Holden Equinox review New Zealand
It’d been a while since I’d been behind the wheel of Holden’s new Equinox, so I guess I could be excused, but I’d forgotten just how car-like this SUV was. Of course not from the outside, although its design is quite sleek, nor in many respects from the amount of room it has on the inside, no what I’m talking about is driveability, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
I had been given the LTZ model to play with, very fetching in ‘Son of a Gun’ Grey. Mind you, upon reflection, I would have been happy with any of the other six colours (including Glory Red, Tuxedo Black or Blue Steel) too.
From its chromed out Holden grille, LED headlamps and daytime running lamps of its shapely nose, through the contoured body, sharp chrome window line and 18” alloys of its profile, to its ‘foot key’ tailgate, roof spoiler and LED taillights of its rear, the Equinox carries its 4.65m length and 1.84m width well.
Under the bonnet sits a 2.0L turbo engine that will happily produce 188kW and 353Nm to the AWD while the 9-speed auto box keeps the gear shift smooth and the fuel efficiency down to 8.4L/100k (Euro 5 too).
However, as I suggested in the opening, the interior is where it’s really at. The cabin of the Equinox is a really nice place to be. There’s leather effect on the seats which are side bolstered, comfortable and easy to clean for those of us that have messy kid(s). The contrast stitching goes across the seats, dash and door cards presenting a very upmarket feel. Oh, and the heated seats are available for BOTH front and rear passengers.
The 8” Colour touch screen that is integrated into the dash provides Android and Apple connectivity and Bose sounds. Below this is an induction phone charger and easy to use off-road driving selection. For the modern and connected family, the Equinox allows for 4 USB ports (2 front/2 rear) and even has a 230-volt universal power outlet! The cabin is roomy and offers up a large amount of space for both passengers and luggage, with around 1m of head and legroom offered to all humans and almost 1800 Litres of freedom for your stuff when the seats are folded down.
The Equinox is smothered in Driver’s assists, quality rear camera, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, blind spot alert, cruise control to name but a few. For those to consider parking to be a pain in the rear end, the Equinox has you covered with Advanced Park Assist, simply push the button and be valet parked and also, rather than the common garden progressively louder and annoying beeps, the Equinox gives off a seat vibration as you near an obstacle or potential danger – mind you, this does take a little getting used to.
All the above sounds great I’m sure but it’s when you actually drive this SUV that everything falls into place. Around the countryside, it feels secure and responds well to the variety of rod surfaces that NZ often delivers, the torquey 2L allowing plenty of corner exit speed, but it was on my rush hour commute that I really may have lost the plot (no not like that). As is often the case when I’m stuck nose to tail in traffic, my mind wandered into space and beyond. But as ‘reality’ began to kick back in I honestly forgot for a moment that I was inside an SUV, the driving position and the interior are so car-like – and to me, that’s a very good thing.
Although it’s been touted as a replacement for the Captiva, the Holden Equinox quite happily stands free and clear and on its own four feet. It has a refreshed design and an all round lifestyle appeal which when combined makes it quite the stellar SUV.
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