Crossovers become more agile when they drop some weight. For the redesigned Chevrolet Equinox, shedding nearly 400 pounds —approximately 10 percent of its mass — pays dividends in a nimbler, more responsive and more refined driving experience. Combined with this weight loss, the all-new body was designed and optimized for top safety ratings.
“Think of it as core strength training,” said Jill Dennis, lead development engineer. “The new Equinox’s structure is leaner yet stronger, resulting in efficient performance that inspires confidence while also creating a more fun, safe and comfortable driving experience.”
An all-new, mass-efficient body structure is at the center of the Equinox’s trimmer curb weight and helps make the most of the available turbo engine options. The 1.5L turbo engine offers a great balance of fuel efficiency and performance “From accelerating to turning corners, the new Equinox drives ‘lighter,’ which correlates with a greater feeling of precision,” said Dennis. “It’s a dynamic, agile driving experience rooted in the solidity of the all-new body structure.”
Doing more with less
The lighter, stiffer and stronger structure pays off for customers in several areas:
- Safety — The strategic placement of high-strength and ultra-high strength steel in the body structure is the foundation of a robust “safety cage” surrounding passengers. It is complemented with the Equinox’s restraint systems and other standard and available safety features to manage energy in the event of a crash and help protect occupants.
- Ride and handling — Greatly reducing the need to account for chassis flex in the suspension system’s tuning, the stiffer body structure allowed engineers to focus more on ride comfort and fine-tune ride and handling attributes with greater precision. It also supports hard-mounting the front and rear suspension cradles at six points apiece on the body, further enhancing nimbleness and responsiveness.
- Quietness and refinement — A stiffer body structure is better at preventing noise and vibrations, for a quieter and smoother ride. By helping to block noise and vibration paths, fewer sound-absorbing and other dissipative materials are required, contributing to the Equinox’s overall weight loss.
- Fuel economy — Lower weight makes a difference in fuel economy, and the 2018 Equinox delivers EPA ratings of 32 highway, respectively, for the standard 1.5L turbo gas engine (FWD model).
The all new Equinox’s body structure design was optimized with a mixed-material strategy for strength and low weight. More than 80 percent of the Equinox’s body structure is composed of high-grade steel materials, with high-strength steel comprising nearly 20 percent.
The mixed-material design strategy employed to make the Equinox more responsive, refined and efficient.