Sports utility vehicles built on a car chassis are called crossover utility vehicles or CUVs, an apt characterization for the Chevrolet Equinox. This compact CUV that competes in a crowded segment that includes the Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR/V can boast something that none of the other models can: best-in-class fuel economy.

Significantly redesigned for the 2010 model year, the Chevy Equinox is powered by a 2.4-liter DURATEC four-cylinder engine. This efficient yet robust engine allows the Equinox to get 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway; the latter figure is one mpg better than what the Ford Escape Hybrid offers. Buyers can optionally choose a 3.0-liter V6, but the 182-horsepower four-cylinder model may suffice for most needs.

The Chevrolet Equinox offers a number of features not normally available in this class, including:

  • A six-speed automatic transmission. Toyota and Honda offer five speeds, which represents the edge of Chevrolet’s miles per gallon.
  • The model has six standard airbags including dual-action front airbags, side curtain head airbags, and seat-mounted side pelvic and thorax airbags.
  • Electronic stability control, traction control and four-wheel disc brakes.
  • OnStar with directions and connections included.
  • Remote start that activates climate control and can heat the seats if temperatures warrant.
  • Programmable electric lift gate.
  • Dual screen rear entertainment system.

The five-passenger Chevrolet Equinox is available with front or four-wheel drive. Alloy wheels paired with 17-, 18- or 19-inch tires are standard, and the Equinox features an electric power steering system, another attribute designed to save fuel.

Inside, the Equinox’s cabin includes a generous supply of storage compartments, an oversized glove box; a closed instrument panel storage compartment located above the center console; and a closed storage compartment located under the center armrest capable of holding a laptop. Yes, 21st century storage needs are addressed with the Chevrolet Equinox.

Seating surfaces are cloth, but leather upholstery is optional. Other cabin amenities include blue ambient lighting, a tilt-telescoping steering wheel, available touchscreen navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, an internal tall drive for song storage, a rear-view camera system and an optional eight-speaker upgraded audio system.

Perhaps the only downside to the Chevrolet Equinox is that buyer demand matches supply, meaning these popular CUVs sell out almost as soon as they hit dealer lots. GM keeps its inventories low, but if you want an all-new Equinox, you can order one on demand by contacting your local Chevrolet dealer.

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