Sporting a body design similar to Chevrolet’s Malibu, the Equinox appears to be the sedan on steroids, with decidedly muscular, chunky forms.
Still a far cry from the ultra-clean shape of the Ford Flex and most other Ford SUV-related models, the Equinox is more consistent with Detroit-style SUV appearance — but simpler. And for General Motors, that’s an improvement.
The first impression conveyed by the Equinox’s tactile intimacy is its overpowering feeling of precision, strength and quality. The fit and finish of the body work — exterior and interior — are most impressive, and the feel of the controls and solid, quick-handling response is exceptional.
In addition to extraordinary quality, another impressive aspect of the Equinox is its fuel efficiency. Our test model, the all-wheel drive 1LT, achieved, using regular gas, 29 miles per gallon on the highway and 19 in town. Other features include direct-injected 182 horsepower, a four-cylinder engine and a seamlessly shifting, six-speed automatic, electronically controlled transmission.
Safety features are also exceptional. With a plenty of air bags, passengers are cocooned in one of the most cushioned environments in automotive existence. Front, side and rear head curtain air bags have the auto-inflatables hidden inside the windshield pillar and side structures for occupant protection, all within a passenger cage surrounded by a totally cushioned safety zone. This is augmented by GM’s Stabilitrak and traction-control features, which provide better highway handling to maximize pre-crash safety.
One very nice feature is the back-up camera read-out screen inside the rear-view mirror, right where an experienced driver is accustomed to looking for information. Thoughtfully done, Chevy.
As usual, the bottom line is how it feels while seated inside, getting where you’re going. Equinox provides luxurious surroundings and posh appointments better than most vehicles. At the Equinox price — $26,670 -— it offers comfort and safety with an exceptional aesthetic ambiance.
Automobile designer Jerry Cumbus is director of Automotive Research Center, a national association of auto designers, engineers and drivers.