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Here is a repost of a review I wrote for another forum a couple of months ago right after my purchase. I do have a bit to add to it. I’ll post some follow-ups here when I get some time.

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I’ve had my new Equinox for about a week here are my initial impressions.

2010 Equinox LTZ FWD in Summit White
2.4L 4 Cylinder with Navigation as the only option.
Photo Gallery (75 Photos): http://jjhack.dyndns.org:8069/gallery/2010_Equinox

Exterior:
I love the new grill design very GM corporate feel, love the big bowtie on the front. The projector style headlights on the LTZ are very upscale, and the fog lights match them nicely. At first I was not sure about the chrome appearance package (included with the LTZ). We saw it on darker color Nox’s and thought it looked too gaudy, but I must say it looks great on the Summit White. The deep tinted rear windows are great on white, but I would recommend doing the driver/passenger fronts as well. One for appearance and two for night time driving, as I think passing vehicles lights are too bright in side mirrors. This is compounded by the rear window tint, and the auto dimming rear view mirror, it makes the light coming in the side seem that much brighter.

Driving/Ride Quality/Performance:
I had a 100 mile drive home after taking delivery, mostly parkway at 70 MPH. The first thing I noticed was how quiet it was at speed. The laminated glass works wonders for wind noise, and the active sounds deadening keeps down the motor noise. The 2.4 tacked about 2,000 RPMs in top gear at 70, which I thought was low for a 4 cylinder (but great for fuel economy). It does have to downshift to get up hills, sometimes it has to drop down two gears and rev to 4,000 RPM’s to hold 70 going up big hills. But what impressed me was how quiet it was tacked up like that. I could hear a bit more motor noise, but I could not feel it in the steering wheel. Around town the acceleration is fine, the first couple of gears are very low so it likes to sprint off the line. Steering is a bit on the light side with the electric pump, and the turning radius is a bit large, but hey it’s a SUV. It absorbed bumps and cracks like a SUV that was much heaver. I’m sure the stock 17’s with their 65 series profile help absorb much of the drama. I found the suspension tuning to be plenty soft for the highway, but plenty taut for cornering. With very little body roll passengers stay comfortable in corners. The OEM 225/65/17 Michelin Latitude Tour tires feel very confident. I know the Nox is not a sporty vehicle, but in hard corning the tires are very predictable and give plenty of noise/warning when you are nearing the edge. I’ve not had any rain/snow experience yet. I’ll make another post about fuel economy, as I’m still working out the best techniques to throw at it, I’m a hypermiler btw. Here is a summery of what I’ve seen so far. I’ve seen about 31mpg on the highway, might seem a little low but the motor is still in the break-in period and it will get better. Around town I can get 24mpg not trying at all, but if I slow down and neutral coast I can get 30-32mpg, which I find outstanding for a SUV. I think most people would be happy with 24 city and 32 highway, great numbers!

Interior:
Oh were to start! The leather seats rock! Very supportive and plenty of adjustments for the driver. The manual adjustments on all the passenger seats are easy to use, and all the seats feel just as good as the drivers. The color scheme is sporty feeling with the Jet Black/Light Titanium with red stitching. It’s the best Chevrolet interior I’ve been in, save maybe my dad’s C6 Corvette. I do wish GM would have used more soft touch materials on the dash, but all the important contact areas are soft. The cup holders in the center stack are nice with chrome accents, it does take a little pressure to get a bottle to seat in there good (that’s a good thing). Plenty of cubby storage, the armrest storage is massive. It is no joke, you can put a 15” laptop in there. It’s not super wide though, but for a compact SUV it’s well above average. The cargo area is plenty spacious. The rear seats don’t fold down 100% flat, but it’s close. I do like the hard plastic protection plates at the seat hinges. Other hatches I’ve seen just have a velcro carpeted flap that can come undone when sliding items in causing items to get lost in the hinges.

Navigation:
The only option I had to have was the upgraded stereo with navigation. And from what I’ve used of it, I say it’s well worth it. As with any navigation system it took a bit to get familiar with the operation. I’m not one to read the manual first, if I can’t figure it out it’s too complicated to begin with. I found the menus are well laid out, and the POI database was plenty detailed. It took me about 10 minutes and I was up and running with it. It has three different map view modes, straight down rotated to your direction, straight down fixed pointing north, and a bird’s eye view that rotates with your direction. I set it to the bird’s eye view, as it is what I’m most familiar with from using a Tomtom. Route guidance is a bit overwhelming at first, the system presents you with a lot of information. When on the interstate the right hand side of the screen shows you upcoming exits. You can click on one to see what POI’s are there, nice for if you need gas/food/restrooms along the way. The left hand side continues to show the bird’s eye view of the route. The right side of the screen shows exit/turn detail when you are near a direction change. One nice feature is the integration of the nav with the DIC screen in the instrument cluster. It shows the direction of your next turn, and a shrinking distance bar to the turn.

Stereo:
The 8 speaker Pioneer system sounds great. I had to adjust in a little more treble for my tastes. The subwoofer fills in the low notes well, and it’s used for the active sound deadening (awesome feature!). The stereo interface is easy to use, some menus can be a little slow, for example scrolling through the XM channel list. The USB interface works great with my iPhone 3G, I did notice that you have to unlock your phone then plug in, and answer “no” about turning off the phone radio. The stereo quickly found all my music and playlists. The hard drive storage feature is neat, you can load in music off of CD’s, MP3 CD’s, or USB memory sticks, as well as time shift or record FM/XM radio. I’ve loaded about 8gig of MP3’s to the hard drive off a memory stick. I wish the HDD would allow for playlist creation, but without out it I’ve had to trick the system into making playlists. I edited the ID3 tags on my MP3’s and changed the “Album” to the name of my playlist. Then when in the HDD library menu, I can select album and see all my playlists. I found it as a nice workaround for this limitation.

Other Gadgets:
  • Bluetooth phone calls sounds clear. I can clearly hear the other end, and I’ve been told I sound clear as well, not even a hint of feedback echo. It does take some time to input your voice dials, and the speech recognition does well. One nice touch is the integration of the POI database on the navigation to your phone. After you find a POI and if it has a phone number, the nav can dial it on your BT connection.
  • OnStar directions can be loaded directly into the navigation unit. This is nice for inputting a destination while driving. Just have OnStar do it, and you can still get the same navigation interface you are used to, not just the OnStar voice directions. Supposedly this is a new feature for the next generation GM navigation units, and the 2010 Nox’s have it.
  • Remote start with the automatic climate control is very nice. More like a feature I would see on a luxury vehicle. With temperatures here in the upper 80’s the remote start will activate the air conditioning when started. And from what I’ve read it will start the heater and seat heaters when it is cold outside.
  • Windows down from remote. You can hold the unlock button down on the key fob and all the windows roll down. Very nice when used with the remote start to quickly cool off on a hot day.
  • The blue interior lighting looks good at night. The door handles and door pockets are lit on the LTZ’s. Also nice is the lighting for the center console. The lighting is not too bright as to be distracting, I would say it’s just right.
  • The power lift gate is handy, it was not an option I wanted, just was included with the LTZ. It opens and closes quickly and has a nice 3/4 open feature that can be programmed so that the door can be opened in areas with low clearance.
  • The cruise control shows the exact speed set in the DIC when it’s first engaged. And if you use the accelerate/coast buttons it will show you the updated speed. Nice touch that I’ve not seen in any other vehicle.
  • Backup assist camera is neat, it shows you a wide angle view with your projected path in a red wireframe (wireframe only with navi I think). I backed into a parking spot using the wirefame guidance and found it works perfectly. Looks a lot like the auto parking systems I’ve seen just with manual control (which is fine by me!). Also you can set the side mirrors to tilt down to help you see parking spot lines when in reverse. Nice touch.

Gripes/Problems:
  • I’ve had problems with the CD drive reading some of my CDR’s. I would insert a disk and the unit would not recognize a disk has been loaded, then after a minute it would eject the disk. Could be my disks, as all the retail CD’s/DVD’s I’ve used work fine.
  • I’ve had problems with the drivers seat seatbelt buckle sensor. I’ve had my belt fastened and the red seatbelt light says lit on the dash. Then I rebuckle it and it will go off. I guess it’s a bad sensor in the buckle, I’ll have the dealer look at it.
  • The headrest on the seats should extend a little higher. I’m 6’4” and fully extended the headrest hits me just at the bottom of head/top of my neck. An extra 3 to 4 inches of extension would have been perfect.
  • To access the voice command phone Bluetooth menu you have to hit the voice button then say “Hands-Free” then wait for about 5 seconds for the systems BT ready notification, then say your phone command. It just adds an extra 10-15 seconds to access any of the phone features. I think this is only an issue on vehicles that have navigation. Non-nav units go straight to the BT command when pressing the voice button.
Sorry about writing a book! To sum up, I’ve fallen in love with a Chevrolet! As long as GM can make new products like this, I see a speedy recovery.
 

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Windows down from remote. You can hold the unlock button down on the key fob and all the windows roll down. Very nice when used with the remote start to quickly cool off on a hot day.
I just tried this and it didn't work on our Terrain, but then again it's only 34 F out right now, so that may be a factor, or maybe a Nox only thing?
 

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Nice write up! Thanks for all the detail - detail is good for people who are still on the edge of buying the vehicle! Writing about the little things is always nice to see. Professional reviewers never do this, they obviously only comment on the most obvious features - plus they usually only spend a couple hours the the vehicle. No need to apologize about the length.

One little thing I noticed though that caught my attention:

snawdjj said:
...It’s the best Chevrolet interior I’ve been in, save maybe my dad’s C6 Corvette...
WTF?

I think it's pretty safe to say that the Corvette's interior can't even come close to the Equinox. The C6 has an atrocious, 'old school' GM interior. It was taken right out of an '89 Beretta. When I was in the dealership, the Corvette was one of those 'time warp' vehicles that makes you think you're sitting in a 20 year old car. Before I went to go sit in a Terrain, I was fully expecting a "GM" interior. Luckily for GM, I was wrong.
 

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I was going to post a review, but your's is so close to my thoughts I'll just add a few things here ;D

We also have a White LTZ I4 FWD, exactly like yours but adding the rear entertainment (got a 9 year old, and it was her requirement. Else she would not let Mom buy a new car... LOL)

I agree 100% on the exterior. The old 'Nox was plain and simple. The new one is very eye catching. We'll get our driver/passenger windows tinted soon. Only for UV protection if nothing else though. Nothing like having a tanned left arm and white right arm :eek: I'm not a big chrome fan at all (too much cleaning...) But the chrome on the 'Nox is very nice.

The handling is excellent. I'd call it a bit rough, but the trade off is extremely sporty handling. It instills so much confidence in the driver, that my wife was a little speedy this week for my tastes, since there was snow and ice on the roads. I pointed it out, and she agreed that it does make you feel safe and secure on the road.

On the inside, the only negatives I have is the center console being a tad out of reach. Thank goodness for steering wheel controls :) It's also a bummer that the rear seats don't fold flat. We probably won't fold them down much if at all, and the rear seats are extremely comfortable, so no loss there. I haven't been able to get the seat memory to react to the key fobs yet, like many old GM cars I've seen do. Not sure if that's a feature or not. This is our first car with memory seat, so we're enjoying it anyway.

The navigation is a great improvement over past GM nav radios. The lines on the backup camera are awesome! I love how they curve as you turn the wheel.

The Pioneer radio simply CRANKS! I love loud music (I know, I'll probably go deaf... what? what?) but can't handle 100% on this system. It also has no noticeable fad or distortion at those levels. I fully recommend the Pioneer on any level trim you can get it.

It took us a while to figure out the "Hands Free" requirement on the Bluetooth. In my Traverse you can usually say some commands from the start, so that is a bit of a bummer. But, I think Bluetooth through the stereo should be a standard feature on all cars due to the safety factor.

Thanks for a great review snawdjj!
 

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Excellent review, thanks for taking the time to do it!
 
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