One of the questions we ask when evaluating the candidates for Wards 10 Best Interiors is, “Does this interior sell the vehicle?”

In the case of the Chevrolet Equinox, the interior is doing its part, because the CUV is among the best sellers in Wards Intelligence’s Middle/Cross Utility segment, the hottest segment among all U.S. light vehicles. The Equinox also is one of Wards 10 Best Interiors for 2018.

The Equinox has been one of America’s most popular CUVs for several years, and time spent in an ʼ18 model shows Chevy hasn’t been coasting. For roominess, connectivity, safety and driver assistance, the Equinox is a solid value at well under $40,000.

“One of the best design-wise in this segment,” declares editor Dave Zoia.

Chevrolet seems to have been inspired by the ʼ18 Equinox’s completely redesigned exterior and brought its sweeping curves inside, making what could be just a workaday CUV into something special.

Our tester had its share of black vinyl and plastic but, as editor Bob Gritzinger notes, it was offset nicely by butterscotch-brown instrument-panel, seat, door and even head-restraint inserts. Chrome surrounds on the vents, cupholders and shifter also set the Equinox apart from its econo-ute competition.

 

Chevy’s MyLink audio system, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability are among the features controlled by a user-friendly 8-in. (20-cm) touchscreen. Smartphone pairing was straightforward and, in our model, the smartphone could be replenished with an onboard wireless charger.

The second row offered heated and ventilated seats, a pair of USB outlets, a 12V outlet and ample headroom and legroom. And, unlike older Equinoxes, the rear seats fold flat to create a generous 63.5 cu.-ft. (1,797 L) of cargo space. There’s a bonus hidden compartment, too.

Our Equinox was fitted with a near-comprehensive suite of driver-assistance technology including low-speed forward auto braking, standard blindspot and rear cross-traffic alerts and optional lane-keep assist, forward-collision alert, low-speed forward automatic braking, surround vision and haptic driver’s-seat alert.

Fit-and-finish overall was “pretty flawless,” in editor Zoia’s words, and the cabin was quiet.

The Equinox comes with other features not expected in a CUV in this price range, including a leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel and ventilated seats. One design element worth mentioning are doors the driver can pull shut without having to lean halfway outside the vehicle – a characteristic not found in every vehicle we tested.

Also not to be taken for granted is a center console cavernous enough that an average-sized purse can fit inside it instead of being tossed onto a back seat – although the Equinox does sound a chime reminding you to check the second row when exiting the vehicle.

jirwin@wardsauto.com