Auto Review: A stellar Equinox

By Bill Heald - ReminderNews
Featured Article - posted Thu., Jun. 20, 2013
- Contributed Photo

We all know the term “take a back seat,” referring to the second-class status of whatever you happen to be talking about. It means that something isn’t as good or as worthy of praise as the primary seating, and ultimately deserves less respect than the front seat does. When it comes to the world of automobiles, there is some truth to the lower status of the back seats, but thankfully, there are some exceptions.

This week we look at one of these rare birds that make sure all the passengers in your life have it as good as (if not better than) you do as a front seat occupant, and it’s found in a solid all-around crossover SUV to boot. The vehicle is the Chevrolet Equinox, and this roomy, versatile vehicle has what GM likes to call a “MultiFlex” sliding rear seat that makes an already versatile vehicle even more useful. This also makes the Equinox a great choice for a growing family, as while it’s not a huge vehicle, it can reconfigure as required to accommodate a broad variety of needs.

The Equinox gets a standard Direct Injection 2.5-liter Inline Four with 182 horsepower, and the optional engine is a Direct Injection 3.6 Liter V6 with 301 horsepower that matches the fuel economy the previous 3-liter V6 that was offered, while generating more power. Our test unit was equipped with this new mill, and the transmission is a six-speed automatic transmission. Both Front-Wheel and All-Wheel-Drive variants are available, and this being the wild northeast (with the occasional blizzard), the latter drivetrain is highly recommended. The V6 is a very potent engine, and repeated charges to 60 mph took an average of 6.79 seconds, which is quite quick for this type of vehicle. The ride quality is likewise impressive, as it isolates the road from the occupants yet maintains control quite adequately during spirited driving. Brakes also have good feel and deliver short, well-controlled stops. The AWD works in completely automatic fashion, but there’s no lock button for low-speed muck negotiation. However, it is very sure-footed in all kinds of road conditions.

The interior of the Equinox is quite roomy and inviting, and the latest in infotainment options are available (including rear-seat DVD player). Also available is the optional MyLink System, where you can stream Internet entertainment from the likes of Pandora or Stitcher. The Equinox also benefits from the latest in GM’s control layout that is much more intuitive than some competing designs and has a welcome return to more traditional buttons and knobs in several places. The rear seat, as mentioned, is quite spacious and is able to slide 8” fore and aft to tailor leg room, as well as your cargo space needs. With both rear seatbacks folded, you have 63.7 cubic feet of cargo space.

The 2013 Chevy Equinox LTZ is EPA rated 16 MPG city/23 highway and has a base price of $32,265. With options, our sticker came to $36,385.

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