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 Hank on Thursday, January 15, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Pretty well love everything about it."
Cons: "The dash material is hard to get lint off of."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is the third Equinox we have owned. All were purchased new from a dealer. We had a "09, '11, and now a 2012. We loved them all. I was hesitant about buying this 2012, because of the engine. It's a 4 cylinder. I was SO wrong. It has plenty of power!!!!!! I average between 25-30 mpg and driving it takes zero effort. Cannot go wrong purchasing this vehicle."
8 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Rpete on Tuesday, January 13, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Well built, reliable, comfortable, quiet, good loo"
Cons: "Old foot-styled parking brake."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"After 43,000 flawless miles I am quite impressed with this vehicle. I am now in the middle of my 4th Ohio winter with this car and it handles very well in the ice and snow, even without AWD. The ride is quiet and comfortable and it doesn't have a rattle or squeak. It is what I would call an "honest" vehicle. Good looking, comfortable, reasonable V6 power and efficiency and rock-solid dependability."
12 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By dbh on Sunday, January 11, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"it is a good car except for the fact that it is very uncomfortable. on long rides my wife and I both have back and neck aches"
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Rich on Friday, January 09, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good looking and in very good condition"
Cons: "very small dent in rear door. no damage to paint"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Vehicle has been good to us. A deer hit us two years ago but I was not injured because this vehicle is very safe. All repairs were done and no problems"
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Carebear1985 on Wednesday, January 07, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Overall, I'm very happy with the vehicle. I bought it because of the adjustable rear seat, which allows me to add leg room for passengers or cargo space if I need to move anything. I splurged a bit on some upgrades and have not been disappointed! I love the backup camera and the remote start/heated seats rock in the winter.. I purchased an AWD because of unpredictable weather and my frequent trips into the mountains. It's come in useful on many occasions, but eats into the fuel economy. It would be nice to be able to switch to 2WD for my daily commute and improve the MPG. I purchased some WeatherTech floor liners, so my family car is super easy to clean up. I was a bit disappointed at the amount of cheap plastic accessories in the vehicle, especially at that price point. Also, Chevy seems to be a bit behind the power curve when it comes to their computerized systems and pairing of devices/features. I can make calls with the Bluetooth, but had to purchase a cable to project any other sound/navigation from my phone (since I didn't spring for On-Star's Navigation package). I definitely recommend this vehicle.. even talked my best friend into getting one of her own (now we match!!)"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By jarcat on Sunday, January 04, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 67,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "drives good in snow"
Cons: "dont buy one"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought this car with 19,000 miles, it has many recall/service notices. I bought this so I could have peace of mind and the last GM car I had I put 150,000 miles on it and loved it. This car needed major work on the engine @ 42,000 and has always used oil. Now they admit there are engine oil issues but won't fix mine because it didn't use enough oil what a joke this car burns a quart of oil in 2000 miles and has since we got it. We have always bought GM vehicles that is over!!!! Now I have to hope to get some value out of it to buy something else. I'm done also no way to check tranny fluid or change it great feature NOT."
12 people out of 23 found this review helpful