High-Mileage Chevy Equinox, GMC Terrain To Get Eco eAssist System For 2014?

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2011 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ

2011 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ

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The mild-hybrid system that General Motors calls eAssist (on the 2012 Buick Lacrosse and Regal models) will also appear on the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco version.

But now it appears that the system will spread further across GM's product lines, with a report on GMInsideNews that it will appear on both the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain crossover utility vehicles for the 2014 model year.

With the 2013 Malibu launching solely in its highest-mileage Malibu Eco form at first, demand for the 2.4-liter EcoTech engine with the hybrid alternator-starter attached is expected to decline once an all-new 2.5-liter non-hybrid four is offered later in the model year as the base Malibu engine.

To keep monthly production of its mild-hybrid engines as consistent as possible, GM reportedly plans to offer that engine in the Equinox and Terrain (which are built in the same factories and largely identical under the skin), starting in 2013.

2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist Live Shots

2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist Live Shots

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The Lacrosse with eAssist is rated by the EPA at 25 mpg city, 36 mpg highway, improvements of 32 and 20 percent respectively over the 2011 Lacrosse fitted with the non-hybrid 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (rated at 19 mpg city, 30 mpg highway).

Applying those same improvements to the 2012 Equinox with the base 2.4-liter four, it could be rated as high as 29 mpg city, 38 mpg highway (against its current ratings of 22 city, 32 highway).

FIRST DRIVE: 2012 Buick Lacrosse 37-MPG eAssist Prototype

Buick Lacrosse Hybrid eAssist System

Buick Lacrosse Hybrid eAssist System

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The 2012 Buick Lacrosse with eAssist sedan is priced at $30,820 with destination, and is the sole four-cylinder Lacrosse offered for 2012 (a 3.6-liter V-6 is the only engine option).

GM's first TV ad for the Lacrosse with eAssist focuses solely on the engine shutoff feature, and doesn't use the word "hybrid" at all.

2011 GMC Terrain

2011 GMC Terrain

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Adding the mild-hybrid system to the 2014 GMC Terrain will require a new, GMC-specific sub-brand denoting higher fuel economy. With Buick using "eAssist" and Chevy adding "Eco" to its model names, GMC is not likely simply to tack on "Hybrid" as it does for its low-volume 2012 GMC Sierra Hybrid pickup truck.


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Comments (8)
  1. According to EPA, the Lacrosse is a "Midsize" vehicle, as is the Prius. So they both form a similar function and both are hybrids. So why does the La Crosse only get HALF the MPG of the Prius in the city?

  2. @John: Ummmm, because not every single U.S. car buyer wants to drive a Prius, perhaps? As we've discussed, different buyers opt for different mixes of performance, features, and fuel economy. The 2012 Buick Lacrosse with eAssist falls in a very different category--more traditional luxury midsize sedans--than the Prius. The Lacrosse is probably better compared to something like the (smaller) Lexus HS 250h or (new) Lexus GS 450h, neither of which is a precise match either. But I strongly doubt that more than a tiny handful of buyers cross-shop the Prius and the Lacrosse.

  3. So somehow adding in the "luxury" pixie-dust removed the very concrete fuel economy (cut in half). It is just a sad commentary on Buick's technical ability and people's ability to decide what really matters to the world.

    As for cross-shopping, I have seen Prius drivers cross-shop all types of vehicles from sports cars to SUVs to sedans. Personally, I cross-shopped minivans and the Prius. It just goes to show how flexible people's cross-shopping is compared to the assumptions about the behavior.

  4. OMG Really? I suggest you take your cute little Prius down to a Buick dealership and actually drive a Lacrosse.
    Talk about comparing apples to oranges.
    You're also conveniantly forgetting the HSD equipped Camry hybid gets only 31/35 mpg...

  5. Sometimes it just amazes me what passes for reasonable thinking. It is clear that it is possible to build a mid-size class car with 51 mpg city. So when a car company comes out with a mid-size hybrid that gets only 25 mpg city (less than half), you might expect a clear statement to say this is POOR gas mileage.

    But no. The gas mileage is defended as being good because it is better than the last version of this mid-sized car. Or that because it is a "luxury" car, somehow the laws of physics don't apply to it and therefore the MPG is OK.

    Well it is time to say that the emperor has no clothes and that 25 mpg city (hybrid or not) (luxury or not) is awful gas mileage for a mid-sized car.

  6. @JB, in your world, the only aspect of a vehicle's performance that matters is gas mileage. Fine for you, but most of don't want to be seen in, much less drive a Toyota Aztek, err, Prius.
    Is it physically possible for you, just once for others, to read an article and not turn it into the same Prius comparison you seem obligated to make several times a day every day of your life? An article on diesel cars immediately brings your standard,"but the Prius," etc... An article on a mild hybrid... yes, back to the Prius, of course.
    Whining like a spoiled child ad nauseum because every article doesn't indulge your Prius obsession starts to get a little creepy and downright rude.
    For many, this is a good step. Sorry it's not a Prius, deal w/it.

  7. The big question is how much will GM charge for this eAssist?

  8. You used the H-word!

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