The Power of Air: Equinox’s Design Enhances Aerodynamics

With unprecedented style, efficiency and a wind tunnel-honed design, the 2018 Equinox forges a path of least resistance to maximize fuel efficiency

It’s no secret the compact SUV segment is one of the fastest growing in the world. Customers want passenger and cargo space that fits their lifestyle without compromising on fuel efficiency or safety.

However, the larger the dimensions of a vehicle, the bigger the challenges of making it aerodynamically efficient. On the move, a vehicle has to forge a path of least resistance, and the smoother it slices through the air the more fuel efficient and refined it is.   

That was the task for the Design and Aerodynamic teams working on the shape of the all-new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox: to create an all-new compact SUV that is a perfect balance of style, function and efficiency.

And with the segment leading 15.1 Km/L on the highway (1.5L FWD models), the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox certainly achieves that goal. However, it wasn’t a task that was trivially accomplished.


Size matters

Vehicle aerodynamics are a carefully considered science; styling flourishes cannot be added at whim without evaluating their effect on airflow around the vehicle. For the 2018 Equinox, the design teams took great care in creating a refined new vehicle shape that maintains the key proportions of a small crossover/SUV, without adversely affecting aerodynamic efficiency. In addition to delivering the utility and functionality customers look for in the segment, the Equinox’s expressive exterior has a lean, sculpted form sporting Chevrolet’s signature design cues.

“Aerodynamic performance is a big contributor to fuel economy, but the box-like shapes of crossovers and SUVs are not conducive to aero efficiency,” said Nick Lico, Global Aerodynamics development lead. “Working with Design, we were able to craft an athletic shape that is both attractive and segment-leading in aero efficiency.”

Tunnel vision

Balancing every-day usability of the new Equinox with aero needs was not an easy task and it was something Chevrolet engineers focused on single-mindedly. Picking the right dimensions, for instance, was crucial. The Equinox had to be the right size, to make it easier to park and maneuver, but without compromising on efficiency or even interior space. As a result, the overall length was reduced by 119 millimeters but despite the smaller exterior dimensions than the older model, interior volume was increased.

The reduced length, however, posed another hurdle to aero efficiency, because it is tougher to push a shorter shape cleanly through the air.

The exterior styling of the all-new Equinox was honed after more than 500 hours in General Motor’s full-scale wind tunnel. The final design not only maintains the essence of the intended design, but reduces wind resistance by 10 percent over the previous model.

The Equinox’s cutting-edge approach to efficiency also sees the addition of a new active aerodynamics element. Much like features found on high-end super cars, the Equinox can literally alter its aerodynamic performance depending on the situation. It boasts available electronically controlled upper and lower grille shutters which account for improved aerodynamics. They close in certain conditions on the highway, when engine cooling needs are reduced, pushing more air around the vehicle to reduce drag.

It’s all in the detail

An aero-efficient body is the sum of several small, but significant, design details. These styling elements not only contribute to the aesthetics, they address drag around various areas of the vehicle, making the Equinox’s design a harmonious blend of form and function.

  • The larger rear spoiler was designed to help reduce turbulence at the rear of the vehicle for less wind resistance.
  • The rear corner incorporates a series of cleverly incorporated “air trips,” as the designers call them, for optimal air separation at the edges of the taillamps and corners at the D-pillars.
  • New tire deflectors help achieve the same aerodynamic advantage as a traditional air dam, but without compromising the Equinox’s sculpted design.
  • Underbody panels on FWD models improve airflow beneath the vehicle.

About the 2018 Equinox

The all-new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is a fresh and modern compact SUV, featuring an expressive design, increased cargo space, the latest connectivity, expanded roster of available safety features and all-new range of turbocharged engines.

Cargo area has increased, with new storage features such as a large, hidden underfloor storage space and a flat cargo floor that makes loading and unloading easier.

Purposeful technologies are designed to help keep passengers safe, comfortable and connected. New safety features include Safety Alert Seat, Forward Collison Alert with Following Distance Indicator and more.

The 2018 Equinox is on sale now in Chevrolet showrooms across the Middle East.