2011 Chevrolet Equinox

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
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Key Specs

of the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Quietness
  • Gas mileage
  • Backseat space
  • Interior design and quality&lt
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  • Powertrain refinement
  • Affordable options

The Bad

  • 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 of the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox

  • 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 Road Test

Joe Bruzek

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 is available with FWD or AWD.

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 AWD. 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 
Chevrolet 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 ...

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 is available with FWD or AWD.

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 AWD. 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 
Chevrolet 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 Chevrolet 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 FWD, 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 top-of-the-line 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 Chevrolet 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 
Chevrolet 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 
Chevrolet 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 Chevrolet 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 
Chevrolet 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 Chevrolet Equinox has the right stuff to be competitive in the busy sub-$30,000 price range.

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2011 Equinox Video

Cars.com's Joe Bruzek reviews the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox Cargo area.

Latest 2011 Equinox Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.5)
Performance
(3.8)
Interior Design
(4.3)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(4.0)
Value For The Money
(4.0)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Best vehicle i have every had

by Sharigip2 from Port Richey. Fl on October 20, 2018

This suv has everything. I just love it... It rides very smoothly take bumps really good It is very affordable. And it looks good too Read full review

(5.0)

Sweet so far

by Vinny from Florida on October 19, 2018

This vehicle is gorgeous on the inside. Not too bad on the outside either. 106k miles and it rides beautifully. Very happy so far. Only have it for 3 days but I am impressed. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2011 Chevrolet Equinox currently has 3 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2011 Chevrolet Equinox LS

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

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

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
acceptable
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranties

Backed by Chevrolet
New Car Program Benefits
  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 100,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits
  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    5 model years or newer/up to 75,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    12 months/12,000 miles bumper-to-bumper original warranty, then may continue to 6 years/100,000 miles limited (depending on variables)

  • Powertrain warranty

    6 years/100,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    172-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All Program Details

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Equinox received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

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.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

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.

What is included in 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).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

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.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker