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2010 Chevrolet Equinox: Test Drive Review

Topics:  Chevrolet Equinox

2010 Chevrolet Equinox: Test Drive Review

Gary Witzenburg
March 17, 2010

Gary Witzenburg

Chevrolet's first reply to the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V was good, and owners had few complaints. This new Equinox is better in every way than the one it replaces and at least as good overall if not superior to its most staunch competitors.

For starters, it offers a choice of two new direct-injected, variable-valve-timing engines, a standard 2.4-liter four and an optional 3.0-liter V-6, both happily married to six-speed automatic transmissions. The latter offers 264 horses and 18 mpg city and 25 highway EPA economy. The former pumps out 182 ponies and trumps the class at 22 mpg city, 32 highway. According to Chevy, that translates to a potential highway driving range of as much as 600 miles with the four and more than 500 with the six. Four-cylinder models with available all-wheel drive are rated somewhat lower at 20 mpg city, 29 highway, but there's a selectable "Eco" mode that adjusts the transmission's shift points to optimize economy.

The new Equinox heads the way with Chevy's signature global face: a two-tier grille with a visible gold bowtie badge. Muscular fender shapes, wraparound headlamps and dual round taillamps are additional design-defining elements. Wraparound rear glass and an aggressive wheels-at-the-corners stance complete the look, while efficiency enhancing aerodynamics are achieved through wind-tunnel-tested measures that include moving the base of the windshield forward approximately three inches (vs. the 2009) for a sleeker profile.

It rides on the same 112.5-inch wheelbase as its predecessor but sits about an inch shorter and an inch wider with a wider front track to improve stability and handling. The rocker panels are integrated into the doors to narrow the step-over area, reducing the chances of brushing pant legs against dirty rockers getting in and out, and the flush-fitting exposed-edge windshield and rear glass reduce wind noise and compliment the tight-fitting quality look.

Inside, the Equinox offers more than ample storage, including an oversized glove box, a closed bin above the center stack and closed storage under the center armrest roomy enough for a laptop computer. We found both front and rear seats—available in standard cloth or premium perforated leather—as good as any in the class. One especially nice contemporary touch is ice-blue ambient lighting inside and around the "floating" center stack and around the console cupholders.

Another is the 60/40-split-back "MultiFlex" rear seat, which adjusts fore and aft nearly eight inches. Full forward, it opens a spacious 31.4 cu. ft. of storage behind it; full rearward, it provides best-in-class rear legroom. Somewhere in between lies the best balance of both for a given trip. Up front, the driver is well accommodated thanks to 10 inches of fore-aft seat travel, standard power-adjustable seat height and a standard tilt/telescoping steering wheel.

Still another great feature is the cabin quietness. It's exceptional for any utility vehicle, let alone a popular-priced compact CUV. Noise-blocking and -absorbing elements are built into the chassis, engine compartment and interior, and four-cylinder models feature GM's first production use of Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology. ANC uses microphones to detect booming sounds inside the vehicle and sends counteracting sound waves through the audio speakers.

One other area where this new Equinox trumps the old one, and most volume-priced competitors, is its impressive array of standard and available technologies. Among them are USB audio connectivity, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, a range of premium audio systems (most with internal memory/hard drive for music storage), available seven-inch touch-screen navigation, a rear camera system that displays in the rearview mirror if the car doesn't have navigation, a rear-seat entertainment system with two independent screens (kids can watch a DVD on one and play games on the other) and a programmable power liftgate.

But the proof, as always, is in the driving. We've driven them all in this segment, and most these days are pretty good. But this one at this time may well be the best. The fuel-thrifty four is peppy enough for all but heavy loads, and the V-6 is downright powerful with reasonable economy. The cabin is comfortable, commodious and quietest in class. The steering is better than typical electric-boosted systems, the brakes are sure, strong and fade free, and the handling is surprisingly agile—more tall sedan than cargo-capable utility.

http://www.automedia.com, provides automotive information designed to inform, enlighten and entertain the most discriminating car enthusiast. Serving consumers automotive advice they can trust, learn more about the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox, including detail specifications, safety features and warranty information, along with details on all Chevrolet models, go to -> http://www.automedia.com

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