General Motors Corp. says base models of its all-new ’10 Chevrolet Equinox, perhaps the most significant launch for the struggling auto maker this year, will carry a sticker price of $23,185.

The cross/utility vehicle arrives at Chevy dealers in June from its current joint-venture manufacturing location in Ingersoll, ON, Canada.

GM says the base price on the ’10 Equinox is $1,800 less than the previous-generation model. Pricing for a fully loaded model – including options such as a larger V-6 engine, GM’s newest-generation all-wheel-drive system, second-row entertainment, sunroof and 19-in. wheels – would sticker for under $37,000.

Entry-level models of the extensively redesigned midsize CUV will include a 182-hp, 2.4L spark-ignition direct-injection 4-cyl. engine with an estimated highway fuel economy of up to 30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km), according to GM. The auto maker estimates city fuel economy of 21 mpg (11.2 L/100 km). Environmental protection Agency ratings are still pending.

GM expects the Equinox’s fuel economy, which translates into a cruising range of 500 miles (804.7 km), to be class-leading. GM also touts Equinox’s interior storage capacities as among the best in the industry.

“Getting best-in-class fuel economy and great storage for less than $24,000 is significant,” Ed Peper, GM vice president-Chevrolet, says in a statement announcing the pricing.

Standard safety features include six airbags, electronic stability control and traction control.

The 2.4L engine is one of two all-new DI mills from GM to debut on the Equinox. Also available is a 264-hp, 3.0L V-6 engine with an estimated fuel economy of 18 mpg city and 25 mpg hwy (13.1-9.4 L/100 km).

GM expects two-thirds of Equinox buyers to choose the 4-cyl. engine, although both mills are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and take regular gasoline.

The Chevy Equinox represents GM’s first vehicle in a plan calling for 22 of the auto maker’s 24 new-vehicle launches over the next three years to be passenger cars or CUVs, according to the viability plan it submitted to the government as part of a multi-billion-dollar rescue package.

Prior the record industry-sales downturn, the middle CUV segment represented one of the fastest-growing in the industry. Through March, sales in the segment were down 26.1% to 297,815 units on a daily selling rate basis, compared with 367,756 units delivered in like-2008, according to Ward’s data.