Chevrolet Equinox vs. Toyota RAV4

By

Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


, Automotive Editor - June 1, 2018

Chevrolet has totally revamped its long-running Equinox, one the more popular choices in the sea of compact crossovers. With its new engines and dramatically improved looks, the Equinox is undoubtedly better than last year. But is it good enough to top the wildly successful Toyota RAV4? After all, the RAV4 has been winning over families since before the Equinox was born. Here's the score as it stands today.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Equinox & RAV4 »

What the Equinox Gets Right

Like its predecessor, the new Equinox concentrates on traditional family-vehicle values like room, ride, and comfort. It rolls along smoothly and quietly, like a larger, more expensive crossover. The interior is plush for the class, especially in the upper trims levels. There's 29.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat, and 63.5 cubic feet with it folded.

The Equinox offers additional safety and infotainment options this year, not to mention three new engines. The standard 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder develops 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque and is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel-drive models are EPA-rated at 28 miles per gallon combined. With all-wheel drive, the Equinox delivers 26 mpg combined.

The optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which essentially replaces last year's V6, yields 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Paired with a nine-speed automatic, the 2.0-liter returns an estimated 25 mpg combined, or 24 mpg with all-wheel drive. For hybrid-like efficiency, Chevy offers a 1.6-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder with 137 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. The engine achieves 32 mpg combined, even with all-wheel drive.

What the RAV4 Gets Right

Every RAV4 comes loaded with safety technology that's usually optional on vehicles costing twice as much. Adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and automatic high beams are now standard.

Like the Equinox, the RAV4 offers quiet running and a relaxing ride, along with ample room for five. Cargo space tops out at 73.4 cubic feet – well above average for this class – and the rear seats fold virtually flat.

The sole engine is 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 176 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque, matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. The RAV4 earns an EPA-estimated 26 mpg combined, or 25 mpg with all-wheel drive.

Will the New Equinox Unseat the RAV4?

Buyers who liked the old Equinox's solid feel and overall plushness will be delighted with this latest rendition. Now they also get strong efficiency and inspired styling, which should be enough to pull new folks into the fold. Small crossovers don't get any more mainstream than the RAV4. It's functional, practical, and obsessive about safety. That combination might sound boring to some, but it's exactly what families want.

Our Verdict: Toyota RAV4

The RAV4 keeps doing what it takes to stay ahead of the competition.

Take a closer look at the Chevrolet Equinox»

Take a closer look at the Toyota RAV4 »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage.