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A Chevrolet for Every Occasion: 11 Of The Best Chevrolet Automobiles

Benjamin Hunting
by Benjamin Hunting
June 21, 2011
6 min. Reading Time

Chevrolet has carved out a reputation as being “America’s Automaker” for being a car company that is in tune with the everyday needs of drivers across the entire country whether they are looking to get behind the wheel of a comfortable commuter car, a capable pickup truck, a spacious SUV or a fuel-efficient compact. Chevrolet has also worked hard to appeal to those interested in some of the more niche areas of the automotive market by offering sports cars, muscle cars, crossovers and more in an effort to make sure everyone feels included.

There’s a Chevrolet out there that’s right for every lifestyle, budget and driving need. Let’s take a look at 11 Chevrolet automobiles that represent that depth and breadth of this special brand:

01: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze

The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze is a new compact sedan that dramatically improves the quality in one of Chevrolet’s most affordable segments. The Chevrolet Cruze is a far more modern car than the Cobalt it replaces, and its interior loses much of the low quality feel that dogged Chevrolet’s previous compact efforts.

A big part of the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze’s success story has to do with its exceptional fuel economy. The standard edition of the Cruze comes with a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that generates 136 horsepower and 123 lb-ft of torque. Fuel mileage for this motor, which is matched with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, shows as 22 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. Also available is a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that not only ups power to 138 ponies and 148 lb-ft of torque, but which also inflates fuel economy to 28 mpg city and 42 mpg highway when found in the Cruze Eco trim. Transmission choices for the turbo motor remain the same.


02: 2011 Chevrolet Silverado

The Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup has been getting the job done – no matter how big or small that job might be – for decades. The 2011 Chevrolet Silverado is offered in a dazzling range of configurations, including three different cargo bed lengths and three cab body styles, with some featuring the option of six passenger seating and one coming with four full-size doors. The maximum tow rating for the Silverado shows as 10,700 lbs.

The 2011 Chevrolet Silverado’s long list of options continues under the hood where it can be outfitted with either an entry-level, 4.3-liter V-6 engine (195 horsepower) or any one of three eight-cylinder engines ranging from 302 horsepower up to 403 horsepower. The mid-range, 5.3-liter V-8 pumps out 315 ponies and 335 lb-ft of torque and manages to best even the V-6 in terms of fuel economy, coming in at 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway. A mix of four- and six-speed automatic transmissions are offered with the Silverado, and a rugged four-wheel drive system is available to help give the pickup considerable off-road capability.


03: 2011 Chevrolet Equinox

The 2011 Chevrolet Equinox provides compact crossover shoppers with a very competitive option that directly takes on the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V in terms of interior quality, fuel economy, power and looks. The svelte Chevrolet Equinox features seating for five, including a sliding rear row that opens up ample leg room, and with the back seats folded forward the crossover can handle up to 63.7 cubic feet of cargo.

The 2011 Chevrolet Equinox starts out with a 182 horsepower, 2.4-liter engine under the hood that is also good for 172 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy for this thrifty mill is pegged at 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. A V-6 option can also be ordered, and the 3.0-liter unit brings with it 264 horses and 222 lb-ft of twist, while dropping fuel economy to 17 mpg around town and 25 mpg on the highway. Both versions of the Equinox come with a six-speed automatic transmission and the availability of all-wheel drive.


04: 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe

The 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe stands tall as one of the most popular full-size SUVs on the market. Truck-based and proud of it, the Chevrolet Tahoe is solid choice for families on the go who need to haul as many as nine passengers (across three rows) or a cavernous 109 cubic feet of gear. The Tahoe’s 8,500 lbs of towing capacity also make it formidable choice for hauling a camping trailer or boat to the lake on the weekend.

In terms of drivetrain choices, the 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe keeps things simple with a 5.3-liter V-8 as its sole offering. Matched with a six-speed automatic transmission, and capable of generating 320 horsepower and 335 lb-ft of torque, this engine also provides fuel economy figures of 15 mpg in city driving and 21 mpg on the highway. Four-wheel drive is an option with the Tahoe, and a hybrid version is also available for eco-conscious drivers.


05: 2011 Chevrolet Impala

The 2011 Chevrolet Impala can be thought of as the automotive equivalent of comfort food. Buyers know exactly what they are going to get from the full-size sedan: a roomy interior, seating for as many as six passengers, a smooth ride and the availability of luxury options like heated leather seats and a Bose stereo system.

The 2011 Chevrolet Impala also balances power and fuel economy by providing a choice between two different V-6 engines. The entry-level unit displaces 3.5-liters and puts out 211 horsepower and 216 lb-ft of torque while returning fuel mileage numbers of 19 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. A more robust 3.9-liter V-6 brings 224 horses and 235 lb-ft of torque to the table and offers only a slightly lower EPA rating (17 mpg city, 27 mpg highway). Each engine is shifted via a four-speed automatic transmission.


06: 2011 Chevrolet Colorado

The 2011 Chevrolet Colorado mid-size truck mimics the body styles available with its larger Silverado brother, covering the gamut of regular, extended and crew cab models and also offering the choice of five- and six-foot cargo boxes. Although the Chevrolet Colorado’s tow rating is not quite as high as that of a full-size truck, 6,000 lbs still offers substantial day-to-day hauling utility.

When it comes to engine availability, the 2011 Chevrolet Colorado also displays the same type of variety found with the Silverado. Entry-level trucks start out with a 185 horsepower, four-cylinder unit while mid-range editions of the Colorado can be had with a 242 horsepower, five-cylinder motor. The top-of-the-line Colorado features a 5.3-liter V-8 that is good for 300 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices for the Colorado include a five-speed manual (four-cylinder) and a four-speed automatic (optional on the four-cylinder, standard everywhere else), and four-wheel drive can also be ordered with the truck. Unsurprisingly, the smallest Colorado motor also provides the best fuel economy numbers, with the four-cylinder reporting 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.


07: 2011 Chevrolet Aveo

The 2011 Chevrolet Aveo represents the most value-oriented member of the Chevrolet family. The subcompact Chevrolet Aveo is available in both traditional sedan and practical hatchback editions, with the latter making 37 cubic feet of cargo space available with the rear seat folded forward. Even the Aveo sedan’s rear seat features a trunk pass-through, which is an important allowance for handling oversized items in a smaller vehicle.

Like most subcompact cars, the 2011 Chevrolet Aveo prides itself on its fuel economy. The Aveo’s 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine delivers 27 mpg in city driving and 35 mpg on the highway and still packs a very useable 108 horsepower and 104 lb-ft of torque. Drivers can choose to row their own gears by sticking with the standard five-speed manual transmission, or opt instead for a four-speed automatic.


08: 2011 Chevrolet HHR

When the 2011 Chevrolet HHR compact crossover wagon first hit showrooms, Chevrolet made sure that the retro-inspired styling was paired with substantial utility. Available in both passenger and Panel cargo editions, the Chevrolet HHR features enough interior space to store as much as 63 cubic feet of building supplies, hockey equipment or small appliances, depending on what your transportation needs dictate.

A pair of four-cylinder engines highlight the 2011 Chevrolet HHR’s drivetrain options. The crossover is initially outfitted with a 2.2-liter unit that develops 155 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque, while an available 2.4-liter motor provides a heartier 172 horsepower and 167 lb-ft of torque. Both engines feature almost identical same fuel economy ratings (with the smaller motor pulling ahead by a nose thanks to 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway), and each can be had with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission.


09: 2011 Chevrolet Traverse

The 2011 Chevrolet Traverse is a full-size crossover vehicle that stands between minivans and truck-based SUVs in the minds of many family shoppers. In addition to its eight passenger capacity and 116.4 cubic feet of available cargo space, the Chevrolet Traverse also provides a comfortable, car-like driving experience that is in stark contrast to its plus-sized dimensions and capabilities.

Motivating the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse is a 3.6-liter V-6 engine that thumps out 281 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, which can increase by seven extra ponies and an additional four lb-ft of torque if the vehicle’s optional dual exhaust system is added to the equation. Front-wheel drive is standard, as is a six-speed automatic transmission, while all-wheel drive is available to help drivers living in climates where low-traction winter driving conditions are a fact of life.


10: 2011 Chevrolet Camaro

The 2011 Chevrolet Camaro proves that you don’t need V-8 power to complete an attractive muscle car package. The sharply styled coupe and upcoming convertible models each start out with a 312-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 that also puts out 278 lb-ft of torque. Even better for those looking to make a V-6 Camaro their daily driver is the fact that the coupe edition offers fuel economy figures of 17 mpg around town and 28 mpg highway.

Of course, the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro can also be had with a fire-breathing V-8 engine. Displacing 6.2-liters, the eight-cylinder motor grinds out 426 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque and allows the Camaro SS to accelerate to 60 miles per hour in a very brief five seconds. Each engine comes with a pair of six-speed transmissions (both automatic and manual).



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