2010 Chevrolet Equinox Review

2010 Chevrolet Equinox - Ahead of the curve.


The newly designed 2010 Chevrolet Equinox is a match for top American and Asian rivals, with improved styling, new engines, lots of room and especially good highway fuel economy.

This Chevy from the reorganized General Motors Corp. comes with front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD).

List prices are $22,440 for the base LS, $23,360 for the mid-range 1 LT and $25,445  2 LT and  $28,045 for the top-line LTZ.

The new Equinox has a good amount of comfort, convenience and safety equipment, including electronic stability and traction control, besides lots of air bags.   

I  found during a preview of the 2010 Equinox in the Detroit area that the new 2.4-liter, 182-horsepower four-cylinder engine performs virtually as well as the optional 3-liter, 264-horsepower V-6, at least with just two occupants aboard.
Load the Equinox with people and cargo, and the V-6's higher horsepower and added torque (222 pound-feet vs.172 pound-feet) will provide more punch. But Chevy estimates that nearly 75 percent of Equinox buyers will opt for the less costly, more economical four-cylinder.

"It's a four-cylinder world now," one Chevy executive at the preview said, likely with an eye on stricter upcoming federal fuel-economy standards.

Both engines are fairly quiet and sophisticated, with direct fuel injection, four overhead camshafts and variable valve timing. They require high revs for the best acceleration, but the standard, responsive six-speed automatic transmission helps allow low revs during highway cruising.

The engines sound nearly the same during brisk acceleration, partly because the four-cylinder works with numerically higher front-drive and AWD final-drive ratios, which enhance acceleration.

The 0-60 mph time with the four-cylinder is 8.2 seconds with front-drive and 7.8 with the V-6 and front- drive. Expect AWD versions to be a little slower.

Fuel economy, at least on highways, is a definite Equinox plus, especially for the four-cylinder version. It delivers an estimated 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway with front-drive and 20 and 29 with AWD. Figures for the V-6 are 18 and 25 with front-drive and 17 and 24 with AWD. Only regular-grade fuel is needed for either engine.

The 2010 Equinox drives in a very carlike manner. A rigid body structure and an all-independent suspension allow good handling and a supple ride. The brake pedal has a progressive feel and controls vented all-disc anti-lock brakes.

Fairly large 17-inch wheels are standard for the four-cylinder version, with 18-inchers standard for the V-6 model. Optional for the V-6 Equinox are 19-inch wheels.

This crossover has the same fairly long 112.5-inch wheelbase as its predecessor, but is about one inch shorter in length and an inch wider. It draws exterior design inspiration from the Chevy Malibu sedan and Traverse crossover and retains the automaker's "signature global face" with a two-tier grille and prominent gold bowtie insignia. Other design elements that definite the Equinox as a "true Chevrolet" include dual round taillights.

Wheels are at the body's far corners, and a wider front track enhances ride and handling. The Equinox is better looking, partly because it has wraparound headlights, strong fender shapes, a distinctive roofline and a windshield base moved forward about three inches for a sleeker profile.

One clever feature is rocker panels integrated into the doors to make it easier to get in and out and to prevent pant legs from brushing against dirty "rockers."

The Equinox is firmly constructed, with no shakes or rattles from early production models driven at the preview. It's built on a body-integral structure with single-piece body side stampings and targeted applications of high-strength steel.

The cabin is quiet because noise-absorbing elements are built into the chassis, engine compartment and interior. It also has GM's first application of Active Noise Cancellation technology on four-cylinder models. That technology uses--odd as it may seem-- microphones in the vehicle.

Features offered include USB audio connectivity for personal music devices and a DVD-based rear-seat entertainment system with two independent screens that flip up from the top of the front seats to enable DVD viewing on one and gaming on the other.

There's also a programmable power-operated tailgate that moves well up and out of the way to prevent head knocking, a rear-vision camera and a range of premium-feature audio systems with up to eight speakers and 250 watts of output.

The Equinox comfortably seats four occupants. Front seat fore-aft travel is 10 inches to keep long-legged drivers happy. And there's also a tilt/telescopic steering wheel and power-adjustable driver seat height feature.

The rear-seat area is especially roomy partly because the back seat slides fore and aft nearly eight inches for the best rear legroom in the Equinox's class. However, the center of the rear seat is too hard for comfort for a third rear occupant and is best left to the fold-down armrest with its dual cupholders.

With the 60/40 rear seat moved all the way forward, the cargo area offers 31.4-cubic feet of storage. There's decent cargo room with the rear seat in its central position, but the seatbacks don't sit completely flat when flipped forward for more cargo space.

Wide doors with large handles make it easy to slide in and out of the firm, supportive front seats. Rear seats also are firm, but don't offer as much support. Front occupants sit high.

White-on-black gauges can be quickly read, and large outside mirrors help driver visibility. Nifty ice-blue ambient lighting encircles the console cupholders and is within the door pulls.

But audio and climate control system controls are rather small. The ignition switch is awkwardly hidden behind the steering wheel. And the transmission lever partly blocks a driver's access to the dual console cupholders when in the "drive" position. Power windows go down--but not up--with a "one-touch" express feature.

Interior storage is good, with a moderate-sized glove compartment, exceptionally deep covered center console bin, closed shallow storage bin above the center dashboard stack and storage pockets and beverage holders in all doors.

The hood raises on a single strut and has an inside cover for noise insulation. Fluid filler areas can be easily reached without getting clothes dirty.

Chevrolet spent lots of time and effort making the new Equinox above-average. This is the kind of vehicle that the reorganized GM needs to become more competitive, although it was designed long before Washington became involved with the U.S. auto industry.

Visit DanJedlicka.com for more road tests, interviews, and classic car articles.Visit DanJedlicka.com where veteran auto writer Dan Jedlicka reviews the latest cars and trucks in an easily understood but detailed manner. In addition, Dan's Web site also includes colorful classic and collectible car articles, a letters column and candid interviews with auto-field personalities.

Dan Jedlicka

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Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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