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Josh Rosenberg
Josh Rosenberg

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2012 Chevy Equinox Review


(See Also: "How To Get The Lowest Price On A New Chevy Equinox")

The 2012 Chevy Equinox is once again challenging the top picks in the very competitive small crossover SUV segment thanks to its refined design both inside and out, comfortable ride, quiet and roomy cabin, long list of features and good fuel economy in its four-cylinder models.

And new for 2012 are optional front collision alert and lane-departure warning systems, while the Equinox LT and LTZ models now come with a standard rearview camera. The previously available rear entertainment system, however, is no longer offered.

2012 Chevy Equinox

Overall, the new Equinox scores well with its comfortable and quiet drive that's more typical of larger SUVs. And in addition to its solid build quality inside as well as its long list of available features, the Equinox's sliding back seat offers impressive passenger-friendly roominess. In fact, the Equinox presents serious competition for the perennial segment leaders, the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V. Another rising star in this segment is the new Kia Sorento.

Trims, Standard Features And Options:

The 2012 Chevrolet Equinox is offered in three trims: LS, LT and LTZ with the LT divided into 1LT and 2LT models.

Standard features on the Equinox LS include power mirrors, power door locks, power windows, cruise control, air-conditioning 17-inch alloy wheels, a manual driver seat with power height adjustment, steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth, an anti-theft alarm, a full array of safety features (see below), a sliding and reclining back seat, cruise control, a tilt/telescoping steering column, halogen headlights, automatic headlights, a trip computer, a tire pressure monitor, keyless entry, OnStar and a 6-speaker audio system with satellite radio, a CD player a MP3/WMA player and an auxiliary audio jack.

2012 Chevy Equinox rear view

Moving up to the LT offers a choice of two trims. The 1LT adds a rearview camera, heated exterior mirrors, premium cloth upholstery, tinted rear windows, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, roof rack side rails and an upgraded audio system with a 7-inch touchscreen display, while the 2LT adds an 8-way power driver seat, remote start, heated front seats, automatic climate control, an auto-dimming mirror, foglamps and an 8-speaker Pioneer stereo system.

The top-of-the-line Equinox LTZ goes on to add perforated leather upholstery, driver memory functions, rear parking sensors and a power liftgate.

In terms of options, many standard features of the upper model levels are grouped into packages for the lower models. In addition, stand-alone options include navigation, a combination front collision and lane departure warning system, a sunroof and 18 or 19-inch chrome-clad alloy wheels.

Incidentally, here's an infographic listing the 12 carmakers who've given the biggest new car price discounts off MSRP (includes Chevrolet).

Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:

All 2012 Equinox models come with a 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive (AWD) is optional. The standard engine on all models is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder good for 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. The EPA-estimated gas mileage is an impressive 22 mpg city and 32 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive and 20 mpg city and 29 highway with all-wheel drive.

Optional on both LT and LTZ models is a 3.0-liter V6 that pumps out 264 horspower and 222 pound-feet. Fuel economy for the V6 with front-wheel-drive comes in at 17 city and 24 highway, while all-wheel-drive models are rated at 16 and 23, respectively.

Safety:

Standard safety features across all 2012 Chevrolet Equinox models include stability control, traction control, hill start control, antilock disc brakes (ABS), brake assist, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and OnStar. In addition a rearview camera is standard on the LT and LTZ, while the LTZ gets standard rear parking sensors and an optional collision/lane warning system.

In government crash testing, the Equinox was given an overall score of four stars (out of five), consisting of four stars for frontal-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection.

Interior:

2012 Chevy Equinox interior

The Equinox's interior is attractive, comfortable, solidly built and well-appointed. It also has a number of premium elements which give it a more upscale overall look and feel than most of its competitors.

The seating is comfortable and supportive both front and rear, while passenger room is at a premium for an SUV this size. The rear 60/40-split seats both slide and recline making for particularly comfortable accommodations for rear passengers. This ample passenger room does, however, come at the sacrifice of some storage room. Cargo capacity behind the rear seats comes in at 31.4 cubic feet and 63.7 cubes with the rear seatbacks folded. While this is likely adequate for most, it is below average for the segment.

Drive:

Most buyers will likely be satisfied with the acceleration provided by the capable 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. The fuel economy for this engine is another plus. Those who value more power will find the 3.0-liter V6 significantly improves the daily driving experience and also raises the towing capacity to 3,500 pounds from 1,500.

The Equinox's overall road manners and steering are adequate. While most drivers will be satisfied, its handling is not really an advantage over other rivals. On the plus side, the Equinox's quiet cabin and smooth ride quality is impressive, a very useful quality for long highway trips.

Also, For 'Used' Car Buyers ...

Those of you in the market for a used car may want to check out this article about how to buy a used car at the lowest price. It details a super effective buying method, one that often beats down prices to wholesale levels.

And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.

In addition, you can also try a Public Car Auction in your own geographic area. While there can be a lot of junk vehicles at these auctions, there are often absolute gems sprinkled in as well. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them in your own area.


2012 Chevy Equinox List And Invoice Prices:

LS, FWD: list: $23,450, invoice: $22,278
LS, AWD: list: $25,200, invoice: $23,940

1LT, FWD: list: $24,970, invoice: $23,722
1LT, AWD: list: $26,720, invoice: $25,384

2LT, FWD: list: $26,790, invoice: $25,451
2LT, AWD: list: $28,540, invoice: $27,113

LTZ, FWD: list: $29,140, invoice: $27,683
LTZ, AWD: list: $30,890, invoice: $29,346



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