The sun is shining the surf is calling and that great Australian tradition of a Summer road trip is at the forefront of our mind, How many days of our childhoods were spent in the back seat driving for hundreds of kilometres being branded by hot seatbelts and you and your siblings sticking to the vinyl seats like Minties to a floor mat.
Well still all these years later, whether we are on the road to visit family for the holidays or we’re trekking to that hidden surf break or holiday spot that has been in the family for generations.
Not much has changed in the places we travel, But what has definitely changed is the Australian motoring landscape and what we want from our cars, oh and the availability of air conditioning.
This is evident with the Australian market moving in droves to the SUV, the car that can go more places and fits that unique lifestyle we know and love as Aussies, while providing that perfect balance ready for the inner city commute or the long haul country trip or even some off-roading on the weekends.
We got to sit down with the engineers and team from Holden in Noosa a few months back to spend two days putting their latest offering to the market The Equinox through its paces.
Unlike other companies who have been blamed in the past for scrolling through the catalogue of their international parent company and sending a vehicle down under that doesn’t make muster.
Talking with the team who have been involved in concept and delivery of this model for the Australian market was something different that’s for sure. The team are very passionate about making sure any car with the Holden Badge goes through some serious testing and customisations that provide you with that unique Holden Ride built for Australia,
Equinox’s credentials goes far beyond a strong powertrain, Equinox boasts best-in-class power and torque and further establishes Holden’s focus on user-friendly technology. Also Making a debut on Equinox is Holden’s new Safety Alert driver’s seat
which gives drivers a small vibration to alert them of potential hazards. The new safety seat system joins a long list of active safety features including Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane Keep Assist and Blind Spot Alert.
“Safety Alert driver’s seat, as well as automatic park assist and AEB are three standout features that will give drivers peace of mind and help mitigate collisions,” said Tony Metaxas (Lead Development Engineer for Equinox). There’s also an impressive list of comfort and convenience technology additions such as wireless phone charging, automatic park assist and a kick-motion hands-free tailgate, all working to make life and the latest adventure that little bit more enjoyable.
These options vary accross the models 🙂
The Equinox is set to directly compete against the Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5 and Toyota Rav-4 also leading these models in Towing Capacity, Power and torque with its 2.0l Turbo 188kw engine and a massive 2 Tons towing available in the LT Model.
So after hearing all about the vehicle we finally got the chance to get behind the wheel and Discover the great driving roads of the Sunshine Coast in the Equinox spending roughly six hours behind the wheel of all different variations I can say I was pleasantly surprised with the vehicle and it certainly ranks well against its competitors.
My first impression was in the LTX-V 2.0l version which has a great up and go for its size, packed with the safety features and dual panel sun roof this model is running the same 2.0l engine that will be in the upcoming ZD Commodore and in an SUV it certainly makes you feel comfortable in its abilities.
We were lucky on this trip as we got to trial the Equinox in a range of wet, slippery and torrential conditions along with some brief sunshine and not once did I feel that it could have done with some more power or traction even in the base front-wheel drive model.
The whole range seems to be well set up with features varying across the models as you would expect, the base model LS front – wheel drive manual is $27990 right on up to the LTX-V all wheel drive auto at $46290 and the range is set to receive a Turbo Diesel model this year (Pricing TBC).
The ride noise and comfort is something I spent my time constantly commenting on to the annoyance of my passengers as it was definitely a smooth and quiet ride on the Sunshine Coasts wet and bumpy roads, unlike the noise I made with my constant yammering.
So overall the impression of the Equinox as the first of the new offerings Holden has for us in 2018 is that Holden is ushering in a new chapter and I’m excited to see what they have for us next.
Oh, and I’d would not pass up the opportunity to take an Equinox for a test drive as you might just pick up you’re next daily drive 🙂
Published In Issue 44 of GCMAG - Feb 2018