Holden Equinox LS+

The Equinox is Holden’s entry into the popular mid-sized SUV segment.

Regular readers of The Road Ahead might remember our Pro vs Punter piece in the August/September issue of the magazine where Carri-Anne Lucas and myself critiqued the Holden Equinox LS+ 2WD.

However, space precluded going into as much depth as we would have liked, so here’s a new car review with extra detail of the very same vehicle.

The Equinox is Holden’s entry into the popular mid-sized SUV segment. Built in Mexico and badged as a Chevrolet in the US, it was launched in Australia in late 2017. It would be fair to say sales have been much slower than expected.

A 1.5-litre, turbo engine might seem a little underdone for a vehicle this size, but with a respectable 127Kw of power and 275Nm of torque that does its best work between 2000-4000rpm, the Equinox would meet the expectations of most buyers in this segment. 

The transmission is a nine-speed auto, nicely calibrated in terms of driveability except that it doesn’t quite help produce the fuel consumption and emissions efficiency that might be expected. Our average on test was 9.7 litres/100km, nearly 3.0 higher than the official ADR combined cycle figure.

With local tuning provided by Holden’s suspension and chassis experts, the Equinox rides and handles without major vice around town, cruising the highway or tackling a twisting back road.

Interior space for both occupants and cargo is generous, making Holden’s mid-sizer one of the roomiest offerings in its segment. The seats are comfortable and accommodating, and the boot measures up at 846-litres (VDA).

Holden Equinox interior

Standard equipment is extensive and includes 17-inch alloys, reversing camera and rear parking sensors, automatic headlights with LED daytime running lights, Active Noise Cancellation, Holden’s MyLink infotainment system with 7-inch colour touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and Bluetooth.

Tick the boxes for Holden’s Eye forward facing camera system which brings autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. Also, automatic high beam assist and power folding side mirrors.

Minuses are few: to my mind, the Safety Alert – while no doubt well-intended – is too trigger happy. Its over-eagerness to vibrate the driver’s seat and flash a warning becomes not just annoying, but downright distracting. Unfortunately, there is no option to turn down the system’s sensitivity – it’s either on or off. And the space saver is no substitute for a full-size spare wheel, but we can say that about many a new vehicle.

In summary, the Holden Equinox is a competent enough vehicle, but lacks the killer punch to put away the biggest-sellers in the mid-sized SUV segment. Think Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan X-Trail. 

Price: $32,990 (+ on-road costs)
Engine: 1.5-litre, turbo petrol 4-cyl.
ANCAP safety rating: 5 star.
For: Well-equipped, roomy, drives well enough.
Against: Spacesaver spare, overactive safety alert.