrolet Equinox AWD 4dr Premier

The brand new completely redesigned 2018 Chevrolet Equinox looks great in it’s top-tier Premier trim.

The all-new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is here and we have it in our garage. Past models have sold relatively well in the small SUV category. Canadian consumers bought 19,197 Equinox utilities in 2016, and over the course of its 13-year tenure upwards of two million have been sold in North America.

It faces stiff competition in the compact crossover market going up against the bestselling Toyota RAV4 that sold 49,103 units last year. Other competitors in the Equinox’ class include the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue and Jeep Cherokee.

The Equinox finally received a much-needed redesign from its tired second-generation model that’s been in production since 2009. The grille is more aggressive and trimmed in chrome while the LED headlights have gone from rounded and cute to sharp and sporty. The front fascia looks like it’s taken athletic styling cues from the other cars in Chevrolet’s lineup such as the Cruze, Malibu and Volt. The entire car has been aero-tested in a wind tunnel and it shows. Subtle sculpting in the Equinox’ side paneling make it an interesting vehicle to look at.

The changes don’t stop with aesthetics. The new Chevy weighs 204 kg (450 lbs) less than the previous model at 1,509 kg (3,327 lbs), which results in better fuel economy and acceleration, but we will get to that in the full review.

The new Chevrolet Equinox has shed quite a bit of weight compared to its previous model

The wheelbase is 2,725 mm (107.3 inches) long, 132 mm (5.2 inches) shorter than the previous model 2857.5 mm (112.5 inches). A shorter wheelbase results in the car being, you guessed it, smaller. The 2018 Equinox is 119.4 mm (4.7 inches) shorter in overall length than the previous model at 4,650.74 mm (183.1 inches).

The cargo capacity is slightly down from the 2016 Equinox but it doesn’t affect the amount of room for passengers. The second row has ample space and can comfortably seat three adults abreast, although the headroom in the back row is slightly cramped at 937 mm (36.9 inches) with a sunroof. Up front the driver’s seat is fully changeable with eight-way adjustable, upwards of six feet I found no issue with the head room and was pleasantly comfortable.

The third-generation Equinox comes with a choice of three engines. The first is a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 170 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 203 lb-ft of torque at 2,500-4,500 rpm. The second engine is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, which produces 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. The last is a 1.6-litre turbocharged diesel four-cylinder engine that develops 136 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque.

Responsive? Come back and read the full review to find out what it’s like to drive.

This Equinox in our garage has the 1.5-litre turbocharged engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting mode. The engine has auto start/stop feature to enhance fuel efficiency.

Along with the broad and varied engine lineup the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox also comes with four trim levels including the L, LS, LT and Premier with all trims available in front- or all-wheel drive.

Our tester is finished in top-line Premier AWD trim, which comes with an array of features such as, 19-inch ultra bright machined wheels with sparkle silver pockets, body-colour door handles with chrome strip, chrome mirror caps, chrome roof-mounted side rails a power sunroof, fog lamps, a power tailgate, rear park assist, leather-trimmed upholstery, remote start and heated front seats.

The Equinox comes loaded with technology and a very user friendly touch screen interface.

On top of Chevy’s Premier trim the tester also features a $5,965 True North Edition package that comes with Chevrolet’s impressive MyLink infotainment system that includes an eight-inch colour touch-screen display with navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth with A2DP streaming stereo audio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging capability, USB integration and OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity.

The Equinox is extremely well equipped with advanced safety features such as forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and automated low-speed braking. The Chevy is also loaded with sensors and cameras that provide more safety features such as blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, rear park assist, rearview camera, and a bird’s-eye view of your perimeter. For parents there is also a “Teen Driver” system that sets speed warnings and limits the maximum volume for the audio system. Additionally, it delivers a “report card” that parents can view to see how their teen is driving.

Come back to read the full road test review, at which point we’ll fill you in on the new SUV’s overall practicality, economy, and safety features, as well as what it’s like to drive.

It should come as little surprise that Chevrolet’s new Bolt EV is now the best-selling electric vehicle in Canada. It went on sale in January and has accumulated 697 buyers, although according to one…

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier
Meet one of the most talked about new cars of 2017, Chevy’s new long-range Bolt EV. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

It should come as little surprise that Chevrolet’s new Bolt EV is now the best-selling electric vehicle in Canada.

It went on sale in January and has accumulated 697 buyers, although according to one of my local dealers that’s been turning away potential customers regularly, they could’ve sold many more if any were still available.

Nissan’s slightly larger Leaf was second, by the way, selling 586 units during the same five months (still respectable considering its age), while the Tesla Model S found 397 buyers, that brand’s Model X another 372, BMW i Series 156 (mostly made up of i3s, but marginally boosted by the i8 supercar), and Mitsubishi lured in 29 new i-MiEV owners (that’s it for available EV sales numbers).

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier
The Bolt can achieve a claimed 383 km of EV range between charges. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Of note, the Bolt has been available south of the 49th since December of last year when it accumulated a considerable 579 sales, but over the first five months of 2017 it’s managed to garner more than 10 times that amount with 5,950 units down the road.

In comparison, the Tesla Model S walked away with the EV sales crown with 8,900 sold during the same time period, followed closely by the brand’s new Model X at 7,000 units. The more directly comparative Nissan Leaf found just 5,742 American buyers during the same five months, while the more comparably sized and shaped BMW i3 sold 1,919 units. Almost taking up the rear was Mercedes’ B250e with 271 sales, a pure electric not available here (but they don’t get the gasoline-powered B-Class), while dragging its tail (is it technically still available?) was the i-MiEV with 6 sales.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier
With digital interfaces to rival a Tesla, the new Bolt moves the subcompact hatchback class up a notch or three. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Either General Motors underestimated the demand for its little subcompact plug-in or they just don’t have the capacity to build more at their Orion Township, Michigan assembly plant, where they also produce the Euro-spec version dubbed Opel Ampera-e, as well as the Chevy Sonic (that’s similarly sized albeit built on the new BEV II platform architecture instead of the Sonic’s Gamma II).

GM may want to cut back production of the Opel Ampera-e now that they’ve sold off their European division (it’s doing especially well in Norway) in order to support their North American markets more, or even better they could turn that soon to be phased out model into a Buick Bolt and build/sell it in China where EVs are taking over city streets, and then bring it back here like they’re doing with the Envision compact SUV, but with a new name, a few Buick styling tweaks, and a fancier interior. See, I’ve got it all sussed out. GM just needs to give me a call to sort out the details.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier
That’s not a mirror. Instead, the Bolt gets a wide rearview camera. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

If it were only so easy, but the General is certainly on the right track with its new Bolt. In fact, one of the reasons GM’s stock price has risen over the past month, year, and five-year intervals, and Ford’s has been on the decline for all of the above (except the five-year), is its success in the plug-in arena, first with the Volt, the number one selling PHEV period, and now the Bolt, which could very well zip into the top North American sales spot once availability matches demand.

And no, I’m not about the digress (too far) into the upcoming Tesla Model 3 despite presales humbling any current or past EV, because it’s not yet available and may not be for some time. Of course, most of us are hoping it will succeed, as Tesla is a modern-day success story that’s truly shaken the old guard to its knees (especially on the markets, where real-world results aren’t as important as “fingers crossed” projections), so we’ll cross that bridge (hopefully while driving a Model 3) when we come to it.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier
Comfortable? Come back and read the review to find out. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press) 

The Bolt EV is in the here and now (or at least it was before selling out—talk to your Chevy dealer as I know there’s at least one available in the near future, and it’s sitting in my driveway), and can be had for $43,095 before freight and dealer fees, discounts (good luck with that), and government rebates (up to $5,000 in BC, $14,000 in Ontario, and $8,000 in Quebec).

I know that price is mighty close to BMW’s i3, but despite the Bimmer’s near F1-tech levels of carbon-fibre construction, better handling, mostly nicer finishings inside, and that all-important blue and white roundel, it’s not in the same EV class as the Bolt, at least if the main goal is going as far as you possible can on a single charge, and hardly worrying one whit about how much throttle you use getting there.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier
Roomy in back? You know the drill… (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Where the 2017 i3 has been boosted to an impressive 200-km range (183-km as per the EPA) thanks to a new 33.0-kWh lithium-ion battery (10.0-kWh more than the previous one), the Bolt uses a much more convincing 60-kWh lithium-ion battery for a claimed range of 383 km! That’s right, almost twice the range of the i3. There’s no gasoline-powered range extender (REx) engine, mind you, but with the ability to cover such distances on a single charge, does anyone really need the added weight and complexity of a tiny putt-putt motor? Hardly. The Leaf, incidentally, can cover an estimated 172 km between charges.

Tesla Model S owners are giggling right about now, or at least those who spent upwards of $170k on a P100D that can manage up to 542 km after a full charge (even the base 75 is good for 426 km), but the Model S starts out at about twice the price of the Bolt and that aforementioned model quickly escalates to nearly $200,000 with options, so it’s just as silly as comparing the go-fast performance of a Porsche Panamera Turbo to Sonic.

The Bolt is surprisingly quick, by the way, and even includes a Sport mode to liven up acceleration. I’ll likely go on at length about its performance credentials and other driving dynamics during my upcoming review, as well as pour over the differences between the base model and my tester’s top-line Premier trim, plus the car’s overall liveability and other attributes/drawbacks (no car is perfect). So stay tuned for all the road test review…

Just how competitive are GM’s new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickup trucks on the Canadian market? Toyota’s longtime best-selling Tacoma is still ahead, but so far this year we’re…

2017 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Crew Cab 4WD

2017 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Crew Cab 4WD
If this 2017 Chevy Colorado Z71 Crew Cab 4WD looks familiar, we tested near identical versions in 2016 and 2015. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Just how competitive are GM’s new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickup trucks on the Canadian market? Toyota’s longtime best-selling Tacoma is still ahead, but so far this year we’re talking about a sales lead of the finest of margins possible.

Are you sitting down? The Tacoma is just one single solitary truck more popular than the GM twins, with Toyota’s small truck sales at 5,041 units from January 1 to May 31, 2017, and Chevrolet/GMC’s twosome at 5,040 deliveries during the same five months. What are the chances of this? And how much did missing the sales lead by just two trucks hurt at GM Canada’s Oshawa HQ?

Then again, GM Canada can be plenty happy about providing a mid-size truck that’s so impressive they’ve managed to gain an incredible amount of ground against the once totally dominant Toyota since arriving back on the scene in 2014. In fact, the two GM trucks managed to outsell the Tacoma last year with 12,652 sales compared to 12,618, which is again very close.

2017 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Crew Cab 4WD
A great looking truck, it gets a body-colour rear bumper and trim when upgraded to the LT or Z71. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Their U.S. counterparts haven’t been so successful due to the GMC variant dragging its heels against the much more popular Chevy, the former brand’s year-to-date sales just 12,372 units compared to the bowtie brand’s 40,670, which combined equal 53,042 units compared to the Toyota USA’s 78,153 Tacomas. Likewise, last year’s total sales were 108,725 units for the Colorado and 37,449 for the Canyon resulting in total combined deliveries of 146,174, which sounds great until compared to the Tacoma’s 191,631 sales.

On a per capita basis it’s quite clear Canadians are much bigger mid-size GM pickup truck fans than our friends to the south—so much for the heartbeat of America.

Having recently driven every new 2017 truck on the market, except for the GMC version (I’ve got one booked for later this month, but it’s mostly the same if you hadn’t already figured that out) and the Nissan Frontier (it’s way too old to consider calling new despite being dubbed with the 2017 model year, although it had its strongest 12 months of sales in more than a decade last year), I can understand why the GM trucks are selling so well. They’ve got styling, performance, efficiency, interior design and execution, infotainment excellence, and those brilliant rear bumper corner steps going for them. And I haven’t even driven the recently added 2.8-litre Duramax turbo-diesel yet (hopefully that’ll be in the upcoming Canyon).

2017 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Crew Cab 4WD
Yikes! This truck needs a bed liner something bad, as its box paint is still perfect. Fortunately GM offers multiple types, but I’d hate to scratch it up so I had better refrain from hauling anything. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Behind my 2017 Chevy Colorado Z71 Crew Cab 4WD tester’s smiling grille is GM’s 3.6-litre DOHC, direct-injection V6 with a variable intake manifold and variable valve timing making 308 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 275 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, which is three horsepower and six lb-ft of torque more than last year. Suffice to say it moves along quickly enough, but it’s also quite efficient due in part to cylinder deactivation that temporarily cuts fuel to three of its cylinders when coasting or otherwise not required, and auto start/stop that shuts the engine off entirely when it would otherwise be idling, both new to this V6.

Fuel economy remains the same at 13.6 L/100km city, 9.9 highway and 11.9 combined, which is par for the course (the Tacoma 4X4 Double Cab V6 with a similar configuration is good for an estimated 13.1 L/100km city, 10.5 highway and an identical 11.9 combined, despite just 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque), although that segment-exclusive four-cylinder turbo-diesel mentioned earlier, which puts out 181 horsepower at 3,400 rpm and 369 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm, gets a claimed 12.0 L/100km city, 8.2 highway and 10.3 combined.

My tester’s advanced mode-selectable eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift capability has much to do with its efficiency, this having the most forward speeds of any pickup truck in the class, plus when the Trailering Package is added it now includes a standard trailer brake controller (previously only available with the diesel), helping it achieve up to 3,175 kilos (7,000 lbs) of trailering weight as tested, whereas the diesel 4×4 can pull up to 3,447 kg (7,600 lbs).

2017 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Crew Cab 4WD
The Z71 gets a very nice interior that’s highlighted by an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen with the impressive Chevrolet MyLink interface. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Also notable, GM’s AutoTrac automatic four-wheel drive system is now standard fare with the V6, the old system requiring users to manually select 2WD, 4WD Hi or 4WD Lo.

Strangely, of all the potential variations of cab size (there are three), bed length (there are two), engines (there are three), transmissions (there are two), drivelines (two again), and trim levels (there are many), all of the Colorados loaned to me over the past three years have been almost identical in configuration. The first two Z71 Crew Cab Short Box V6 4WD models were even the same Red Hot colour, while this latest 2017 model is trimmed out nearly the same once again other than its new for 2017 Cajun Red Tintcoat paintjob, although even that’s another shade of red (Graphite grey is also new for 2017, while Laser Blue and Orange Burst were late additions to the 2016 model).

Even their interiors have been the same, with carbon copy black and grey, leatherette and cloth upholstery. They’ve all been very nice, but how about some variety GM? I’d like to try a base truck with the 2.5-litre four, or for that matter the diesel I’ve been going on and on about. The new ZR2, Chevy’s mid-size answer to Ford’s off-road racing replica Raptor, would be a wonderful change. That model with the diesel might be just about perfect.

2017 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Crew Cab 4WD
From this angle it’s the exact same interior that I’ve tested three years in a row, despite Chevy offering many more Colorado options. It’s still nice, however. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The diesel was new last year, by the way, with this latest 2017 model having some additions of its own. These include the aforementioned nudge upward in V6 performance, plus a new larger 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen incorporating an updated Chevrolet MyLink interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, available with the base WT (Work Truck) and standard in mid-range LT trim.

My tester received the same impressive 8.0-inch Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system as last year’s version, complete with the previously mentioned features in the 7.0-inch system as well as Bluetooth streaming audio, voice activation, satellite radio, four USB ports, and more.

If you’re wondering what you get for the upgrade to Z71 trim, the features list includes an automatic locking rear diff, hill descent control, an upgraded twin-tube shock infused off-road suspension, a transfer case shield, 17-inch Dark Argent metallic cast aluminum alloys on 255/65 all-terrain tires, a full-size 16-inch spare, projector style headlights, fog lamps, remote start, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, single-zone auto climate control, a powered front passenger seat, powered lumbar support for both front seats, heatable front seats, a sliding rear window, an EZ-Lift and Lower tailgate, and more.

2017 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Crew Cab 4WD
Spacious and comfortable in back? Come back to find out in an upcoming review. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The Z71 gets most everything from LT trim too, including the two-speed AutoTrac transfer case noted earlier, body-colour side mirror housings, door handles and rear bumper, remote entry, a tilt and telescopic leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, chrome interior door handles, an overhead console, illuminated vanity mirrors, a colour multi-information display, cruise control, the larger 8.0-inch touchscreen, OnStar with 4G LTE Wi-Fi, and more.

Lastly, some notable items that get pulled up to Z71 trim from the base WT (when equipped with the Crew Cab, Short Box, and 4WD) include the V6, eight-speed, four-wheel discs with ABW, traction control and StabiliTrak stability control, front recovery hooks, black beltline mouldings, a cargo box light, GM’s exclusive (and brilliant) CornerStep rear bumper, powered door locks, a locking tailgate, colour-keyed carpeting, carpeted floor mats front and rear, powered windows, front bucket seats, a powered driver’s seat, a split-folding rear bench seat, a floor-mounted centre console, air conditioning, a backup camera, a six-speaker audio system, tire pressure monitoring, all the expected airbags front and rear, and more.

That 2017 Colorado Z71 Crew Cab Short Box 4WD starts at $38,545 plus freight and fees, but was outfitted with yet more gear as-tested including the Cajun paint at $595, upgraded cargo area lamps at $310, and four cargo tie-down rings at $125, pushing the total price up to $39,575.

How do I like it? Have I experienced any problems so far? What would I change? Does it deserve its success? I’ll answer these questions and more in an upcoming review. Until then I recommend you come back for more…

What matters most to you? Go-fast performance that you can rarely use and if you do might cause you to lose your license? Or ultimately efficient performance that still goes fast enough yet saves you…

2017 Chevrolet Volt LT Road Test

While all the plug-in talk these days seems to be about Chevy's new Bolt compact hatchback, the car that put General Motors on the mobile electric grid has been selling up a storm. Of course, when I say "selling up a storm" I'm referring to a comparatively small number of plug-in vehicles in the shadow of the vast majority of conventionally powered conveyances, but big change takes time to allow consumer mindsets to adjust, and no one could've predicted the current price of crude. That's the single largest detractor from a cleaner, greener battery powered world, most naysayers originally believing electric vehicle sales would stall due to range anxiety. The Volt overcame such worries by combining both electric and gasoline internal combustion motive power, similar to a hybrid albeit with full EV capability for limited range, theoretically providing a way for owners to travel back and forth to work, as well as running weekend errands without using any fuel at all. Since the Volt's arrival, Read Full Story
Chevy has restyled its 2016 Silverado 1500 with the LTZ Z71 being the most dramatic update. A new hood, grille, front bumper, LED headlamps and LED DRLs, fogs and taillights join updates inside plus last…

2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab Short Box 4WD LTZ Z71 Road Test Review

A few subtle design tweaks can make for quite a difference, evidenced by the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado in near top-line LTZ Z71 trim. A new front fascia displaying a revised horizontally split grille, a fresh set of freeform LED headlights and DRLs, vertically stacked LED fog lamps, and a reshaped bumper integrating tough yet classy looking metallic trim thoroughly modernizes the popular pickup. Really, it looks as if Chevy redesigned the entire machine. In other trims the chrome detailing doesn't quite capture the changes like this mostly body-colour LTZ Z71.

This might be the first year that I have liked the Silverado more than GMC's Sierra, although the Chevy truck's fraternal twin looks pretty mean with its massive highway rig grille and equally alluring LED headlamps. Of course, GM would rather we choose between their two uniquely styled offerings than one of their competitors, which is a marketing philosophy that's done them pretty well in recent years. With 118,837 units Read Full Story