Peter Gilbert gives an interesting and entertaining skier's-point-of-view evaluation of the Pontiac Torrent, the brand’s “first” SUV. Much of the review compares the FWD vehicle to the Chevrolet Equinox, which shares the same platform via the time-honored practice of badge engineering.

The Equinox wins the first round in the looks department. Besides reference to that “other” Pontiac SUV (Google "Pontiac Aztek", folks), Gilbert is reminded of the Pontiac Montana minivan. Ouch! And the Equinox won the driving round despite the Torrent’s overall zippy feel.

[Continued after the jump] But the Torrent fought back in the interior department. Apparently he likes the colour black, and lots of cupholders (though they could be easier to reach). Gilbert was especially pleased, though, with the sliding rear seats (he sees the feature as being as mandatory as airbags). However, the Torrent's cargo space is not as large as it appears, due to some design features in the cargo hold.

Overall, while Gilbert liked the Torrent, he deemed it too close to its Equinox twin to justify the SUV on its own merits. Neither car won his approval in their FWD configurations, while his skier-approved AWD versions still fell short of the Honda CRV in the fit and finish department. The bottom line? Incentives and rebates on the well-equipped AWD GM SUVs could make them a good value proposition compared to their import competition.

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