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2005 Cute Ute Buyer's Guide
2005 Chevrolet Equinox Review

by Martha Hindes

2005 Chevrolet Equinox
2005 Chevrolet Equinox

Look at the Chevrolet Equinox dead on, and it has almost a happy face. It should. This long-awaited son of Blazer is aiming its sights squarely at some older rivals in the compact sport utility category -- namely Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and various Jeep models, plus some upstart newcomers. That's a lot of scuffle to entertain while coming out of the chute.

Equinox, which debuted as an '05 several months ago, has established its position as the new kid to beat for lots of reasons: Trendy styling that's smooth but not sissy, standard 3.4-liter V-6 powerplant with 185-HP, and sporty handling on 16-inch wheels that are sturdy enough for those necessary SUV jobs (hauling kids, cargo, a canoe on top, perhaps). Inside are the kinds of innovations that confirm someone at Chevy's parent company, General Motors, was thinking clearly when the okay was given. The Equinox, which bumped away the last vestiges of its predecessor Blazer, perfectly fills the compact SUV bill, with its comfort-oriented, car-like underpinnings. Add the longest wheelbase in class, a sliding rear seat for added legroom, seating that's actually easy to get into and out of, a flat-fold front passenger seat, and even cargo shelving that's stackable over the main trunk area floor. Among high tech advances are responsive, power assist steering and optional side curtain airbags to protect all five passengers when loaded.

With a base price in the $21 K range, sweetened with some attractive incentive candy no doubt, it's no wonder this cute ute is smiling.