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Holden confirms Equinox for Australia

Rising sun: The Equinox carries design cues seen on other Chev models, including the new Cruze and Malibu.

Equinox to fill massive gap in Holden’s SUV line-up in 2017

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Holden logo23 Sep 2016

By TIM NICHOLSON

GM HOLDEN has announced it will import the just revealed Chevrolet Equinox as its long overdue Captiva replacement from next year as the company shores up its SUV line-up.

While exact launch timing for the Equinox in Australia is unclear, expect it to arrive about a year after its international reveal, meaning the third or fourth quarter of 2017.

The Equinox will arrive as a direct replacement for the Captiva 5 that was killed off late last year, leaving Holden without a contender in the ultra competitive mid-size SUV segment.

The five-seat Equinox will face off against established rivals including the segment leading Mazda CX-5, as well as big hitters such as the Toyota RAV4, Nissan X-Trail, Subaru Forester, Mitsubishi Outlander, Honda CR-V, Ford Kuga and Kia Sportage as well as newcomers like the Hyundai Tucson, Renault Koleos and VW Tiguan.

It is unclear when the one-segment-larger seven-seat Captiva will be officially discontinued, with the 11-year-old wagon set to be replaced by the American-sourced Acadia in 2018.

Also unclear is where the Equinox will be sourced from for the Australian market, but the most likely option would be South Korea.

Holden’s announcement fits with the company’s plans to expand its SUV presence significantly in the coming years.

“This world-class SUV is the next step in Holden’s commitment to launching 24 new vehicles by 2020,” the company said in a statement.

“Alongside the new Trax, Trailblazer and upcoming Acadia, Equinox means Holden will have four new SUVs within two years as the company continues its transformation and building for a bright and sustainable long-term future.” Revealed overnight in the United States, the Equinox features design cues already seen on recent Chevrolet-badged models such as the Cruze, Malibu and the Volt, with the American car-maker saying that extensive aero development in the wind tunnel influenced the shape.

The sharply styled, chrome-heavy front end features projector-beam headlights, LED daytime running lights, while the horizontal tail-lights – LED on higher-spec variants – give the SUV a wide stance.

The Equinox will be built on GM’s D2XX platform that underpins the Opel/Holden Astra, the next-gen Cruze, the Buick Envision and the Chevrolet Volt.

It measures 4652mm long, 1843mm wide, 1661mm high and has a 2725mm wheelbase, making it 76mm longer, 7mm narrower, 86mm lower and with an 18mm-longer wheelbase than the Captiva 5.

With all seats in place, the Equinox can swallow 846 litres of cargo and with the second row folded it can take 1798L. This is well above that of the Mazda CX-5’s 403/1560 capacity and the Mitsubishi Outlander’s 477/1608L.

Inside, the Equinox has a premium-looking interior that has a similar design to the US-market Chevrolet Malibu mid-sizer, with what the company describes as a “down-and-away” instrument panel and a low windscreen that provides a commanding front view.

A new ‘kneeling’ rear seat function where the bottom cushions tilt forward when the split-folded seatbacks are lowered makes for a flat floor, ensuring easier loading.

Available connectivity features will include 7.0- or 8.0-inch MyLink infotainment screens with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and in the US the OnStar4G Wi-Fi hot spot.

Active safety gear includes a Safety Alert Seat, Surround Vision, Forward Collision Alert with Following Distance Indicator, low-speed autonomous emergency braking, lane keep Assist with lane departure warning, Rear Seat Reminder, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert and rear cross traffic alert.

It also has a Teen Driver function that allows parents to set controls and review an in-vehicle report card to encourage safer driving habits.

The US-market Equinox will be offered with three turbocharged engines, all of which are found in the Malibu, kicking off with a 1.5-litre petrol unit matched with a six-speed automatic transmission, producing 127kW/275Nm.

A188kW/353Nm four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol unit with a nine-speed auto and a 1.6-litre turbo-diesel pumping out 101kW/320Nm and paired with a six-speed auto are also in the mix.

Both front- and all-wheel drive versions will be offered and the Equinox has a MacPherson strut front and four-link independent rear suspension setup across the board.

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