You might not think right now is the best time to buy a Holden, what with the announcement from General Motors about closing down its Aussie operations at the end of 2020.
That’s understandable but side-stepping around the Equinox could see you miss out on what is a practical, comfortable and safe mid-sized SUV.
You can also bet on some heavily discounted deals on the final Holdens which could see you pick up a huge bargain if you buy an Equinox.
I’ve tested the top-of-the-range Equinox LTZ-V in this review and along with taking you though its features and what the SUV is like to drive, I’ll cover what type of support you can expect to have after Holden closes down. The company has promised to take care of its customers with parts and services for at least the next decade.
Then there are the roof rails, the front fog lights and LED headlights, heated wing mirrors, and 19-inch alloy wheels.
There’s an 8.0-inch screen with sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
But you get all that on the grade below it, too - the LTZ for $44,290. So, adding the V to LTZ along with an extra $2K adds the panoramic sunroof, ventilated seats up front, and a heated steering wheel. Still great value, but not as good as the LTZ.
Also, as Holden gets closer to the 2021 finish line you can expect the prices of it cars and SUVs to be heavily discounted - after all, everything must go
If you’re considering an Equinox, you could do a model comparison with the Mazda CX-5 or Honda CR-V. The Equinox is a five-seater, mid-sized SUV, so, if you’re looking for seven seats but roughly the same size and price there’s the Hyundai Santa Fe.
The Equinox is a bit of a mishmash of design elements which doesn't win this reviewer over.
The Equinox is a bit of a mishmash of design elements.
The sloping, broad grille bears more than a passing resemblance to the Cadillac family face, and hints at the Equinox’s American origins. In the United States the SUV wears a Chevrolet badge, although ours is built in Mexico.
The shape of the rear-side window is also a little jarring to me. If you want to see something you’ll never be able to unsee, take a look at my video above where I turn this mid-sized SUV into a small sedan. That sounds ridiculous but, trust me, watch it and be amazed.
The Equinox is longer than most of its rivals at 4652mm end-to-end but about the same width at 1843mm across.
How big is the Equinox? Just when you thought the design of the Equinox couldn’t get any more peculiar it does. The Equinox is longer than most of its rivals at 4652mm end-to-end but about the same width at 1843mm across (2105mm to the ends of the wing mirrors).
Telling the LTZ and the LTZ-V apart is tricky, but you can spot the top-grade Equinox by its sunroof and a metallic window garnish around the widows of the rear doors.
Inside is a premium and modern cabin.
Inside is a premium and modern cabin. There’s a high quality feel here from the materials used on the dash, seats and doors, to the display screen which sits at an angle that’s perfect for my reach, although others in the CarsGuide office aren’t quite as enamored with it.
Many cars are dressed up at the front of the cabin, but lack the same treatment in the rear, and the Equinox is a case in point, with hard plastics used around the window sills and the back of the console.
How practical is the space inside? 9/10
The Equinox’s greatest strength is its spaciousness and much of that comes down to its wheelbase.
See, the longer a car’s wheelbase the more room there is for the passengers inside. The Equinox’s wheelbase is longer than most of its rivals (25mm longer than a CX-5’s) and that goes some way to explaining how, at 191cm tall, I can sit behind my driving position with plenty of knee room.
The long wheelbase means more room for the passengers.
The longer wheelbase also means the rear wheelarches don’t cut far into the back doors, which allows for a wider aperture and easier access.
So, if you have young kids like me, they’ll find it easy to climb in, but if they’re really little the large opening will make it easy for you to put them into their car seats.
Cabin storage is excellent with an enormous centre console bin.
Headroom, even with the LTZ-V’s sunroof, is good in the back seats, too.
Cabin storage is excellent: the centre console bin is enormous, the door pockets are large; there are four cupholders (two in the back and two up front),
There's a large boot with cargo capacity of 846L.
Even with all this extra room, however, the Equinox is only a five-seater SUV. Still, that leaves you with a large boot with cargo capacity of 846L when the rear row is up and 1798L with the second-row seats folded.
You get 1798L with the second-row seats folded.
The Equinox has power outlets galore: three 12-volt sockets, a 230-volt power point; five USB ports (including one type C); and a wireless charging bay. That’s more outlets than any mid-sized SUV I’ve tested.
A flat floor in the second row, large windows and comfortable seats complete a well-appointed and practical cabin.
Really, the only reasons the Equinox doesn't score 10-out-of-10 here is the lack of a third-row seat, and sunshades or privacy glass for the rear windows.
For child seats there are two ISOFIX mounts and three top-tether points. There’s also a rear-seat alert to remind you there are children sitting in the back, when you park and switch off the vehicle. Don’t scoff… it’s happened to parents before.
Front and rear parking sensors are standard, but in the media menu you can swap the ‘beeps’ for ‘buzzes’ that vibrate the seat to let you know when you’re getting close to objects.
The driver’s seat that is, if everybody’s seat buzzed that’d be weird. Actually, who am I kidding – it’s weird that even the driver’s seat buzzes.
A space saver spare wheel sits under the boot floor.
The rear-view camera is good, and the LTZ-V comes with a 360-degree view, as well – great for when kids are running around the car.
What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered? 8/10
The Holden Equinox is covered by a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty. At the time this review was published Holden was offering seven years’ free scheduled servicing.
But normally, the Equinox is covered by a capped price servicing program which recommends servicing annually or every 12,000km and costs $259 for the first visit, $339 for the second, $259 for the third, $339 for the fourth and $349 for the fifth.
So, how will servicing work after Holden closes down? In Holden’s February 17, 2020, announcement that the company will cease trading by 2021 it said that it would support Australian and New Zealand customers in honouring all existing warranties and guarantees, while providing servicing and spare parts for at least 10 years. The current seven-year free servicing offer will also be honoured.
What's it like to drive? 7/10
The Equinox’s handling isn’t superb and the ride could be more comfortable, but this is an SUV with far more good points than bad.
The LTZ-V is easy to drive, with accurate steering providing good road feel.
Such as impressive power from that four cylinder engine, and an all-wheel drive system which provides excellent traction, to the good visibility, and a stack of safety features.
But while I can excuse the average dynamics, the 12.7m turning circle proved annoying in car parks. Not knowing you can make U-turns in the space provided is an anxiety you should only experience when driving a bus.
Five-point turns aside, the LTZ-V is easy to drive, with accurate steering providing good road feel.
Overlook the Holden Equinox LTZ-V and you could miss out on a practical, spacious and value-for-money mid-sized SUV. Concerned about Holden’s exit from Australia and how this affects servicing and parts? Well Holden has assured us that it will provide servicing support for 10 years following its closure at the end of 2020. If anything, you could be picking up a bargain and one of the last cars to wear a Holden badge.