Detroit Auto Show Preview: NO CHEVY EQUINOX SUPER SPORT POTENTIAL!

The General dropped a 2008 version of the American Revolution's smallest SUV on the press site yesterday and you'll pardon us for not getting to it yet. However, we think you'll understand our lack of excitement — frankly, it's not so much news and it's certainly not anything more than what the General should have offered for the Chevy Equinox from the start. The mini sports-ute will move from the anemic 185 hp 3.4L V6 it currently suffers with to a less sucktastic 3.6L V6 chugging at 263 hp and 250 ft-lb of torque. In addition to the power output bump, the Equinox "Sport" will receive the General's new six-speed tranny with quasi-manumatic action, a change we're assuming will have some minor effect on fuel economy, but which we're sure the PR team will trumpet as the greatest thing since Chevy's founding and will help us to win the war for national fuel independence. Despite the PR-tastic claims, we're happy about the direction the General's going with Chevy's branding of higher-performance products which aren't yet ready for the classic performance moniker of old. Calling them "Sport" rather than dipping into the entirety of the "SS" moniker and further watering down what once was a very "Super" class of vehicles sounds like the right move to us — because they certainly aren't "Super." You'll be able to see the 2008 Equinox Sport at the Detroit Auto Show next month, or you can see it in the full gallery below. We've also got the full press release from the General after the jump.

Detroit Auto Show Preview: NO CHEVY EQUINOX SUPER SPORT POTENTIAL!

CHEVROLET EQUINOX SPORT BRINGS EXCITEMENT TO THE SUV SEGMENT

DETROIT - Chevrolet announced the new 2008 Equinox Sport, a performance-oriented variant of the popular compact SUV.

It has an aggressive stance and a sporting nature, thanks to a lowered suspension, bold 18-inch wheels, a powerful, 263-horsepower (196 kW) DOHC engine - backed up with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual tap up/tap down control - a tuned exhaust and unique exterior appointments. Details such as body color fascias and the elimination of the roof rack contribute to the sleek design, making the Equinox Sport an uncompromising performance vehicle.

"The Equinox Sport embodies all of the value-driven performance ingredients that have made Chevrolet the brand for performance enthusiasts of all walks of life," said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. "Better still, customers don't have to sacrifice the versatility they expect from the Equinox - they simply get an SUV that hauls their friends and cargo with head-turning style."

The 2008 Equinox Sport is scheduled to arrive at Chevrolet dealerships in the third quarter of 2007. Front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models are available.

Design details
Using Chevrolet's popular Equinox SUV as the foundation, the Equinox Sport delivers a performance-inspired appearance, with body colored front and rear fascias and a body color grille cross bar. The front and rear fascias have trapezoidal design cues; the front fascia uses silver-painted trapezoidal air inlets, while the rear fascia features dual chrome trapezoidal-shaped exhaust outlets.

The Equinox Sport's performance-oriented look is enhanced by eliminating the roof rack, although it is offered as an option. Also, 18-inch flangeless, high-polished forged aluminum five-spoke wheels, mounted on P235/50R18 tires, complement an aggressive stance.

Inside, the Equinox Sport has standard all-Ebony trim and appointments all its own. New seats with bolsters that enhance lateral support during quick cornering maneuvers are standard, with perforated leather-covered versions available. It also has a leather-wrapped, four-spoke steering wheel and specific instruments, including a 140-mph speedometer. The shifter also is unique to the Equinox Sport, as it is a J-gate design that enables precise control of the six-speed transmission's fully automatic or manual tap-up/tap-down features.

Standard features also include those for which the Equinox is already known and appreciated: five-passenger seating with a Multi-Flex, split-folding rear seat, flat-folding front passenger seat, power door locks with remote keyless entry, power windows, air conditioning, tilt steering, rear liftgate with defogger and washer/wiper, and an AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with six-speaker audio system. XM Satellite Radio and remote vehicle starting also are standard. Available options include a power sunroof, Pioneer seven-speaker audio system and OnStar with Turn-by-Turn Navigation.

Performance
GM's high-feature 3.6L V-6 powers the Equinox Sport. It is a DOHC engine with variable valve timing that delivers 263 horsepower (196 kW)* and 250 lb.-ft of torque (342 Nm)* - a 42-percent power increase over the Equinox LT. The 3.6L engine is paired with a new Hydra-Matic 6T70 six-speed automatic that provides an excellent balance between performance and fuel economy. This powertrain combination delivers performance that would be the envy of many sports cars, with an estimated 0-60 mph time of less than seven seconds.

The Equinox Sport's underhood acumen is complemented with a performance-tuned suspension. A long, 112.5-inch (2,857 mm) wheelbase and wide, 61.8-inch (1,569 mm) track give the Equinox a stable, confident road feel, while the Sport's lowered ride height, specific shock tuning, control arms and larger, solid stabilizer bars add to its more responsive, sporting driving experience. The overall ride height is reduced by about 1 inch (25 mm).

The front suspension has a MacPherson strut design with new control arms and stiffer, hydraulic bushings and slightly stiffer springs. The rear suspension features a four-link independent layout with stiffer bushings.

GM's innovative StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, front and rear disc brakes with four-channel ABS and tire pressure monitoring system all are standard on the Equinox Sport - as they are on all Equinox models for 2007. On AWD models, the automatic all-wheel drive system has no buttons to push. It engages automatically when wheel slip is detected.

Chevrolet is America's No. 1-selling automotive brand. With the largest dealer network in the United States, Chevrolet is the leader in full-size trucks and the leader in sales of vehicles priced $35,000 and above. Chevrolet delivers more-than-expected value in every vehicle category, offering cars and trucks priced from $9,995 to $78,175. Chevrolet delivers expressive design, spirited performance and great value with standard features usually found only on more expensive vehicles.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader for 75 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 327,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2005, 9.17 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. GM operates one of the world's leading finance companies, GMAC Financial Services, which offers automotive, residential and commercial financing and insurance. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.

*Pending SAE certification.

Related:
Spy Photos: 2007 Chevrolet Equinox SS [internal]