Chevrolet launched a brand-new midsize sport utility vehicle as an early 2005 model. Serving as Chevrolet’s first “crossover” SUV, the Equinox is expected to be larger than many of its rivals.
The architecture of the Equinox is shared with the Saturn Vue, which was introduced for the 2002 model year. A 185-horsepower, 3.4-liter V-6 is the sole engine, and it teams with a five-speed-automatic transmission and either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Electrically assisted rack-and-pinion steering is installed.
Production on the Equinox began early in 2004 at the GM and Suzuki CAMI Automotive facility in Ontario, Canada. As Equinox production at the CAMI plant began, manufacture of the Chevrolet Tracker and Suzuki Vitara came to a halt.
According to Chevrolet, the Equinox takes a fresh, memorable approach to SUV design, aiming to appeal to many types of customers. In addition to being the largest vehicle in its segment, the Equinox rides the longest wheelbase at 112.5 inches. Chevrolet also promotes its wide stance: 71.4 inches overall, with a 61.6-inch front track width.
The Equinox stands 67 inches tall and measures 188.8 inches long overall. The unitized body incorporates full-length frame rails and a safety cage. Coil springs are used in the independent rear suspension. A power moonroof is offered. Standard tires measure 16 inches in diameter, but 17-inch tires on alloy wheels are optional.
Multi-Flex rear seating promises flexibility for passengers and cargo; a split, folding rear seat that slides nearly 8 inches is installed. Combined with the flat-folding front passenger seat, the Equinox permits carrying extra-long cargo inside. A height-adjustable cargo shelf with plastic on one side and carpeting on the other serves as both a security cover and a picnic table. The front console contains hidden storage compartments, and integrated storage bins are installed in the rear section.
In addition to GM’s OnStar communication system, an in-dash six-CD changer, MP3 player, XM Satellite Radio and heated front seats with leather upholstery are optional.
Under the Hood
Only one powertrain is available. A 3.4-liter V-6 engine produces 185 hp and 210 pounds-feet of torque and drives a five-speed-automatic transmission. With an optional towing package, the Equinox can haul up to 3,500 pounds. Optional on-demand all-wheel drive delivers power to the front wheels during normal conditions but sends power to the rear wheels if front-wheel slippage is detected. Traction control is included on front-drive models equipped with antilock brakes.
Antilock operation for the front-disc/rear-drum braking system is standard on all versions except the front-drive LS. Roof-rail curtain-type airbags are available. Daytime running lights are standard.