Heavens above

Bulmer breaks out the sextant to test the Equinoxís value

GED BULMER

HOLDEN EQUINOX LTZ-V

Date acquired: March 2018

Price as tested: $46,290

This month: 371km @ 13.2L/100km

Overall: 742km @ 13.2L/100km

Thrum bum

If youíve ever played a video game and experienced a buzz or vibration feedback through the controller, youíve encountered haptic technology. And now Holden has adopted it as a safety aid in the Equinox. Its Safety Alert driverís seat features powered bolsters in the seat base that alert the driver to potential hazards, via a gentle vibration through your tush. This happens when reverse is selected or sensors detect a collision is looming.

LAST month we detailed how our latest longtermer had started life as a humble $37,490 Equinox LT, only for it to be upgraded in a matter of weeks to the full-fat LTZ-V.

AIR TIGHT Active aero normally reserved for supercars, yet Equinox has motorised louvres behind its grille to save fuel

The latter sits at the top of an Equinox range that starts at $27,990 for the LS manual, and steps up progressively through seven models to this, the $46,290 flagship.

The entry-level LS and better-equipped LS+ make do with a 127kW/275Nm 1.5-litre fourcylinder turbo-petrol, hitched to a six-speed manual that drives the front hoops.

The rest of the Equinox range benefits from a punchier 2.0-litre turbo/nine-speed auto combo and the choice of front- (LT and LTZ) or adaptive all-wheel drive (LTZ and LTZ-V). All-paw traction costs $4300 as an option on the LTZ, but comes standard on Ďourí LTZ-V.

Thus equipped, the top-spec Equinox presents with a highly competitive drivetrain that blows away key rivals like the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V and Nissan X-Trail when it comes to power and torque.

With 188kW/353Nm on tap, the LTZ-V isnít only the most powerful SUV in its class but the quickest too, with its sharp shifting nine-speed auto helping it hit 100km/h in 7.3sec.

Thatís a good start and itís backed by an impressive list of standard equipment designed to turn the heads and open the wallets of consumers who probably donít yet know what an Equinox is, let alone have it on their shopping list.

For the record, itís either of the two points on the celestial sphere where the celestial equator intersects the eclipticÖ Got it? Good.

For anyone at that stage in their new car journey, itís worth investigating the entire Equinox range, since even the base LS has 17-inch alloys, six airbags, rear camera and a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The latter could, of course, be dead handy if the sundial packs it in.

For buyers more safety than budget conscious, the $32,990 LS+ adds a suite of active safety features including AEB, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, Blind Spot detection, Rear Cross Traffic alert, and a Safety Alert driverís seat (see above).

The trend continues up and through the range, until you arrive at the seriously wellkitted LTZ-V, which adds goodies like 19inch alloys, an 8.0-inch screen, panoramic sunroof, heated/cooled leather seats, power tailgate, wireless phone charging, Bose premium audio and more.

Itís a competitive package, yet itís clear Holden has its work cut out to increase its share in this saturated segment, which currently sits at just two percent.

In coming weeks our patented Bulmer Family Torture Test will reveal if the Equinox has what it takes.

GED BULMER