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Equinox Highlights the General’s Improvements

Chevy’s cute ute is a giant step forward, but small V-6 needs updating

by on Mar.27, 2012

Chevrolet Equinox

Of all the new vehicles General Motors introduced in the last four years, it could be this compact crossover where the automaker has shown the biggest turnaround.

This Equinox’s predecessor showed typical GM cost cutting. The interior was flimsy, poorly finished and full of hard plastics and lacked attention to detail. Its engines, particularly the V-6, lacked power and were coarse. And the styling was just blah. As was typical GM, it looked like a vehicle that GM had just gone through the motions to produce, so it could just get it done and into dealerships.

We Drive, We Review It!

Contrast that with this current version. It’s styled well enough to stand toe to toe with best small sport utes on the planet. Its base engine carries some of the most advanced technology of any engines made today. And the interior, while still mostly made of stiff plastics, is simply beautiful.

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First Drive: Amp Equinox

(Battery) Power to the people.

by on Sep.15, 2010

Ohio start-up Amp is marketing an electric version of the Chevrolet Equinox.

The 2011 model-year is going to be a big one for those betting on electric propulsion.  We’ll see the launch of several critical products from major automakers like Nissan and Chevrolet, with the Leaf battery-electric vehicle and the Volt plug-in, respectively.  And other major automakers, such as Ford and Toyota will charge into the electric market soon afterwards.

Yet, the industry’s big guns are actually late to plug into the emerging electric niche.  By the time Volt and Leaf reach showrooms California start-up Tesla’s little Roadster, an electric sports car, will have been on sale nearly two years.  And the market is filled with offerings from other small players, such as Think and Bright Automotive, who hope they can use this paradigm shift in propulsion to get a shot at the major leagues.

Some of these new players are starting from scratch, with ground-up offerings, like the upcoming Tesla Model-S sedan.  But Ohio-based Amp is taking quite a different approach.  The maker is taking existing products, such as the Saturn Sky and Chevrolet Equinox, stripping out their gasoline-driven powertrains, and replacing them with electric drivelines.

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We recently got the chance to take the Amp Equinox out for a drive and while the prototype had a few bugs we found it a reasonably pleasant experience.  Better yet, it offers to provide a roomy alternative to pint-sized offerings like Nissan’s Leaf, which are likely to dominate the electric vehicle market for some time to come.

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