Thinking about buying a small SUV/crossover? The CRV, RAV4, and Escape come to mind, but what about the re-vamped 2011 Chevy Equinox? My wife and I were looking to purchase our first vehicle together. We currently live in snowy, windy, and cold Grand Forks, ND. Having been in a snow related accident last winter, in a 4 cylinder Camry, my wife was determined to find an all-wheel drive vehicle that she would allow her to be able to rebuild her winter-driving confidence up again.
After extensive online research of customer reviews and testimonials, we decided to give the Equinox a look. Being both Conservatives, it took quite a bit of lip-biting and swallowing of our pride to step onto a GM dealer’s lot. The GM buyout is ancient history and they have begun to repay their debt to the government but, I still have a bitter taste in my mouth. Politics aside, the redesign of the Equinox for the 2010 model was mainly what attracted us to the car.
Although the RAV4 and CRV are good small SUV options, we planned on sharing the car and, thus, I refused to drive the feme-looking Japanese chick-mobiles (no offense to any males driving them). That left us with the Ford Escape. Honestly, after having a five minute conversation with an aggressive Ford salesman about whether all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive was better, I was turned off (not to mention Ford’s SUVs still look like boxes on wheels).
The 2011 Equinox, appearance-wise, is sleek and sexy with more European-style curves, but still retains the American aggressiveness on the outside. On the inside, finally, a generation-Y friendly vehicle. For years I have been driving American sedans with two electrical outputs. The Equinox comes standard with an audio aux jack, USB port, and four electrical outputs, not to mention bluetooth hands-free technology. You can have your ipod, laptop, and smartphone charging all at once! Sure it can only seat five, but we are a young couple, barely ready to start our family and by the time we have enough children to fill more than 3 seats our income will allow for a larger gas-guzzling SUV.
We actually ended up ordering our Equinox under an extended family discount, thanks to my wife’s Aunt who works for GM! The discount was enough to allow us to not have to worry about negotiating the price of one off the lot down closer the invoice. We went with the V6 option mainly because we wanted the extra weight on the icy roads and may eventually tow something…someday. So far, the AWD has really impressed me. Coming from a front-wheel drive sedan, it sure is nice to not spin through 4 way-stop intersections for a good 5-10 seconds before the tires gain enough momentum on the snowy roads.
The Equinox isn’t high-end or focused on performance by any means. The steering is a bit “mushy” and the acceleration is mediocre, but the slapstick is kind of fun and if you need to go, you can go!
Deciding to save some money on our limited budget, we went with the LT1, sure no halogen flood lamps, hitch option, remote start, or 8-way power seat, but a young couple really doesn’t need all of that. We would be able to get a third party hitch installed when we need it and we went with black paint so the plastic covers where the halogen flood lamps would go on the higher models wouldn’t stick out like two black eyes as seen on other colors (maybe the one design flaw Chevy made on the LT1 and lower models).
After a few months of owning the Equinox, we have no complaints at all. We definitely recommend the 2011 Chevy Equinox LT1 V6 AWD to anyone looking for winter-dominating ride. Maybe we are biased because it is our first car, but take our word for it!