Although the Equinox enters 2012 with few changes, it remains an excellent choice in the small-crossover segment. The well-wrought cabin is finished in textured plastics and soft leather and is worlds above that of the previous Equinox. In fact, the wraparound dash, upright center stack, and cool blue lighting give the cabin an attractive and contemporary ambiance that is on par with many luxury makes. As for exterior design, the Equinox is arguably the most handsome vehicle in its class. Its sweptback headlights and sharply raked windshield impart a dramatic profile that, along with several aerodynamic aids, helps the Equinox achieve a 0.36 drag coefficient. The base engine is a refined 182-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder. Although it's no powerhouse, it provides adequate power and, with ample use of the "Eco" mode -- a fuel-saving setting selected using a button on the dash that adjusts transmission shift points -- it can return a class-leading 32 mpg on the highway. The Equinox can also be had with an optional E85-capable, 264-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 that might be the better choice if you plan to tow. Both engines have direct injection and variable valve timing and are mated to a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic. Although it comes well equipped, there are many ways to upgrade the look and content of your Equinox, including eighteen- and nineteen-inch wheels, a Pioneer eight-speaker stereo, all-wheel drive, and a power liftgate. Even with a refreshed Honda CR-V debuting for 2012, the Equinox will likely continue to be at or near the top of the segment.
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