Jeep Renegade is the newest entry in the burgeoning small compact crossover...
2007 Chevrolet Equinox
A Solstice, not an Equinox, is an event to celebrate. Our pagan ancestors marked the rebirth of the sun in December, with lights and feasts to dispel winter's gloom; and then partied again in June on the longest day of the year. An Equinox is by comparison a non-event, when light and dark are equal, when everything is just alright.
The Chevrolet Equinox may not represent the return of the sun, either, but it should be considerably brighter for '07, thanks to a bounty of improvements that really are worth celebrating. Four-wheel disc brakes, a tire pressure monitor, StabiliTrak and rollover monitoring have all become standard. Instruments and controls are largely new, and the chassis settings revised for better ride and handling. New options include upgraded audio systems, a remote starter, and at last a navigation system integrated into the stereo.
These are welcome changes because we have not been enthralled with the Equinox cabin.
Equinox is Chevrolet's answer to the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. But Equinox is bigger and roomier than any of these competitors, and has features that enhance its versatility. The back seats are mounted on tracks and slide fore and aft: Slide forward and you have more cargo space, slide rearward for more rear legroom. The rear seatbacks also recline for additional comfort. Fold the rear seats down, then fold down the front passenger seatback, and you can load eight-foot objects inside.
In fact, Equinox is big enough that its dimensions blur the line between compact and midsize sport utilities. It's nearly 14 inches longer than Ford Escape and just three inches shorter than a Chevy TrailBlazer. Its long wheelbase gives the Equinox good stability and ride quality. However, Equinox seats only five, because it does not offer a hopelessly cramped third row, as does the Toyota RAV4. Like Escape, CR-V and RAV4, the Equinox is based on a passenger-car design but has an interior like a traditional SUV. Therefore, industry observers and other car crazies call the Equinox a crossover utility because it crosses over the line from truck to car.
The 2007 Chevy Equinox comes in two trim levels: the basic LS and the better-appointed LT. Both are available with front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). All models come with a 3.4-liter V6 and five-speed automatic transmission.
Equinox LS FWD ($22,180) and AWD ($23,680) come with air conditioning; cruise control; tilt steering; cloth upholstery; a fold-flat front passenger seat; a Multi-Flex 60/40 split rear bench seat that folds, slides, and reclines; six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio; and power windows, mirrors, and locks with remote keyless entry. Tires are Bridgestone P235/65 all-season radials on 16-inch steel wheels. Added as standard on '07 models are a driver information center and new safety features. Options for the LS include an upgraded audio system with MP3 capability ($135), OnStar communications ($1,045), deep-tinted glass ($275), and a tow package ($350). An engine block heater ($50) and carpeted floor mats ($40) are also available.
LT FWD ($22,970) and AWD ($24,470) add fog lights, carpeted floor mats, deep tinted glass, and 16-inch aluminum wheels. Mirrors, door handles, and roof-rack side rails are body-color rather than charcoal or black. Options for the LT include Package 2LT ($1,280) with an auto-dimming interior rearview mirror with temperature display and compass, six-way power driver seat adjuster with manual lumbar adjustment and map pocket, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, and Bridgestone P235/60 all-season radials on 17-inch aluminum wheels.
Additional options for LT include an MP3-capable audio unit with six-CD changer ($435), seven-speaker premium audio ($325), navigation ($2,145), XM Satellite Radio ($199), a tilt-and-slide sunroof ($695), leather seats ($595), heated front seats with cloth or leather ($250), a remote starter ($190), luggage rack crossbars ($150), 17-inch chromed aluminum wheels ($850), and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system ($995).
Safety features include antilock brakes, StabiliTrak electronic stability control, tire pressure monitor; dual-stage driver and front-passenger airbags. Optional side-impact and head-curtain airbags ($395) come with a rollover sensor, so they can provide head and torso protection in a rollover as well as a side impact.