Chevrolet Equinox (2009): first photos and video

Published: 23 December 2008

London motor show video

In January 2009 we’ll see the American car industry wheeze out of its rocking chair and stagger forlornly to the North American Auto Show in Detroit. Let’s face it, the Big Three need to impress, and prove they’re still relevant as the world – newly carbon-aware and in the midst of an economic downturn – looks on.

So what is Chevrolet whipping the sparkly sheets off? Drumroll… the 2010 Equinox, a vehicle the company describes as ‘a compact crossover that blends distinctive design with outstanding efficiency.’

Looks like an SUV to me…

Well, yes it does and it is easy to be cynical. But let’s get some perspective here. Not everyone is keen to drive a Prius. Getting America’s SUV/crossover buying millions to improve their fuel economy by 10% is better than a few hippies thinking they’re saving the planet in a hybrid. So the Equinox is kind of relevant.

The Equinox will be available with either a direct-injected, four-cylinder 2.4-litre engine that can turn in 36mpg while delivering 182bhp; or a 3.0-litre V6 with 255bhp and a potential 30mpg. Both models will be available in LS, LT and LTZ trims and either a four- wheel drive or more parsimonious two-wheel drive system. Mpg is also improved thanks to electric power steering, saving, says Chevrolet, almost 600 miles per year on the 2.4-litre model.

Looks good too.

Certainly does. Chevrolet says the Equinox takes styling cues from the Malibu saloon (a model that gets Mondeo-like praise in the US) and Traverse crossover. It’s also incredibly reminiscent of a certain Mercedes off-roader. In fact, without the badges, we wonder if the Merc would hold any extra appeal.

GM are making German-like claims for refinement too, telling us that ‘the Equinox’s cabin is notable for its quietness’ thanks to ‘noise-absorbing elements [that] are built into the chassis, engine compartment and interior’. The seats, too, are said to be benchmarked against the most comfortable in the business, while so-called ‘exposed edge’ glass cuts wind noise.

We’ve yet to put those claims to the test, but, even so, the Equinox looks very promising indeed. But is it enough? Have your say by adding to the comments below.

Scroll down the page to the embedded player to see Chevrolet's unedited footage of the Equinox   

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By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

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