February 19, 2009
2007 Chevrolet Equinox. Click image to enlarge
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By Chris Chase; photos by Grant Yoxon
2007 Chevrolet Equinox
Introduced in 2004 as a 2005 model, the Chevolet Equinox was the long-overdue replacement for the Suzuki Sidekick-based Chevy Tracker. Since 2001, Ford had had a firm clutch on the domestic small SUV segment with its Escape, and the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Santa Fe were among the leaders among small import utilities.
The first-generation Equinox was built on GM’s “Theta” platform, the same one that underpinned the first Saturn Vue. The Equinox, though, was larger, benefiting from a 5.9-inch (150 mm) stretch in wheelbase.
About a year after the Equinox went on sale, Pontiac added its own version, called the Torrent. (Suzuki’s second-generation XL-7 was based on the same platform, too, but due to powertrain differences, it will eventually be covered in its own used vehicle review.) Differences between the Equinox and Torrent were largely cosmetic, like the Pontiac’s use of that brand’s corporate twin-kidney grille, and different taillights. The Torrent also got GM’s FE2 “Sport” suspension, which was tuned for a slightly firmer ride.
The Equinox and Torrent shared GM’s 3.4-litre V6 engine; a five-speed automatic transmission was the only transmission offered, though both front- and all-wheel drive versions were sold. With 185 horsepower, the 3.4-litre was competitive enough when the Equinox and Torrent were introduced, but it quickly became outclassed by more powerful competitors. In 2008, Chevrolet added the Equinox Sport to the lineup, powered by a 3.6-litre V6 (264 horsepower) and a six-speed automatic transmission.