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Higher-strength steels help make 2018 Chevy Equinox 400 lbs. lighter; popular CUV also has more crash-prevention options

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The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox unveiled Thursday has shed 400 pounds for its latest generation, indicating collision repairers should anticipate working on a greater proportion of advanced materials when Chevy’s No. 2 selling vehicle goes on sale in a few months.

Based on a body repair manual on the Genuine GM Parts site, the past Equinox body-in-white appears to have been mostly mild steel, though some of the usual locales like rocker inners and door reinforcements are made from ultra-high-strength steel for the 2016-17 model years.

Chevrolet didn’t give many details about the body and closures on Thursday, aside from referencing the presence of more “high-strength steel.” The OEM didn’t indicate if any other advanced materials — particularly aluminum — had a larger role in the design than on the prior generation.

“All of the Equinox’s crash-avoiding and passenger-protecting technologies are built into a stronger body structure that incorporates high-strength steel in key areas to help prevent intrusion into the passenger compartment,” Chevrolet wrote in a news release.

Lighter, stronger steels generally are less tolerant to heat and sectioning. Such practices can compromise structural integrity and crash energy management; you’re more likely to replace them and join them differently than a milder steel.

Learn more about high-strength steel, other substrates at Repairer Driven Education

Collision repairers seeking information on what new materials like aluminum, carbon fiber and higher-strength steel will mean for their shops should check out courses like “Structural Repair and Materials for 2016 and Beyond” with Ken Boylan of CHIEF Automotive, “Case Study of the Procedures for Steel Quarter Panel Replacement” with Larry Montanez of P&L Consultants and “Advanced Vehicle Materials, Construction and Repair Considerations” with Mark Voss of General Motors and Frank V. Billotto of Dow Automotive. Those sessions are part of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists’ Repairer Driven Education Series from Nov. 1-4 during SEMA. Register here.

Here’s some additional standard or optional highlights collision repairers might find interesting, both from a repair procedural standpoint as well as the potential impacts upon collision frequency and severity. (Some might have been present on the past generation.):

  • An all-wheel drive system which can be toggled to disconnect from the rear axle for greater efficiency.
  • All of the increasingly common advanced-driver assistance systems, including autobraking and automatic lane-keeping, are now available — many for the first time. These include the debut of the 360-degree camera Surround Vision, which has the potential to cut down on parking lot (and trailer-maneuvering) bumps and collisions.
  • Also, adaptive headlights.
  • A collapsible pedal assembly to protect one’s extremities.
  • Teen Driver, which basically keeps tabs on the owner’s kid — potentially cutting some of that “sorry, Mom and Dad” business shops get whenever a new slew of teenagers get licenses. Parents can set parameters for their young driver and see a report card of how well they handled the Equinox.
  • A rear-seat reminder to encourage drivers not to forget items — like children — in the back.

Media examine the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox on Sept. 22, 2016 in Chicago. (Brian Kersey for Chevrolet/Copyright General Motors)

“The Chevrolet Equinox ramps up its awareness and protection capability with an even broader range of available technologies designed to assist drivers in everyday situations,” GM active safety technical fellow Ray Kiefer said in a statement. “From daily driving to parking and crash avoidance, it can help the occupants avoid trouble altogether.”

The 2018 Equinox will go on sale in the first quarter of 2017. GM sold nearly 278,000 last year.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the ultra-high-strength steel locations on the 2016-17 Chevrolet Equinox. The article has since been corrected to address the error.

More information:


Chevrolet, Sept. 22, 2016


Chevrolet, Sept. 22, 2016


General Motors North America President Alan Batey presents the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Sept. 22, 2016, in Chicago. (Steve Fecht for Chevrolet/Copyright General Motors)

Media examine the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox on Sept. 22, 2016 in Chicago. (Brian Kersey for Chevrolet/Copyright General Motors)

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