A year ago I was less than kind to the likes of the Equinox. I'm not going to lie, I didn't like it. Anyone who knows me, knows the story. Maybe it was circumstance, maybe I was just having a bad week, or maybe Chevy really did have an unsatisfactory product. Whatever the case, I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth while the rest of the automotive community sang the crossover's praises. I just couldn't bring myself to agree.
Now over a year later, and I was behind the wheel of the latest-gen Chevrolet Equinox again, and I have to say I was a little nervous to slip into the driver's seat. I was nervous I would be as disappointed and feel as strongly as I did about the previous year's model.
Thankfully, such was not the case. While I didn't fall madly in love with it, I also didn't run away repulsed – let's all breathe a collective sigh of relief and move on.
Looking at the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox, I'll say right away I much prefer its look compared to its GMC Terrain sibling. The lines of the Equinox are modern and boxy without being too much so. It maintains the looks of a traditional SUV instead of falling into this almond-shaped, smooth mould a majority of SUVs and CUVs seem to be trapped in. There's something decidedly classic about the look of the Equinox, and that's quite appealing. Black roof rails and chromed fog lights add a certain something to the overall look and finish off the Equinox perfectly.
Inside, that modern, forward-thinking look continues. While nothing is stand-out amazing, it is all quite functional and well designed. The gauge cluster is simple and straightforward without any fancy screens à la Ford. The recessed tachometer and speedometer tie into the modernity of it all and the chromed edging carries over onto the steering wheel and even the centre stack.
Equipped with satellite radio, a Pioneer premium 8-speaker audio system and steering wheel-mounted entertainment controls, the Chevy Equinox 2LT is outfitted with the basic necessities of a vehicle. The middle console design and setup is user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing, however, I wish the screen looked a little less dated. There's something about the pixelated blue numbers and text on the screen that remind me of years gone by.
The red-stitched and perforated leather seating in my tester definitely upped the class level inside the Equinox, but it will set you back $800 at the dealer if you decide to go with said option. If not, you get cloth seats, but at least the model comes standard with electrically adjustable front seats that are also heated.
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