2012 Chevrolet Equinox Review By Steve Purdy
2012 CHEVROLET EQUINOX FWD 2LT
A Most Improved Player
High on my list of “most improved” players in the small CUV game is the Chevy Equinox. We first saw this new generation of Equinox a couple of years ago in a preview prior to the Detroit auto show. I found most surprising the up-scale interior and an overall design that took a huge step forward from the previous generation of the formerly tepid Equinox. On top of that visual appeal the claim of over 30-mpg standard put the icing on the cake.
My main complaint inside is that, even with the power seat in the lowest position and the adjustable steering wheel in its highest position, the top of the gauges were obscured by the wheel. I’m not a person with a particularly long torso but it seemed so when trying to get a full view of the instrument cluster.
Oh, and one other niggle: I wonder why the front windows have the express down feature but not express up. It seems like such a simple thing they could include to keep from annoying curmudgeons like me.
This 3.0-liter V6, rated at 17-mpg in the city and 24 on the highway uses regular fuel and makes a substantial 264 horsepower and 222 pound-feet of torque. It’s good for a meager 8.3 second 0-to-60 time. I managed 23.1 mpg on about a tank and a half of mostly highway driving. An 18.8-gallon fuel tank equates to a cruising range of something less than 400 miles. A six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode is the only transmission available.
The Equinox was a pleasure to drive - smooth and quiet with a fairly light touch to steering and other controls. Seating position is high, of course, and the suspension might be just a bit stiff for some tastes. After a few days with the Equinox, though, I did not notice any harshness at all. It rides on a conventional strut front and multi-link rear suspension.
Towing capacity is listed at 1,500 pounds with the 4-cylinder and 3,500 with the V6, but those ratings may require some special equipment. If properly equipped you could haul a pretty nice boat or camper with our V6 Equinox.
Equinox has earned the IIHS top safety pick with lots of airbags, chassis dynamic controls and tire pressure monitor and standard rear view camera along with lots of other safety related features. Lane departure warning and forward collision alert are now available as well.
Bumper to bumper warranty covers the Equinox for 3 years or 36,000 miles and the powertrain coverage is 5 years or 100,000 miles. It comes with OnStar service for three months. After that you’ll have to buy a subscription.
The small CUV segment is crowded with excellent products like Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Kia Sportage and many more. ( See Comparisons) Equinox stands out for its sophistication, quiet interior, rear seat roominess and overall style, but not so much its cargo space. If the latter is not an issue for you and you’re in the market for a nice small CUV, don’t neglect the Equinox.
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