Remember when SUVs ruled the road? Actually, it wasn’t all that long ago that classic, truck-based sport-utes accounted for nearly 3 million sales annually, better than one in six of the vehicles we Americans bought each year. And, notably, the vast majority of those were domestic Big Three products.
To cut into Detroit’s lead, foreign makers, the Japanese, in particular, started churning out millions of so-called “crossover-utility vehicles,” like the Toyota RAV-4 and Honda CR-V. These days, those CUVs have surged past the classic sport-utes, leaving Detroit playing a desperate game of catch-up.
Chevy’s Equinox was one of the first Big Three entries into the crossover segment and it was, to be honest, a lackluster attempt, little more than an also-ran on the sales charts. But an all-new version is back for 2010 and while we approached the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox with a fair share of skepticism, a day of driving the new crossover has us singing a very different tune.
There are a variety of reasons why the ’10 Equinox is worth putting on your shopping list. It’s attractive, well-appointed, roomy and surprisingly refined. And then there’s the issue of fuel-economy. Oh, yes, that. It’s surprising how quickly we Americans seem to forget about that little matter. Sales of traditional truck-based utes actually showed a bit of a resurgence after last year’s record run-up, but in recent weeks, with pump prices soaring back from barely $2 a gallon to something closer to $3, it’s once a factor to consider. And it gives good reason to consider the Equinox. (more…)