2009 Equinox New Car Test Drive
Chevrolet Equinox has been improving every year since its introduction. The 2009 Chevy Equinox gets more standard equipment, including XM satellite radio and side-curtain airbags. Five different sound systems are available on the 2009 Chevrolet Equinox models, along with Bluetooth wireless connectivity for hands-free cell phone use.
Chevy Equinox is a five-passenger vehicle that competes with the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4 compact SUVs. However, Equinox is bigger and roomier than any of these competitors. The Equinox offers acres of legroom for tall rear-seat passengers with the seat moved rearward, loads of cargo space with the seat moved forward.
The dimensions of the Equinox blur the line between compact and midsize sport utilities. It's nearly 14 inches longer than Ford Escape and just three inches shorter than a Chevy TrailBlazer. Its long wheelbase gives the Equinox good stability and ride quality. Unlike the RAV4, the Equinox does not offer a (hopelessly cramped) third row of seats.
As with the Escape, CR-V, and RAV4, the Equinox is based on a passenger-car design but has an interior like a traditional SUV. Industry observers call these vehicles crossover utilities, or crossovers, because they crossed over the line from truck to car.
Equinox has features that enhance its versatility: The back seats are mounted on tracks and slide fore and aft: Slide forward and you have more cargo space, slide rearward for more rear legroom. The rear seatbacks recline for additional comfort. Fold the rear seats down, then fold down the front passenger seatback, and you can load eight-foot objects inside.
A 3.4-liter V6 powers the Equinox along with a five-speed automatic transmission, netting an EPA-rated 17/24 miles per gallon City/Highway.
All Equinox models are available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. All-wheel-drive models are better on snow and ice, but cost about $2,000 more and have smaller gas tanks.
The top-line Equinox LTZ features leather-trimmed seats with seat heaters and an optional navigation system.
The more powerful Equinox Sport features a 3.6-liter V6 and six-speed automatic. The Sport features a more aggressive look and sporting cabin. The Sport gets hydraulic (as opposed to electric) power steering, a tighter suspension, 18x8-inch polished, forged alloy wheels with 50-series tires, aerodynamic spoilers and rocker moldings, dual chrome exhaust tips, a gauge package, and sport seats. Along with an 80-horsepower boost from GM's high-feature four-cam V6, the Sport gets an EPA-rated 16/24 mpg.
We found the Equinox offers decent ride quality, responsive handling, with brakes that are easy to modulate. The Sport rides more firmly but reacts quicker and more precisely.
The 2009 Chevy Equinox comes in four trim levels: the basic LS, the better-appointed LT, the leather-upholstered LTZ, and the Sport.
Equinox LS FWD ($23,555) and LS AWD ($25,550) come with cloth upholstery; air conditioning; cruise control; tilt steering; a fold-flat front passenger seat; a Multi-Flex 60/40 split rear bench seat that folds, slides, and reclines; six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio; power windows, power mirrors, power locks with remote keyless entry, side curtain airbags and OnStar. Tires are Bridgestone P235/65 all-season radials on 16-inch alloy wheels. A driver information center comes standard. Options for LS include an upgraded audio system with MP3 capability ($135), engine block heater ($75), and carpeted floor mats ($40).
Equinox LT FWD ($24,475) and LT AWD ($26,470) add carpeted floor mats, deep tinted glass, power mirrors, leather-wrap steering wheel, and iPod/MP3/RDS audio system. Door handles and roof-rack side rails are body-color rather than charcoal or black. Option Package 2LT adds fog lights, auto-dimming interior rearview mirror with temperature display and compass, six-way power driver seat adjuster with manual lumbar adjustment and map pocket, remote start, and 17-inch aluminum wheels. Options for LT include a 6CD audio system upgrade ($435), a tilt-and-slide sunroof ($750), a remote starter, luggage rack crossbars, 17-inch chromed aluminum wheels ($550), and Pioneer sound system.
Equinox LTZ FWD ($28,380) and LTZ AWD ($30,375) add leather seats, front-seat heaters, chrome-clad aluminum wheels, Pioneer seven-speaker sound system with subwoofer, body-color bumpers with charcoal trim and chrome inserts on the roof rails, and body-color mirrors. Options include a tow package ($350) navigation/radio upgrade ($2,145), DVD rear-seat entertainment system ($995), and sunroof ($750).
Equinox Sport FWD ($28,685) and Sport AWD ($30,680) get the bigger V6 and six-speed automatic, a sports suspension, 18-inch forged alloy wheels with 50-series tires, aerodynamic spoilers and rocker moldings, dual chrome exhaust tips, gauge package, and sport seats. Options include the tow package, audio upgrades, and sunroof.
Safety features include antilock brakes, StabiliTrak electronic stability control, tire pressure monitor; dual-stage driver and front-passenger airbags, and side-curtain airbags with a rollover sensor. All-wheel drive is optional for improved stability in slippery conditions.
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