Chevy Equinox now offered in Sport edition
THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2008 Chevrolet Equinox Sport front-wheel-drive midsize SUV. DOWN THE ROAD: The all-new Sport model trim of the Equinox, geared toward performance, shares its design with the Pontiac Torrent. The SUV boasts plenty of power to merge quickly into peak-hour traffic or cruise the highway at leisure and in comfort. Performance-oriented enthusiasts will enjoy revving up its six-cylinder engine. TECH & PERFORMANCE: A 3.6-liter V-6 engine churns 265 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 250 pounds-feet of torque at 2300 rpm. It is mated to a seamless 6-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift capabilities. Suspension is handled via an independent MacPherson strut in the front and a four-link with coil springs and trailing arms in the rear. A hydraulic power rack-and-pinion steering system enables the SUV to have a turning curb-to-curb circle of 41.83 feet. Stopping power is plenty with 11.65-inch front and 11.93-inch rear disc brakes. Tow capability of 3,500 pounds is commendable for the midsize vehicle. LOOK & FEEL: The bold-looking Equinox Sport shows off a body-colored grille crossbar with silver-painted trapezoidal air inlets in the front fascia. The rear displays dual chrome trapezoidal-shaped exhausts, vertical taillights and a body-colored spoiler. The cabin has a sporty appearance with such standard features as air conditioning, four-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel, J-gate shifter knob, rear liftgate, power windows and door locks, and a six-way power driver's seat. The well-bolstered front seats add a sporting feel to the SUV. The front-passenger seat can fold flat and the 60/40-split rear seatback can slide fore or aft by eight inches, opening up plenty of leg and shoulder room for its occupants. Cargo space behind the rear seat is a worthy 68.6 inches. The Equinox has plenty of storage areas for your smaller belongings, too, either in the center console or door pockets.SAFETY FIRST: Standard features include dual front airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, stability and traction control, tire pressure monitoring system, daytime running lights and a remote vehicle start. OUT THE DOOR: $27,380, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. Go with the perforated leather seats for an extra $595, tilt-and-sliding sunroof for $695 and the head curtain airbag for $395. BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, P235/50R18 all season; wheelbase, 112.5 inches; length, 188.8 inches; weight, 3,818 pounds; fuel capacity, 20.5 gallons; city, 16 mpg; highway, 24 mpg. WHY DIG IT: Kudos to Chevy for producing this Sport version of the well-liked Equinox. It should draw in prospective buyers looking to purchase a midsize SUV, which packs a punch while offering generous cargo capacity for a reasonable price.
Nitish S. Rele is an advertising staff writer for The Tampa Tribune.