This week I had the opportunity to test out a new 2012 Equinox front-wheel-drive 2LT. And while I wouldn’t say it stirred me to my very soul, I can certainly see why this medium-small crossover has become so popular. The Equinox is not as cumbersome as a full-sized SUV, it’s more practical than a car, and it does it all in a neat little package that has a fit and finish that rivals luxury SUV’s costing much more.
It wasn’t a plain cinnamon roll either. This one came with a large helping of gooey icing in the form of the optional 3.0-liter V6. This is an upgrade over the 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder, and if you know me, you know that I’m always game for a bigger engine and 82 more horsepower. This setup isn’t going to win too many drag races, but it gets the job done. I especially liked it during highway cruising, where it seemed to effortlessly loaf along without calling on frequent downshifts from the six-speed automatic transmission.
It did drive a lot like a car, though. It handled the bumps in the road without knocking your fillings loose, and it didn’t wear you down after a long drive like some truck-based vehicles can. Aside from the high stance and road-commanding visibility, the only time you really noticed it was a crossover and not a car was when you pushed it hard in the turns. That’s when that higher center of gravity would become evident.
First of all, from a purely subjective standpoint, I give the appearance edge to the Equinox. Even though it is older and more familiar, I still consider it to be the best looking in its class. This Equinox has been around since 2010, but it still looks fresh to me. I especially like Chevrolet’s front end and grill treatment here. There’s just something about the entire package that I find very appealing.
I took the Equinox all over the city. It went with me to the Corvette show. It went to a Cub Scout meeting. It went to church. For everyday family outings, the Equinox was more than capable.
I also took it out to Kansas Speedway for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice. It was great in that setting. There was plenty of clearance to take on the bumpy unpaved parking area, and if you had the urge to tailgate, there would be plenty of room for all your gear. It’s almost like the Equinox was specifically made for sporting events. Plus, Chevrolet had a similar-looking Equinox in their track display, so I kind of felt like I was part of the action. Also, the one I drove there would have looked pretty sweet with a big Jeff Gordon-style #24 decal on the door.
My Equinox tester came in at just under $31,000. For something with this much utility, loaded with a V6, satellite radio, and a backup camera, I’d call it a bargain. My mother-in-law is looking smarter all the time. See Brown Sugar in all its digital glory by checking out the slideshow below.