There is an old poem, "I Wish You Enough," which, in a chapbook, I can imagine accompanied by a shot of the Equinox. Thing is, Chevrolet's 2012 version of the crossover has just enough features to keep the vehicle interesting, but is not so fancy it overreaches.
In other words, it knows what it is, and it knows what it isn't.
The Equinox front-wheel drive LTZ is a practical, functional, high-value vehicle that brags, and rightly so, a garish car-like fuel economy of 17 city, 24 highway. Those are formidable selling-point digits and, end of day, meant that I had extra petrol end of week (my loaner economy test).
Aesthetics? Well, the exterior's fine, if unremarkable. But you know, in this age of over-the-top styling, inoffensive can work. There are no particularly raffish angles or of-the-moment, trendy features. And hey, the 18-inch wheels do lend a fine stance.
Interior? Fine there, too, save for a few too many low-brow surfaces and, yes, sounds, the mostly under-rated aural quality ascribed to, say, the glove compartment closing. Sometimes, by the way, very little sound works. Like anything else, a lot of it depends upon how much a ride costs. For $33,540, including options, there could be slightly better materials and aural notes. But it's nothing to mewl about. Generally, the Equinox has plenty of storage spots and is roomy, both leg- and head-wise.
Seating is plenty comfy, helped by decent leather-appointed front-heated seats with power height adjust and lumbar. A four-hour excursion produced very little squirming. Then there is the rear seat, which has a 60/40 split back and three-position recline. A pal, following a trip to Home Depot, used the split for her new shovel, and the recline for an achy back. And now, she could be in the market.
You're welcome, Chevy.
A tilt and telescopic leather-wrapped steering is standard, as are unexpected features like a programmable power liftgate and rear-vision camera. Pretty cool, actually. Another grand can fetch a seven-inch navigation screen with CD/MP3 capability, as well as forward collision alert and lane departure warning. The radio system is okay but could be a skosh better, in my view.
As for driving, I never awoke in abject anticipation of a day with the crossover. And Chevy didn't expect that. Having said, the experience is pleasant enough despite some mildly loosey-goosey steering. In fact, the ride is rather polished and well mannered. The optional 3.0-liter, six-cylinder direct-injection flex-fuel engine is sufficiently peppy, upon straight-line take-offs, too. The standard powerplant — Ecotech 2.4-liter direct injection — does 182 horses and 172 ft.-lbs. of torque. The six-speed auto tranny's nicely calibrated; it knows at all times what gear it ought be in. And for its class — after all, everything is relative — the ride is very quiet.
Safety and security features — also vastly underrated — are generously plenteous; and Equinox garnered the Top Safety Pick Award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Standard hardwareand software are the Stabilitrak stability control system with traction control, goo-gobs of airbags, a rear vision camera system, and rear parking assist. That really is a lot of standard safety.
Competing with the Ford Escape, Kia Sorento, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe and Toyota RAV4, Equinox is available in trims LS, LT and LTZ, and with all-wheel drive.
Look, Equinox is very good at what it is: a sensible, utilitarian, versatile, spacious, gas-saving ride, especially suitable for families. As sales results show, that's plenty enough for many.
Pricing starts at $24,340 with destination charges.