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Chevrolet-Equinox-2LT-2011_i052001 Chevrolet Equinox 2LT

A year ago I was less than kind to the likes of the Equinox. I'm not going to lie, I didn't like it. Anyone who knows me, knows the story. Maybe it was circumstance, maybe I was just having a bad week, or maybe Chevy really did have an unsatisfactory product. Whatever the case, I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth while the rest of the automotive community sang the crossover's praises. I just couldn't bring myself to agree.

Now over a year later, and I was behind the wheel of the latest-gen Chevrolet Equinox again, and I have to say I was a little nervous to slip into the driver's seat. I was nervous I would be as disappointed and feel as strongly as I did about the previous year's model.

Thankfully, such was not the case. While I didn't fall madly in love with it, I also didn't run away repulsed – let's all breathe a collective sigh of relief and move on.

Looking at the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox, I'll say right away I much prefer its look compared to its GMC Terrain sibling. The lines of the Equinox are modern and boxy without being too much so. It maintains the looks of a traditional SUV instead of falling into this almond-shaped, smooth mould a majority of SUVs and CUVs seem to be trapped in. There's something decidedly classic about the look of the Equinox, and that's quite appealing. Black roof rails and chromed fog lights add a certain something to the overall look and finish off the Equinox perfectly.

Inside, that modern, forward-thinking look continues. While nothing is stand-out amazing, it is all quite functional and well designed. The gauge cluster is simple and straightforward without any fancy screens à la Ford. The recessed tachometer and speedometer tie into the modernity of it all and the chromed edging carries over onto the steering wheel and even the centre stack.

Chevrolet-Equinox-2LT-2011_i022001 Chevrolet Equinox 2LT

Equipped with satellite radio, a Pioneer premium 8-speaker audio system and steering wheel-mounted entertainment controls, the Chevy Equinox 2LT is outfitted with the basic necessities of a vehicle. The middle console design and setup is user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing, however, I wish the screen looked a little less dated. There's something about the pixelated blue numbers and text on the screen that remind me of years gone by.

The red-stitched and perforated leather seating in my tester definitely upped the class level inside the Equinox, but it will set you back $800 at the dealer if you decide to go with said option. If not, you get cloth seats, but at least the model comes standard with electrically adjustable front seats that are also heated.

Now, one of the areas in which you'd think the Equinox with shine would be in the cargo and space domain. While it is quite a roomy vehicle for passengers with extremely comfortable seats and great visibility, total cargo space (with the second row down) didn't impress for the size of the vehicle.

As I'm soon to be expecting my first-born (the world has been warned) and would see the Equinox as an ideal family vehicle, I decided to ask a friend to help me with a stroller test. I wanted to see if a generic, one-child stroller would fit easily in the back of the Equinox.

Chevrolet-Equinox-2LT-2011_i012011 Chevrolet Equinox 2LT

Turns out, it won't. The trunk opening and trunk width just isn't large enough to accommodate a stroller no matter how you angle it. So, one of the rear seats had to be folded down and the folded stroller had to be angled in that way. I was not impressed, especially since that same stroller fit in my friend's sedan trunk without a problem.

The power-assisted liftgate system is quite useful, and worth the $520 extra in my opinion, however, the automatic closer does push quite hard on whatever's blocking it and I wonder how it would react to a small hand or body in the way if it pushed as hard as it did on the stroller when it tried to close.

Cargo issues aside, driving the Equinox is quite pleasant. Now, it is not by any means exciting. In fact, the 6-speed automatic transmission feels downright lazy; however, that laziness is designed to save you at the pumps with Chevrolet claiming the Equinox will do an astounding 6.1L/100km on the highway (let's not forget that the hybrid Lexus CT 200h achieved 5.5L/100km).

Unfortunately, I was not able to reach their claimed numbers and averaged 11L/100km throughout the week, which is good for the 4-cylinder. The 182 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque feel pretty non-existent most of the time, but then this isn't supposed to be a speed-demon vehicle.

Where the Chevy Equinox shines is in its urban comfort. It is a larger vehicle, but it doesn't seem that way at all. The rearview camera is well placed and I love the in-rearview mirror view. Driving on crowded downtown streets and even parking on smaller side streets was a breeze.

So, after a year to sit back and think about how I truly felt about the Equinox after a less-than-stellar first meeting, I'm happy to say that the second time was a charm. As I said, I wasn't over-the-moon in love with it, but I can see the allure in the Equinox and why it's so well received.

The near-$34,000 price tag on the FWD 2LT seems a bit steep, but then I remember the interior amenities and the gadgets and it makes sense. Chevy definitely has a contender here, it might not be for everyone, but then that's what buying a car is all about: finding the right match.