ASHEVILLE, NC – If ever there was a product to epitomize the raging popularity of CUVs, it is the Chevy Equinox.

Not only has the 5-passenger crossover sold 2.2 million units since its introduction in 2004, according to WardsAuto data, it is the second-best-selling Chevy behind the Silverado and the fourth best-selling CUV in America.

Perhaps more impressive, the Equinox has accounted for 1.7 million deliveries since it was redesigned in 2009, and last year, its eighth and final full year on the market, sold a head-shaking 242,195 copies when there were nearly 100 newer CUVs to choose from.

Product planners at General Motors deserve a nod for delivering the right package of cargo room, easy ingress and egress, an upright view of the road and good fuel economy, but the staying power of the Equinox also illustrates if the crossover were a food it would be a good old ribeye steak.

Into this feeding frenzy saunters the ’18 Equinox, which is redone from head to tail in a bid to surge ahead of key competitors such as the newly redesigned Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue.

The latest Equinox receives a more contemporary exterior design, as well as a stylish and connected interior to go with an all-new engine lineup and a lighter body structure.

The front end of the Equinox more closely resembles others in the Chevy lineup, most notably its big brother, the Traverse. The gold bowtie is positioned prominently atop the 2-piece grille and standard projector-beam headlamps are wafer-thin, wrap sleekly around the corners of the car and are bookended by turn signals and fashionable, energy-saving LED daytime running lamps. It is a likeable face.

Along the body side of the Equinox, a pair of feature lines gives the CUV a sculptured appearance. One line shoots off the front panel of the car before falling into the rear wheel well, while the second one runs straight off the rear taillamp and forward through door handles.

A third feature line near the bottom of the door panels plays with natural light to add more character to the profile of the Equinox. A flash of chrome trims the greenhouse and roof rails for a bit of bling, while a small dose of cladding along the sill and front and rear fascia conveys a degree of ruggedness. Altogether, there’s a little something for everyone in its appearance.

The rear of Equinox is wide to suggest a planted stance, as well as offer easy cargo loading through the liftgate, which now includes a hands-free feature by swiping a foot under the rear bumper.

Inside, leather trims the front and rear seats, as well as the steering wheel, of our range-topping Premier model. A pair of optional packages adding $5,215 to the test car includes items such as newly available 19-in. wheels, a Bose 7-speaker audio system, Chevy MyLink infotainment and navigation with an 8-in. (28-cm) touchscreen, a heated steering wheel, cooled driver and front-passenger seats and heated outboard seats for the second row.

The packages also outfits the Equinox for the first time with advanced safety items such as low-speed forward automatic braking, a haptic seat to alert drivers of a potential crash or unseen pedestrian, an indicator to monitor the following distance of a car ahead, a 360-degree overhead view of the car to complement its backup-camera image, and high-beam headlamps that shut off automatically in city settings or when another car approaches.