Thursday, January 28, 2016

Looking for a “larger”, more affordable SUV? You may want to consider the 2016 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ. It sells for just under $35,000.

I know, I know, it’s domestic, you’re thinking “where’s the luxury”? Let’s start with the exterior. I really liked the Tungsten Metallic colour, combined with the chrome trim and 18” tires. It gives it a classy, modern, rich look. Not what you might expect from GM. Its body isn’t curvy, but it is quite beautiful to look at. Did I mention it’s “large”? Careful going into underground parking garages, at times it can be tight!

So let’s take a peek inside. When I first opened the driver side door I quickly noticed the high quality perforated leather, heated seats, similar to what you might see in more high-end vehicles like BMW. Both passenger and driver have their own heated seat control. I kept it on the highest level and it was very comfortable, didn’t get too hot. What I didn’t like once inside, was the usual firm plastic dash that you typically see from GM, and hard, sharp edged, plastic touch buttons on the console. It’s also not a push start engine. It comes with a key similar to VW, where you press a button to release it from the main key fob… boring. Nice leather wrapped steering wheel, looks and feels good. Additional leather trim and stitching throughout the interior is a nice touch. It gives it a more luxurious feel. Driver and front passenger have electric seat controls. The driver also has a memory setting for their seat AND the outside mirrors.

The power moon roof is a great feature to add on. What I really liked about it was that each button had a picture on it! No guessing when it comes to “which button does what”!
I didn’t like that there wasn’t a button in the trunk area to put down the back seats, it’s all manual… BUT there is a programmable lift gate! When you have your hands full of shopping bags you just press the trunk button on your key fob to open it AND hold it down to close it! I love that! The back seat is a 40/60 split and the center partition pulls down to double as a drink holder! No climate control for passengers. I would have liked to have seen that.

Its 6-speaker Pioneer system with a subwoofer is quite good, nice sound. The On Star 4G LTE with Wifi is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! You can connect up to 7 devices and it’s pretty easy to figure out. Decent touch navigation system, again easy to use.

So how does it drive? Well, I wasn’t sure at first if it was a 4 or 6 cylinder, but I quickly found the answer to my question. It’s a 4-cylinder, 182 hp. When you press the gas pedal it’s a bit sluggish, but once it’s going it’s a pretty solid ride. I found it drives more like a truck… but without all the power! It’s very large, have I mentioned that yet?? It’s great over bumps, not bouncy at all, very smooth, but it definitely does not hug corners. I had A LOT of trouble parking it in downtown Toronto - at the gym, on the street, everywhere! The back-up camera is great - very clear, great audio warnings. I just wish it had a 360 camera to help with parking and all the blind spots. It’s good on gas, even has an Eco Mode. Although, it does feel and sound a bit rougher in this mode.

Both side mirrors are heated, with blind-spot alert. If you’re getting too close to a vehicle in front of you a “bright” warning light and “loud” audio alert sounds off. It’s a bit distracting, but it should definitely wake you up and prevent you from “accidentally” bumping into someone!

The 2016 Equinox LTZ really is a comfortable and roomy ride for the driver and all passengers. I was impressed with all the little extras that GM added to this vehicle, but they still have a long way to go to get a “luxury vehicle” pass from me!

Amanda Risser
Luxury, New Car Blogger

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