GM Inside News Forum banner

1 - 20 of 77 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,692 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Chevy delivers big with Equinox SUV
Compact sport-ute is appealing, well-equipped and affordable
By Paul Lienert / Special to The Detroit News

AUSTIN, Texas--To jaundiced, winter-weary Midwestern eyes, the rolling Texas hill country west of the state capital is pretty drab in late March.

Fortunately, the roads here are well-maintained and deliciously twisty - the perfect venue for testing a new car-based crossover utility vehicle like the 2005 Chevrolet Equinox.

And with not much to look at in the way of local scenery, observant drivers can spend more time eyeballing all the cool features inside the cabin.

They include:

A flexible second-row seat with a 60/40 split and two recline positions. It can be moved eight inches fore and aft and folded flat. It can also accommodate up to three child safety seats abreast.

An adjustable rear parcel shelf that can carry groceries or flats of flowers, and can be converted to a mini picnic table.

A center armrest and storage console that can be flipped back and out of the way to accommodate large purses, backpacks or laptop tote bags. You can charge up your cell phone or personal digital assistant via a 12-volt outlet in the console.

A front shifter console that has storage pockets plus recessed areas with nonslip rubber surfaces on either side of the shift lever to hold phones, sunglasses or house keys.

A wide range of accessories, including XM satellite radio, OnStar wireless communications/concierge service, a six-disc CD changer, and an MP3 player.

Which is not to say the new Equinox is without fault. We?ll get to some of its deficiencies in a moment. But the initial impression, after a meandering drive of more than 100 miles through downtown Austin, out in the country and back, is that Chevrolet has an appealing family vehicle that is priced within reach of many consumers.

Built at the CAMI Automotive plant that General Motors Corp. shares with Japanese affiliate Suzuki in Ingersoll, Ontario, the Equinox is just beginning to reach Chevy dealers, priced from $21,560 for the base front-wheel-drive LS model.

A step up to the LT trim level adds $1,710 to the sticker ($23,275). The all-wheel-drive Equinox LS starts at $23,535 while the all-wheel drive Equinox LT is $24,900.

I tested two nicely equipped LT models, one with front-wheel drive and one with all-wheel drive, priced at $26,250 and $28,225, respectively. Equinox Chief Engineer Bob Reuter says a fully equipped Equinox LT with all-wheel drive should come in at just under $30,000.

Considering how much vehicle you get - and how much larger the Equinox is than virtually all of its competitors in the compact SUV class - thats not a bad deal. Standard features include air conditioning, a CD player, power windows and power locks.

The new SUV is both huge and handsome, with styling cues that tie it directly to the rest of Chevy's powerful truck lineup. But the Equinox, while it may look like a traditional sport-ute, rides and handles much more like a car.

Chevy is positioning the Equinox against such rivals as the Ford Escape, Jeep Liberty, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe and Toyota RAV4 - and, of course, its sister model, the Saturn Vue.

Equinox shares its basic underbody structure with the Vue, but the similarities pretty much end there.

Where the Vue looks and feels clunky, the Equinox is solid, smooth and polished. Chalk part of that up to Chevy's choice of steel body panels rather than plastic, and to the fact that Equinox is considerably longer and wider than Vue, and thus feels more stable.

There's a different engine under the hood, too. Where the Vue now has as its top engine a Honda twin-cam 3.5-liter V-6 rated at 250 horsepower and 242 pounds-feet of torque, the Equinox instead has a pushrod-type 3.4-liter V-6 that makes only 185 horsepower and 210 pounds-feet, and is built at the SAIC-GM plant in Shanghai, China.

The all-wheel drive Saturn Vue with the V-6, by the way, actually retails for a few dollars less than the comparably equipped Equinox LT V-6 - $24,630, including destination charges.

The 3.4-liter six in the Equinox is not as good as the Honda V-6 in the Vue, but its still not a bad engine. Its also the only one available.

Chevy was smart enough to package the six with a modern five-speed automatic transmission, which enables better performance and fuel economy.

Full Article Here

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,366 Posts
The Equinox is getting decent reviews. The engine is consistently holding it back though. Anyone know why GM used the old 3.4L when they have the "new" 3.5L around?

Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Because it's gm. For everything good they do, there has to be at least one ****-up or something to hold it back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,013 Posts
Originally posted by usa1@Apr 9 2004, 08:05 PM
The Equinox is getting decent reviews. The engine is consistently holding it back though. Anyone know why GM used the old 3.4L when they have the "new" 3.5L around?

Mark
I heard that it's cheaper to produce, thus keeping the MSRP low. I honestly don't know if that's true though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,872 Posts
Why did you put ? marks where you were supposed to put apostrophes? Not like it is bothering me or anything...Anyway, good article. I would really like to see the Honda V-6 in the Equinox, though. I do like the new styling.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,692 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Originally posted by gmwsag@Apr 9 2004, 10:40 PM
Why did you put ? marks where you were supposed to put apostrophes? Not like it is bothering me or anything...Anyway, good article. I would really like to see the Honda V-6 in the Equinox, though. I do like the new styling.
Sorry, that happens sometimes with encoding or something. Fixed. :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,704 Posts
A few helpers along the way, in response to both comments here, and to the article.

1. The 3400 vs. the 3500 HF: Cost was a huge factor, and since acceleration is more important in this segment than top speed, the cost-benefit factor favored the 210 lb-ft 3400/5-speed over a potential 220 lb-ft 3500/5-speed. With the size (and corresponding materials expenses) of the Equinox, the Honda 3.5 L vtec would have put the Equinox squarely into TrailBlazer territory without warranting an "SS" badge.

2. The 3400 vs. the Duratec 3.0, Magnum 3.7, and Hyundai 3.5: With the 5-speed automatic, the Equinox has no disadvantage to its competitors in performance, especially in the low range of the powerband. In the Equinox, GM chose to offer equivalent performance with superior utility; in the VUE, GM chose to offer equivalent utility with superior performance. I see no fault, though this board doesn't moan about how the VUE could really use the extra room. At the same time, I detect complaints of badge engineering should they both use either engine.

3. The Equinox does not need stability control. While the steering ratio is a little slow, it is flat in switchbacks. I drove the Equinox on an Autocross course against the Escape, Liberty, and CRV. Of those vehicles, only was the much smaller Ford Escape was on par with the Equinox in terms of handling. The CRV suffered from inadequate power steering that -did- cause overcompensation, and the Liberty was way out of its element with its short wheelbase and high center of gravity. This test included both an emergency lane change and a slalom.

4. A factory DVD player is in the works, and could see production by as early as 2005.5. Because the front seat headrests are huge, the aftermarket will likely be able to bypass the sunroof hurdle much quicker than GM, by offering headrest-mounted DVD screens (even individual DVD players).

Other stuff:

1. With the [reclinable] rear seat moved all the way back, the Equinox actually has more legroom than the Tahoe or Expedition.

2. The interior of the Equinox is better than all of its competitors.

3. NVH in the Equinox is better than all of its competitors.

4. The only Equinox competitor with better fuel economy is the 4-cylinder CRV, and it only gets 1 mpg better.

Granted, some people think that GM is obligated to screw up, but this isn't one of those cases. For those who disagree, feel free to try out any Equinox competitor, or a Blazer or Tracker for comparison.

I want to see comments, and responses.

Your flatulent zombie,

Ghrankenstein
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,366 Posts
Good input Ghrank. Aside from the 3.4 being made in China, what is more expensive about the 3.5? They are the same basic design.

Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Why is chevy's 3.4 liter engine so underpowered compared to Honda's 3.5 engine used in the vue. It seems that all GM's engines are underpowered.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
576 Posts
Why is chevy's 3.4 liter engine so underpowered compared to Honda's 3.5 engine used in the vue. It seems that all GM's engines are underpowered.

Because Honda uses an OHC design that makes more power but also makes the engine HUGE. To compare, GMs 3.4 only weighs about 24 pounds more than Hondas 2 liter 4-cylinder in the S2000. And the GM V6 uses an iron block versus the Hondas Aluminum.

Don't compare engines based on displacement. It makes no sense whatsoever.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,944 Posts
I have seen some Equinoxes on their way to the dealership near my office and I did get the chance to see one up close last week at an Auto Show, it is quite a nice little truck, and it was getting plenty of attention.....across the isle there was a new Mustang that had less of a crowd around it......no kidding!

I found it funny...the truck taking the Equinoxes to the dealership was almost like the one in the "American Revolution" commercial, there was an Aveo, a Malibu Maxx, a Colorado, an SSR and 2 Equinoxes....all that was missing was the new Corvette. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
461 Posts
Nice vehicle - our local dealer has one on the lot and it is very appealing. I am somewhat put off by the 3.4 engine though, assuming it is the same one used in the Grand Am, etc. - the intake manifold/coolant leak issue would probably keep me from buying this vehicle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
244 Posts
Originally posted by ab348@Apr 10 2004, 07:21 AM
I am somewhat put off by the 3.4 engine though, assuming it is the same one used in the Grand Am, etc. - the intake manifold/coolant leak issue would probably keep me from buying this vehicle.
All 3.4L V6s assembled after November 2002 use the new intake manifold gasket design.

I would assume that this improved gasket design is also being used in the Chinese built version.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,047 Posts
Originally posted by usa1@Apr 10 2004, 12:52 AM
Good input Ghrank. Aside from the 3.4 being made in China, what is more expensive about the 3.5? They are the same basic design.

Mark
is this a different 3.4 then the 3.4 (LA1, in grand am , monte carlo, minivans), if not i thought it was made in mexico.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,047 Posts
Originally posted by bgclarke+Apr 10 2004, 08:46 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (bgclarke @ Apr 10 2004, 08:46 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-ab348@Apr 10 2004, 07:21 AM
I am somewhat put off by the 3.4 engine though, assuming it is the same one used in the Grand Am, etc. - the intake manifold/coolant leak issue would probably keep me from buying this vehicle.
All 3.4L V6s assembled after November 2002 use the new intake manifold gasket design.

I would assume that this improved gasket design is also being used in the Chinese built version. [/b][/quote]
gasket issue on 3.4 (LA1)was resovled. i had it done on my car, no problem since.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
776 Posts
If you're complaining about the engine in this kind of vehicle I think you need to look at a different kind of vehicle! Small SUV's aren't sports cars, they just need enough acceleration to be under about 10 sec. to 60. 8.5 from the Equinox isn't half bad--it's only important it be in the same area as competitors. People are looking for stuff haulers, not a slalom-drag racer. We have Corvettes and upcoming Solstices for those people. And I don't really keep up with this segment, on account of it is hopelessly boring but I'm guessing the Equinox isn't really blown out of the water by any of it's competitors. I wouldn't be surprised if they all put up similar acceleration numbers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
708 Posts
Sat in one at the local auto show a couple weeks ago.
Really nice and comfortable, even in back, and I'm 6'.
Looks great, really comfortable, and the price is right.
It just moved to the top of my wife's new car list. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,013 Posts
Glad to see everyone likes the new Equinox!!! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
244 Posts
My wife and I took an Equinox LT AWD for a test driver this afternoon.

Anyone concerned about the engine being underpowered shouldn't be. It has plenty of pickup and pulls the Equinox along very nicely....a little too easily perhaps.

I drove it in a similar fashion to the way I drive my Malibu, and I was 30 over the speed limit without even realizing it until I looked at the speedomoter :D

We were both very impressed with the Equinox and plan on getting one when the lease expires on the Malibu.
 
1 - 20 of 77 Posts
Top