2010 Chevrolet Equinox


2010-Chevrolet-EquinoxThe Equinox has done very well for General Motors’ core brand Chevrolet, selling well and helping it maintain its customer base while so many consumers are switching from minivans and cars to crossovers. It’s a trend, for sure, although if you don’t stay on top of trends in the car business, you won’t be keeping the doors open very long.

Just what made and still makes the Equinox attractive when compared to others in its class is a question GM made sure was studied and answered before redesigning the new model.Pulling design cues from the new Traverse, a good thing, the new Equinox adds a slightly more rugged appearance with taller, rounder headlight clusters, beefier fender swells and taller more truck-like taillight assemblies. The lower front valance incorporates nice large fog lights in the LTZ example shown, while aluminum-like mock skid plates add a visual toughness front and rear. Chevy has also improved aerodynamic performance by moving the base of the windshield forward 75 mm (about three inches), which adds to the sporty look.

“The new Equinox blends function and style into a very sporty, yet upscale compact crossover,” said Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design. “Both the exterior and interior surprise and delight with careful attention to detail.”

Inside, Chevy has given the reveal car a two-tone motif in a milk chocolate hue complemented by dark gray tones. The look, along with tastefully applied aluminum brightwork, is very upscale, giving the Equinox the kind of premium appearance that comes from good, simple, clean design. From a more functional perspective, the crossover is filled with storage bins including an oversized glove box, a lidded compartment atop the dash just above the centre stack, and the  usual bin under the armrest, this one large enough for a laptop computer.

Pulling a term we first saw put into production by Volvo, the Equinox features a “floating” centre stack, and it looks pretty sweet with the aforementioned aluminum trim and ice-blue ambient lighting. Additional ice-blue lighting surround the door pull indentations and the cupholders so you won’t accidentally spill while trying to find them at night. Front and rear seats come standard in a high-quality fabric but can alternatively be covered in perforated leather. More importantly, Chevy feels bold enough to tell us they’ll “deliver best-in-class comfort,” so we’ll have to report back on this after we have driven the car.

The rear seats continue with their MultiFlex designation, which means that they can be moved back and forth a total of 203 mm (8.0 inches) for the best rear legroom in the segment. Also critical in this class, the Equinox’s 60/40 split rear seatback folds flat into the floor to reveal 1,803 litres (63.7 cubic feet) of usable cargo space; 889 litres (31.4 cubic feet) is available when the rear seat is upright.
From what Chevy says, the Equinox should be quiet, with multiple noise-absorbing elements built into the chassis, engine compartment and interior. This should make for a more enjoyable audio/video experience, the former, if optioned out, being a 250-watt, eight-speaker system that should rock the house. It gets USB connectivity and an internal memory hard drive for storing audio, plus Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity is integrated into the system.

It’s all available via a large seven-inch touch-screen monitor that also incorporates a navigation system and backup camera, the latter visible in the rearview mirror too. A DVD-based rear-seat entertainment system can be had as well, with twin screens so that one child can watch a movie while the others play video games, or vice versa.

Once again the base Equinox will get the LS designation, while an LT will offer more luxury and convenience features and the top-line LTZ will feel almost premium-grade. A great feature that is especially appreciated in colder or warmer than average climes is a new “smart” remote starter that now works the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system and optional heated seats so that your Equinox is the right temperature when stepping inside. Also, an optional powered and programmable rear liftgate can be had, increasing convenience in inclement weather.

“With the 2010 Equinox, we focused on appealing to the senses – from the overall design to the feel of the interior,” commented Ed Peper, GM North America vice president, Chevrolet.

Like GM does with all of its crossovers, the new Equinox comes standard with four-wheel disc brakes, ABS and StabiliTrak electronic traction and stability control for optimizing safety in slippery conditions, while six standard airbags protect from the front, thorax area and head via dual frontal airbags, seat-mounted side airbags and curtain-type side airbags from front to back. OnStar is also standard, for safety or getting turn-by-turn directions, as is XM satellite radio.

The current Equinox has been lauded by some and criticized by others for not fitting into the compact mold it is priced to compete in. The fact is that it’s a fairly large crossover, even when compared to midsize rivals. When it debuted we were all shocked that it measured longer than the eight-occupant Honda Pilot and many others in the class, although after living with it for numerous weeks at a time it certainly never felt cumbersome or unwieldy like some large SUVs get.For parking and dawdling along in slow city traffic the new model should feel much like the old in that it’s wheelbase is identical at 2,857 mm (112.5 inches) long, while 24 mm (just under an inch) shorter from end to end for an overall length of 4,771 mm (187.8 inches). The new Equinox is wider though, by 28 mm (just over  an inch), which may help a bit in handling and high-speed stability, plus add a little more hip, shoulder and elbow room. Overall height has been reduced by 19 mm (three quarters of an inch) too, for a sportier profile and a lower centre of gravity to benefit handling and ingress/egress. Due to its similarity in size the new model doesn’t weigh significantly more than the outgoing one either, now tipping the scales at 1,710 kilos (3,770 lbs) in base trim compared to 1,697 kg (3,741  lbs) for the old one. So, all-round the 2010 Equinox won’t be a radical departure from the current model. That is, until you put your foot into the throttle.

A new 2.4-litre Ecotec four will make up to 182-horsepower while returning an EPA (certification pending) estimated 11.2 L/100 km (21 mpg) in the city and 7.8 (30) on the highway. It’s the first four-cylinder offered in the Equinox, and effectively replaces the 185-horsepower 3.4-litre OHV V6. The old base engine certainly offered more torque at 210 lb-ft compared to the new four-cylinder’s 174 lb-ft, but truly this is a fuel efficiency choice. Those wanting more power will be able to move up to a totally new V6. Gone is the rather expensive 3.6-litre V6 that started life off in the Cadillac CTS, replaced by a direct-injection 3.0-litre V6 that makes a seriously motivating 255-horsepower and 214 lb-ft of torque while maintaining an EPA rating of 13.1 L/100 km (18 mpg) in the city and 9.4 (25) on the highway. Yes, the larger displacement engine was a touch more powerful and offered 36 lb-ft of additional torque, but the efficiency gains made by the new V6 make it the better choice for  today’s market.

As you may have heard, the only negative to direct injection engines is noise, vibration and harshness levels that are often higher than their convention counterparts. GM has worked to counter such inherent problems by adding rubber isolators to minimize fuel rail noise, while variable valve timing improves greater power and fuel efficiency throughout a wider rev range. Adding to the efficiency, both the four- and the six-cylinder engines will be enhanced by GM’s state-of-the-art six-speed transmission, maximizing performance and fuel economy for a range of more than 800 km (500 miles) with either engine.

“At a time when customers are so concerned about the fuel efficiency of their vehicle, the Equinox delivers,” added Peper. “It offers the roominess and capability of a crossover with great fuel economy. Equinox will provide customers a vehicle filled with refinement, comfort and great value.”

The old Equinox is still a pretty good driver, but I’m sure most owners wouldn’t mind a few upgrades to the body and suspension. First off, the body gets stiffened with single-piece side stampings plus high-strength steel used in critical areas. Solidity benefits rigidity, for improved handling, quietness inside and safety, so strengthening the body structure is always one of the best ways to improve a vehicle overall. According to GM, the stiffer structure has helped them tune the four-wheel independent suspension for better control and more engaging feedback.

The steering system on the four-cylinder model is rack-mounted but electrically power assisted, helping with fuel efficiency. No really, according to Chevy it makes a difference of about 18 km (11 miles) per tank of fuel, or approximately 920 km (572 miles) per year if you were to fill up once per week. A conventional hydraulic power rack-and-pinion steering system comes with the V6. It’ll make a difference to fuel economy if you opt for the optional all-wheel drive system no matter the engine, of course, although wheel size shouldn’t be an issue; the Equinox comes with standard 17-inch aluminum rims while optional 18- and 19-inch alloys can be had.

“With the outstanding interior execution and comfort, the stunning exterior design, numerous chassis improvements, and the connectivity to the outside world, the new Equinox is the favorite ride among our engineers,” offered Tim Herrick, chief engineer. “I have to pull the keys out of their hands in order to take it for a spin myself.”

The 2010 Chevy Equinox goes on sale in mid-2009 and should be priced similarly to the outgoing model that starts at $27,340.

Specifications (2010 Chevrolet Equinox):

Price Range (est. MSRP): $27,000 – $42,000
Body Type: 5-door compact SUV
Layout: front engine, FWD (opt. AWD)
Base Engine: 182 hp, 174 lb-ft of torque, 2.4L, DOHC, 16-valve, I-4
Opt. Engine: 255-hp, 214 lb-ft of torque, 3.0L, 24-valve, DOHC DI V6
Transmission: 6-spd auto
Brakes (front/rear): disc/disc, ABS
Curb Weight (FWD): 1,710 kilos (3,770 lbs)
Weight Distribution (f/r): 52 / 48
Seating Capacity: 5
Cargo Volume (behind rear seat/front seat): 889 / 1,803 L (31.4 / 63.7 cu ft)
Payload: 540 kg (1,190 lbs)
Towing Capacity (2.4L/3.0L): 680 / 1,588 kg (1,500 / 3,500 lbs)
External Dimensions (L/W/H/WB): 4,771 / 1,842 / 1,684 / 2857 mm (187.8 / 72.5 / 66.3 / 112.5 in)
Tires: 225/65R17 (opt. 235/55R18; P235/55R19)
Ground Clearance: 198 mm (7.8 in)
Fuel Economy (EPA est. FWD 2.4L city/hwy): 11.2 / 7.8 L/100 km (21 / 30 mpg)
Range (on one tank of gas): 800 km (500 mi)

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2 Responses

  1. Hey, first I want to say great blog. I don’t always agree with your opinions but it’s always a interesting read.
    Keep up the nice posting.

  2. nder

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