In the wake of the restructuring plan announced last week, we are learning more about the sweeping changes coming to all corners of the GM empire. With fuel economy triage being the top priority, the General is tending to the patients in worst shape first.
For 2009, the Chevrolet Equinox SUV will ditch its 3.4 liter pushrod V6 for an all-new 2.3 liter turbo inline 4 with direct injection. The motor is a stroked version of the 2.0 liter turbo four found in the Chevrolet Cobalt SS.
Official horsepower figures haven't been released yet. Given that the current V6 is rated at 185 horsepower, we expect output in the mid 200s. Fuel economy figures aren't in either, yet a 15 percent improvement from the current model's mileage (16 city / 24 highway) isn't out of the question.
In addition to the base four cylinder, a Sport model will join the lineup in mid-2009, powered by a 263 horsepower DOHC 3.6 liter V6 taken from the Saturn Aura.
Both trims will be front wheel drive using the same six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control.
The Pontiac Torrent — a badge-engineered clone of the current Equinox model — will cease production at the end of 2008. The new Equinox will be re-badged by the GMC division and sold as the GMC Terrain, starting mid-2009.