The 2011 Chevrolet Equinox is one of the best affordable, compact SUVs on the market today. Returning 22 mpg city and 32 highway, it’s more fuel efficient than you’d dare to hope for a vehicle of this sort. With an MSRP range of $22,995 to $30,320 buyers won’t quibble about price either.
To drive the competition, you can wander over into the mid-sized SUV genre easily, so consider the major contenders to be the Nissan Murano, Ford Edge, and Honda CR-V. The Equinox beats all but the CR-V on price. You can go back and forth on details like cargo space and engine power, but the Equinox still emerges as an exceptionally well-rounded buying option.
There are four trims: LS, 1LT, 2LT, and the luxurious LTZ. The standard engine is an Ecotech 2.4-liter four-cylinder producing 182 hp with an option for a 3.0-liter V6 with 264 hp (not available on the base.) For most buyers, the four-cylinder is more than adequate and, while not a powerhouse, delivers a smooth, quiet ride. It takes both regular unleaded and E85 gasoline.
On the exterior, the Equinox is a simple, attractive SUV with fender flares, a raked C-pillar, and a wrap-around rear window. Rather than going for the look of a smaller Suburban, the Equinox has the feel of a wagon brought up to SUV speed. Inside, the cabin is characterized by both style and comfort, with useful features for organization and cargo carrying.
The Equinox seats five comfortably with more than enough head and leg room for long trips. There is, however, no third row. Standard features on the base model include three months of XM, cruise control, and an auxiliary input jack. On the 1LT trim, you can add a rearview camera and parking assist. Go up to the 2LT and choices include premium sound, heated front seats, an an entertainment system.
The federal government gave the 2011 Equinox four out of five stars for front and rollover crashes, and five stars on side impacts. Standard safety features include a full array of airbags, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, electronic stability control, traction control, and tire pressure monitoring.
The 2011 Chevrolet Equinox is an excellent choice for a high-value compact SUV with good fuel economy, an excellent safety profile, and good interior comfort even if the cabin is arguably bland. This is a “must test drive” for the class and likely the vehicle on which you’ll decide to spend your purchasing dollars.