2011 Chevy Equinox Review by automobile.com

Review

After last year’s significant and needed improvements to the Equinox, Chevy releases the 2011 model with few new changes. Still doing well in fuel savings thanks to the new engine configurations, the Equinox remains a capable performer that provides a good, capable and comfortable ride no matter which of the two engine choices you choose from. For 2011 the tried and true formula returns with a few methods of triumph over the competition.

Specifications

Few changes can be found in the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With a starting MSRP of around $23,700, the Equinox is competitively priced within its class. Two robust engines – a four-cylinder and a V6 – offer decent power. Front wheel drive comes standard on the Equinox, while all wheel drive is available at additional cost. For most people, the 2011 Equinox has more than enough power and capability.

Specs for the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox are expected as follows:

  • Pricing: Specific prices will not be available until just before the 2011 models begin to sell late in 2010, but the price should remain similar to the $23,700 starting price for the base 2010 model.
  • Engine: A 2.4-liter Ecotec I-4 gives 182 horsepower which is fairly strong for a four cylinder. Also available is a V6 3.0-liter which gives 264 horsepower.
  • Transmission:A six-speed automatic transmission controls both engines.
  • Fuel Economy: 22 miles per gallon city and 32 on the highway is very impressive in this class of vehicle, beating even the Ford Escape hybrid.
  • Car Safety Features: Standard traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes, front seat side airbags and side curtain airbags work together to give the 2010 Equinox a perfect five out of five stars in government crash tests and four out of five stars for the rollover rating.
  • Warranty: Chevrolet’s warranty is for 3-years/36,000 miles.

IntelliChoice 5-Year Cost of Ownership rating for the 2010 Equinox came out as “Above Average” to “Excellent” across most trims.

Exterior Features

The exterior design of the new Equinox has been described as “bold yet classy” featuring soft but not effeminate curves and a sophisticated look to it. Standard wheel size is 17-inch alloys with an option for a 19-inch alloy wheel upgrade. The Equinox features a one-piece rear liftgate, a single-horizontal-bar grille, raked-forward stance and an overall clean look.

Interior Features

Style is the order of the day for the 2011 Equinox with a two-tone color scheme availability, dual-cowl dashboard and clear and clean controls throughout. Chevrolet stepped away from the standard styling that you might expect for interior controls and has instead, produced a sleek styling for all of them that is refreshing.

The Equinox is a fairly large vehicle, and that makes for plenty of interior room both in the front and in the backseat which is capable of sliding forward or reclining. The cargo space offered, however, is not on part with the extra size of the car, being limited to just under 64 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down. This is less than you can find in the Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V which are both smaller vehicles, but still more than you will get on the Ford Escape.

Other than strange-looking housings that give off a confusing vibe, the inside of the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox is well appointed and comfortable. Soft blue ambient lighting is subtle enough to be classy – not overbearing. The controls are laid out in an intuitive way, and the central stack is generally attractive. More importantly, materials quality is absolutely first-rate. You aren’t going to find a lot of cheap plastics or unthoughtful touches inside the Equinox.

Performance

You wouldn’t expect to get much performance out of a I-4 engine in a vehicle as large as the 2011 Equinox, but surprisingly, this engine provides adequate acceleration. The cabin is quiet for driving and the ride is comfortable on the 17-inch wheels.

On the Road

Cruising around the city in a 4-cylinder-equipped 2011 Chevrolet Equinox is pleasant. The engine is just powerful enough to make this car cruise along without a whole lot of effort. On the freeway, though, it’s a whole other story. If you plan to be on the freeway a lot, the V6 is probably your best bet. At 4,000 pounds, the Equinox is bulky enough to struggle a bit, even with the V6. Still, handling is wonderfully responsive and steering is, for the most part, great. The vast majority of drivers will feel that the Equinox is more than sufficient.

Under the Hood

The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder base engine on the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox produces 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. The 3.0-liter V6 gets 264 horsepower and 222 pound-feet of torque. Either way, you’re getting a pretty good dose of power. A 6-speed automatic transmission is the only available option; however, it includes a floor lever that lets you shift as if it’s a manual. The suspension is extremely well calibrated, lending the car a smooth, stately ride. It doesn’t hurt that several European design elements have been included.

Pros

There’s a whole lot to love about the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox. Seating is comfortable and supportive; headroom and legroom abound, in the front and in the back. An abundance of cup holders, bins and other storage features make it easy to stay organized while driving this crossover. Even the base trim level boasts a vast array of standard features, adding to the great deal that the vehicle brings to the table.

Cons

Like any vehicle, the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox does have its downfalls. At 63.7 cubic feet – with all of the seats folded down – cargo capacity is a little disappointing. Furthermore, the backseat doesn’t drop all the way down; you can’t create a truly flat cargo area in the back of the Equinox. Lackluster power – especially with the 4-cylinder engine – can’t cope with the car’s incredible heft and bulk. These flaws shouldn’t be deal-breakers for drivers who are sold on the crossover’s style, size and affordability.