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2013 Kia Optima, Snow White Pearl, 15 mi., $22,519
Review of the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox
IntroductionThe 2012 Chevrolet Equinox is a compact four-door, front-engine, front- or all-wheel drive crossover vehicle that comfortably accommodates five passengers and reflects Chevrolet's outstanding quality in design, precision and utility capability. Chevrolet redesigned the Equinox last year and it enters into 2012 model year with a few minor updates. It is available in LS, LT and LTZ trim, with available all-wheel-drive.
Exterior Design and Special FeaturesThe Equinox's exterior design is inspired from the Chevrolet Malibu sedan and Traverse crossover; and like those vehicles, the new Equinox complements its styling with attention to detail and features. The optional 3.0L direct injected V-6 engine now offers FlexFuel capability. Heated cloth seats are offered on 2LT model. Bluetooth for phone, USB port and leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls are now standard on 1LT. Compass joins the list of standard features on LS model. The OnStar service has been upgraded to standard Directions and Connections for a six-month trial period. Two new exterior colors - Twilight Blue and updated Summit White - are available. Inside, the Equinox has a number of storage bins, such as an oversized glove box; a closed storage bin in the instrument panel above the center stack; and closed storage under the center armrest large enough for a laptop computer. The front and rear seats include cloth and uplevel, perforated leather-trimmed offerings that deliver best-in-class comfort. It retains its MultiFlex rear seat capability, which allows the seat to be moved fore or aft nearly eight inches (203 mm), for the best rear legroom in its class. With the 60/40-split-back rear seat moved all the way forward, the cargo area offers 31.4 cubic feet (889 liters) of storage. A variety of technologies have been integrated into the Equinox, such as an available seven-inch touch-screen navigation system. The additional features include Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, USB audio connectivity, DVD-based rear-seat entertainment system with two independent screens to enable DVD viewing on one and gaming on the other, internal memory/hard drive on uplevel radios for storing audio selections, power, programmable rear liftgate, rear-vision camera system, with display in the rearview mirror or in the navigation screen, and a range of premium-feature audio systems with up to eight speakers and 250 watts of output.
EngineTwo engines are offered, each with fuel-saving direct injection and variable valve timing technology. A 2.4L Ecotec direct injected I-4 engine estimated at 182 horsepower mated to a hydramatic 6T45 six-speed automatic transmission delivers an estimated 32 mpg highway, 221 mpg city (FWD) and the new 3.0L DOHC direct injected V-6 engine (FlexFuel) estimated at 255 horsepower mated to a hydramatic 6T70 six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode delivers an estimated 25 mpg highway, 17 mpg city (FWD). The AWD models deliver 20/29 and 17/24 mpg city/highway respectively.
SafetyThe Equinox features six standard air bags: dual frontal air bags; head curtain side air bags and pelvic/thorax seat-mounted side air bags, standard four-wheel disc brakes with StabiliTrak electronic stability control, OnStar and traction control.