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2012 Chevrolet Equinox Performance

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A couple of years ago Chevrolet installed completely new powertrains into the Equinox—including a more responsive V-6 and more economical four-cylinder base engine, both with six-speed automatics—and these powertrains still stand out as among the most advanced in the class.

The Equinox family's trump card remains its base 182-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which has direct injection in addition to variable valve timing. Besides being a more modern design than some rival engines, it gets a stellar 32-mpg EPA highway rating. It performs pretty well, too, although there's a fair amount of clattery direct-injection sounds when idling. The more powerful 3.0-liter, 264-hp V-6 engine is smoother and more responsive, but much thirstier. Nevertheless, the V-6 should be the choice if you occasionally need to tow a small trailer or often drive with a fully loaded vehicle. Chevy claims that 0-60 mph comes up in under 9 seconds for the four-cylinder and under 8 seconds for the V-6.

Don't count on much driving excitement, but the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox performs adequately or better in every way.
The six-speed automatic transmission that's installed across the model line does a good job of combining a low first gear, for quick takeoff, with taller cogs for the upper gears for keeping revs down on the highway (and fuel economy up). With either version, shifts can be rough, though and the transmission can feel hesitant on hills or on-off throttle situations. Manual shifts can be made not though steering wheel paddle shifters or a separate gate, but through little plus or minus toggle buttons on the side of the shift knob.

About the only thing we'd really like to change about the driving experience is the numb feel of the electric power steering, which seems to require a lot of adjustments on center in highway cruising. Otherwise, as we've found on many other recent GM models, brakes are excellent.

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