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Onwards and upwards with Equinox SUV

HOLDEN has got 2018 off to a brilliant start with the launch of its Equinox sport utility vehicle (SUV), a high quality vehicle packed with extras and a few surprises.

Clearly aimed at people who want a little more from their SUV, the Equinox comes in five variants, starting from the entry level LS and moving progressively up to the top of the range LTZ-V, the vehicle used for the test drive.

It is a progressive upgrade starting with a turbo-charged 127kW 1.5 litre, six-speed automatic in the LS and standard features like a rear-view camera and a six-speaker audio system.

It’s all onwards and upwards from there with the LS+ getting autonomous emergency braking and the safety package of blind spot and forward collision alert with heads-up warning, lane departure warning and a leather steering wheel.

The LT level gains a 188kW 2.0 litre turbo engine with a nine speed auto gearbox, or a 1.6 litre six-speed auto turbo diesel as an alternative. An eight inch touch-screen, satellite navigation, dual-zone climate control and remote engine start are added to the mix.

By the time you get to the LTZ-V, you have a vehicle packed with technology; combined with a drivetrain that will take you anywhere.

For instance, all-wheel drive is standard, the alloy wheels have been enlarged to 19 inches, and there are nice touches like a dual-panel panoramic sunroof, heated and cooled front seats and a heated steering wheel.

In fact, running through the features of the Equinox range, it is easy to miss something out but there are some that are different to say the least.

For instance, the blind spot alert and lane departure warnings convey their message to you by vibrating the HAPTIC (tactile feedback technology) driver’s seat. Early airline pilots were said to fly by the seat of their pants, now you can drive that way too.

Also interesting is that the back passenger seats are heated, which is rare to say the least. The black leather trim is only one of the many signs of a high quality interior that includes features like wireless charging for your mobile phone.

The Equinox is a five seater; the rear seats come down conveniently with one touch, for a massively extended boot space. Starting from the LTZ variant, the tailgate becomes hands-free and the opening height can be programmed, which is handy in overhead restricted spaces.

In a very handy addition for those rainy days, this SUV even has room in the door to leave a wet umbrella with an air intake to dry it.

These are just the icing on the cake for the Equinox, which is clearly aimed at people on the way up; who want its blend of comfort, features and power. It sure is happy new year from Holden.