The latter sits at the top of an Equinox range that starts at $27,990 for the LS manual, and steps up progressively through seven models to this, the $46,290 flagship.
Read next: 2018 Holden Equinox Range Review
The entry-level LS and better-equipped LS+ make do with a 127kW/275Nm 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol, hitched to a six-speed manual that drives the front hoops.
The rest of the Equinox range benefits from a punchier 2.0-litre turbo/nine-speed auto combo and the choice of front- (LT and LTZ) or adaptive all-wheel drive (LTZ and LTZ-V). All-paw traction costs $4300 as an option on the LTZ, but comes standard on ‘our’ LTZ-V.
Thus equipped, the top-spec Equinox presents with a highly competitive drivetrain that blows away key rivals like the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V and Nissan X-Trail when it comes to power and torque.
With 188kW/353Nm on tap, the LTZ-V isn’t only the most powerful SUV in its class but the quickest too, with its sharp shifting nine-speed auto helping it hit 100km/h in 7.3sec.
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That’s a good start and it’s backed by an impressive list of standard equipment designed to turn the heads and open the wallets of consumers who probably don’t yet know what an Equinox is, let alone have it on their shopping list.
For the record, it’s either of the two points on the celestial sphere where the celestial equator intersects the ecliptic… Got it? Good.
For anyone at that stage in their new car journey, it’s worth investigating the entire Equinox range, since even the base LS has 17-inch alloys, six airbags, rear camera and a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The latter could, of course, be dead handy if the sundial packs it in.
For buyers more safety than budget conscious, the $32,990 LS+ adds a suite of active safety features including AEB, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, Blind Spot detection, Rear Cross Traffic alert, and a Safety Alert driver’s seat (see above).
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The trend continues up and through the range, until you arrive at the seriously well-kitted LTZ-V, which adds goodies like 19-inch alloys, an 8.0-inch screen, panoramic sunroof, heated/cooled leather seats, power tailgate, wireless phone charging, Bose premium audio and more.
It’s a competitive package, yet it’s clear Holden has its work cut out to increase its share in this saturated segment, which currently sits at just two percent.
In coming weeks our patented Bulmer Family Torture Test will reveal if the Equinox has what it takes.