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 nox11 on Tuesday, December 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Positives - nice ride, quiet, smoother on highway than other compact SUV's. Styling is nice although getting a bit dated 5 years after debut. Most back seat room in class. After 61K miles, it has held up pretty well - no major flaws and only one trip to the shop for a recall on the camshaft position sensor. Negatives - a bit heavy for the 4 cyl - its a dog if you need to pass and you are already going at highway speed. Raspy when you make the 4 cyl work. The HVAC was not well thought out. Gas mileage on the highway was never close to the advertised 29 MPG for an AWD. Best I could achieve with no A/C and a steady 60 on a flat road was 27.2"
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By old man 76 on Thursday, December 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "handles pretty well, good fuel economy"
Cons: "not too much to complain about yet!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I am pleased with this vehicle. Nothing special, but it has been very dependable and safe. I would consider purchasing Chevrolet products in the future."
8 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By hot rod on Tuesday, December 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfortable ride and good sound ststem"
Cons: "lags enough engine power"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"liked everything about this car but the 4 cylinder engine. Not enough power to get up and go when needed. Struggled on steep hills. Compressor went out on air conditioner at about 55k miles. Now have noise when air conditioning is on."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By db on Wednesday, December 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"great vechile very lots of room inside rides good looks good in my view.good mileage 27 avg.i wish i had got a v6 though."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By bubba on Monday, November 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "easy to drive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"One of the very best small SUV's on the market in its price range. I like the power of the V6 engine. The four cylinders are too under powered in SUV's. I would buy the LTZ model again. The only thing I am worried about is the all wheel drive compared to my trailblazers four wheel drive."
7 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Carolyn on Monday, November 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,270overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "I like the feeling of sitting higher."
Cons: "Too much black interior."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"It is a great car for convenience and comfort but it has too many blind spots. That is the major complaint. Outside of that I love this car."
10 people out of 10 found this review helpful