Sunday, June 14, 2009

2010 Chevrolet Equinox

. Sunday, June 14, 2009

2010 Chevrolet Equinox Review

The Chevrolet Equinox is part of a growing segment of "plus-sized" small crossover SUVs. Like other vehicles of this type, the Equinox provides the style and utility one normally associates with more traditional SUVs, but without their inherent instability and poor fuel economy. As with other crossovers, the Equinox is built on a carlike platform that provides superior on-road comfort and crashworthiness. A decently powerful V6 engine is standard, as are many of the latest convenience features.

Current Chevrolet Equinox

The Chevrolet Equinox is a midsize SUV that ferries up to five passengers. Though it broadly competes against small SUVs, its long wheelbase and large cargo area give it its midsize classification. A wide range of trim levels are available.

Standard amenities on the base LS include 16-inch wheels, a CD player, powered accessories, stability control and antilock brakes.

Step up to the Equinox LT and the list grows to include 17-inch wheels, foglights, alloy wheels and snazzier upholstery. The luxury LTZ provides leather seating, heated front seats and upgraded audio.

The Sport adds a more powerful V6 as well as bigger wheels and a firmer suspension. Full-length side curtain airbags are available as an option, along with OnStar, satellite radio, heated seats, a navigation system and a rear-seat entertainment system. While not available early in this generation, OnStar and stability control now come standard.

All Equinox models except the Sport are equipped with a 3.4-liter V6 that generates 185 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque. The Sport features a 3.6-liter V6 that makes a potent 264 hp. Both engines are mated to a five-speed automatic transmission that sends its power to the front wheels. Though the Equinox is not meant for serious off-road duty, consumers who live in snowy climes will be glad to know that both trims may be purchased with all-wheel drive. All Equinoxes are capable of towing up to 3,500 pounds.

Slide inside the Chevy Equinox and you'll find there's no shortage of room, a situation that's a direct function of the vehicle's extended wheelbase. The interior offers an impressive amount of passenger room and flexibility. Its 60/40-split rear seat may be maneuvered almost 8 inches fore and aft. An adjustable rear cargo shelf enhances storage opportunities and doubles as a picnic table. There's lots of room for groceries and whatever else you need to haul, thanks to the 35 cubic feet of luggage space available behind its rear seats. With the seats folded, that space jumps to 69 cubic feet. And the Equinox is no slouch when it comes to interior style, either. Its cabin turns heads with its minimalist approach, marked by big gauges and gleaming faux aluminum.

In reviews of the Chevrolet Equinox, our editors noted that the ute's all-independent suspension is adjusted to favor ride comfort over sportiness. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends, of course, on your perspective. Long drives were a breeze, thanks to a quiet cabin and a suspension that enabled the vehicle to remain unruffled in the face of potholes and road irregularities. There were a couple of gripes. We noted considerable body roll around turns, and the truck's electric power steering is sluggish and offers little feedback. Overall, though, the Chevrolet's ride and handling balance will please most compact and midsize SUV buyers.

Past Chevrolet Equinox Models

The Chevy Equinox debuted for the 2005 model year and is still in its first generation. Changes to this model have been minimal, though 2007-and-later models have more desirable features.

If you're considering a used small Chevrolet SUV previous to the Equinox's arrival, you'll be looking at the Tracker, a small body-on-frame SUV with inadequate power, a raucous engine and a grimly unforgiving ride. Despite its bargain-basement price, we'd recommend you pass on this choice if looking for a used SUV.