Chevrolet's Early Choice for an Equinox Redesign Was a Real Dog: Report

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
chevrolet s early choice for an equinox redesign was a real dog report

To say the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is an important model for General Motors is to downplay the importance of the crucial compact crossover segment. Lighter, trimmer and more fuel efficient than before, the new right-sized Equinox erases many of the drawbacks of its long-in-the-tooth predecessor.

However, if “Old GM” was still in existence (and some would argue it still is), the 2018 model would have arrived on dealer lots with a built-in drawback approved by Detroit bigwigs. By that, we mean design. According to the vehicle’s chief engineer, the third-generation model’s initial design sent focus groups scurrying up a tree.

Speaking to Automotive News, GM’s Mark Cieslak said the first design presented to focus groups met with all the acclaim of the Ghostbusters remake (or Malibu Maxx). And, had this been the pre-bankruptcy era, the automaker would likely have said, “Okay, screw it. You’re getting this. Capisce?

“Back in the day, we would have probably just kept going,” said Cieslak. That’s quite an admission, coming from a company that tries to avoid mentioning its pre-bankruptcy products in a bad light.

Those early test consumers essentially said the new model looked too bulky, too odd, and just generally underwhelmed the senses. Basically, all of the criticism leveled at the widely panned eighth-generation Malibu — a model that factored into what came next. Rather than green-light the phoned-in body and take what sales it could find, Chevy — already dealing with the Malibu’s lackluster reception — headed back to the drawing board in an effort to not be Old GM.

With the model’s existing generation poised to last eight model years, its replacement needed to wow. Or at least not repel.

Ultimately, the automaker scrapped the designed-by-committee styling, shaved 400-plus pounds from the curb weight, and shoehorned the downsized model into the heart of the compact segment. The Equinox has always represented something of a value buy, so it will be interesting to see if the tech-laden, fuel-sipping 2018 model surpasses its popular predecessor in sales.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • Oldowl Oldowl on Mar 28, 2017

    The slanted C pillar makes it look as if the rear end was grafted on a sedan. A lot of venom in that vellum.

  • Bd2 Bd2 on Mar 29, 2017

    Wonder how ugly the original design was as this isn't exactly a "looker."