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Exclusive: Holden testing Equinox in Oz

Holden on: The long-awaited replacement for the discontinued Captiva 5 mid-size SUV, which was pulled from sale at the end of 2015, will arrive next year in the form of the Equinox crossover.

Mid-size Equinox SUV caught testing as Holden gears up for early 2018 launch


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28 Apr 2017

HOLDEN’S forthcoming Equinox mid-size SUV has been caught by GoAuto testing in Melbourne as the lion brand gears up for the launch of the crucial all-new model early next year.

A Holden spokesperson has revealed that the company’s “electrical engineering team are currently performing real-world calibration tests” on the North American-sourced SUV, which is sold in the US as a Chevrolet, but no further information on local specification or powertrains were confirmed.

The arrival of the Equinox will give Holden a much-needed contender in one of the biggest and fastest-growing market segments – sub-$60,000 medium SUVs – as General Motors’ Australian subsidiary looks to steal sales away from the top-selling Mazda CX-5 and a host of other rivals including the Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan X-Trail and Volkswagen Tiguan.

Holden has been without a dedicated mid-size SUV since it discontinued its Captiva 5 in December 2015. Captiva 5 sales peaked at 7085 units in 2012, while last year’s market-leading mid-size SUV – the CX-5 – found 24,564 homes.

GoAuto snapped the minimally camouflaged, right-hand-drive Chevrolet-sourced Equinox around Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs, with light camouflage obscuring headlights and tail-light surrounds and badging.

With the remainder of the bodywork in clear view, the test vehicle is easily distinguished as the Equinox thanks to its boxy proportions, sculpted tailgate, roof-mounted rear spoiler, prominent underbody cladding, sleek headlights and familiar grille.

Also glimpsed on the test vehicle are chrome highlights throughout – including on the doorhandles, lower rear bumper and front grille – as well as integrated roof racks, black side view mirrors, a split-spoke wheel design and a towing set-up.

In the United States, the Equinox is available in four trim levels – the L, LS, LT and top-spec Premier – with only the entry-level L and LS variants sporting black side mirrors. However, the uniquely designed 18-inch wheels, roof rails and chrome-accented doorhandles on the local test vehicle are only available on the flagship Premier.

Holden has yet to confirm where the Australian-spec Equinox SUVs will be sourced, but GoAuto understands that right-hand-drive versions are expected to be built alongside its left-hand-drive Chevrolet counterparts in Canada.

Built on General Motors’ D2XX platform, which also underpins the Opel-sourced Astra and upcoming Astra-badged Cruze sedan, the Equinox measures 4652mm long, 1843mm wide and 1661mm high, with a 2725mm wheelbase.

These are similar dimensions to the current medium/large Captiva on sale in Australia – previously known as the Captiva 7 but confusingly still offered with either five or seven seats – which is 4673mm long, 1849mm wide and 1756mm high, with a 2707mm wheelbase.

The Equinox will fulfil duties as Holden’s mid-size SUV, while the incoming GMC-sourced Acadia will also arrive in 2018 as the company’s large seven-seat SUV offering that will face rivals such as the Toyota Kluger and Mazda CX-9. As such, the Captiva nameplate will be retired.

Although no specification details have been confirmed for Australia, the US-spec Equinox is offered with three turbocharged engine options – a 127kW/275Nm 1.5-litre petrol, 101kW/320Nm 1.6-litre diesel and the flagship 188kW/353Nm 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder.

No manual gearbox is available and both smaller-displacement engines are matched to a six-speed automatic, while the top-spec 2.0-litre combines with a nine-speed auto.

All trim levels are available with either a front- or all-wheel-drive configurations, except the L which sends power exclusively to the front axle.

The current Captiva range starts with the 123kW/230Nm 2.4-litre petrol four-cylinder manual LS and automatic Active for $26,490 before on-roads and $31,690 respectively.

A 135kW/400Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine option is also available in LS trim for no extra cost, with all versions sending power to the front wheels.

Holden is expected to overlook the entry-level L variant for this market in favour of the more generously equipped LS as its Equinox opener, with standard equipment in overseas versions including a reversing camera, a 7.0-inch MyLink colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, six-speaker sound system, keyless entry/start, cruise control, 17-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

From there, higher grades will likely add a combination of features found in the LT and Premier variants including 8.0-inch MyLink system, wireless smartphone charging, heated front seats, LED headlights/tail-lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, hands-free power-operated tailgate, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Cargo space is comparable to rivals, with the Equinox able to swallow up to 1798 litres with the second-row seats folded down and 846L of cargo with a full load of passengers.

Going forward, Holden’s all-imported line-up will also consist of the Opel-sourced Insignia badged as the new Commodore from early 2018 – including a crossover variant dubbed the Tourer – as well as the aforementioned seven-seat Acadia and Astra sedan.

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