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 Loyal Chevy owner on Monday, March 23, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Easy to get into and a pleasure to drive."
Cons: "Backup camera needs better distance markers"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Have been very satisfied with the vehicle its the 1st new car I have bought in 30 yrs. I plan on buying another."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By kim on Saturday, March 21, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,800overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "reliable and fast"
Cons: "Not enough room , rough ride!!!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I have to admit my v6 equinox is very reliable and fast. I am not happy with how rough it rides. I had a Traverse before this and still regret getting rid of it. It's a good vehicle if you don't have a lot to carry. The cargo area is to small."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By lp on Saturday, February 28, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks good and nice interior,"
Cons: "AC/Heat; Traction; 4cyl.; working with On Star;"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"4 Cyl is too weak and the gas savings are not enough to make this a good choice. Poor in snow or slippery road conditions. OnStar too hard to deal with and do not work well with previously owned cars. AC/Heat is inadequate."
8 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By TeeRoy on Thursday, February 26, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,575overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Easy to park, no blind spots when backing up."
Cons: "None so far"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"My 2012 LT has performed flawlessly, and filled my needs for economical transportation. The 4 cylinder engine is not one you would drag race with, however, it has ample power when needed. With the rear seats folded down, there is plenty of room for cargo."
7 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By SoOverIt on Wednesday, February 25, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 103,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "has great acceleration for a 4 banger."
Cons: "I paid over $20,000.00 for this car."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This vehicle has been in the repair shop 9 times since i purchased it in 2013. This year already I have had it in for 2 seperate issues. They have had it in there service department for 28 days . 2 weeks total in January 2015 , and has been in there now for 14 more this month so far they still have it so i am guessing probably another 5 days."
7 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Ruf on Wednesday, February 25, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great handling, good value, very comfortable."
Cons: "In-city gas mileage."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this Equinox new with the V-6 engine so that I could tow my motorcycle trike whenever I wanted. I have not been sorry! I drove to the east coast and back pulling the trike and I didn't even know it was behind me. The Euqinox has all the power I need and it is is very comfortable and a real pleasure to drive. My wife loves it too. On a daily basis she drives it more than I do cause I ride my trike and she has never had a complaint about the vehicle. The gas milage for a V-6 is well within expected levels. In short, I'd recommend an Equinox to anyone."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful