Coming in second behind the Chevrolet Silverado as GM's second best-selling model in the United States, the completely redesigned Equinox drops its predecessor's Theta platform for the Delta D2XX used by the Opel Astra and Chevrolet Cruze, meaning a drop in weight of some 180 kg and improved fuel consumption.
Offering five seats and measuring 132 mm shorter in overall wheelbase than the outgoing model, the new Equinox takes further elements from the Cruze in the styling department with a more rounded frontal appearance, while the rear features cues from the Australian market Isuzu MU-X.
Inside, the interior adopts the same dual-cockpit layout as the Cruze with the option of a seven or eight touchscreen display incorporating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Safety has also been stepped up with the inclusion of Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keeping Assist, Lange Departure Warning, Blind Spot Alert and surround view-camera system.
Underneath the bonnet, the previous Equinox's 2.4 and 3.6-litre engines make way for two turbocharged petrol engines and, in a US-segment first, a four-cylinder turbodiesel.
Derived from the Cruze, petrol power comes from a 1.5-litre mill making an estimated 127 kW and 275 N.m of torque, or a 2.0-litre developing 188 kW and 353 N.m. A six-speed automatic is standard on the former with the latter adopting GM's new nine-speed self-shifter. Diesel-wise, the Equinox will use a revised version of the 1.6-litre mill used in various European Opel models, with power rated at 101 kW and 320 N.m of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered.
All models will boast front-wheel drive as standard with a new all-four wheel system, which can disconnect the rear axle for better fuel consumption, being optional.
Expected to go on sale in North America early next year, the Equinox will go on sale in 115 markets afterwards, the most important from a South African perspective, being Australia where it will replace the aging seven-seat Holden (Chevrolet) Captiva. Although it remains to be seen whether GM South Africa will be tempted into bringing the Equinox to market, the still strong selling Captiva and the ever increasing popularity of crossovers, might just be the deciding factor.