Are Chevrolet Good Cars? (Chevy mechanic telling it like it is)


Ever wondered what mechanics think of the cars they work on, well buckle-up. I’ve worked as a technician for a large Chevrolet dealer and in this article you’ll learn what I learned about the Chevy brand, the good and the bad.

Chevrolet produce good quality cars, they’re reliable, safe and efficient. According to JD Power survey, Chevrolet have been well ahead of the industry average and in the top ten reliable makers for the last five years. Current models are fitted with latest technology infotainment touch screens for effortless connectivity via Apple carplay and Android auto. The range of cars are comfortable, easy to operate, and inexpensive to maintain.

This article will outline the models in the Chevrolet lineup, the pros and cons of each, together with my personal experience working on them. By the end of this article, you’ll have the inside track.

Are Chevrolet Cars Reliable?

Chevrolet

In the top ten

I’ve worked as a technician on the Chevrolet brand and when I started out, I remember being surprised by the quality. That’s not to say I wasn’t busy fixing them, I was, and some models and engines more than others, but more on that later.

The General Motors group as you know owns many brands, Cadillac, Buick GMC and Chevrolet, Chevy brand being the largest. Technology, chassis and engines are shared across the brands. While working at the dealership I worked on all the GM brands, but the dealership sold more Chevy’s so no surprise they accounted for the bulk of my work.

JD Power surveys customers with three year old cars and ranks manufacturers by the volume of complaints they receive. Chevrolet regularly scores in the top ten for dependability and that doesn’t surprise me.

Marks like Toyota and Lexus however are more consistent winners in the JD Power surveys, with the Lexus taking the trophy for the last eight years, which is pretty impressive.

The Chevy workshop

Rustyautos.com workshop

Order brings efficiency

There is more to a car brand than simply the car. The people, the professionalism and the facilities can make a huge difference to the Chevrolet customer experience.

I’ve worked in a large GM dealership with twenty plus technicians, most of which were comediennes, never a dull moment. I’m smiling right now thinking about some of those characters.

But not every workshop was as pleasant, I’ve worked in a few shops, some were for prestigious brands. The attitude and facilities behind the shiny facade of some was disappointing.

Our GM workshop was professional. I think you can tell a ton about an organisation by how the out of sight spaces are maintained. It thought me the little things really are important.

Engine timing

Anyone see tool …

When a job calls for a specialized tool, most tech’s recoil, walking around the workshop aimlessly asking if anybody seen tool azv15 3cu is a common occurrence, but not at our shop. Our tool room was, immaculate, as too were our coveralls and canteen, it really does make a difference. It set the tone for the whole dealership, our attitude towards our employer and Chevrolet.

Each technician had their own work bay, hoist, computer and was responsible for keeping their kit in good order. (Mechanics supply their own tools and tool box’s). We were supplied with GM login, password and training schedule. Tech’s were expected to train constantly on existing and new technologies being rolled out, it was our job to stay sharp and up to speed.

Our dealership was truly customer focused and we were reminded of our role in the process of bringing the very best experience to our customers during our monthly pizza tailgate lunch meetings.

Working On Chevy’s

Chevrolet engine

Ecotec

Chevrolet are good to work on, in most cases there is a ton of room under the hood. Except for the 6.6 lt Duramx trucks, drop a wrench in there and it’s gone. Although I found tools in the V of the engine under the turbo chargers, so it’s not all bad.

The 3.6 lt engines fitted to the traverse need to be removed from the vehicle to perform tasks such as leaking front cover or timing chain work. This might sound excessive but it’s pretty common on modern cars.

Removing the engine isn’t as much work as you might imagine – remove the engine loom connectors from the chassis harness, fuel lines, exhaust, coolant lines and you are well on the way. Unbolting the sub-frame allows the body to be lifted clear of the engine, the engine remains bolted to the sub-frame on the ground, it’s about 3 hours work.

Common workload in our shop:

  • Engine oil leaks
  • Coolant leaks
  • A/c faults
  • EVAP faults
  • Suspension work
  • Electrical issues
  • Squeaks and rattles when cars getting close to warranty end date
  • Heater issues
  • Ignition switch recalls
  • Air-bag recalls
  • Coolant flushes
  • Brake jobs
  • Engine light on issues
  • Timing chain replacement
  • Transmission faults
  • Cooler lines leaks
  • Power steering leaks
  • Battery drain faults
  • Software updates

Chevrolet Common Issues

Timing chains

Timing chains

This paragraph lists common faults with Chevrolet cars, but don’t be put off, every chain has weak links and I could write a similar list for any car manufacturer.

Drive-Train

  • Oil consumption
  • Timing chains stretched
  • Timing chain tension failure
  • Oil monitor issues
  • Variable valve timing issues
  • Lifter faults
  • Camshaft issues
  • Oil leaks
  • Coolant leaks
  • PCV faults
  • Intake manifold issues
  • Encoder motor
  • Diff control module

Electrical

  • Ignition pass-lock
  • Passenger occupancy sensor connections
  • Fuel pumps
  • Parasitic battery drain
  • Battery failure

Interior

  • Air-con leaks
  • Airbag clock spring
  • Belt pretension sensor
  • Heater blend door motors
  • MMI touchscreen faults

Are Chevrolet Cars Safe?

Chevrolet cars along with all cars are vigorously tested by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Association). It’s a government department and they’ve been crash testing cars since 1978. In addition, the combined work of two non profit independent organisations, the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) and the HLDI (Highway Loss Data Institute) run their own crash tests which further adds to crash test data.

Cars are crashed from various angles and given a score for each test and an overall score for safety. I’ll link to the safety test for each Chevrolet vehicle where relevant later.

Chevrolet are safe cars, they score very well overall. They offer several safety features but not all as standard. As a father of two teens I especially like Chevrolet’s Teen Driving Technology safety feature and as far as I’m aware it’s the only manufacturer that offers it.

Chevrolet safety features include:

  • Pedestrian braking system – Alerts the driver to pedestrian hazard and brakes to prevent collision.
  • Lane departure -Accidental lane departure warning and gently corrects the vehicle.
  • Adaptive cruse control – Adapts automatically to traffic speed.
  • Reversing Cameras – Display offers various camera angle shots including birds eye view for easy obstacle maneuvering.
  • Wider rear view mirror – For increased rear view vision.
  • Blind side zone alert – Alerts driver to vehicle in blind spot when lane changing.
  • Rear cross traffic alert – Alerts driver to rear traffic hazard.
  • Forward collision alert – Alerts the occupants to imminent collision and provides additional and or dynamic braking.
  • Auto lighting control.
  • Teen driving technology – Driver teaching tool with built in report card, nice!

You can check out all these features in more detail here at Chevrolet’s website.

Chevrolet Ownership Cost

The cost of car ownership is effected by a four main components.

  1. Price – The cost of the vehicle
  2. MPG – How much gas it uses
  3. Service & Repairs – How much it cost to keep it on the highway
  4. Depreciation – Replacement cost of the vehicle

1 Vehicle cost

The price you pay for your vehicle will obviously influence the cost of ownership the most. For most buyers, the goal is to buy the best car you can for the least amount of spendy.

Making cars is a complex business, most don’t realize that until you look behind the curtain. In many cases spending more on a car doesn’t guarantee a more reliable ride. I genuinely believe Chevy offers great value, their cars are not perfect, but guess what? … nobody’s are. Remember, a Cadillac uses the same components as a Chevrolet, why pay Cadillac prices.

Your local Chevy dealer will likely have some great deals on offer but the time of year you choose to go shopping makes a difference. You’ll find the best deals are on offer towards the end of the year. Dealers are trying to move older new stock to make room on the lot for new models due to arrive in the spring.

Conversely, the worst time to go shopping is the spring, latest new models are in high demand and so discounts are thin on the ground. You’ll get a great deal on the last of the old model, and the other great advantage – all the little and large production issues have been fixed, that’s never the case with the latest new model.

So you know what to do, wait for the snow and go shopping.

2 MPG

Many models use the efficient Ecotec four cylinder turbo charged engines. Turbo chargers were once only fitted to high performance models. The turbo allows manufacturers fit smaller more sufficient engines without sacrificing too much power.

Gas mileage of the four banger units is in the 20 to 35 mpg range, GM are now fitting 3 cylinder turbocharged units to the smaller models for increased fuel economy.

The larger full size SUV’s need the larger engines, they’re offered with V6 and V8 gas powered engines and the gas mileage isn’t great like 18-25 MPG. However more efficient diesels are on offer and are likely to be offered in even more SUV’s. Engines like the new I-6 3.0 lt turbo diesel, known as the baby Duramax is changing drivers perception of diesel engines.

3 Service

Car oil filling

12,000 Miles

A 2018-2020 Chevrolet includes the cost of the first service, it’s due at 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Service consists of an oil and filter change, vehicle health check, tire rotation (if applicable), control module DTC check and software upgrade (if applicable).

Chevrolet have developed “Owner center”, it keeps a digital record of your cars warranty, maintenance, recalls pretty neat. A Chevy digital service record also helps your resale value.

Your Chevy maintenance is important, four areas especially:

  • Oil
  • Brakes
  • Tires
  • Batteries

Oil

Since 2010 all Chevy’s are fitted with an oil life system (OLS), it takes account of factors like miles driven, oil temperature and rpm to determine when the oil actually needs changing. You can check your Chevy service intervals here at Chevy support.

Two type of services are common, the basic service – oil and filter (at 12,000 miles) and the full service. You already know oil changes are important, but fresh oil is particularly important to turbo charged engines. The turbo’s impeller turns at very high rpm and requires clean free flowing oil to cool and and protect it.

A full service includes:

  • Multi point vehicle health check
  • Battery check
  • Synthetic engine oil change
  • Oil filter change
  • Air filter change
  • Cabin Filter change
  • Washer fluid fill up
  • Tire pressure check and rotation
  • DTC check and software updates

Brakes

New brake pads fitted

Pads

A brake service is usually needed around 30,000 miles but it does depend on your driving style and city driving will cause greater brake component wear. Here’s a list of the more regular type brake services:

  • Replacement front pads
  • Replacement rotors front
  • Replacement rear pads
  • Replacement rear rotors
  • Brake fluid flush – Every three years

Tires

Tire care is important, it causes so many drive-ability issues. Customers often can’t believe the difference a new set of tires makes. Bad rubber can cause a ton of problems and the symptoms vary – vibrations, growling noise, whine sound, banging, wandering steering, bad gas mileage, trembling steering wheel, rubbing noise, pulling under braking.

Tires need to be checked regularly, kerbing, pot holes, under inflating, worn ball joints, wheels out of alignment can cause tire issues.

It’s worth noting, many Chevrolet tires are Nitrogen filled. You can tell if the tires are Nitrogen filled, the valve dust caps are green. Nitrogen is more stable than air and doesn’t expand with heat, it also does a better job at sealing the tire. It’s better not to mix air and Nitrogen but if you are in a tight spot, you can it won’t hurt any.

Chevy’s are fitted with TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensors) which will alert the driver to a low tire condition.

Chevy recommend rotating the tires every 7,500 miles, it increases tire life, even tire wear equals a safer vehicle. Tire rotation won’t be possible on all vehicles as some tires are directional. It’s worth noting also, when tires are rotated to a new location, the TPMS sensors need to be calibrated.

Batteries

Battery

Good battery

is important

Cars are packed with an ever increasing number components that require electrical power. A good battery is important, a faulty battery can often be the root cause of some strange electrical gremlins.

Your battery is checked as part of a service so any issues should be flagged. You can expect your battery to last about 3-4 years but don’t wait for it to go bad, I’d change it out before winter.

Basic battery care includes not allowing the battery to run low, if you’re parking up your car for months on end use a battery maintainer to help keep it topped up, batteries hate to be discharged. Keep you battery terminals clean and avoid fitting power consuming accessories to the battery.

Additional maintenance

Bear in mind other service components and procedures may be required, depending on the vehicle type, age and mileage. You can check out the average cost of these repairs by contacting your local dealer or check the Kelly Blue Book repair guide.

Services that your Chevy will require, include:

  • Transmission oil and filter change
  • Transmission flush
  • Transfer case oil change
  • Rear differential gear oil change
  • Power steering fluid change
  • Power steering flush
  • Intake system cleaning
  • Coolant change
  • Thermostat replacement
  • Coolant system flush
  • Water-pump replacement
  • Auxiliary belt replacement
  • Wiper blades replacement
  • Air con refrigerant service
  • Timing belt replacement (if applicable)

Chevy have developed mychevrolet mobile App, it’s a subscription service but has some neat features like vehicle health, maintenance and diagnostic.

4 Depreciation

1 Careful owner

Depreciation is a major cost of ownership and a Chevrolet dealer will likely always give you a better deal trading a Chevrolet. They use the Black book valuation and can be completed online. But you’ll need to supply your vehicle details, name, email address and zip code. This works for all vehicles not just Chevy’s. You can check it out here.

Expect your new Chevy to depreciate 40-50% of it value over 5 years.

It roughly breaks down like this:

  • 15-20% depreciation by the end of year 1
  • About another 10% off the residual by the end of year 2
  • Another 10% off the residual by the end of year 3
  • Same for year 4 and 5

This type depreciation isn’t particular to Chevy, it’s the average for most family cars. You can help minimize your depreciation by taking care to have all the maintenance up to date. The general condition needs to be excellent, paint and interior unmarked. High mileage will hurt the value.

Chevrolet Model Line-up

Chevrolet produce a wide range of vehicles from mini car to performance models, but the range is shrinking. That’s mostly because our tastes in cars are changing.

Generally consumers prefer SUV style vehicles, that trend is well in place and manufacturers must respond or die. SUV’s, crossovers and truck models are more profitable for manufacturers and so not surprisingly they are doubling down.

Customers no longer want sedans and so Chevrolet has had to make some decisions. The models cut in 2019 included the Cruze, Impala and electric Volt.

Cutting the electric Volt you might think counter intuitive, however sales have been flagging mostly because it’s out of step with EV customer needs. The clever Volt carries it’s own gas generator under the hood, which was once useful, but EV charging stations are now plentiful.

GM will make savings as result of the cuts and say they plan to use the savings and profits to develop an all electric line up by 2023.

Chevy Sedan Models

You already know Chevy have trimmed the sedan range of vehicles as of 2019 and no doubt there will be more to follow. The Cruze is gone and the Impala and GM recently announced they’re discontinuing the Sonic.

It’s time to look at the vehicles one by one, here I’ll point out known problems, recalls, crash test rating and let you know the best models and years to consider buying. Don’t be alarmed by the volume of problems, all manufacturers have issues, most just don’t talk about them.

My best advice is to steer clear of models with major failing components like transmissions and engines.

Chevy Spark

Spark

Cheapest super-mini

Mini compact 4 door hatch back fitted with a 4 cylinder 1.4 liter engine naturally aspirated engine (Non-turbo) mated to a CVT auto or manual transmission returning between 30-38 mpg. The Spark wins the award for being the cheapest new super mini for sale in North America.

It’s available in a few different trim levels and also available as a crossover, which is the same car with a few extra toys and nicer suspension.

Like:

  • Fun
  • Economical
  • Cheap
  • Versatile
  • Lots of storage space
  • Good head & leg room front
  • Nimble
  • Great selection of charger points
  • Cool touch screen, easy to navigate with Apple car play and Android auto
  • Reversing camera standard
  • Latch child seat safety anchors
  • Manual transmission

Don’t Like:

  • Some interior trim materials look and feel cheap
  • Rear legroom tight for adults
  • Lots of road noise
  • CVT transmission

Known Problems:

  • Various issues have been highlighted with the CVT transmission – CVT7 (RPOs M4M, MR8). 2014 to 2017 models.
  • Oil consumption concerns with the 1.4 liter engine.
  • Water pump housing leak.
  • PCV issues.

Recalls:

NHTSA campaign number 18V774000 relates to Air bag fault.

Crash Test:

Good overall as per IIHS/HLDI test results.

Best Spark to buy:

2018 on wards with driver confidence package.

Chevy Sonic

Spark

Comfort and economy

The sonic was available in 4 door hatch back (5 doors) or sedan body style. Early models were fitted with a 1.4 or 1.8 liter engine. The 1.4 litre turbo charged being the more common but a non turbo was available too. It returns between 26-34 mpg. Transmission is six speed auto, five or six speed manual depending on engine and model choice.

Customers voted and the Sonic took the top prize for the least number of problems in the first 90 days of ownership, as per the JD Power survey.

Like:

  • Price
  • Comfortable
  • Sure footed
  • Smooth
  • Economical
  • Hatchback versatile
  • Lots of storage space
  • Good head & leg room front
  • Great selection of charger points
  • Cool touch screen, easy to navigate with Apple carplay and Android auto
  • Reversing camera standard
  • Hill start assist
  • Latch child seat safety anchors
  • Remote start

Don’t Like:

  • Small gas tank
  • Plastic trim
  • Rear seat legroom is tight for adults

Known Problems:

1.4 lt engine – Oil consumption, Coolant leaks, PCV/valve cover faults.

Recalls:

NHTSA campaign number 18V342000 relates to seat back frame.

Crash Test:

Good overall as per IIHS/HLDI.

Best Sonic to buy:

The Sonic is a pretty good car. My choice – 2018 on wards hatchback model with turbo and driver confidence package.

Chevy Cruze

Cruze

Discontinued

The Cruze began life in 2010 and redesigned in 2016 and as of 2019, it’s discontinued. The new model was available with the 1.4 turbo charged gas or 1.6 litre diesel engine mated to an six speed auto or manual transmission. Gas engines return between 35-45 mpg.

In addition the new model Cruze was offered as sedan or 5 door hatch back body style.

Like:

  • Styling
  • Comfortable
  • Smooth
  • Economy
  • Interior materials
  • Head and leg room front
  • Sedan folding rear seats
  • Touch screen clear and equipped with Apple carplay and Android auto
  • Hatchback versatility

Don’t Like:

  • Stop start irritating and not controllable
  • No folding seat release in trunk
  • Rear seat head room a touch tight

Known Problems:

The generation 1 Cruze suffered from transmission issues, Engine PCV valve faults, Oil leaks, Coolant leaks. The latest Cruze – Trunk water leaks, Stop start faults.

Recalls:

NHTSA Campaign Number: 18V576000 relates to faulty rear brake caliper pistons.

Crash Test:

Good overall as per IIHS/HLDI.

Cruze I’d buy:

The latest generation 2017 on wards in the LT trim hatchback.

Chevy Malibu

Redesigned in 2016, the Malibu is currently available in two engine choices 1.5 lt and 2.0 lt turbo. The 1.5 lt is mated to a CVT transmission and the 2.0 lt to a nine speed auto box. Returns between 32-36 mpg.

A Hybrid 1.8 lt model was also available but like many models have since been discontinued.

Like:

  • Looks
  • Interior and materials
  • Quiet
  • Smooth
  • Visibility great
  • 8″ touchscreen interface with Apple carplay and Android auto
  • Heated rear seats
  • Pano roof
  • Trunk seat release
  • Key-less entry
  • Wireless phone charger
  • Lots of leg and head room front and back

Don’t Like

  • Sloping rear hampers access
  • CVT transmission
  • Nine speed transmissions indecision
  • 1.5 lt engine under-powered for this body size

Known Problems:

Earlier Malibu models had more than their share of transmission problems. Latest models have a number of live recalls.

Recalls:

NHTSA listing four recalls currently, ECM fault, Caliper piston fault, Airbag fault and fuel line fault.

Crash Test:

Good overall as per IIHS/HLDI.

Malibu I’d Buy:

The latest model in Premier trim with 2.0 lt engine and 9 speed auto, comes with all the toys.

Chevy Impala

The Impala has had a good run but this year marks the end. The top of the range sedan is offered with one engine the 3.6 V6 mated to a six speed auto transmission. Previous models were offered with a 2.5 lt four cylinder. The Impala returns 18 to 28 mpg.

Like:

  • Magic carpet smooth
  • Whisper quiet
  • Effortless performance
  • Style
  • Interior fit and finish
  • Interior LED lighting
  • 8″ touch screen with Apple carplay and Android auto
  • Sound system
  • Power points
  • Folding rear seats
  • Trunk lighting
  • Large trunk
  • Secret storage area
  • Wireless phone charging

Don’t Like:

  • GM aren’t making it anymore.
  • Crash test didn’t achieve the top “Good” rating.

Know Problems:

2.5 lt engine – Flex-plate fault, Oil pressure issues some transmissions leaks and a battery drain condition.

Recalls:

NHTSA Campaign Number: 18V576000 relates to rear brake caliper piston.

Crash Test:

Acceptable overall as per IIHS/HLDI.

Impala I’d Buy

Latest model in Premier trim – 3.6 V6 with 6 speed auto box.

Chevy SUV Models

Chevrolet have increased their SUV/Crossover models because that’s what we want. The line up is powered by gas models currently but you can expect a ton of electric models to be released by 2023.

The term crossover has made it’s way into the industry vocab but really they’re all SUV’s. Crossover is a term associated with sedan and hatchback chassis’s that are reconfigured to an SUV. Typically adding taller suspension, fender trims, larger bumpers, roof rails etc transforms the car but it may include an AWD system.

Many SUV’s are two wheel drive only, and that’s a good thing. Two wheel drive SUV’s are cheaper to buy and maintain, simpler, better on gas and the environment. Since most driver don’t go off road, all wheel drive isn’t necessary.

Trailblazer

The Trailblazer is a new SUV aimed at the younger audience. It’s fitted with a three cylinder turbo charged 1.2 or 1.3 lt engine. The 1.2 is mated to a CVT auto transmission and the 1.3 is available as an AWD with nine speed auto transmission.

The little SUV is laden with safety features and is designed around a mobile phone.

Like:

  • Teen driver technology
  • Economical
  • Style
  • Range of charge points
  • Wireless charger
  • 110 volt charge point
  • 7″ touch screen with Apple carplay and Android auto
  • Comfortable seating
  • Good leg room front and back
  • Pano roof
  • Range of safety tech as standard
  • Adjustable driving settings

Don’t Like:

  • Lack of power
  • CVT transmission
  • Noisy
  • Steering feel

Known Problems:

Cam position actuator fault, Engine oil pump fault.

Recalls:

N/A

Crash Test:

N/A

Trailblazer I’d Buy:

The AWD 1.3 turbo charged with nine speed auto transmission is the model I’d buy.

Chevy Trax

The Trax first introduced in 2015 is a bigger SUV but still small enough to be called nimble. It’s fitted with an Ecotec four cylinder 1.4 lt turbocharged engine mated to a six speed auto transmission. It’s available in front wheel drive or all wheel drive. It returns between 26-31 mpg.

Like:

  • Stable on road
  • Nimble
  • Economy
  • 7″ touch screen with Apple carplay and Android auto
  • Good legroom
  • Auto lights
  • Key-less entry
  • Backup camera
  • Great storage
  • 110 volt out let
  • Drivers seat lumber support

Don’t Like:

  • Cabin noise
  • Interior plastic

Known Problems:

Earlier Trax models effected by PCV system fault and Turbo charger faults.

Recalls:

Lower front control arm fault and Airbag setting as per NHTSA.

Crash Tests:

Good overall as per IIHS/HLDI.

The Trax I’d Buy:

I’d buy the base mode, it’s the best value as it’s fitted with same power-train as the Premier model.

Chevy Equinox

The five seat Equinox first introduced in 2004, it’s the Trax’s older brother. The standard Equinox is fitted with a similar size engine though, a 1.5 turbocharged unit mated to a six speed auto transmission. A 2.0 lt turbocharged unit with nine speed transmission is an option.

The latest Equinox is larger yet lighter lighter and better handling than its predecessor. The 1.5 returns between 26-31mpg.

Like:

  • Smooth
  • Quiet
  • Stability
  • Visibility
  • Push button start
  • Key-less entry
  • Interior finish
  • Privacy glass
  • Rear vents
  • Leg & headroom front and back
  • Rear seat adjustment
  • EPB
  • Trunk seat release
  • Auto lights
  • Heated mirrors
  • 7″ Touchscreen with Apple carplay and Android auto
  • Selection of phone charge points
  • Wireless phone charger
  • Reversing camera view selection
  • Safety kit like Forward collision alert, Forward pedestrian braking and Emergency braking

Don’t Like

  • Ride on the firm side
  • Steering light
  • Rear hatch slow to open.. come on already!
  • WiFi chime when starting engine irritating

Known Problems:

Previous model had oil consumption and timing chain issues. Current model has the following issues – Faulty batteries and battery drain, Faulty BCM’s, Faulty fuel valve, Faulty Flex plate, Various electrical issues caused by a chafing wiring loom.

Recalls:

Recalls for the previous model include Electronic park lock lever fault, Seat height adjuster and TPS fault as per NHTSA.

Crash Test:

Good overall as per IIHS/HLDI.

Equinox I’d Buy:

I’d buy the 2.0 lt model with nine speed automatic transmission and pano roof, it comes with all the toys.

Chevy Traverse

Traverse is a very well appointed 7/8 seat AWD or FWD midsize SUV. It’s fitted with a 3.6 V6 normally aspirated engine and nine speed auto transmission or 2.0 lt turbo. V6 returns between 18-27 mpg.

Like:

  • Smooth
  • Quiet
  • Powerful
  • Storage space
  • Comfortable Seating
  • Head and leg space front and rear
  • Phone charging and power outlets
  • Reversing rear camera and sensors
  • Key-less entry and push button start
  • Standard features like Blind spot, Rear cross traffic, Teen driver monitoring
  • 7″ Touch screen and Apple carplay and Android auto
  • EPB

Don’t Like:

  • Third row leg space
  • Visibility limited through rear side windows
  • 8th seat not available on top trim level
  • Steering light

Known Problems:

Previous models – Timing chains, Suspension rattle, Leaks. Current model – Transmission issues, Battery drain, Faulty cylinder heads.

Recalls:

Airbag and frame rail issue as per NHTSA.

Crash Test:

Good overall as per IIHS/HLDI.

Traverse I’d Buy:

Buy the AWD with the silky 3.6 V6.

Chevy Tahoe

The Tahoe is a man size 8 seat SUV, two gas engine choices 5.3 lt V8 mated to a six speed transmission or a 6.2 V8 mated to a 10 speed auto transmission and available in three trim levels. A six cylinder diesel is also an option. The Tahoe is big and returns between 16-23 mpg and by the way this is the all new 2021 Tahoe.

The previous model is still available while stocks last, but the latest model is a huge improvement.

Like:

  • Handling
  • High vantage point
  • Visibility
  • Styling
  • Interior materials and finish
  • Rear trunk space
  • 3rd row leg and head room
  • Hook up points USBC and 110 outlet incl wireless charger
  • Towing ability
  • Seat vibration alert
  • Tail gate glass trunk access
  • Touchscreen with Apple carplay and Android auto

Don’t Like:

  • MPG poor
  • Shifter controls
  • Rear visibility poor

Known Problems:

Lift-glass hinge noisy

Recalls:

N/A

Crash Test:

Acceptable overall for the previous model Tahoe as per IIHS/HLDI.

Tahoe I’d Buy:

The 6.2 lt is likely the better option, however the diesel with its superior fuel economy may be worth consideration.

Chevy Trucks

If you need to haul you need a truck and trucks are what Chevy do best, with a hundred years experience they have learned a few tricks. The Chevy truck options are endless, from engine size, body length, trim options…..I have a favorite – Big 6.6 Duramax diesel Silverado with all the toys unbreakable!

Chevy Colorado

Launched in 2017 the Colorado is Chevy’s midsize truck. Three engines are available – 2.5 lt, 3.6 lt gas mated to six speed auto box and a 2.8 lt turbo diesel mated to an eight speed transmission.

The 2.5 lt has a towing capacity 3,500 lbs and returns 20-26 mpg, the 3.6 V6 engine has a 7,000 towing capacity and 18-25 mpg. The diesel 2.8 lt has the max towing capacity of 7,700 lbs and returns 20-30 mpg.

Like:

  • Style
  • Stability
  • Off-road ability
  • Rugged build
  • Comfort
  • Touch screen with Apple carplay and Android auto
  • Charger points
  • Storage
  • Turning circle

Don’t Like

  • Interior plastics
  • MPG
  • Lack of extra safety features as standard

Known Problems:

TCC shudder, Axle vibration, Lifter issues, Truck leaning to left.

Recalls:

NHTSA Campaign Number: 18V358000 relates to fuel pump flange

Crash Test:

Acceptable as per IIHS/HLDI.

Colorado I’d Buy:

My pick is the 2.8 lt turbo with six speed auto.

Chevy Silverdao

The Silverado is a popular workhorse and comes with mind boggling engine choice – 6.2 v8, 5.3 v8, 4.3 v6, 2.7 turbo, 3 lt diesel and for transmissions – 6, 8 or 10 speed auto.

2020 brought the new Silverado HD (Heavy Duty), it’s the daddy and is available in five trim levels. Power train options include 6.6 lt v8 gas mated to a 6 speed auto transmission or the 6.6 v8 diesel mated to a 10 speed auto.

Like:

  • Rugged
  • Towing ability
  • Design
  • Sun visors
  • Great head and leg room front and back
  • Rear windows
  • Rear door opening width
  • Charging points USBC, USB, 12 v, 110 volt and AUX
  • 7″ touch screen with Apple carplay and Android auto
  • Power outlet and load light in the bed
  • DIM with oil, brake pad and air filter monitoring
  • Interior Storage

Don’t Like:

  • Poor crash test result
  • Gas MPG
  • Rear seat back
  • Some interior materials poor

Known Problems:

Gas engines – Oil leaks, Lifter issues, TCC shudder, Axle vibration, Battery drain, Diesel -DPF issues, Turbo issues, Sensor issues,

Recalls:

Stability, Airbags, Electrical, Brake assist issues.

Crash Test:

Marginal as per IIHS/HLDI.

Silverado I’d Buy:

I’d buy the 6.6 Duramax diesel, you’ll never wear it out.

Related Questions

How long do Chevy cars last? A gas power Chevrolet will last 10 years and about 100,000 miles without major mechanical issues. A diesel engine will last 200,000 miles and more if well maintained.

John Cunningham

John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. I've been a mechanic for over twenty years, I use my knowledge and experience to write articles that help fellow gear-heads with all aspects of classic car ownership, from tires to roof aerials and everything in between.

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