The Chevy Equinox has made a name for itself in a relatively short time (debuted in 2005) in the very competitive small SUV crossover segment. With its upscale looks, long list of standard features, quality drive, quiet cabin and solid fuel economy, the 2011 Equinox is likely to once again be a top pick.
And not sitting idly after last year's redesign, Chevrolet has added new features and equipment for 2011. Additional standard features include heated front seats on the LT2 model, a compass for the LS and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth and a USB port for the LT1. In addition, the Equinox's optional V6 engine is now E85 compatible.
Overall, the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox not only looks good and has an expensive aura to it, its materials quality is now every bit as good as its top rivals. And in terms of performance, even the 182-horsepower four-cylinder engine provides surprisingly decent acceleration ... and impressive gas mileage. And for those seeking additional power, the 264-horsepower V6 is quite robust.
There's little doubt that the Equinox has traditional segment leaders, such as the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V looking over their shoulders. Other good ones to compare would be the Kia Sorento as well as the Nissan Rogue.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2011 Chevy Equinox is a compact crossover SUV offered in four trims: LS, LT1, LT2 and LTZ.
Standard features for the already well-equipped base model Equinox LS include power windows, power mirrors, power doorlocks, cruise control, power front seat height adjustment, air conditioning, 17-inch alloy wheels, OnStar, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a sliding-and-reclining backseat and a 6-speaker audio system with satellite radio, a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.
The LT1 then adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, roof rails, tinted rear windows and a USB/iPod audio interface. And those LT1 models with the V6 engine also come with 18-inch wheels.
Moving up to the Equinox LT2 adds an 8-way power driver seat, remote ignition, automatic climate control, foglamps, a rearview camera, heated front seats, an auto-dimming mirror and an 8-speaker Pioneer audio sytem, while the top-of-the-line LTZ model adds leather upholstery, rear parking sensors, automatic headlamps, driver memory settings and a power tailgate.
In terms of optional equipment, many of the upper trim's features are vailable to the lower trims. Also, a sunroof is available on all models except the LS, while the LT2 and LTZ have optional navigation (with voice recognition and digital music storage) and rear entertainment systems . There's also optional 19-inch chrome-clad wheels available for the V6 LTZ .
Powering the 2011 Chevy Equinox is a choice of two engines. The standard engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. Also available on all models except the LS is a 3.0-liter V6 that outputs 264 horsepower and 222 pound-feet. Both engines are paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is optional on all models.
The Equinox's fuel economy is another of its appealing selling points, particularly four-cylinder versions. The EPA-estimated gas mileage for a four-cylinder with front-wheel drive is 22 mpg city and 32 mpg on the highway. These numbers dip on all-wheel-drive models to 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. Gas mileage for a V6 Equinox with front-wheel drive comes in at 17 and 25, respectively, while V6's with all-wheel-drive drop 1 mpg on the highway.
Standard safety features across all 2011 Equinox models include stability control, traction control, OnStar, antilock disc brakes (ABS) with brake assist, front seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. Optional safety features include rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.
Although goverment crash tests have not yet been completed for the 2011 Equinox, the 2010 model received the highest possible ratings of five stars in every front-impact and side-impact occupant protection category.
The 2011 Equinox's cabin is attractive, well-constucted and consists of primarily high quality materials. It also includes a number of premium flourishes that give it an overall upscale look, moreso than most competitors in its class.
Its larger size, for a "compact" SUV, allows for spacious interior accommodations. Seating is comfortable and supportive, while the sliding/reclining rear seat provides the roomiest legroom in its segment. There's also plenty of storage nooks and compartments, including a large bin below the front row's center armrest. However, the extra passenger roominess and convenient cargo bin access cuts into rear cargo capacity somewhat. While still adequate, the Equinox comes in with a below-average 31.4 cubic feet of storage space behind the sliding backseat. This number can be expanded to 63.7 cubes by folding the rear seat.
In addition to its impressive fuel economy, the acceleration from the 2011 Chevy Equinox's four-cylinder engine is quite capable overall. Most drivers will be satisfied with its performance. For those who value additional oomph on the road, the V6 is a good choice as its 264 horsepower is one of the most robust in its class.
While its handling and steering is fairly unremarkable, its quiet cabin and comfortable ride quality is impressive, particularly on long highway excursions.
How To Get The Lowest Price:
Best Negotiating Tactic: Well, there's definitely a 'best way' when it comes to new car buying. If you want to get the best bottomline, out-the-door price you need to know exactly who to talk to at the dealership, how to make the contact and how to make this person eager to quickly drop prices as low as possible to get your sale.
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And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.
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Prices: 2011 Chevrolet Equinox
LS, FWD: list price: $22,745, invoice price: $21,608
LS, AWD: list price: $24,495, invoice price: $23,270
LT1, FWD: list price: $23,910, invoice price: $22,715
LT1, AWD: list price: $25,660, invoice price: $24,377
LT2, FWD: list price: $25,970, invoice price: $24,672
LT2, AWD: list price: $27,720, invoice price: $26,334
LTZ, FWD: list price: $28,320, invoice price: $26,904
LTZ, AWD: list price: $30,070, invoice price: $28,567