2010 Chevrolet Equinox
As the “new” GM gears up, it’s clear that certain vehicles will be key to its success. The 2010 Chevrolet Equinox is the first such vehicle. Now this 5-passenger compact crossover utility returns with a stem-to-stern overhaul and a focus on higher fuel economy, all to be a stronger competitor in a segment pioneered by the Toyota RAV-4 and Honda CR-V. So let’s see if Equinox can lead the General’s march back to success.
The second-generation 2010 Chevrolet Equinox is built on an updated Theta architecture, shared with the upcoming GMC Terrain. Shorter than last year, its very attractive styling draws heavily from the larger Traverse crossover. That includes a front fascia defined by a two-tier bowtie grille, wraparound headlamps, and available fog lights. The sleek profile is accentuated by a thick, forward-leaning C-pillar and the appearance of wrap-around glass.
But it’s powertrains with class leading economy that really makes the Equinox a standout. Standard is a 2.4-liter Ecotec I4 with advanced direct-fuel injection. Ratings are 182 horsepower, almost as much as last year’s standard V6, with 172 pound-feet of torque. Coupled to a 6-speed automatic, in front-wheel drive form, it boasts Government Fuel Economy ratings of 22 city/32 highway on regular gas. The highway number beats all other compact crossovers including the RAV4, the CR-V, and even the Ford Escape Hybrid. All-wheel drive drops the highway number to a still stellar 29. The transmission’s “eco” mode alters shift points for best fuel economy. Interstate cruising range is a bladder-busting 600 miles.
Optional is a direct-injected 3.0-liter V6 with 264 horsepower and 222 pound-feet of torque. With a 6-speed and front-drive, fuel economy ratings are a more normal 18 City/25 Highway on Regular. We spent our first outings in the Equinox on the twisty roads west of Plymouth, Michigan. The Equinox 2.4 did exhibit a moderate strain under hard acceleration, but it was no worse than other I4 compact crossovers. With a respectable zero to 60 time of 8.7 seconds, this big four is more than able to haul a full load. However, maximum trailer tow of 3,500 pounds requires the V 6.
A stiffer chassis with wider front track aids the all-independent suspended Equinox towards excellent road manners. Ride is well-controlled, easily conquering the broken and bumpy Michigan pavement. The cabin is unusually quiet too, thanks to a low drag coefficient and Active Noise Cancellation. Equinox comes with discs brakes with ABS and Brake Assist. Hill Start Assist, stability, and traction control further the active safety equation.
The interior of the Equinox is even more head-turning than the exterior. Not at all utilitarian, it follows the twin-cockpit theme of the Malibu and Camaro. The eye-catching instrument panel features blue lighting and a floating center stack for a truly unique appeal within the segment. Two-tone color schemes and excellent fit and finish provide an added dose of style.
Seats have a more upscale look and feel too, especially when dressed in perforated leather and red stitching. A tilt/telescoping steering wheel with cruise controls is standard. The nominal six-speaker CD stereo can be upgraded to an eight-speaker Pioneer system on up-level trims. There’s also a 40-gig hard drive and Bluetooth.
Available is a rear view camera displayed in the rear view mirror. It really helps overcome the otherwise restricted rear vision. The split-folding rear bench seat now reclines. It retains fore and aft adjustment, a full eight inches, so legroom is also class best. And to keep the kids occupied, there’s an available twin-screen rear DVD system. But with so much people space, something had to give. Its 31.4 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the back seat is less than CR-V and RAV-4. With rear seats folded, that space expands to 63.7, but that’s still below average for its class. But this isn’t: the first programmable power liftgate available for a small crossover. Besides full open, it can be set for a lower opening to avoid contact with a garage ceiling.
With so much to offer, we were also surprised that Equinox has a lower price than last year, starting at $23,185 for the LS, $24,105 for the LT, and $28,790 for the up level LTZ. All-wheel drive adds $1750 more. With upscale styling and interior appointments, class leading fuel-efficiency, and a good overall value, the new 2010 Chevrolet Equinox gives RAV-4 and CRV something new to aim for. As for doing its part for a “new” GM? Well, the Equinox has all the marks of a winner!
- Engine: 2.4-Liter Ecotec I4
- Horsepower: 182
- Torque: 172 Lb Feet
- 0-60 MPH: 8.7 Seconds
- EPA: 22 MPG City/ 32 MPG Highway
2024 Mazda CX-90
A Force To Be Reckoned With
If you’ve been following Mazda lately, you’ll know they’ve been fielding some serious new designs; you could even say, they’re latest efforts are 10-times better than before. After all, the CX-3 became the CX-30, then CX-5 became the CX-50, and now it’s the CX-9’s turn. So, let’s find out if this all-new CX-90, their largest SUV yet, is a real multiplier or if it’s all just a numbers game.
Don’t think of this 2024 Mazda CX-90 so much as an updated version of the CX-9, as it’s more of a complete rethink of their 3-row crossover, the first built on an all-new, large vehicle platform for the brand. And this platform carries a host of surprises. Not only does it make the CX-90 bigger by every dimension, but it’s a rear-drive architecture, and features all-new powertrains, including the brand’s first plug-in hybrid, and even an inline-6 engine.
Why an inline-6 to replace the CX-9’s turbo-4? Well, in general terms, I6s are better balanced, run smoother, and can deliver more torque at lower RPM. Just ask the BMW faithful, or any of the truckers you see going down the road hauling more than 20-tons of cargo with their inline-6s.
There are 2-versions of the longitudinally mounted 6, both assisted by turbocharging and a 48-volt mild hybrid system. Output for the base Turbo is 280-horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque; this Turbo S cranks it up to 340-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. The PHEV, on the other hand, is based on a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I4, working with a 100-kW electric motor to deliver 323-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. A 17.8-kWh battery delivers 26-miles of EV driving.
It’s not the prettiest SUV, but it does have very smooth body work; plus, the longer hood and 7½-inches of wheelbase stretch over the CX-9, give it more stately proportions. All CX-90s come with i-Activ all-wheel drive and the brand’s first 8-speed automatic transmission; the longer wheelbase allows tow ratings to step up from 3,500-lbs. to 5,000.
At the test track, our Turbo S launched effortlessly with good grip on the way to a 6.4-second 0-60. The smooth vibes continued throughout the ¼-mile, with refined power delivery, seamless shifts, and a noticeably more solid and stable feel at speed than the CX-9. Our best time was 14.7-seconds at 98 miles-per-hour.
Through the cones, it still behaves like a Mazda, with very good steering feel and a solid presence in corners at low to moderate speeds. Some understeer and body roll will show up when pushed hard, but Mazda’s Kinematic Posture Control uses subtle selective braking to help the vehicle rotate, and safety systems will step in well-before it gets out of sorts.
There’s a nice firm feel to the brake pedal, delivering good stopping results of 118-feet from 60 miles-per-hour. You can feel a lot of weight transfer, but nosedive was well contained.
Another unique element the CX-90 brings is seating arrangements for 6,7, or 8. It’s the 8-seater that’s standard with 3-across bench seating for 2nd and 3rd rows. 7-seaters get either captain’s chairs in the 2nd row, or more contoured seats for the 3rd; 6-seaters sport 2nd row captains and the contoured 3rd row. Cargo capacity varies with seating, but is at best 15.9 cubic-ft. behind the 3rd row, 40.1 behind the 2nd, and 75.2 with all seats folded.
As far as what it’s like to actually live with, the CX-90’s cabin is a clear step up, including on some trims suede-like materials, intricate stitching, and real wood, all consistent with what we’ve seen from the brand lately. A 10-inch dashtop touchscreen is standard for infotainment, with upper trims getting a larger 12.3-incher. We applaud Mazda’s inclusion of plenty of old-school manual controls for radio and climate, which keeps menu diving limited to secondary functions. PHEVs get a few unique controls and readouts to monitor drive modes and battery level.
Overall, the CX-90 is highly functional, entertainingly sporty to drive, and will be more competitive in the ever growing 3-row family crossover segment; and its posh interior may even attract luxury buyers on a budget.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the Turbo S are 23-City, 28-Highway, and 25-Combined. We averaged a good 26.5 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
Pricing begins with the base Turbo at Select trim for $40,970, PHEVs are available in Preferred trim and above starting at $48,820, and the Turbo S starts at $53,125.
Force multiplier is a military term for when strategic elements come together to produce results greater than would have been possible without them. Well, no high-level math skills are necessary here to see that the 2024 Mazda CX-90 is clearly more than just a much better CX-9; it’s now a force to be reckoned with in the 3-row family crossover segment.
- Engine: 3.3-liter I-6
- Horsepower: 340
- 0-60 mph: 6.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 118 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 26.5 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 369 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 14.7-seconds at 98 mph
- EPA: 23 City / 28 Highway / 25 Combined
- Starting Price: $40,970