Which Chevrolet Equinox should I buy?

I'm considering buying a '08 Chevy Equinox. Of the four models, three are 69.3 inches tall and the sport is 65.7 inches in height. Other than that I don't see a difference between the four models. Between the four models, what should I consider more than the other as far as handling, gas mileage, etc.? I haven't seen too many Equinoxes around within a 100-mile radius. Are they not a common car? If it’s not common, how hard is it to keep up maintenance with a dealership? I plan to keep this car five years.

Carolyn, Visalia, Calif.

The complete Equinox lineup is composed of four trim levels, including the LS, LT, LTZ and Sport. As far as handling and fuel economy ratings, the LS, LT and LTZ (69.3 inches tall) all share the same “smooth tuned” handling package. The major difference between these three and the Sport is that Sport models have a more powerful engine and a lowered suspension for sportier handling and appearance.

Regardless, the Equinox rides on a fairly outdated chassis and 2008 might be its last year. A modern, comparably priced and still General Motors' SUV would be the 2008 Saturn Vue and our recommendation over any Equinox. But if you've decided the Equinox is the right car, incentives are available. In the Visalia area we are showing a $1,000 cash-back rebate on 2008 models. Surprisingly, the 2008 Vue has a $1,500 cash-back offer. See more offers here.

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The Equinox lineup starts at $22,740 for a front-wheel-drive LS and hits $27,820 for the FWD Sport. Standard equipment on the entry-level LS includes air conditioning, cruise control, power locks and windows, an electronic stability system, and OnStar. All LS, LT and LTZ Equinoxes come with the same 3.4-liter V-6 engine and standard front-wheel drive with optional all-wheel drive. Fuel economy for the non-Sport models is 17/24 mpg city/highway for both FWD and AWD, so no matter which one you choose the mileage ratings are the same. Sport models are rated at 16/24 mpg.

Even though the engine and handling options are similar on the three taller trims, there are notable differences when it comes to standard equipment and trim options. For example, features like side curtain airbags are standard on only the LTZ; they’re optional on all other trims.

As far as being common, it’s about average. In March 2008, around 6,400 Equinoxes were sold, which puts it about 100 more than the Nissan Rogue and a few hundred short of the Jeep Liberty. It’s about a thousand shy of Saturn Vue sales, according to the Automotive News data center.

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Answered by Joe Bruzek on May 1, 2008 in I'm Just Wondering , What Car Should I Buy? | Permalink

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