Reviewed for you: Holden Equinox
Though it might compete in a very competitive segment, this five-seat, medium SUV from Holden is priced aggressively, and the safety equipment and drivetrain list is strong.
What’s the price and what do you get?
Pricing starts from $27,990 plus on-road costs for the entry-level LS in manual guise, while the popular LS+ starts at $32,990 and is equipped with an automatic transmission only. The top-spec LTZ-V sneaks in just under $50k, at $49,290.
Standard equipment on the base model are 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, 7.0-inch infotainment and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The LS+ adds forward-facing camera system, AEB, lane keep assist and departure warning, forward collision alert, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, automatic highbeams and leather steering wheel.
The Equinox goes up against vehicles like the Ford Escape which offers petrol and diesel; we won’t see a diesel Equinox until next year. It’s also on the same shopping list as the new Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Nissan X-Trail, Volkswagen Tiguan, Subaru Forester and even the Toyota RAV4. You’ve got to be on your game to do well in this segment; has Holden put its best foot forward with the Equinox?
LTZ models get 19-inch alloy wheels, keyless auto-entry with push-button start, electric tailgate, dual-zone climate control, leather trim, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, heated front and rear-outboard seats, satellite navigation, digital radio, wireless smartphone charging and Bose audio system.
What’s the interior like?
Climb inside and the Equinox certainly feels roomy with good vision right around, except for the odd-shaped c-pillar which means you’ve got to rely heavily on your mirrors and blind-spot monitoring.
The dashboard is neatly designed with everything easy to reach and easy to understand on the move. But the way some of the controls work leaves a little to be desired, especially the single-zone climate control.
The infotainment unit is only small and in base-spec LS+ gets very few functions. Luckily, it gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, but in other variants, it's also larger.
There’s storage in the front with cup holders and both a USB and 12V outlet at the base of the dashboard. You’ll fit a 500ml water bottle in the door bins.
What’s the passenger space like?
The front seats are comfortable with good support under the thighs making them relaxing to sit in on longer drives, and they offer plenty of adjustment too. Climbing in and out requires you to pull yourself up into the Equinox, so shorter drivers might feel like they’re climbing into a full-size 4×4.
There’s plenty of room in the backseat for three adults and so my two kids fit just fine as does a booster seat. There are ISOFIX mounts for the two outboard seats and map/iPad pockets on the back of the front seats. The seats are comfortable but lacking in any real shape.
What about the boot?
Moving into the boot, there’s an impressive 846 litres of room with the second-row seats in use (these are 60:40 split-fold) and a cavernous 1798 litre with them folded down – they don’t fold totally flat unless you remove the centre headrest. There’s a temporary spare underneath the floor.
What’s under the bonnet?
Engines are a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine making 127kW of power and 275Nm of torque. There’s also a 2.0L turbo petrol (188kW/353Nm) and a 1.6L turbo-diesel (100kW/320Nm) in front-wheel and all-wheel drive. The turbo engines provide much more energy and a vibrant response; the diesel is more frugal, while the petrol turbo is almost hot hatch like in response.
What’s it like to drive?
Holden’s engineers have done a lot of work on the Equinox, with new springs and damper rates, and tweaked steering setup. It delivers a ride that is comfortable and compliant over Australian roads while maintaining some dynamic poise in corners. The base engine is lacklustre to drive compared to the turbo models, which are also much more sure-footed with all-wheel drive underneath. The steering is direct but light rather than weighted, which might suit urban drivers better. A neat trick is active noise cancellation, which some rivals also feature, that dials out almost all of the engine noise.
What about safety?
The Equinox gets a five-star ANCAP rating and LS+ and up models get a host of active safety features under the guise of Holden Eye which is a forward-facing camera. You get, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, following distance indicator, and forward collision alert with head-up warning, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, automatic high beam assist and a safety alert driver’s seat.
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