I was actually looking forward to getting into this completely new small to mid-size SUV. The brief glimpses I had gotten at earlier press events gave the impression of a well put together package with cool features and nice styling. But after actually sitting in the driver's seat, I immediately realized I'd been here before. Of course I knew the Equinox was built on the same platform as the Saturn Vue, but I didn't realize how much alike they really were.
Some of my biggest gripes with the Vue are still present in the Equinox. The power window buttons remain in the center stack, making it impossible to roll up all the windows at once with one hand. And the plastic…there's plastic everywhere. Granted for such a large SUV, $22,000 is a more than reasonable price, but couldn't Chevy have found some better materials to outfit the interior? The outside lines are stylish and fit fluidly into Chevy's recent design aesthetic, but inside there is little to please as bulky plastic sections abruptly run into another. Not everything is horrible. Cool circular door handles inside are a nice touch, as are the rubberized environmental and radio controls.
How did it ride you ask? I don't know, I hadn't even shifted out of park yet.
Loose ends: I never did get around to a full wrap-up of the Volkswagen Passat TDI Wagon. But at the finish of the few days with the car I couldn't help thinking what a solid piece of machinery it was. Diesel engine aside, VW makes a great handling automobile. Personally, I'd still wait on a new design to come in the next few seasons. But for those who are happy with an aging style, there should be nothing to hold them back. The diesel engine had its trade-offs but it got extreme mileage. I didn't even fill it up over the five days and the tank was more than half full.