Holden Equinox

Equinox goves Holden a thor­oughly con­vinc­ing SUV pack­age, re­ports Damien O’car­roll.

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - CONTENTS -

With the demise of the smaller Cap­tiva 5 and given the Cap­tiva’s rep­u­ta­tion for poor re­li­a­bil­ity, Holden lacked a con­vinc­ing com­peti­tor in the medium SUV seg­ment. Ex­cept for one thing; price. But now the Cap­tiva is fi­nally gone and will be largely un­mourned, be­cause its re­place­ments are far bet­ter ve­hi­cles. And the first of those re­place­ments – the five-seater Equinox – has now ar­rived, with the sev­enseater Aca­dia com­ing later this year. The Equinox launches with a large range of mod­els, en­gines and, in­deed, prices, with the lower spec mod­els more-or-less re­tain­ing the Cap­tiva’s strong value for money equa­tion. The lo­cal range starts with the FWD LS for $35,990. The LS is pow­ered by a 127kw/275nm 1.5-litre four-cylin­der petrol turbo en­gine hooked up to a six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. The LS comes stan­dard with 17-inch al­loy wheels, LED day­time run­ning lights, key­less en­try and push but­ton start, rear park as­sist with a back­ing cam­era, a sev­eninch touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with An­droid Auto and Ap­ple Carplay, active noise can­cel­la­tion, cruise con­trol and an elec­tric park­ing brake with hill hold. The LS+ adds a leather steer­ing wheel, power fold­ing mir­rors, rain sens­ing wipers, blind spot alert, rear cross traf­fic alert and Holden’s lat­est Hold­en­eye sys­tem that in­cor­po­rates au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing, for­ward col­li­sion alert, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, lane keep as­sist and au­to­matic high beam as­sist to the LS spec, and costs $39,990. The Equinox LT can be had with a choice of ei­ther a 2.0-litre petrol turbo that pro­duces 188kw of power and 353Nm of torque hooked up to a nine-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion for $43,990 or a 1.6-litre diesel turbo that pro­duces 100kw of power and 320Nm of torque with a six-speed auto for $46,990. The LT is also FWD only and adds 18-inch al­loy wheels, dual ex­hausts with chrome tips, an eight-inch in­fo­tain­ment touch­screen, em­bed­ded satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion, a 4.2-inch full colour driver info dis­play, front and rear park as­sist, dual zone cli­mate con­trol, HID head­lights, one-touch fold­ing rear seats and rear seat USB ports on top of the LS+. Next comes the AWD LTZ at $52,990 for the 2.0-litre petrol or $55,990 for the 1.6-litre diesel. While the diesel is AWD only, the petrol can be or­dered as a 2WD for a re­duc­tion of $3,000. The LTZ adds 19-inch al­loy wheels, ad­vanced park as­sist, a six-speaker Bose au­dio sys­tem with dig­i­tal ra­dio, wire­less phone charg­ing, leather ap­pointed and heated front and rear seats, pow­ered driv­ers seat with a mem­ory func­tion, a hands­free pow­ered tail­gate, LED head lights and tail­lights and chrome roof rails. Fi­nally, the Awd-only LTZ-V tops the range at $56,990 for the petrol and $59,990 for the diesel, and gains a dual panel panoramic sun­roof, a pow­ered pas­sen­ger’s seat, ven­ti­lated front seats and a heated steer­ing wheel. Be­ing an Amer­i­can ve­hi­cle, the Equinox has a dis­tinctly mid­dle Amer­ica bland feel to its lines, but re­mains a largely hand­some and in­of­fen­sive ve­hi­cle to look at. In­side, build and ma­te­rial qual­ity is ad­mirably high, while the amount of high­tech equip­ment jammed in for the prices is im­pres­sive. In all its forms, the Equinox boasts an im­pres­sive and su­perbly com­fort­able ride, while its han­dling char­ac­ter­is­tics are equally im­pres­sive within the re­straints of its tall body and ride height. While gen­er­ally com­mend­ably quiet, there was a lot of noise em­a­nat­ing from the rear, par­tic­u­larly when gravel hit the in­side of the rear wheel arches. But the Equinox’s most im­pres­sive fea­ture by far is the ex­cel­lent range of en­gines, par­tic­u­larly the pow­er­ful 2.0-litre petrol and the en­try 1.5-litre petrol. The larger en­gine is sur­pris­ingly pow­er­ful and moves the Equinox along a re­mark­able rate, while the smaller petrol is won­der­fully flex­i­ble and its light weight makes the han­dling even more im­pres­sive. Over­all, the Equinox is the best rea­son for not mourn­ing the de­par­ture of the Cap­tiva, as in all of its forms – it is a vastly su­pe­rior ve­hi­cle. The looks may be a bit too Amer­i­can and if you live on a gravel road, the noise from the rear may be ir­ri­tat­ing, but that aside, the Equinox is a thor­oughly con­vinc­ing pack­age in a very com­pet­i­tive seg­ment.

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