BY DR CLIVE FRASER
At exactly 1.54am on June 22, 2019 the earth’s South Pole will be maximally tilted away from the sun and consequently the Southern Hemisphere experiences its shortest day of the year.
This celestial event is called the winter solstice, a Latin word meaning ‘stationary sun’.
There are many superstitions about the winter solstice though it’s undoubtedly not a myth for those who suffer Seasonal Affective Disorder.
While in some cultures this day marks the depths of winter, in others it’s celebrated as the birth of the sun because after this day two more minutes of daylight are added every day.
Halfway between the solstices lies the equinox derived from the Latin for ‘equal night’.
That’s the date twice a year when sunrise and sunset are exactly 12 hours apart and a line through the Equator would pass straight through the sun.
Automotive manufacturers have always been keen on naming their cars after celestial objects and events with names like Galaxy, Meteor, Astra, Telstar, Nova, Apollo, Gemini and Saturn coming to mind.
Funny that no one has ever produced a vehicle named the Uranus.
In 2017 the Holden Equinox replaced the Captiva.
The previous model apparently sold well on Manus Island and Nauru.
The Equinox is another mid-sized SUV in what is a very competitive field.
Made in Mexico they sell very well in the United States as a Chevy.
But they are being discounted very heavily in Australia with some dealers offering $13,500 off the list price to clear un-sold inventory.
I had my test vehicle for seven days and clocked up 1500 kilometres around Cairns and up to Cape Tribulation.
I must say that the Equinox LT left nothing wanting in terms of performance.
With a two-litre turbo it produces 188kW of power and 353Nm of torque driven through a nine-speed automatic.
By way of comparison that’s more power than a Ford XR V8 GT.
It does prefer PULP though.
For $5,000 less there is a 1.5 litre petrol LS with only 127kW and only six speeds.
There is also a very economical 1.6 litre diesel variant which the salesman told me to steer away from.
My Equinox was front wheel drive which meant that Emmagen Creek was as far north as I would be going on the Daintree track.
GPS with an 8-inch touchscreen came standard on my model and there were only a few spots where it wanted me to go bush.
Safety features included Blind Spot and Rear Traffic Alerts.
The warnings are switchable between a beeping sound or a vibrator placed in the driver’s seat to stimulate the perineum.
I must admit that this made me wonder whether the 7th planet name might have got the moniker after all.
There’s also Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Warning to keep you on the straight and narrow and Forward Collision Alert and Autonomous Emergency Braking just in case.
Active Cruise Control would have been nice, but isn’t offered.
An Equinox with all the bells and whistles and all wheel drive will set you back $47,290 drive away.
But don’t forget to look for deals as all the vehicles are 2018 build.
My test vehicle was built in January 2018 and was first registered in April 2019.
So just like the name says it had already travelled 1,175 million kilometres in orbiting the sun before I sat in it.
Doctor Clive Fraser
Published: 13 Jun 2019