What is it?
Holden’s Equinox comes in a five model range, two with the LS name and three under the LT umbrella.
The LS+ sits one below the LT. It’ll shape up to be the volume seller, and rightfully so.
The front-wheel drive LS and LS+ are equipped with a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine and a six-speed auto, as opposed to a 2.0-litre turbo and nine speed in the LT range.
A 1.6-litre diesel is an option that will become available later this year.
If you want to shift manually, there’s a thumb-operated rocker switch at the top of the long throw selector.
What’s it cost?
The LS+ is $32,990 plus on-roads and comes with a reasonable amount of standard equipment.
Forward Collision Alert and Head Up Alert are standard and include Following Distance Indicator to advise whether you’re getting too close to the car ahead.
A driver’s seat that vibrates forms part of the collision alert system.
Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assist are also part of the safety package.
Auto headlights and rain-sensing wipers are on board, a welcome addition at this level and price.
Interior trim is similar yet different to the LT.
The seats are manually operated and covered in a pleasing grey cloth. They’re well padded and supportive, but there’s no heating or venting/cooling.
Naturally the rear seats fold and there’s plenty of cargo space — 848L, or 1796L with the seats down.
Interior plastics are as basic as they come, in a dark grey that’s a shade or two shy of black. The door sill panels are plastic and the dash is smooth to the point of slabby.
The air conditioning controls are also basic, with pictograms for air direction. Temperature and fan speed are dial, not button controlled.
There’s a pair of 12V sockets, one front, one rear. However there’s no rear seat USB nor is there a 230V socket as found in the more expensive LT range.
The MyLink touchscreen is also different in look to the LT. It’s more definably GM in look and has a basic but user friendly interface.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard but there’s no satnav on board.
Audio quality for the AM/FM (no DAB) tuner is actually quite pleasing in its clarity.
The driver’s info screen is one that’s familiar to anyone who has bought a Holden in the last five years.
Monochrome in look, it is a three-screen display that’s operated via a set of rubberised buttons on the steering wheel.
That’s a setup found across the range.
What’s it go like?
The 1.5-litre turbo produces 127kW and 275Nm. Peak torque is on tap between 2000 and 4000 rpm.
Bear in mind it’s a six-speed, not a nine as in the LT, so performance is adequate — not brilliant.
It’ll happily drink 91 RON standard unleaded at a combined fuel consumption figure of 6.9L/100 km from the 55-litre tank.
The main difference between the 1.5 and 2.0-litre engines is it’s much slower acceleration and a slower overtaking speed.
One can only wonder how it would go with the nine-speed?
Unfortunately, performance will take another hit if loaded up with people and cargo.
The changes are smooth enough while using the rocker switch makes no appreciable difference to the quality or speed of changes.
Out on the road the LS+ delivers an enjoyable ride and handling package.
There’s McPherson struts up front and a four-link independent rear setup. Yes it’s a taut ride, but the 225/65/17 Continental rubber adds an extra level of compliance to the ride itself.
It’s still a heavy turning circle, even with the assisted steering. Thankfully though, the steering itself on the road is well weighted, not fingertip loose as found elsewhere. Moving lanes is simple and effortless as well.
What we like?
- Good standard equipment levels
- Around town ride quality
- Comfortable seats are better than they should be
What we don’t?
- Dull looking plastics
- Lack of engine performance
- Seat vibration (don’t laugh) for safety alerts
- No diesel (yet)
The bottom line?
It’s well priced and should compete well in its sector. However that 1.5-litre engine and six speed auto will struggle with a full load. Balancing that, the overall ride and handling feel pretty good.
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Holden Equinox LS+TZ-V, priced from $30,990
- Looks - 7.0/107/10
- Performance - 6.5/106.5/10
- Safety - 8.0/108/10
- Thirst - 7.5/107.5/10
- Practicality - 7.0/107/10
- Comfort - 7.5/107.5/10
- Tech - 7.0/107/10
- Value - 7.5/107.5/10