2010 Equinox New Car Test Drive
The Chevrolet Equinox is redesigned for 2010. That makes this the second generation of this crossover SUV. Though sized more like a midsize SUV, the Equinox has pricing and features of a compact SUV, though now with some luxury and technology amenities not expected in its price class.
The redesigned Equinox is about the same size as the outgoing model. But it has different styling inside and out and two new engine choices. The base engine is an upgraded version of the 2.4-liter four-cylinder that powered the last model. Thanks to direct injection, it now has more power and gets class-leading fuel economy of 32 mpg on the highway. Lots of sound insulation makes it quieter than most four-cylinders, too.
Equinox is also offered with a 3.0-liter V6 that replaces a 3.6-liter V6. It has similar power numbers at 264 horsepower, but it feels much less powerful than the larger V6 it replaces. In fact, we don't think it feels much more powerful than the capable four-cylinder, so we think the base engine is the best choice.
The new Equinox handles better than its predecessor. It is more carlike than the pre-2010 models, with less lean in turns. It's not sporty, but it's on par with its main competitors, including the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. The ride is also quite good. We found that with either the standard 17- or available 18-inch wheels, the Equinox absorbs even sharp bumps without disrupting passenger comfort.
Inside, the Equinox has an attractively designed interior. There are some nice amenities, including ice blue ambient lighting, dual-zone automatic climate control, a hard-drive audio system, a dual-screen rear DVD entertainment system, and a power rear liftgate. The interior materials look and feel like hard plastic, though.
The Equinox offers plenty of space for passengers and cargo. The front seats are comfortable and supportive, and they have 10 inches of travel, so drivers of all sizes with fit. The useful MultiFlex rear seat carries over. It offers eight inches of travel, so tall passengers can ride in back or the driver can push the rear seat forward to carry more cargo.
Its roomy cabin and reasonable pricing make the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox attractive, and buyers can get some nice amenities they wouldn't expect in this price range. While the last model's handling was too sloppy for many, that problem has been remedied, making the Equinox a player in the entry crossover SUV market.
The 2010 Chevy Equinox is offered in LS, 1LT, 2LT and LTZ trim levels, each with front-wheel drive (2WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). All models come standard with GM's Ecotec four-cylinder engine, now with direct injection technology that improves horsepower from 164 to 182 and torque from 160 to 172 pound-feet. Fuel economy is also improved, as GM says the 2.4-liter four cylinder with achieve 22/32 mpg (city/hwy) with 2WD and 20/29 with AWD. The transmission is a six-speed automatic with an Eco feature that alters the shift points to increase fuel economy by about 1 mpg.
Also offered is a 3.0-liter V6. A derivative of GM's 3.6-liter V6, this engine delivers 264 horsepower and 222 pound-feet of torque. GM quotes fuel economy estimates of 18/25 mpg with front-wheel drive and 17/24 mpg with all-wheel drive. The V6 also comes with a six-speed automatic transmission, but it adds a manual shiftgate.
The 2010 Chevrolet Equinox LS 2WD ($22,440) and LS AWD ($24,190) come with cloth upholstery; air conditioning; cruise control; tilt/telescoping steering column; AM/FM/CD stereo; auxiliary input jack; XM satellite radio; power windows, locks and mirrors; remote keyless entry; four-way power driver's seat; 60/40 split-folding rear seat; driver information center; one year of the OnStar Safe and Sound plan; and P225/65R17 tires on painted alloy wheels.
Equinox LT 2WD ($23,360) and LT AWD ($25,110) get upgraded cloth upholstery, floor mats, a compass, tinted glass, heated mirrors and a roof rack. The 2LT ($25,445) and 2LT AWD ($27,195) get automatic climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, eight-way power driver's seat, USB port, 250-watt Pioneer audio system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a rearview camera display, Bluetooth connectivity, remote engine starting, eight-way power driver's seat and fog lights.
Equinox LTZ ($28,045) and LTZ AWD ($29,795) add leather upholstery, a rear cargo cover, cargo net, roof rack cross bars, memory for the driver's seat and mirrors, heated front seats, rear park assist, automatic headlights, power rear liftgate and chrome exterior trim.
Options include a Cargo Management System ($245) with a rear tonneau cover, a cargo net and roof rail crossbars; a Trailering package ($350) with a 4-pin wire harness and a trailer hitch receiver; a Vehicle Interface Package ($495) with Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, remote engine starting and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with additional controls; power rear liftgate ($495); sunroof ($795); rear park assist ($195); rearview camera ($320); leather seats ($1,050); heated front seats ($250); 18-inch alloy wheels with P235/55R18 tires ($250); and 19-inch wheels. The available navigation system has voice recognition and comes with a 40-gigabyte hard-drive, premium speakers and a USB port ($2,145). The rear DVD entertainment system comes with a screen in the back of each front seat and the USB port ($1,295).
Safety equipment includes dual threshold front airbags, curtain side airbags, front side airbags, a tire-pressure monitor, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, hill start assist, traction control, and GM's StabiliTrak electronic stability control. A rearview camera and rear park assist are optional, and we recommend them. All-wheel drive enhances stability in slippery conditions.