How much SUV does $35k get you?

Plenty if it’s a Holden Equinox LT, Holden’s mid-sized five seat SUV. It’s big and roomy on the inside, but doesn’t feel big on the outside. All variants come with a 5-star ANCAP safety rating thanks to their active and passive safety measures. I recently spent some time with the mid-range LT variant, which currently available for only $34,990 drive away for MY18 build dates.

The LT has a 2.0L turbo petrol 4-cylinder engine with a 9-speed automatic transmission. The engine produces 188 kW @ 5500 rpm and 353 Nm @ 2500 – 4500 rpm and this offers OK power for this sized vehicle. The official combined fuel consumption is 8.2L/100km.

My Equinox rode nicely and was quiet inside thanks to the active noise cancellation technology. But the LT is Front Wheel Drive only and had poor traction. Often the tyres chirped when I was pulling away from the lights and it also had some torque steer.

Another problem with the LT is the smell on the inside of the cabin and if first impressions count this would be enough to put me off the SUV immediately. My children even commented as soon as they got in the car that is smelt badly. Holden have advised that this is not normal and that they are looking into it further. The LT has cloth seats, so if your children spilt drinks in the car it would smell even worse as it would be hard to clean the seats. My son also complained that the cloth seats were itchy on his skin.

The front seats have 4-way manual adjustment only, but they are heated on the LT. The driver does get a leather steering wheel though. There are also plenty of features that help the driver out like auto wipers, auto lights, auto high beam and standard cruise control. The 4.2″ colour driver information display between the analogue taco and speedo can display sat nav, media, fuel economy, remaining oil life, trip info or a digital speedo.

The 8″ colour touch-screen display in the Equinox is one of the few in cars that I have tested that doesn’t get finger-marks on it easily, so that’s a plus! Media options include AM/FM radio, Bluetooth and AUX.  You get two USB ports, one 12V outlet and one AUX outlet at the front of the centre console to connect your devices to the system. All Equinox models come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.

The LT comes with voice control and this works well for making a phone call or setting a destination on the sat nav. But the system uses cross streets not house numbers to set your destination, so make sure you know this info before you set your destination.

In the back there is plenty of leg and headroom for two adults to sit comfortably. For the children there are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points and with careful seat selection I think you could fit three child seats across the rear seat. This would be assisted by the fact that there is no transmission tunnel in the Equinox so if the centre seat was occupied that passenger would not have to straddle it.

If only two seats are occupied in the back the central seat has a fold down arm rest with two good sized drink holders that also had a handy rubber insert that held the drink bottles snuggly and that could be removed for cleaning should a drink be spilled.

Rear passengers get central air vents only in the back of the front centre console and these only have an on/off control. There are two USB ports and one 12V outlet here as well to keep all the devices in the back charged up on those long drives.

If you were to take the Equinox for a family driving holiday there is a big boot to swallow your luggage with four tie-down points to keep your cargo in place or if you need to bring the whole kit and caboodle with you the LT has a 2000kg braked towing capacity. There is also a 12V outlet in the boot for a car fridge to keep your snacks cooled. If you aren’t carrying the kids and need extra cargo room the Equinox LT has 60/40 split folding rear seats with a one-touch folding mechanism. You also get a space saver spare tyre should you be unfortunate enough to get a puncture on your road trip.

The Equinox LT comes with many safety features as standard including rear view camera with rear and front park assist. Plus you get Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Alert, Forward Collision Alert with Head-Up Warning Autonomous, Following Distance Indicator, Emergency Braking at low speeds, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist. All Equinox models come with six airbags including front airbags for driver and front passenger, side-impact airbags for driver and front passenger and full-length side curtain airbags.

If you are keen to see if the Equinox will fit in your life you then why not take advantage of Holden’s 24 hour test drive option? The MY18 Equinox LT is currently available for only $34,990 drive away and for that you get quite a lot of car, plus all new Holden vehicles now come with a 5 year unlimited km warranty. Visit your preferred Holden Dealer to test drive an Equinox for yourself to take advantage of this current offer.

Pros Cons
Touchscreen doesn’t get finger marks Interior smells bad
Good space across the rear seat Poor traction from front wheel drive
Lots of safety tech comes as standard Itchy cloth seats

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.