Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
The 2012 Chevy Equinox has been named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. To earn this safety nod, a car must receive the top score of Good in front, side, rear and roof-strength crash tests. It also received four out of five stars overall in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's crash tests.
But that's only one of its two major safety coups. The other is the Equinox has easily accessible lower Latch anchors. They're nothing fancy, but they peek out perfectly from the rear seat cushions and require no digging or grunting to employ.
Alas, the Equinox is not roomy enough for a family with three small children in large child-safety seats. This crossover can snugly fit two convertible seats and a backless booster, but not the two convertibles and rear-facing infant-safety seat that my family requires.
The 2012 Chevy Equinox has standard front-wheel drive, all-disc antilock brakes with brake assist, an electronic stability system with anti-roll control, traction control and six airbags, including side curtains for both rows. OnStar is also standard for the first six months of ownership. My test car, which was the highest trim level, also had standard blind spot mirrors, backup camera and parking sensors. A backup camera is standard on all but the entry-level trim.
My test car was equipped with the optional forward collision alert and lane departure warning system. This system has a prominent display of lights at eye level on the dash that show a green car if you're doing well, a red icon of two cars crashing if you get too close to another car and an orange icon if you drift out of your lane without the turn signal activated. I found this system to be almost counterproductive because it grabbed too much of my attention while driving. All-wheel drive is also available.
Starting MSRP $23,450--$30,890
City: 16 -- 22
Highway: 23 -- 32
182-hp, 2.4-liter I-4 (flexible; E85)
264-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 (regular gas)
182-hp, 2.4-liter I-4 (regular gas)
264-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 (flexible; E85)
6-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual
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