2010 Chevy Equinox To Get 32 MPG Highway, While GM Will Axe 12 of Its 20 Highest-Mileage Vehicles

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2010 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ

2010 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ

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Stung by public perception that it made mostly low-mileage trucks, GM embarked two years ago on a marketing campaign with the tagline, "From Gas-Friendly to Gas-Free." The notion was to wrap all its green initiatives into one, easy-to-understand package.

The "Gas-Friendly" part, first of five neat little logos, rested on GM's claim that the company offered US buyers more cars with highway mileage of 30 miles per gallon and higher than any other company (20 of them for the 2009 model year).

Since then, the company has continued to make incremental improvements in mileage, particularly on the highway side. The latest evidence: Chevy says the EPA will shortly certify the redesigned 2010 Chevrolet Equinox crossover at 32 mpg on the highway, when equipped with the 182-horsepower, 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine and front-wheel-drive. (City mileage is expected to be 22 mpg.)

GM contrasts the Equinox ratings of 22 city / 32 highway to the Honda CR-V (20 city / 27 highway) and Toyota RAV-4 (22 city / 28 highway). Much of the credit goes to the standard six-speed automatic, which provides power at lower engine speeds under highway cruising, cutting consumption a lot.

Using that same transmission and a V-6 engine, even the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro LS racked up a rating of 29 mpg highway. We think the Camaro is pretty irrelevant to GM's future, but for such a heavy car, 29 mpg is still pretty impressive.

The trouble with the "more 30-MPG-highway cars than anyone else" claim, though, is that many of those cars are simply different nameplates on the same basic vehicle.

With Obama's auto-industry oversight board insisting that superfluous brands--like Saturn and Pontiac--be axed, those badge-engineered models will all go away. In fact, of the 20 vehicles GM touts with highway mileage of 30 mpg or higher, more than half (12 of them) are doomed.

From Pontiac:

- G3, G5, G6 coupe, G6 Flex-Fuel coupe, G6 sedan, G6 Flex-Fuel sedan, Vibe

And from Saturn:

- Astra 3-door, Astra 5-door, Aura Hybrid, Aura, Vue Hybrid

The Chevrolet survivors (none from Cadillac or GMC) are:

- Aveo 4-door, Aveo 5-door, Cobalt Coupe, Cobalt Sedan, HHR,  HHR Panel, Malibu Hybrid, Malibu

But we think it's kind of a dumb marketing claim anyway. It doesn't matter how many models you have over 30 mpg; it's how many you actually, you know, sell. With reports of Pontiac G3 and G5 models piling up on dealer lots, plus plummeting Saturn sales, we fear GM isn't doing so well there.

We await the day when GM shows it has sold more cars with highway mileage over 30 mpg than any other maker. But since Honda has been the full-line manufacturer with the highest overall Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rating for many years, we're not yet holding our breath yet.

2010 Chevrolet Equinox

2010 Chevrolet Equinox

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Comments (8)
  1. "car guy"

    I like the new equinox a lot better (never driven it, but i like the styling and the powertrain). 32 mpg for a crossover is a great start! looks like GM is finally turning around and producing some good cars. Hope they last long enough to reap the benefits of these great products...

  2. "Alternative Energy Engineering"

    Although it is important to focus on green technology, I think the Camaro is relevant to the future of GM for two reasons: 1. It will bring customers into the showroom who may end up buying more practical family and environmentally friendly vehicles and 2. The direction of the Camaro especially with the V6 engine can be the same as that devised by the founders of Tesla motors--having a "hip" environmentally-friendly sporty car (especially if they incorporate another drive-train in the future).

  3. "Dr Motor"

    The comment "It doesn't matter how many models you have over 30 mpg; it's how many you actually, you know, sell" raises the saying: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. GM has tried (maybe too late), but they can't force consumers to buy smaller more efficient cars from them.

  4. Amen, Bob. As shown in yesterday's (June 2's) sales figures, the best selling cars are still trucks. Honda Civic, Ford Focus, et al fell off a cliff. High gas prices = more small cars; under $3 = bigger cars. Without that, no fancy marketing or cars by GM (or Honda, for that matter) will make a difference.

  5. "It doesn't matter how many models you have over 30 mpg; it's how many you actually, you know, sell". Every comparison must have a viewpoint. Your point is one of a person sitting above, looking at the entire industry. GM's point is not directed at you. GM is making a point for the person beginning the search for a car. GM would like that person to know they should come to a GM showroom, not just the Japanese ones. They had a surprising statistic to use to make that point, and used it.

  6. I dont understand why Chevrolet waited till 2010 to start making high fuel efficiency vechicles.Technology has always been there,I have a 2003 Nissan Maxima and makes 21city/29Highway witha 3.5 V6/255Hp bone stock "beast" that can beat most vehicle on a red light with the AC on with good milage.It just shows how greedy and cheap Chevrolet been for the past 15yrs, always finding ways to get your money without you getting the best of it.Yeah now there working better just becuase Mr Obama force them too."It's about time Chevy"!

  7. exactly, i think the Camaro is pretty irrelevant to GM's future. but Chevrolet. I grew up in a Chevy family. My dad had a '68 Camaro, and he's got a '78 IMSA GTO Camaro now

  8. I like the new equinox a lot better never driven it, but i like the styling and the power train. 32 mpg for a crossover is a great start. They had a surprising statistic to use to make that point, and used it. Thank you.

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