PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) — Chevy’s 2013 Equinox is another step towards eradicating the mini-van as a sociological symbol of modern society! For people who have to run errands, move kids around, drop off stuff while picking up other stuff…tasks that used to be handled by a station wagon but in the 90’s were turned over to legions of soccer mom’s driving mini vans… the Equinox is a welcome step back into doing those tasks with some measure of car like style. While not a Porsche Cayenne by any stretch of the imagination the Equinox shows up in the driveway with a tall station wagon look …more car than SUV. The front is pure Chevrolet with the split grille and sculptured headlamps leading into bulging almost muscular fenders. The rest of the car is tall, formal and very pleasing to the eye.

Inside the E, Chevy once again scores big with its use of upgraded materials. Two tone leather perforated seats, that are comfortable and have plenty of adjustment in the front. Rear seats that move on a track add to the chances that you are going to find the right position for you and the kids to sit. There is lots of legroom both front and rear and dropping the rear seats is a breeze. Cargo room at 63.7 cubic feet is among the best in its class and the adjustable electric powered tailgate comes in handy in the rain!

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The dual cowl dash is well laid out and very logical. A dual gauge pod in front of the driver with an information screen in the middle of the two.

Chevy’s “ MyLink”  infotainment system scores big with its integration of voice command, smartphone, nav system, media and ON STAR. Less fumbling means more attention on the road which these days might be the biggest safety feature of all. The system is super intuitive to use.

For 2013 the E gets an optional engine upgrade to the 3.6 liter  V6  last seen in a number of GM products including the Cadillac SRX. The reliable engine cranks out 301 horsepower and is a pretty smooth motor. 0-60 times range in the mid 6 second range which is quite respectable.

There is also a choice of a smaller 4 cylinder which is adequate but doesn’t provide the kick the 6 does.  GM’s 6 speed automatic is a G rated transmission. Gets the job done, nothing exciting.

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Driving the Equinox it feels like a well put together family car. Not a lot of sports car type connection to the road, it heads in a different direction smoothing out the road, mastering the corners with a minimum of effort, going where you want it to with a minimum of correction and feeling solid when you hit the brakes. The kind of ride you are comfortable putting the family in.

The Equinox also has optional collision avoidance systems, lane change warning, back up camera and blind spot recognition mirrors.

The Chevy Equinox LTZ  all wheel drive I spent a week in had a sticker price of  $ 36,385.00 pretty well opted out.  It scored very well in government safety rating tests getting 4 stars. The Equinox also was awarded a “2012 Top Safety Pick” award from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. Gas mileage is16 city/ 23 highway miles per gallon for a combo figure of  19mpg.  The less well appointed versions start at $23,755.

Chevy’s Equinox is quite an interesting crossover/family car. The availability of the V6 really puts it a step above most anything in the class as far as power and versatility. It’s pleasing to the eyes, easy to maneuver, comfortable and can be opted out to be just what you need it to be. It works out to be the almost perfect family car and one more step toward sending another minivan to the car crusher.

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For more information: http://www.chevrolet.com/equinox-crossover-suv.html

Reviews, news about cars and the people who drive them, interviews and tips on how to get more out of your driving experience all on Drivetime with Vinnie Richichi and Rob Pratte Saturday mornings 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on Newsradio 1020 KDKA. Also listen to Vinnie on The Vinnie and Cook Show Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan.