May 21, 2013
Written by Steven Macoy
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 09:53
The Chevrolet Equinox, redesigned for 2010, is a triumph of right-sizing. With available all-wheel drive, room for five adult passengers, 7.8 inches of ground clearance and more than 30 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the spacious back seat upright, it’s big and rugged enough for most families. And the standard 182-horsepower, 4-cylinder engine is a perfect fit.
Bottom line: The tiny minority of owners who need minivan seating accommodations or Range Rover ruggedness, or sufficient cargo room to transport three or more youth-hockey players and all their gear, will look elsewhere. For the rest, the Equinox is everything it needs to be.
Add stylish, quiet and unexpectedly luxurious to the mix, and you have a potential winner for Chevrolet.
Not surprisingly, the Equinox provided to auto reviewers for summertime scrutiny was optioned to the hilt, yet equipped for maximum fuel economy. Only the fuel economy came up short of our expectations. It never reached 27 mpg even though we stuck to the highway. That isn’t bad for the compact-SUV segment, but we thought 32 was within reach, given the EPA rating and our driving habits.
With options, our black granite metallic Equinox came in at $28,625. The base model starts at $22,400. Major options included leather heated seats, power liftgate, and a package that included power heated outside mirrors and Ultrasonic rear parking assist.
Among the standard features in the mid-priced 2LT model were satellite radio, automatic climate control, cruise control, self-dimming rear-view mirror and audio controls on the steering wheel. All Equinox models come with the same 6-speed automatic transmission.
Add all-wheel drive, an option many New England drivers demand, and EPA fuel economy drops to 20/29 mpg while the price goes up $1,750 in the 2LT version. All-wheel-drive is available with in all trim levels.
In the spirit of keeping up with the Toyotas and the Hondas, specifically the wildly popular RAV-4 and CR-V, Chevrolet offers a 3-liter, 264-horsepower V-6 engine in all but the base LS trim. Both Japanese competitors have more cargo room than the Equinox thanks mainly to their lower floors.
The RAV-4 and CR-V are ubiquitous, so it’s understandable car shoppers in a resurgent market are looking for something different. They’re finding the Equinox, big time. “U.S. sales for the Equinox, which was relaunched in June, were up 188 percent in August to 13,157 vehicles,” reports Reuters, which identified the Equinox as one of four General Motors models whose sales volume compelled the automaker to call 1,350 workers back to the assembly lines this month.
Data on safety and reliability aren’t available yet. The previous Equinox delivered average reliability and better-than-average owner cost, according to Consumer Reports magazine.
Like the Chevrolet Camaro we test-drove recently, the Equinox is of a higher order than we expected in every major aspect. You might even conclude GM is doing something it hasn’t been accused of in many a year: overachieving.
Engine: 2.4-liter inline Four, 182 horsepower, 174 lb.-ft. torque
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Weight: 3,770 lb.
Ground clearance: 7.8 inches
Suspension: Four-wheel independent, MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear
Wheels: 17-inch painted alloy
Tires: P225/65R17 100T all-season tires
Seating capacity: 5
Luggage capacity: 31.4 cu. ft.
Maximum cargo capacity: 64 cu. ft.
Towing capacity: 3,500 lb.
Fuel capacity: 18 gallons
Fuel economy: 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway
Fuel type: Regular
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