Menu
Lifestyle

Equinox signals dawn of new Holden era

The Holden Equinox will be in showrooms priced from $29,990 drive-away.
The Holden Equinox will be in showrooms priced from $29,990 drive-away.

LAYING the platform for a future without a locally built Commodore, Holden has taken its first step toward a bold new world with the Equinox SUV.

Edging from the Aussie Commodore shadow, it's a step, rather than a leap, with what's a competent and proficient offering.

Starting from $29,990 drive-away with a manual transmission(add $2000 to get an auto), the Equinox is designed to ruffle the feathers of Mazda's CX-5, the Toyota RAV4 and the Hyundai Tucson.

It's the start of things to come from Holden and boss Mark Bernhard said the marque had moved on from the "Commodore car company” and was in an envious position.

"GM is a changing company and we get to leverage that,” he said.

"We get to choose product from a portfolio of brands and choose the right product for Australia.”

The Mexican-built Equinox is the second biggest General Motors seller in the US behind Silverado, but the parent company has unleashed wide-ranging resources and worked closely with Holden engineers to deliver an SUV more suitable for the Aussie market.

The Yanks like their SUVs soft and fluffy due to the wide highways and concrete surfaces. Aussies need something that handles better in the bends.

The Holden Equinox will be in showrooms priced from $29,990 drive-away.
The Holden Equinox will be in showrooms priced from $29,990 drive-away.

VALUE

Base variants start with the LS and basic equipment includes 17-inch alloys, seven-inch colour touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and cruise control.

LS+ models gain leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic high beam headlights, power folding exterior mirrors and a diesel engine option that will be available from early next year.

LT derivatives start from $39,990 drive-away and have larger 18-inch alloys, bigger eight-inch display screen, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, release handle in the boot to drop the rear seat-backs 60-40, front parking sensors, sat nav, four USB points (two at the front and a pair at the rear), along with a 230-volt power point in the back for charging standard three-prong devices.

The Holden Equinox will be in showrooms priced from $29,990 drive-away.
The Holden Equinox will be in showrooms priced from $29,990 drive-away.

Get into the LTZ (from $39,990) and it has 19-inch alloys, rain-sensing wipers, automatic parking (perpendicular and parallel), power tailgate, leather trim, heated front and rear seats, wireless phone charging for compatible devices, Bose stereo with digital radio and a power adjustable driver's seat.

Sitting top shelf is the LTZ-V (from $46,290), which gains a panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel, power adjustment of the front passenger seat, ventilated and heated front pews and all-wheel drive.

Holden has upped its game in the after-sales area, having improved its position on the industry's JD Power customer satisfaction index, and there is a seven-year/175,000km warranty available. Whether that continues into the new year has not been confirmed.

The Holden Equinox will be in showrooms priced from $29,990 drive-away.
The Holden Equinox will be in showrooms priced from $29,990 drive-away.

Capped priced servicing is among the least expensive in the genre, with an average price per service over seven years of $310. Service intervals are annual or 12,000km.

All paint, apart from white and red, is $550 extra. Alternative colour choices include dark blue, grey, silver, pepperdust (champagne) and black.

SAFETY

Basement models come with six airbags, stability and traction control, hill start assist, rear-view camera and back parking sensors, as well as anti-lock brakes, but it's the second-rung LS+ that gains some of the latest safety gear associated with a forward-facing camera system, including autonomous emergency braking that can help avoid or lessen the impact of a frontal collision, lane keep assist and departure warning, as well as a forward collision alert.

Sensors inform the driver of vehicles in the blind spot, while it also has rear cross-traffic warning, which is brilliant when reversing out of car parks.

One item missing from all variants is radar cruise control.

The Holden Equinox will be in showrooms priced from $29,990 drive-away.
The Holden Equinox will be in showrooms priced from $29,990 drive-away.

Breaking new ground for the mainstream brand is a driver's "safety alert” seat, which literally gives you a kick in the pants to warn of dangers from the front, side and rear. It uses vibrating feedback through the seat to alert the driver rather than various chimes or beeps.

"Audible chimes tend to be a little bit overwhelming. It helps you get rid of the audible busyness in the car,” GM Holden lead development engineer Tony Metaxas said.

"It can also warn the driver of the location of the hazard. Right side of the seat for a danger on the right, the same for the left and both sides for something at the front or rear.”

Safety seats are among the features in the new Holden Equinox.
Safety seats are among the features in the new Holden Equinox. Contributed

DRIVING

Feeling confident and composed, the Equinox is a resoundingly better car than its predecessor, the Captiva.

Sitting flat in the bends, it's more car-like than SUV, with little body roll while maintaining high levels of ride comfort.

Two four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engines are available from showrooms this month, a 1.5-litre derivative and a more potent 2.0-litre version. The latter has some useful punch, able to reach 100km/h from standstill in just over seven seconds, which will suit those who appreciate a sprint away from the lights or require extra urgency for overtaking.

While a manual transmission is available, nearly all buyers will opt for the auto variants and both the six-speed (1.5-litre) and nine-speed (2.0-litre) units shift intuitively.

The Holden Equinox will be in showrooms priced from $29,990 drive-away.
The Holden Equinox will be in showrooms priced from $29,990 drive-away.

Our experience saw the base models shine on 17-inch Continental rubber (they also have a smaller turning circle), offering impressive grip and performing admirably in twisty stuff, whereas the bigger Bridgestone and Hankook tyres scrambled on occasions.

Fuel consumption is on par with key competition, 6.9 litres/100km for the smaller turbo engine and 8.2-8.4 for the larger donk - although the latter prefers premium fuel.

Boot space is massive, able to easily swallow two large suitcases with additional room to spare.

VERDICT

While not revolutionising the segment, Holden now has a worthy contender. The Equinox is a safe pitch for Holden. It possesses excellent interior space, strong driving dynamics and a competitive price structure.

The Holden Equinox will be in showrooms priced from $29,990 drive-away.
The Holden Equinox will be in showrooms priced from $29,990 drive-away.

2018 Holden Equinox

PRICE LS (manual) $27,990, LS (auto) $29,990, LS+ $32,990, LT $36,990, LTZ $39,990, LTZ-V $46,290, AWD option on LTZ - $4300. Prestige paint $550 premium.

WARRANTY AND SERVICING 7yr/170,000km warranty, servicing $817 3yrs (excellent)

ENGINES 1.5L 127kW/275Nm, 2.0L 188kW/353Nm FWD and AWD (strong)

THIRST 6.9L/100km and 8.2-8.4L/100km (ok)

SPARE Space saver (expected)

BOOT 846 litres, 1798 seats folded (very good)

TOWING 1.5 tonne with 1.5L; 2000 with 2.0L.

Drive-away prices

LS MT - $29,990

LS AT - $31,990

LS+ AT - $34,990

LT AT - $39,990

Topics:  car advice holden holden equinox motoring motoring advice review road test



129 Gympie students offered places at USC

Vice-chancellor of the University of the Sunshine Coast Professor Greg Hill.

The start of the uni year is not far off

Don't try to make us ashamed of Australia Day, it won't work

Several Greens-dominated councils in other states have already changed their Australia Day celebrations because they believe January 26 is offensive for some indigenous Australians.

Aussies love their country, and with good reason

Local Partners

Granite Belt winery is a global favourite

Blood might be thicker than water but for one family-owned business, it's the nectar of the grapes - flowing with the flavours of fine Fiano.

‘He’s never said he’s sorry’

Lauren Hickson (above) who would have been 33 this year, was abducted and murdered by neighbour Neville Towner in 1989.

Murder victim's mother concerned perpetrator could strike again if released from...

Dash cam footage shows dangerous undertaking

Phillip Macleod shared a video to Dash Cam Owners Australia Facebook page,

Dash cam footage has captured a dangerous manoeuvre

Forgotten your key? Just use your fingerprint to start SUV

A retractable roof top box provides cargo space when all six seats are in use. Picture: Supplied

Nissan Xmotion concept wows Detroit motor show

Hyundai’s fastest ever car...but will it come Down Under?

The 2018 Hyundai Veloster N — a rival for the Volkswagen Golf GTI. Picture: Supplied.

Hyundai hatch revealed for latest generation.

Coke cuts bottle size and ups price after sugar tax

Coca-Cola has blamed UK sugar tax for a price hike.

Coke contains more than 10g of sugar per 100ml

premium_icon Wedding on after 25 years

White Rock‘s Robyn Bryant and Chrystine McGowan will wed at Oak Tree Retirement Village on March 18. Picture: BRENDAN RADKE

Bride to be says “The stigma of same-sex couples has now been removed"