That Mark Reuss is a "car guy" is certain. But he is not a "car guy" in the sense he simply wants to make everything go fast and exude boisterous exhaust notes.
Hang around him at a racetrack or an international car show. He's there for more than Camaro and Corvette. He's there for all things Buick and Chevrolet. He wants to make them all better, especially in the minds of consumers.
Put simply, Reuss wants consumers to buy those cars, to love them as much as he does. That explains what is going on at those two passenger-car companies. That explains the 2018 — that's right, 2018 — Chevrolet Equinox.
No offense to Camaro and Corvette lovers, but, for the rest of us, the 2018 Equinox is the best Chevrolet ever.
The new Equinox, particularly the thoroughly equipped Premier version driven for this column, is a vehicle you can love.
To wit: What do "ordinary drivers" really want in a car or a compact sport-utility vehicle like the Equinox?
They want comfort, reliability, safety, fuel efficiency and performance when needed. They want something good to look at inside and out. The 2018 Equinox Premier gives them all of that, including options, at a reasonable price: $33,580.
The current average cost (transaction price, "out the door") of a new car sold in the United States is $34,800.
I like a car that allows you to share the fantasy (looks good enough to be "prestigious") but enjoy the reality of what it is really about — fuel economy (26 miles per gallon city, 32 mpg highway, regular grade okay); excellent safety (surround-vision camera, blind-side warning, lane-departure warning).
You won't compete on the racetrack in the Equinox, which is equipped with a turbocharged 1.5-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine (170 horsepower, 203 pound-feet of torque). You won't have to beg for highway entrance or plead to occupy fast lanes.
The Equinox is a good family ride for long trips. It literally is, as they say in the business, "silky, smooth."
Congratulations, Mark. You've given us a good one. Thanks.
Nuts & Bolts
2018 Chevrolet Equinox
Bottom line: The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is a good compact sport-utility vehicle for anyone seeking a reliable family ride with reasonable fuel economy and utility. There are four trim levels: base L, which actually offers a lot at an affordable price; LS; LT; and the loaded, with two-tone interior, Premier.
Ride, acceleration and handling: Pleasing in ways that will satisfy most of us.
Head-turning quotient: It is attractive inside and out.
Body-style/layout: The 2018 Equinox is a compact, front-engine, front-wheel-drive sport-utility vehicle that also will be offered in all-wheel-drive (late spring, early summer 2018).
Engine/transmission: It comes with a turbocharged 1.5-liter, 16-valve, four-cylinder gasoline engine with variable valve timing (170 horsepower, 203 pound-feet of torque). The engine is linked to a six-speed automatic transmission that also can be operated manually.
Capacities: Seating is for five people. Cargo capacity is 29.9 cubic feet with all seats in place. The fuel tank holds 14.9 gallons of gasoline. Regular grade is okay.
Mileage: I achieved 31 miles per gallon on the highway with light cargo.
Safety: Standard equipment includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes; four-wheel anti-lock brake protection; post-collision safety system; traction and stability control; rear cross-traffic alert; blind-side and lane-departure warning; and side and head air bags.
Pricing: Chevrolet wants to sell this one, primarily to prove to consumers that it makes excellent "ordinary" vehicles. Dealers are willing to deal. The base price on the 2018 Equinox Premier front-wheel-drive model sampled for this column is $30,700, with an estimated dealer's price of $28,500. The price as tested is $33,500, including $1,895 in options (convenience and safety) and an $895 factory-to-dealer shipment charge.