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TaHoE Drives: 2005 Chevrolet Equinox LT
The Sweetest Chevy SUV...EVER!




The Compact SUV field is flooded with competitors, and as our old friends Tracker and Blazer can tell you, its a little too rough. With the Tracker and 4-Door Blazer being discontinued in 2005, Chevrolet needed a replacement and what a replacement they got, the 2005 Chevrolet Equinox. The Equinox is clearly top dog in its class, but can it hold up against tough competition from the CRV and the newest GMI Test Vehicle, the Saturn VUE Red Line?

Design
The Design of the Equinox is easily one of the most, if not, THE MOST, attractive SUVs to come out of Chevrolet's design complex. The strong bold lines, wide stance and very attractive wheel design help Equinox stand out among its class. The headlights are huge, but not unproportional. I would like to see all Chevy trucks go down this design path, with the Chevy crossbar intersecting into the lights, its a much more attractive design than the bland Full-Size line that they have right now. The Taillights are not ricey at all, as some may say. They are perfect for the Equinox and add even more tailored bruteness that the Equinox has.




Interior

The Interior I must say is easily one of Chevrolet's best. It combines design elements from the Saturn VUE and Chevrolet Malibu, but it gets best of both worlds. The leather seating surfaces are not bad, but they could be a little better. Dash materials are fit and finish are easily on par with others in its class. The HVAC switches have a confident snap ever time you turn them, letting you know exactly on which position they are. The shifter knob was very attractive and well placed. It is positioned similar to where the Vibe's shifter is, at the bottom of the center stack. This setup leaves room in between the seats for pass through room, or for a huge storage unit in between the seats. One thing I couldn't stand is the window switches being mounted under the shift lever. The placement isn't logical, but I am sure owners will get used to it immediately.

Power/Handling

Power is good. Its not horrible, its not amazing, its good. It takes you where you want to go, in very good time. The 3.4 is a decent engine, but it still puzzles me why they don't offer the 3.5 V6 in the Equinox. For only .1L increase in displacement you get 20 more horses, something that would definitely add to the Equinox's appeal. Hopefully they will make the 3500 available in the base LT spec and standard on the fully loaded version that I tested. Rumors are that the Equinox SS will receive either the 3500 or the Supercharged 3400, I hope its the latter.


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The Verdict

Pros: Good Pricing, Excellent Style, Good Fit & Finish

Cons: Adequate Power, Odd window switch placement, leather isn't top notch.

Overall Rating: 9.5/10.0

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Specifications
2005 Chevrolet Equinox
Selected Style: AWD LT 1SE

Exterior: Salsa Red Metallic
Interior: Light Gray Leather Seating Surfaces

Total MSRP: $28,970.00

Base Price:$21,560.00
MSRP: $28,645.00
Color & Options: $325.00
 

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Once again, $28K is a lot but I'm now thinking about the rebates that are going to be packed on Equinox, that is okay. Otherwise, good review. I'm surprised this thing didn't get the full 10.0. I love this vehicle..........
 

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How's the handling? How's the braking? Acceleration times? Average experienced gas mileage (not manufacturer quoted)? No offence, but I could have written the same review without even driving the vehicle. I plan on getting a Nox myself... just want some more info on it.
 

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You have to realize these cars are not donated by the manufacturer. We also don't have sophisticated testing equipment.
Generally, we can really only get first impressions. We go to a dealer, and the dealer gives us a car off the lot for a simple test drive. Sometimes the salesguy actually comes with us for the ride.
We don't have the car long enough to test mileage, and real world scenarios.
Braking/acceleration, etc.. as well.
 

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went with my stepmom this weekend to test drive an equinox (she's buying something very soon). she liked it for the most part... but my 11-year old sis mighta convinced her not to buy it. she couldn't stop talking about how hard the back seat is. and she's right! very stiff, you sit on it more than in it. they drove a mazda tribute too, and she found it much more comfy. so it might come down to a lost GM sale because of a stiff backseat! i know many people felt the same way about the grand prix, and they changed it. i'd rather see her get the 'nox (it's a pretty good deal), but i'm not the one who'll be driving it!

one thing i noticed though... the 'nox is very quiet. and the 5-speed transmission was really very smooth... better than the tribute 4-speed.
 

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My nitpick on the Equinox (aside from lacking the Vue's 250hp engine) is with the shifter. The PRNDL is written horizontally in front of the sifter instead of traditionally along the left side of the shifter.
 

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Originally posted by Rex Raider@May 10 2004, 03:38 PM
My nitpick on the Equinox (aside from lacking the Vue's 250hp engine) is with the shifter. The PRNDL is written horizontally in front of the sifter instead of traditionally along the left side of the shifter.
hmmm yeah. i thought it was kinda neat, as the gear you're in lights up. but the traditional way makes more sense and is more intuitive. the view forward is a little odd... the windshiled seems very wide and odly shaped. the view is clear... just odd.
 

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I'm not expecting full blown specs or testing, but just a little more substance to the review. I love your guys site... I am just trying to add some constructive criticism to help improve the site.
 

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I so wanted to like this truck. It is a great looking truck and perfectly sized. But the steering was shocking. It reminded me of those old arcade games with a steering wheel where there was no connection at all to the action. Car and Driver just tested it and also remarked on the steering (so at least I know I am not crazy).

All I can do is hope they make a sport version with more lifelike steering.
 
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