Chevrolet has plans in 2017 to roll out its newly redesigned Equinox crossover SUV, but it’s doing so with a new twist: a diesel engine. To drivers in the U.S., this may seem a bit counterintuitive. Diesel powered vehicles are not particularly popular in the U.S., especially when compared with other markets around the world, Europe in particular.
Diesel has always had a bit of a contentious relationship with American consumers, despite many attempts made by various automakers to popularize it. On top of that, recent new stories, especially involving Volkswagen have not done much to improve public opinion when it comes to diesel. Prior to that, Volkswagen sales in the U.S. only made up about 18% of their total sales, while the numbers in Asia and Europe are much better.
Why Redesign The Equinox?
Given the current state of diesel technology, and the public opinion behind it, you may ask “Why is Chevy doing this in the first place?” It’s a good question and the answer is fairly straightforward: they’re trying to increase presence (and sales) in foreign markets.
This is not entirely surprising. The Chevy Equinox is one of their most popular vehicles with only the Chevy Silverado ahead of it in terms of popularity. Factor in the popularity of compact SUV crossover vehicles and the popularity of diesel in foreign markets and the picture becomes a bit more clear.
U.S. sales numbers for the Equinox have dipped rather considerably in the past year, with an almost 20 percent drop from the previous year. Though it got a slight redesign upgrade in 2015, the Equinox has remained virtually unchanged since its introduction in 2009. I
t’s fairly safe to say that this move by Chevy is to recoup some of that lost revenue by appealing to foreign markets where diesel engines are more common. At this point, Chevy has plans to offer the revamped Equinox in over 100 foreign markets, which speaks to their eagerness to appeal to a broader buying public.
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What’s New: Technology, Safety & Space
The new features of the Equinox will include a bevy of new high-tech features and an integrated console in the cockpit to control everything. Included is an onboard entertainment system, a Wi-Fi hotspot, automatic braking and lane change assist and warnings. It even has a teen driving feature that allows the owner to regulate things like music volume and get notifications for excessive speed warnings.
The new Equinox will be slightly smaller and lighter than previous models, but with a larger interior. It also has increased fuel efficiency, up to 40 miles per gallon (highway miles). Combined with the affordable price tag of just over $20,000, the Equinox will, in theory, offer an affordable and fuel efficient vehicle that could make waves in both the world of crossover SUVs and diesel technology.
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