By KBB.com Editors
With the cost of everything from oil to steel on the rise, the growing popularity of smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles is also trending upward. We all know how much Americans love their SUVs, so when Chevrolet introduced the Equinox, a smaller, less-expensive and more fuel-efficient version of the traditional SUV, its acceptance among buyers seemed a no-brainer. The 2011 Chevrolet Equinox continues to raise the bar in a segment dominated by such heavyweights as the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape. With newcomers Hyundai and Kia now stepping up their game as well, the Equinox will clearly have its work cut out to keep pace. But, GM seems determined to keep this vehicle relevant, a fact born out by the continuing improvements made to the 2011 model.
If you prefer bold styling over bland, cutting edge audio and navigation over gutless four speaker systems, and class-leading 32-mpg highway fuel economy, Chevrolet has built a crossover utility vehicle for you.
The 2011 Chevrolet Equinox gains a FlexFuel (E85) compatible V6 engine option, as well as some new standard features. The mid-level Chevrolet Equinox 2LT gains standard heated front seats, while Chevrolet Equinox 1LT now feature Bluetooth, a USB port and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.
Driving Impressions If the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox has one strong suit, it's the vehicle's quiet and comfortable interior. For those who prefer frugality over fury, the standard four-cylinder engine will surprise with...its strong acceleration and quiet operation. Aided by an innovative six-speed automatic transmission, the 182-horsepower four-cylinder not only moves with some authority, it delivers impressive fuel economy as well. The 264-horsepower V6, available on all except the base model, brings greater power for passing and merging, but it is not the strongest V6 in the segment. That honor still belongs to the Toyota RAV4. The Chevrolet Equinox's ice-blue ambient lighting and available perforated leather seats make you forget you're not in a luxury crossover. Finding a comfortable position behind the wheel is a breeze thanks to the tilt and telescoping steering wheel and power adjustable seat. The Equinox's sliding rear seats make it easy for rear seat passenger s to get comfortable, especially those with long legs.
If you have low garage clearance or limited vertical reach, you can program the tailgate to open to only a safe or reachable height.
This is an option we think more vehicles in the class should offer. In the 2011 Chevy Equinox, the system features two independent seat-back-mounted screens on which one rear passenger can watch a DVD movie while the other plays a (self-supplied) video game, for instance.
Although the new Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento come awfully close, we think the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox has the freshest, most visually eye catching interior in the segment. While we can find fault with some of the plastics and trim pieces, the overall execution is first rate, especially when equipped with the two-tone Jet Black/Brownstone leather seating option. But, the Equinox's interior improvements go beyond mere good looks. There is a lot of room, utility and just plain thoughtfulness here, as well. Four-cylinder models, for example, use active noise cancellation (a system that cancels out sound waves with counteracting sound waves) to keep the cabin quiet. Further evidence can be found with the back seats that slide forward a full eight inches, creating an even larger area for cargo (or the family dog).Exterior
What we like most about the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox is that it doesn't try to look like a downsized Suburban. From its elegant oversized headlamps, to its two-bar grille and "floating" fog lamp bezels, to its sharp creased fender flares, the Chevrolet Equinox looks more like an overgrown exotic wagon rather than a small SUV. We like all the trims, but are especially partial to the top-of-the-line Equinox LTZ, with its available 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels, power liftgate and chrome door handles, and roof rack trim. And, despite its tall appearance, the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox is as easy to step in and out of as a standard family sedan.
All models have a six-speed automatic transmission, while an "eco" mode on models with the four-cylinder engine alters shift points to improve fuel economy. Safety and convenience are enhanced with standard OnStar, while XM Satellite Radio provides added entertainment value. The "smart" remote start feature, standard on Chevrolet Equinox 2LT and Equinox LTZ trims, also activates the heating and air conditioning.
The 2011 Chevy Equinox offers a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a power liftgate, both of which are uncommon in the category. Other notable options include 264-horsepower V6 engine, all-wheel drive, a navigation system, comprehensive premium audio system, remote vehicle start, backup camera, leather seating, heated front seats, and a memory-enabled driver's seat and mirror.
Every 2011 Chevrolet Equinox includes a fuel-efficient, 182-horsepower, four-cylinder engine as standard equipment, and all but the entry LS trim level offers the upgrade to the 264-horsepower V6 for $1,500. The engines feature direct injection technology and are matched with six-speed automatic transmissions, both of which simultaneously increase power and efficiency. Four-cylinder versions offer an "Eco" button that sets the engine and transmission programming to mileage-maxing mode. The optional V6 is E85 compatible and offers manual shift control, although we felt it could be more responsive. The four- and six-cylinder versions feature tow ratings of 1,500 and 3,500 pounds respectively.
2.4-liter in-line 4
182 horsepower @ 6700 rpm
172 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 (FWD) 20/29 (AWD)
264 horsepower @ 6950 rpm
222 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (FWD), 12/18 (FWD, E85), 16/22 (AWD), 12/17 (AWD, E85)
By dogsam on Thursday, August 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,020overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"poor gas milage 20mpg not 32 mpg other then that and low oil light dones not low oil comes not come on when 2 quarts low you have check or eingine make nosie"
6 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By The Chief on Monday, August 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "space, reliability, options"
Cons: "four cylinder is kinda low on power"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I love my Equinox. It's a very comfortable car to drive, and has exceptional leg room in the back seats. I'm self employed and often have clients in the car, so that was a big plus for me. The cargo area is also quite spacious, and has several loops to attach bungee cords or other storage enhancements. It's very reliable on long trips, and as long as you stick to the recommended maintenance schedule, you're not going to spend a lot of money on this car's upkeep. The only thing I would do differently would be buy the 6-cylinder vs the 4. Its just a tad under-powered for the size, especially when merging or passing on highways. I'm either going to get another one next year, or go for a bigger vehicle like the Yukon (life changes mean I need more storage room for lots of trips). Buy one, you won't be disappointed unless you're looking to race."
7 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By slipkid on Wednesday, August 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfort, design, gas milage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Seems like a big gripe with this car has been mileage. I don't get it. I drive with the MPG screen on all the time. Over any given 50 miles (city and hwy) I'll average between 26 and 29 mpg... that's the average. Maybe some people need to wear lighter shoes."
9 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By micco on Monday, August 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "61000 miles on original brakes"
Cons: "Leather seats are to hard and not confortable."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"The 4 cyl.AWD Equinox is rated at 29 mpg highway, best we ever got is 24.5 our 2002 jeep with 135000 miles on it got better gas milage on the hwy.The 4 cylinder AWD equinox is totally gutless unless you get a running start don't try passing anyone,if anyone should buy one get the 6 cyl. The leather seats in our Equinox are as hard as rocks, I don't understand their thinking on this one they could be a little softer, not a confortable car on long trips.On the positive side still have the original brakes and tires but need new rear brakes as they are down to 20% left and tires before winter if we keep it."
10 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By Florida Realtor on Saturday, July 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfort, gas mileage, price & handling!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I need a vehicle that is reliable with good gas mileage but is roomy enough to carry real estate signs & people plus be able to safely traverse dirt roads. My 2013 Equinox does it, does it well and looks good doing it! It also handles well in heavy city traffic and mountain driving...I have driven it in both places and it handles like a dream. If you're looking for a vehicle that can do it all, this is the one, plus it's affordable!"
5 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By rotterdamron on Tuesday, July 15, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Poor gas mileage
Pros: "Comforts, interior."
Cons: "GAS MILEAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Overall I was pleased with the comfort and quality of the Equinox. It drove and handled quite well. However, the mpg was "grossly" overrated, and the miles between fill ups was a joke. It also shifted awkwardly, lunging forward at time."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful