Test Drive: 2013 Chevrolet Equinox AWD LTZ

?Chevy?s compact Equinox fills many roles?

2013 Chevrolet EquinoxThe 2013 Chevrolet Equinox is a compact crossover from Chevrolet that is suitable for all weather conditions and seasons, serving all lifestyle levels. One might well think of the Equinox as the little brother or sister of the Chevy Traverse.

Equinox comes with a choice of two engines: a 2.4-liter Direct fuel Injected inline four-cylinder that puts out 182 horsepower and 172 pound feet of torque; or a 3.6-liter, 301 horsepower Direct Injection V6 that also delivers 272 pound feet of torque. Both engines mate to a specific 6-speed, electronically controlled automatic transmission. The four-cylinder is expected to account for nearly three-quarters of Equinox sales, delivering an anticipated best-in-segment EPA-estimated highway fuel economy of 32 mpg (FWD- 29 mpg AWD) with a highway driving range of up to 600 miles ? The V6 is capable of a 6,500 mile highway range.

?2013 Chevrolet Equinox - Engine Compartment

The 2013 Chevrolet Equinox will be available in three basic trim levels, with varying stages in the upper two trims. One may select either a Front-Wheel Drive or All-Wheel Drive. Trim levels include the base LS; LT Plus and 1 LT Plus; followed by LTZ and 2 LT Plus. All models and trims blend a distinctive design with a high level of functionality and standard equipment including: Six standard air bags: dual frontal air bags, head curtain side air bags and pelvic/thorax seat-mounted side air bags; Standard OnStar and XM Satellite Radio, with complimentary service intervals; and ?Smart? remote starting system that also activates the HVAC system and optional heated seats depending on the outside temperature.

This latest Equinox wears Chevrolet?s signature global face with its two-tier grille and prominent gold bowtie logo, combining with athletic fender shapes, distinctive aerodynamic roofline, wraparound headlamps and dual round taillamps. Other standout design elements include the multi-dimensional hood, wrap-around rear side glass and wheels that are pushed out to all four corners, resulting in a bold stance. Rocker panels are integrated into the doors for ease of ingress and egress, and the chrome trim along with the flush-fitting ?exposed edge? windshield and rear glass, deliver not only an upscale appearance, but aid in reducing wind noise.

2013 Chevrolet Equinox - Dashboard

Moving to the inside, the Equinox focuses on comfort, unique storage and versatility, with a number of bins, such as an oversized glove box; a closed storage bin in the instrument panel above the center stack; and closed storage under the center armrest large enough for a laptop computer. The front and rear seats are available in either cloth or upscale perforated leather-trimmed offerings, displaying high levels of craftsmanship.

Ten-inch front-seat fore and aft travel, combined with the tilt/telescoping steering wheel and standard power-adjustable seat height, allows for achieving an optimum driving position. The new Equinox retains its MultiFlex rear seat capability, which allows the seat to be moved fore or aft nearly eight inches, for the best rear legroom in its class. With the 60/40-split-back rear seat moved all the way forward, the cargo area offers 31.4 cubic feet of storage.

A variety of technologies are integrated into the Equinox, such as an available seven-inch touch-screen navigation system. Other features include: Chevy?s MyLink Touch infotainment system; Bluetooth hands-free phone; USB audio connectivity for personal music device; a DVD-based rear-seat entertainment system with two independent screens to enable DVD viewing on one and gaming on the other; an internal memory/hard drive on up level radios for storing audio selections; a programmable power-operated rear liftgate; rear-vision camera system, with display in the rearview mirror or in the navigation screen and a range of premium-feature audio systems with up to eight speakers and 250 watts of output.

My test 2013 Chevrolet Equinox was an All-Wheel Drive model in LTZ trim, powered by the new 3.6-liter V6, which delivers more power, but with the same EPA fuel economy rating as its 3.0-liter predecessor. The exterior was done in a Tungsten metallic finish, with a two-tone Black and Light Titanium treatment. The base price was set at $32,265 while options elevated the total to $35,590. Options included; the 3.6-liter V6; the tilt and slide sunroof; Navigation; leather appointed seats; Rear seat entertainment System, Safety Package and Destination charge.

2013 Chevrolet Equinox - Sideview

SUMMARY: The 2013 Chevrolet Equinox is based on the same platform as its GMC sibling ? the Terrain. Despite the shared architecture, each displays a distinctively different personality. Both are ideally sized for consumers who are searching for a more personally sized compact crossover vehicle.

The new 3.6-liter V6 engine is the obvious choice for those planning to tow a load of any size. The new Equinox delivers a comfortable ride along with agile handling characteristics and more than adequate acceleration.

2013 Chevrolet Equinox - rearview

?Comfort and convenience features abound – The rear DVD system provides two separate and independent of one another screens, allowing the viewing of a DVD?on one, while enabling game playing on the other. Wireless headphones are included for each, so that front seat occupants may enjoy separate audio programming.

The power lift gate comes with a height programmable feature – a nice touch. There?s also a dash-activated switch for the control of the rear door and windows. No family vehicle should be without the rear backup camera that adds to both security and safety.

2013 Chevrolet Equinox - wheels

The Equinox is now even quieter, with minimized road and wind noise, improving conversation clarity between front and rear passengers. Outward visibility is excellent all around.

Bottom-line, the 2013 Chevy Equinox serves up economical transportation in an accommodating, comfortable and value-laden vehicle that is also easy on the eyes, from nose to tail, not to mention easy on the pocketbook, considering its content.

SPECIFICATIONS: Chevrolet Equinox AWD LTZ – 2013

Base Price: $32,265
Price as Tested: $35,590
Engine Type and Size: 3.6-liter DOHC, 24-valve V-6 with direct sequential fuel injection and electronic throttle control
Horsepower (bhp): 301 @ 6,500 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 272 @ 4,800 rpm
Transmission: Hydra-Matic 6T70Electronically controlled 6-speed automatic with electronic range select.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / All-Wheel Drive
Suspension: Front – Independent strut-type with tuned coil springs; direct-acting stabilizer bar; hydraulic ride bushings and dual-flow dampeners.

Rear – Independent four-link with coil springs and trailing arm; stabilizer bar and hydraulic link bushings

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel vented discs with ABS and Stabilitrak stability control system with Traction Control
Tires: Michelin Latitude Tour ? P235/55 R19 mounted on 5-spoke chrome-clad aluminum alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 112.5 inches
Length Overall: 187.8 inches
Width: 72.5 inches
Height: 66.3 inches
Curb Weight: 3,922 lbs
Fuel Capacity: 20.9 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 17 mpg city / 25 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.36
0 – 60 mph: 7.8 seconds