2010 Chevrolet Equinox

2010 Chevrolet Equinox

Episode 2903 , Episode 2916
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

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
2023 Mazda3

2023 Mazda3

Still The Same Mazda3, Just A Bit Better

Episode 4304
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When the fourth-gen Mazda3 arrived for 2019, it grew a little more stylish, a lot more upscale; and loads more practical too, adding all-wheel drive into the mix for the first time. How does it get better than that? Well, for ’23 the 3 adds an engine update that promises to deliver more power and better efficiency. Time to speak truth to this power.

The Mazda3 has always been a great compact car, big on both fun and value, and has earned numerous MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Awards over the years. This current-gen has been on the road for 4-years now, and it gets even better for 2023.

Starting with the powertrain, the base 2.0-liter I4 has been eliminated leaving just 2 versions of the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, turbo and non-turbo. Base versions get a 5-horsepower bump to 191-horsepower, along with updates for its cylinder deactivation system. The 2.5 Turbo fits standard all-wheel drive and outputs the same 250-horsepower and 320 lb-ft. of torque as last year; provided you use Premium gas. Max ratings drop to 227-horsepower and 310 lb-ft. with Regular.

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A 6-speed manual transmission remains available in front-wheel drive 3s, but AWDs come exclusively with a sport-tuned 6-speed automatic. We found it well-sorted and seemingly always on the same page as us whether we were shuffling through back roads or sitting in traffic. There is a softer overall feel compared to Mazda3s of old, which you’ll appreciate when encountering harsh pavement, but it still feels plenty agile when called upon.

That softer feel certainly carries over inside, where it has gotten much quieter, and quite nicely finished, consistent with Mazda’s Audi-like premium intentions. All 3s get an 8.8-inch center display, and all of the fingerprints on our test car’s screen signifies most people assume it’s a touchscreen. It’s not, however, as inputs are made with a rotary controller on the console. It’s not the most intuitive system, but once you’re past the learning curve, it’s tolerable.

The rear seat room doesn’t have the roomy feel of the Subaru Impreza, but space is certainly more than adequate compared to the rest of the compact set. Rear cargo space for this hatchback rates a good 20.1 cubic-ft. with trunk space in the sedan coming in at 13.2 cubic-ft. So yes, the Mazda3 remains available in both sedan and hatchback, but we still prefer the 5-door hatch both for its practicality and for its sporty looks. Top Turbo Premium Plus gets gloss black aero treatments including a roof spoiler and front air dam.

At the test track, power from the 2.5-turbo felt more than adequate off the line, using all-wheel-drive grip to bite into the pavement and get up and go to 60 in 6.0-seconds flat. There was virtually no turbo lag, and the engine felt nicely refined with its power delivery. Transmission operation was equally as smooth and kept the power flowing quite effectively throughout the ¼-mile, which ended in 14.5-seconds at 95 miles-per-hour. We really appreciate a well-tuned 6-speed in this world of overactive 8 and 10 speed automatics.

2023 Mazda3 1

While there was definitely some understeer to manage in our handling course, the 3 turned in quickly and provided real, sporting feedback through our cone course. I-Activ AWD features G-Vectoring Control Plus, which uses both engine torque vectoring as well as selective braking to minimize body roll, and preserve the lively feel we’ve come to expect from Mazda. In panic braking runs, the pedal was soft, but that kept ABS pulsing to a minimum; and the results were great, as we averaged a very short 106-feet from 60, with minimal nose dive and stable, straight stops.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an all-wheel drive Turbo are 23-City, 31-Highway, and 26-Combined; we averaged a good 28.4 miles-per-gallon of Regular.

Obviously by eliminating the previous base engine, prices have taken a jump for ’23, but so has everything else. Still they remain more than reasonable. The base S now starts at $26,855, with the top Turbo Premium Plus at $37,815, with many options in between. And sedan prices are even more sensible, starting at $23,715.

Like most brands, Mazda seems to be going all-in on SUVs; as the 3 is the last family sedan and hatchback in their lineup. And it would be a real shame if that were to change. As the 2023 Mazda3, the hatchback in particular, is just about the perfect car, offering utility vehicles levels of practicality along with better than average luxury, plus handling performance that few crossovers can match. So, long live the Mazda3!


As Tested

  • Engine: 2.5-liter Turbo-4
  • Horsepower: 227 | 250
  • 0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 106 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 28.4 MPG (Regular)
  • Transmission: 6-speed auto
  • Torque: 310 lb-ft. | 320 lb-ft
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.5-seconds at 95 mph
  • EPA: 23-City / 31-Highway / 26-Combined