Short Take Road Test: 2010 Chevrolet Equinox LT
By Jared Gall of Car and Driver
Most people in the Northern Hemisphere think of an equinox as being the first day of spring or fall, but Equinox is also, of course, the name of this small utility vehicle. We intentionally omit "sport" from that descriptor because this vehicle lacks the necessary athleticism to qualify — it could use some of the energy and fury of Equinox, the Norwegian thrash-metal band with which it shares its name. With the 182-hp, 2.4-liter inline-four motivating base models, it isn't super slow, but drive prudently, and you'll think so. We recorded a best 0-to-60-mph time of 8.7 seconds and a quarter-mile in 16.8 seconds at 84 mph. Those figures put it near the back of the mini-SUV pack, as does our observed fuel economy of 18 mpg.
The Equinox is more accomplished in the important SUV attributes of styling and space. Its new skin is seriously sexy — smooth and cool like "Equinox," the Coltrane blues standard. From the front, it is practically indistinguishable from the larger Chevrolet Traverse, although the thick, forward-canted C-pillar is unmistakable in profile. As handsome as that pillar is on the outside, though, from the inside, it and the chunky D-pillar combine to cramp rearward vision.
Stylish and Spacious Interior
The classy exterior styling carries over to the inside, where the materials look and feel expensive and the design is actually a design, rather than an uninspired and strictly rational placement of necessary controls. The handsome rake of the dash means a long reach to the stereo's volume and tuning knobs. The $495 Vehicle Interface package — the only option on our $24,600 tester — partly remedies that problem with steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and also includes Bluetooth, a remote starter, and a USB connection. For dual-zone climate control — not available on any Chevy Equinox — you'll have to travel with Equinox, the Marvel super-villain who can generate waves of extreme heat and cold.
Stylish and spacious, Chevrolet's Equinox is a competitive vehicle hamstrung by a pretty severe weight problem. At 3752 pounds, our tester is on the hefty side of this segment. It pays for that mass with fuel economy that won't live up to the 22 city/32 highway mpg EPA ratings in real-world use, and frugality is a chief reason people buy a vehicle this size over something larger. Although an equinox is seen as the event that marks the start of spring or fall, astronomically speaking, an equinox actually occurs at about the same point in the solar seasons as this ute rates compared with its competitors: right in the middle.
C/D TEST RESULTS: