By Joe Bruzek, Cars.com
Q. I need a vehicle with a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. Can the Chevrolet Equinox tow that much?
A. You may not need to look elsewhere if the Equinox has caught your eye. When properly configured, an Equinox with the available six-cylinder engine is rated to tow 3,500 pounds.
This is about as much capacity as you can get among the Equinox’s competition as well. Six-cylinder models of the Toyota RAV4, Kia Sorento, Mitsubishi Outlander and Ford Escape all have maximum 3,500-pound towing capacities.
On the Equinox, the optional V-6 is a $1,500 option starting on the LT trim level but tied to 18-inch wheels and an upgraded stereo system that increases the 1LT’s price by $2,145. You can also opt for the hitch accessory, a dealer-installed part that, through Chevrolet, costs $250 and includes hitch assembly, ball mount and wiring harness.
Q. Is using biodiesel safe in a 2009 BMW 335d?
A. BMW advises that the 335d’s engine can tolerate a blend of up to 5 percent biodiesel (B5), but anything higher than that could cause engine damage over the long term. Biodiesel is less stable than regular diesel and more solvent, and higher blends could damage parts and clog fuel filters and injectors. Such damage would not be covered by the factory warranty because BMW has not approved a concentration of biodiesel higher than B5.
The EPA notes that most vehicle manufacturers don’t recommend blends greater than B5.
Q. Which midsize sedans are fun to drive? I’m looking at midsize sedans, and my key criteria is “good to drive.” I’m coming from a Mazda3 Sport, so cars like the new Hyundai Sonata or Honda Accord don’t really appeal to me. I read in the recent Shootout that many people think the Toyota Camry handles and accelerates well, but it’s also horribly boring to look at. Other than the Suzuki Kizashi, what midsizes are fun to drive?
A. Don’t ax the Accord off your list just yet. You may find it doesn’t look the part in sedan form, but Honda’s family sedan has what it takes to offer a fun-to-drive midsize car.
Cars.com editor Kelsey Mays writes in his review of the 2010 EX:
“The Accord has always been one of the more engaging family cars to drive. Some may find the steering wheel takes considerable effort to turn at low speeds — though I’ve found it lighter in LX and LX-P trims — but on curvy roads it offers quick precision and little vagueness. At highway speeds, the steering wheel’s hefty weight still impresses; conversely, road noise from the 17-inch tires on most trims might have you cranking the stereo a bit louder.”
While very comfortable, the Camry isn’t one of the more dynamic sedans on the market. The Sonata is a similar story, even though it looks the part of a sporty vehicle.
You may also want to add the Mazda6 or Nissan Altima to your list because they both drive on the sportier side. If you still own a Mazda3, you may qualify for a $500 loyalty bonus currently offered to Mazda owners.