Monday, June 20, 2011

2011 Chevrolet Equinox

For 2011, the Chevrolet Equinox's optional V6 now has E85 capability. Enhancements include heated cloth seats on 2LT models and a compass on LS models. A USB port, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and Bluetooth connectivity are now standard on 1LT models, and OnStar service has been upgraded to standard Directions and Connections (providing access to OnStar's navigation and information services) for a six-month trial period.

Roomy and graced with an available snappy V6, the previous-generation Equinox had its charms, but it didn't shine brightly enough to surpass its rivals. As a result, Chevy's capable but undistinguished hauler was left to linger on the lots as shoppers flocked to more popular choices from the likes of Honda and Toyota. But thanks to a full redesign last year, the latest Equinox has vaulted up to be a top pick in the small crossover SUV segment.

The 2011 Chevrolet Equinox boasts character and refinement two traits that were missing in previous-generation models, and indeed many small crossovers in general. With a rear seat that slides back to create an expanse worthy of a prom-night limousine, the Equinox easily counts rear legroom among its strengths. Ride quality is another plus, with the Equinox delivering a stable, well-planted ride. In terms of equipment, the Chevy is fully competitive, with plenty of standard features and some nice upgrades like a hard-drive-based navigation system.

Under the hood you'll find a choice of either a 182-horsepower inline-4 or a 264-hp V6. Both of these engines deliver respectable acceleration, and the four-cylinder is notable for its above-average fuel economy (even though we've found it doesn't quite meet its lofty EPA estimates). Another Equinox selling point is its upscale good looks; the cabin is attractive and expensive-looking and features interior materials quality that's finally competitive with other choices in this segment.