The Holden Captiva wasn’t much to shout about. Against the competition, it sadly failed to cut the mustard in terms of design, function and driving dynamics. Clearly a re-think was required and Holden has responded brilliantly with the all-new Equinox.
Aimed squarely at the Mazda CX5 and Honda’s HRV, the Mexican built Equinox, which sits firmly between the smaller Trax and larger all-new Acadia, is leading Holden’s charge in the intensely competitive mid-sized premium SUV market, but is it any good? Styling wise the Equinox is a big improvement over its Captiva predecessor. Its unmistakable American lines certainly help the Equinox stand out. Inside and out, the Equinox is generously well equipped. My test car was the range topping LTZ-V AWD petrol at $56,990. This gets you 19-inch alloys, LED headlights, Hands Free Tailgate and Semi-Automatic Parking.
The LTZ-V contains a barrage of safety kit too. Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, are all a welcome addition to your commute. Plus, the driver’s ‘Haptic Seat’ will vibrate if a hazard in your path is detected. Inside there is a panoramic sunroof, heated/cooled front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, leather trim and Holden’s MyLink infotainment system with digital radio, sat nav and wireless phone charging. The standard Bose stereo also provides you with the closest audio experience to hearing Led Zeppelin live.
These aforementioned toys are all easy to get your head around, though interior quality is sadly lacking with a number of buttons and switches feeling a tad second rate. However, the Equinox claws back with a gargantuan amount of interior space. Whether you factor in the front and rear seats, or its 846-litre boot (which can be increased to 1798-litres with 60/40 split seats folded flat), this cat has more than enough room to swing one. On the move, the Equinox does rather well. The nine-speed automatic box shifts up and down smoothly, and the punch from its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with 188kW and 353Nm of torque is epic.
From low down to beyond the mid-range, the combination of power and torque left me barrelling along much quicker than expected. However, its combined 8.4L/100km fuel consumption figures mean it does like to drink and infrequent torque steer keeps you on your toes. The LTZ-V is actually a full-time front wheel drive car until you activate the AWD mode on the centre console. Steering can be vague, but in the corners themselves the Equinox, despite a kerb weight of 1778kg, tracks well and true, especially in AWD mode.
Despite the minor drawbacks, the Holden Equinox LTZ-V has a lot going for it. With plenty of grunt, features and class leading interior space, this Holden SUV is well worth considering and proof there is plenty of life in the Aussie lion yet.