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Driven: 2010 Chevrolet Equinox Page 2

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From the short stint on the highway, it became apparent that the Equinox would make a great highway vehicle for a small family; the ride feels more settled, less pitchy, than former vehicles on this platform—and versus some compact crossover alternatives.

The electric power steering system is worlds better than it was years ago, with a heftier, almost German feel. But it's still not ideal. The steering wheel doesn't transmit much of a feel of the road but has very strong weighting that keeps it on center. It's at home on the highway, but a bit odd on lower-speed back roads especially; steer off center and resistance builds to a point then tapers off, leaving you with the feeling that it's lighter off center. Brakes are excellent and reassuring in feel, like those in most GMs of recent years

A cabin with (mostly) what GM does well

There's lots to love about the Equinox inside; the driving position is excellent—carlike yet affording a good view outward. The seats are better and more supportive than those in a lot of small crossovers, too, and in our $30,540 Equinox AWD LTZ test vehicle were covered in attractive cross-stitched dual-tone perforated leather.

Overall, the instrument panel shows hints, design-wise of recent GM interior themes but falls short on just a few of the materials and details. The small latch for the big storage bin up top, which you have in view all the time, is one of the flimsiest I've felt in years, with a thin chrome-plastic latch and jagged edges.

The sound system (which announces itself as from Pioneer when it starts up) wouldn't be bad for a base system, but disappointment mounted when we found it's the step-up premium choice. It's a little bass heavy and sounds great at a moderate volume, but sound quality deteriorates when you turn it up.

Again, the Equinox's package hits the mark in many ways. Back seats are great and the seatbacks can be clicked into several different rake positions. There's a retractable cargo cover, stretchy net, and two deep cargo wells in back, and the center console well is very deep.

And, taking a step out and back from the Equinox, we like the smoother, sleeker sheetmetal overall, with none of the chunky faux-rugged look that it previously sported. The nicely detailed headlights and taillights particularly caught our attention.

Despite all the Chevy badges, the Equinox feels like a fully realized Saturn Vue. Had the base Vue gotten steering, suspension, and engine like this five years ago, Saturn would still had quite the hit.

That said, with the 2010 Equinox, Chevy finally has a compact vehicle that’s as versatile yet carlike as the excellent, larger Traverse. Take one out for a drive and you won’t be disappointed.

For an additional point of view on the 2010 Chevy Equinox, see the drive report on our sister site, GreenCarReports.com.


 
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