Best Bet
  • (4.1) 119 reviews
  • MSRP: $7,093–$16,329
  • Body Style: Sport Utility
  • Combined MPG: 24-27
  • Engine: 182-hp, 2.4-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel Drive
  • Seats: 5
2011 Chevrolet Equinox

Our Take on the Latest Model 2011 Chevrolet Equinox

What We Don't Like

  • Ride may be too firm for some
  • Mushy brake pedal feel
  • Left-side blind spot&lt
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  • Cloth bucket seats have hard cushions
  • Interior volume, considering its size

Notable Features

  • Four-cylinder or V-6
  • Flex-fuel capability for V-6
  • Six-speed automatic
  • 32 mpg highway rating for FWD 4-cylinder
  • Optional dual-screen entertainment system
  • Standard stability system

2011 Chevrolet Equinox Reviews

Cars.com Expert Reviews

With the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox's high-quality interior and great ride, it's easy to see why the compact SUV has been a runaway success, though its value diminishes as the trim level and price rises.

It's been two years since our initial review of the redesigned 2010 model. Now, a few years in, we've tested multiple Equinox trim levels against fresher competition. This time around, I drove the most-expensive trim, the LTZ, with a four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. Other trims are the LS, 1LT and 2LT.

There aren't many feature changes for the 2011 Equinox versus the 2010. For a comparison of the two model years, see here.

Winner of $29,000 SUV Shootout
The Equinox's competition has only improved since our original review, yet the Equinox took the top spot in Cars.com's $29,000 SUV Shootout against the redesigned Kia Sportage, Dodge Journey and six other SUVs. The Equinox's family-friendly features, premium interior feel and value won over our editors and the participating family. To read the full comparison, click here.

Less is More
The lower-priced LS and LT models offer the most bang for the buck in the Equinox lineup, with great interior fit and finish, high-quality materials and an isolated experience from the road compared with crossovers in the $20,000 to $30,000 range. Plus, the Equinox's most family-friendly features aren't limited to just the LTZ.

That's great news for LS and LT models, but it contributes to the fact that the Equinox starts to lose its charm above $30,000. The four-cylinder Equinox LTZ I tested cost $33,260 with optional all-wheel drive, navigation and sunroof, excluding an $810 destination fee. At that price, its interior teeters on average compared with the quality of the similarly priced Ford Edge and Nissan Murano. Conversely, what's impressive is that the Equinox starts at $22,995 with essentially the same interior.

A front-wheel-drive, four-cylinder LTZ starts at $28,570 and includes leather seats, a power liftgate, rear parking assist, driver's seat memory and roof rails.

The Equinox's power liftgate is a handy feature that's seldom found on affordable cars. It's also available on the Equinox 2LT for $495 — especially nice given it's not uncommon to see a feature like this offered only on a model's most expensive trim level or bundled in a pricey option package. The power tailgate with remote open/close proved an invaluable convenience during a weekend trip when the liftgate was opened and closed a dozen times per day.

Another family-friendly option on the 2LT is a rear-seat entertainment system with dual screens for $1,295. There's a standard backup camera on 2LT models that doesn't require a navigation system, as many cameras do, while a rearview camera is optional on 1LT ($24,160) models for $845 in a package that also includes remote start and a powered driver's seat.

Road Tripping
With its great highway manners, the Equinox excels on road trips. I drove more than 300 miles, round-trip, on highways with posted speed limits of 70 mph. The Equinox tracks straight and true at those speeds, rarely requiring course correction from the steering wheel. It's also quiet and comfortable at 70 mph, with a compliant ride.

As we've noted in other evaluations, the Equinox's cargo area is smaller than its large exterior suggests, which is a potential problem for road-trippers. The sliding backseat moves forward to provide the most cargo room, mitigating the problem but sacrificing backseat legroom. Doing so was the only way I was able to fit a weekend's worth of cargo for four people: four duffle bags, two slow cookers, two folding chairs, a golf bag, a large cooler, and groceries. Only with some clever packing were we able to maintain visibility through the rear window.

Under the Hood
The Equinox's wheezy 182-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder is an under-performer considering the LTZ's high asking price. The engine struggles to pull its freight when fully packed. My passengers commented on the straining noises that came from under the hood as the engine wound out in every gear to compensate for the additional weight.

The four-cylinder is acceptable in LS and LT models, but for $30,000-plus, in the LTZ it leaves a large performance gap compared with the Murano's and Edge's silky smooth V-6 drivetrains. A 264-hp V-6 is an additional $1,500 on Equinox 1LT, 2LT and LTZ trims for those who need extra power.

Safety
The Equinox is a Top Safety Pick at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It scored the agency's best rating, Good, in front-, rear- and side-impact crash tests, as well as in a roof-strength test.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Equinox four out of five stars overall using its revised testing procedures for 2011. In frontal and rollover tests, the Equinox received four out of five stars, and it earned five out of five stars in side crash tests.

Standard safety equipment includes front airbags, side-impact airbags mounted in the front seats, and side curtain airbags for front and rear passengers. Also standard are an electronic stability system, antilock brakes and six months of OnStar with automatic crash response. A paid subscription is required after the initial trial period.

For a complete list of standard safety features, see here. To see how well child-safety seats fit in the Equinox, click here.

Equinox in the Market
Buyers don't have to spend the steep $34,000 as-tested price of our LTZ to get what makes the Equinox a great crossover SUV. The Equinox's greatest attributes are just as present on less-expensive trim levels, and as the Cars.com $29,000 SUV Shootout proved, the Equinox has the right stuff to be competitive in the busy sub-$30,000 price range.

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Consumer Reviews

(4.1)

Average based on 119 reviews

Write a Review

So happy I bought this vehicle

by Goodday from on November 10, 2017

This vehicle drives very smooth compared to other SUV I've owned. Extremely comfortable and a lot of leg room especially in back seating area.

Read All Consumer Reviews

8 Trims Available

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Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2011 Chevrolet Equinox trim comparison will help you decide.
 

Chevrolet Equinox Articles

2011 Chevrolet Equinox Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

IIHS Ratings

Based on Chevrolet Equinox 1LT

Head Restraints and Seats
G
Moderate overlap front
G
Roof Strength
G
Side
G

IIHS Ratings

Based on Chevrolet Equinox 1LT

G Good
A Acceptable
M Marginal
P Poor

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
G
Overall Rear
G
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
G

Moderate overlap front

Chest
G
Head/Neck
G
Left Leg/Foot
G
Overall Front
G
Restraints
G
Right Leg/Foot
A
Structure/safety cage
G

Other

Roof Strength
G

Side

Driver Head Protection
G
Driver Head and Neck
G
Driver Pelvis/Leg
G
Driver Torso
G
Overall Side
G
Rear Passenger Head Protection
G
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
G
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
G
Rear Passenger Torso
G
Structure/safety cage
G
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers. IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests. IIHS also evaluates seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Chevrolet Equinox 1LT

Overall
Overall Front
Overall Side
Overall Rollover Rating

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Chevrolet Equinox 1LT

Overall
Overall Front
Overall Side
Overall Rollover Rating
Driver's
Passenger's
Side Barrier
Side Barrier Rating Driver
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat
Side Pole
Side Pole Barrier combined (Front)
Side Pole Barrier combined (Rear)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA provides vehicle safety information such as front- and side-crash ratings and rollover ratings. Vehicles are rated using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Recalls

There are currently 4 recalls for this car.


Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $3,900 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

36mo/36,000mi

Powertrain

60mo/100,000mi

Roadside Assistance Coverage

60mo/100,000mi

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

Powertrain

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years