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[Behind the Wheel] Chevy Equinox family SUV prioritizes stability, safety

The popular Chevrolet Equinox sport utility vehicle, GM Korea’s second model to be introduced here since the business normalization of the local unit, was unveiled at the Busan Motor Show last month, with the task of recovering the automaker’s local sales.

The Equinox was met with mixed market reactions, with some customers here expressing dissatisfaction over the higher-than-expected price tag of the midsize SUV, to which GM Korea Vice President Dale Sullivan replied, “I challenge you and everyone at the media conference to look at the competition versus the Equinox. It’s not all about the price.”

Chevrolet Equinox midsize SUV (GM Korea)
Chevrolet Equinox midsize SUV (GM Korea)

Equinox proved its worth on the highway and curvy local roads in pouring rain, showing remarkable stability and optimal performance in low-grip conditions.

Over 82 percent of the car body consists of extra-high strength steel sheet, including roughly 20 percent 1,000-megapascal giga steel, while vehicle weight has been reduced by 180 kilograms compared to the second-generation Equinox, the company said.

On remarkable strength, the vehicle received a top-notch score, five out of five stars, in the US NHTSA‘s New Car Assessment Program.

GM’s latest patent technology, the Safety Alert Seat with haptic warning notifies the driver when sensing a possible collision or the vehicle going out of lane with a silent seat vibration system. It is designed to give the driver a heads-up without surprising the driver and passengers with excessively loud warning sounds.

According to the company, the haptic warning functions are based on a slew of advanced driver-assistance systems, such as the Forward Collision Warning System and Lane Departure Warning System.

Side view of Chevrolet Equinox midsize SUV (GM Korea)
Side view of Chevrolet Equinox midsize SUV (GM Korea)

“To offer enhanced vehicles in Korea, the haptic warning safety system has been applied to all trims, whereas the system is optional in the North American market. Also each trim sold here is an upgrade of the ones sold in North America,” said the spokesperson of GM Korea.

The base LS trim of the family SUV is priced at 29.8 million won ($26,800), the LT trim 34.5 million won and premier trim 38.9 million won. The automated all-wheel-drive system costs an additional 2 million won.

This is about 2 million won pricier than its rival Renault Samsung Motor’s QM6. In comparison to Hyundai Motor’s Sante Fe, which is No. 1 seller in the local midsize SUV segment, the starting price of the Equinox is 920,000 won more expensive, while the highest price is about 530,000 won more affordable.

Considering the high level of stability and safety, the Equinox comes at a reasonable price tag, but for local consumers extra sensitive about brand image and after-sales convenience, the Equinox may seem more expensive than expected.

In terms of exterior design, the Equinox carries the Chevy family’s “Lean Muscularity” look, with the dual port grille portraying a masculine look unique to Chevy vehicles.

Powered by an eco-friendly 1.6-liter Ecotec diesel engine and third-generation six-speed automatic transmission, the SUV produces a maximum 136 horsepower and 32.6 kilogram-meters of torque.

GM Korea delivered 385 units of the Equinox last month, the company said.

The Korea Herald rating (out of 5 stars):
Design: 4 stars
Safety: 5 stars
Gas Mileage: 4 stars
Price: 4 stars
Overall: 17/20

By Kim Bo-gyung (
Korea Herald Youtube