The 2012 Chevrolet Equinox has very high Total Car Score, which is like the Hollywood ending to one of those transformation stories. The first generation of Equinox was something of a let-down. But the second, which debuted two years ago, seems to have been through a Rocky-style montage and come out fitter, stronger and more successful.
In other words, comfortable, refined and offering plenty of passenger space. Reviewers single out for praise the sliding rear seat that offers a little extra legroom when needed. They also like the smaller engine for its economy, while appreciating the more powerful V6 for towing.
However, critics are also in agreement over the numb steering and generally unexciting drive (while realizing that such traits aren't necessarily drawbacks for most buyers). The amount of cargo space (either 31.4 or 63.7 cubic feet, depending on the second-row seats being up or down) is bettered by some strong rivals, while at least one reviewer is particularly unimpressed with the rear three-quarter visibility. Luckily, a rearview camera is available, along with blind spot-mitigating side mirrors -- which are new for 2012.
Also new for 2012 are lane departure and forward collision alert systems. What's missing for 2012 is the option of a second-row DVD setup.
The five-seat 2012 Chevrolet Equinox midsize crossover SUV comes in LS, LT and LTZ trims.
A 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine is available in all three levels. It develops 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. In the LT and LTZ trims there's the option of a 3.0-liter V6, good for 264 hp and 222 lb-ft. Both engines couple up to a six-speed automatic transmission and may drive just the front wheels or all four.
The LS comes with powered height adjustment for the front seat, power accessories, 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth satellite radio and an auxiliary audio mini-jack input.
Just to complicate things, there are two levels of LT trim. 1LT brings roof rails, heated mirrors, a rearview camera, tinted rear windows and an upgraded audio system with iPod/USB socket. 2LT includes heated front seats, remote start, fog lamps and a Pioneer audio system.
The LTZ gets automatic on/off headlamps, a power liftgate, leather upholstery and rear parking sensors.
Options include navigation, sunroof and warning systems for forward collision and lane departure.
Standard safety equipment includes traction and stability controls, front side and side curtain airbags, and ABS with brake assist.
EPA ratings for the 2012 Equinox are 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined for the four-cylinder engine with front-wheel drive. The same engine with all-wheel drive returns 20/29/23 mpg. EPA estimates for the front-drive/V6 model are 17/24/20 mpg; the all-wheel drive/V6 configuration achieves 16/23/19 mpg.
Equipped properly, the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
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