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Crossover Competition

See how three crossover vehicles stack up.

January 19, 2010
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Crossovers are used primarily for family transport and, as a bonus, allow light-duty towing, comfortably and economically. In that regard the Equinox has plenty of competition, from the comparably priced Honda CR-V to the more luxurious Mercedes GLK350. Here’s how they stack up.

Chevy Equinox
Towing Lowdown
: Has a 3,500-pound tow rating with the V-6, or 1,500 with the standard inline-4, and a standard rearview camera system with a grid graphic to show your projected path. The mirrors are small for towing but better than the other two.

Inside Scoop: Gives 31 cubic feet of cargo space — 64 if you fold down the back seats. Our test vehicle had the leather-appointed seat upgrade with heating. The optional sunroof adds natural light to roomy cabin.

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Bottom Line: With the upgraded V-6 (which adds several grand), it’s a fit for the family with a small runabout or fishing boat. Standard MSRP (with inline-4 engine): $27,195

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Honda CR-V
Towing Lowdown: Maxes out with a 1,500-pound towing capacity with the inline-4 engine, so it’s limited to small skiffs, PWCs and basic aluminum boats. The backup camera is available with the nav package on the EX-L model. Small mirrors are not ideal for towing.

Inside Scoop: Has more space to pack gear, with 35 cubic feet and, with the seats down, 73 cubic feet. It has a more basic interior design with lots of standards but without the leather upgrade option.

Bottom Line: It has no V-6 option available, so it’s best suited for towing only the lightest of boats. It’s got a great reputation as a value crossover, but not as a tow vehicle. Standard MSRP: $21,545

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Mercedes GLK350
Towing Lowdown: Don’t have to upgrade to get a 3,500-pound tow rating — the standard 3.5-liter V-6 offers that pulling power. The rearview camera comes with the optional multimedia package. Also guilty of small side mirrors.

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Inside Scoop: Has the smallest cargo volume at 23 cubic feet and, with the seats down, 57 cubic feet. But it easily wins for standard interior comfort and has hands-free Bluetooth standard.

Bottom Line: Base price and towing ability is in line with the upgraded Equinox, even though perception puts it in the hands of the affluent suburban soccer mom instead of the hard-core boater. Standard MSRP: $34,600

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