When the old compact Blazer evolved into the midsize TrailBlazer, it left a hole in Chevrolet's lineup. As of early 2004, that space will be filled by the Equinox, built to compete with the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4. Unlike the Blazer, the car-based Equinox isn't meant for serious off-roading, but what it lacks in trail prowess it makes up for in comfort, interior versatility, and luxury at a bargain price.
The sport/utility will be powered by GM's 3.4-liter OHV V-6 and backed by a five-speed Aisin-Warner automatic. Suspension consists of a MacPherson-strut front and a four-link coil-spring rear. Front-drive is standard, with all-wheel drive optional. Front discs and rear drums come on all levels of the Equinox. Four-wheel ABS is standard on all-wheel-drive models and optional for front-drivers.
The Equinox's second-row Multi-Flex bench seat has eight inches of travel, meaning the cargo or passenger areas can quickly be made a higher priority. Chevy states the Equinox's rear-seat legroom (maximum 42.7 inches) is not only best in class, but exceeds that of the Expedition. The 60/40 rear seats have two recline positions and fold flat, as does the front passenger seat. Chevrolet is offering several options, including OnStar, XM Satellite Radio, steering-wheel radio controls, a 3500-pound tow package, and side head-curtain airbags.
With the Equinox's versatile interior, ample power, and upscale design, inside and out, Chevrolet is aggressively entering a highly competitive market segment with a very capable product.