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Holden Equinox LS+ 2018 review

Nedahl Stelio
Family reviewer

24 Apr 2018 • 9 min read

This week I was teaching my six-year-old to ride her bike without training wheels, a tough job that needed a family car. I was testing the Holden Equinox LS+ which is second from the bottom in Holden’s new Equinox line-up. 

If you’re in the market, you’ll also be looking at a Mazda CX-5, Ford EcoSport or Honda CR-V. I drove the Equinox all over Sydney to various bike tracks to give my daughter intensive daily lessons. It worked, she can now ride! And how did the Equinox do? Let’s find out. 

How does it drive?

It’s a fairly easy drive in the Equinox LS+ - smooth, though the bumps in the road are slightly noticeable. The gears in the six-speed auto don’t stick at all, which is a nice change, the steering is responsive and it handles well. 

The 1.5 litre engine had enough power to get me up hills and though it was a tiny bit slow off the mark, once it gets going it goes well. I feel confident driving this car, and almost a bit bolshy. There’s something about Holdens, isn’t there?

The steering is light, so you wont get an arm workout in this one. The steering is light, so you wont get an arm workout in this one.

It’s quite long, so parking is a bit tight, but I was still able to squeeze in some super tight spots, thanks to the reverse parking camera and the steering - it’s really easy to turn and is not stiff at all like some other cars can be. You won’t get an arm workout in this one and the fast gear changes helped, too. 

One thing that it does differently is the collision warnings. They vibrate into the driver’s seat rather than give off a beeping sound. This was… odd, and a feature I did not warm to in the whole seven days of driving.

How does it look?

I’m going to be completely straight here rather than dance around the bush (dance? beat? You know what I mean). It’s not the best looking car on the block. In a street full of more stylish competitors, the Holden stands out for its lack of finesse. 

It's not the best looking car on the block. It's not the best looking car on the block.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with it, it just doesn’t have the same design aesthetic as some of the others. It’s like the Seth Rogen of cars. Reliable, and doesn’t depend on its looks to make a living. 

Inside is fairly basic. The dash and centre console area are rather ordinary, though they work well and are functional. It’s nothing to Instagram about. The fabric seats are a standout though: comfortable and stylish, they are great to sit on all day and do not feel cheap in the slightest. 

The dash and centre console area are rather ordinary, but work well. The dash and centre console area are rather ordinary, but work well.

The steering wheel is leather and feels good under the hands, it’s also a great size - a bit smaller than the usual SUV steering wheels. I think the smaller the better (makes it feel more like a sports car), so this was a fab discovery. 

How spacious is it?

The good thing about this car is the space inside. There is a whole lot of room in the front for me and my 185cm husband. We each seem to have our own allotment of air. The backseat is plenty big enough for my two daughters, aged four and six, and there is enough room for a third child seat in the middle.

The backseat was plenty big enough and had room for a third child seat if need be. The backseat was plenty big enough and had room for a third child seat if need be.

The boot was big enough to stack the kids’ bikes in standing up, and on a week of driving around to bike tracks this was a bonus. There was a bit of shuffling with the handlebars, but they all fitted in with room to spare around the bottom for grocery bags.

It’s not the biggest boot in its class - the Honda CR-V and Volkswagen Tiguan have bigger boots. But it’s about on par with the Mazda CX-5 and is enough for suitcases, prams and obviously - kid-sized bikes.

It's not the biggest, but still fits kid-sized bikes. It's not the biggest, but still fits kid-sized bikes.

How easy is it to use everyday?

There’s one thing to be said for the Holden Equinox, it’s a practical car. It’s got two cupholders in the front, two in the back and a bottle holder in each door that actually fit wide bottles. There’s a really large, deep centre storage bin that will fit a big bottle in it plus pockets on the back of the seats for kids to lose their very important stuff in.

The car was fairly high off the ground, I know this when the four-year-old needs a boost up into her seat, but the boot is a good height to unload groceries without having to hoist them too high.

Air con is good in the front and easy to use - sometimes, less complicated systems are better when you get in the car and just want to turn the air up, an old-fashioned knob is the fastest way to do it.  

The back seats easily fold down with an effortless pull of the handle to create extra boot space when you are transporting large objects around and the kids aren’t in the back.

What’s the tech like?

Plug in your phone to the USB socket and be instantly connected to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto; clever technology that syncs the main apps on your phone, like Spotify and maps, with the multimedia screen. 

It’s a familiar sight and your brain knows exactly what to do (nice that you don’t have to learn a whole new technological situation). Bonus: it’ll also read your texts out aloud while you’re driving. 

The reverse parking camera is there, but is not super high definition. Still, it works fine and I had no issues parking the car.

How safe is it?

I was in the LS+ model, which comes standard with advanced safety features like auto emergency braking, lane departure warning, active lane assist (it will steer you back into the lane if you wander out of it), and rear collision warning, though some of these warnings will come in the form of a vibration into your bottom. Yes really. 

There is also a red flash in a head-up display in case you miss the vibration. But just because I wasn’t a fan of this feature, doesn’t mean you won't like it. Some of my Carsguide colleagues thought it was great, so it’s completely subjective. 

It has two ISOFIX points and three top tether points for children’s car seats, and has a full five ANCAP stars.

What does it cost to drive?

The Holden Equinox LS+ comes in at $32,990. Fuel consumption is quite good for a car this size, with the 1.5-litre petrol engine chugging a claimed 6.9 litres of fuel for every 100km  travelled on the combined cycle.

You’ll get Holden’s standard three year/100,000km warranty and it will need servicing every 12 months.


The Wrap

There’s a sense of familiarity with this car. I haven’t driven one before, so I think it must be an echo of Holden’s history, passing down from car to car. It’s a warm feeling but also leaves a smidge of a dated impression. 

Still, I found the Equinox super easy to drive this week and to transport the family around. It's practical, had enough boot space, and I loved the way the easy steering helped me park quickly. 

I gave it a family rating of seven out of 10, taking points off for interior and exterior design. My children gave it a 7.5 out of 10, I think the six-year old loved it because she actually learnt to ride her bike!

Likes

Fuel consumption
Steering
Safety features

Dislikes

Interior and exterior design

Scores

Nedahl:

3.5

The Kids:

3.8

$19,990 - $34,890

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