Holden is addressing any perceived negatives by leaving the past behind and launching a swag of new models including the new five-seat Equinox, small/medium SUV.

It (eventually) replaces the old Korean-manufactured Captiva and gives Holden a strong contender against the likes of Mazda CX-3 and Toyota RAV4.

Out of a GM plant in Mexico, Equinox is a handsome looking vehicle with the credentials to force its way onto your shopping list.

holden equinox interiorPrices for the base model, LS front wheel drive manual start at $27,990 moving through an extensive front wheel drive range up to the LTZ-V auto all-wheel drive at $46,290.

All wheel drive is a $4300 option on the penultimate LTZ model.

Minimal options are available and diesel 1.6 will be available early next year.

Power comes from a 1.5 litre turbo petrol on lower grades or a 2.0 litre turbo-petrol, the former good for 127kW and 275Nm the latter 188kW and 353Nm.

Both engines have close coupled turbochargers and direct fuel injection for efficiency. The 1.5 engine is good for 6.9-litres/100km fuel economy on regular unleaded.

Transmission choices are a six speed manual or optional six speed auto with the 1.5 and a nine speed auto on the 2.0 litre. The diesel is a six-speed auto and will be available in front and all-wheel drive.

The all-wheel drive system is on-demand and strangely has a lock in 2WD mode instead of a lock in 4WD mode.

Holden engineers had a hand in calibrating various Equinox functions including the ride and handling, steering and other systems.

Equinox ushers in a so-called safety alert seat that vibrates in the squab (base) on certain sides to alert the driver of various transgressions or safety issues.

This is the first time we have seen a nine speed auto in a Holden and unlike the Jeep nine speeder, top gear in Equinox is actually engaged regularly.

Wireless phone charging also makes an appearance in Equinox along with active aero shutters to control engine heat and aerodynamic efficiency.

Equinox can tow up to 2.0-tonnes in the 2.0-litre model.

Most models have plenty of advanced driver assist technology starting with the LS+ (one up from the base) that boasts the sophisticated Holden Eye camera system bringing:

  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Lane keeping assist
  • Following distance monitor
  • Forward collision alert
  • Blind spot monitor
  • Cross traffic alert
  • Auto head lights

The base model doesn’t get much driver assist tech at all.

As a ground up new vehicle, expectations are high for Equinox and prospective buyers/driver’s won’t be disappointed.

GM cut weight from the vehicle while enhancing strength.

The 2.0 litre engine is the same as in the forthcoming ZD Commodore.

I had the opportunity to drive both 1.5 and 2.0-litre turbo petrol models in various specification and for all intents and purposes, the LS+ is all you need.

It gets the safety kit you want and has plenty of go running on regular unleaded.