Chevrolet Equinox vs. Toyota RAV4

By

Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


, Automotive Editor - April 24, 2019

In the lucrative compact crossover segment, mainstays like the Toyota RAV4 tend to be big winners. They’re trusty, reliable, and versatile. In 2017, Chevrolet shrunk its Equinox crossover to bring some competition. The Chevy Equinox looks sharp and is aggressively priced, but does it have what it takes to unseat the Toyota RAV4?

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

What the Equinox Gets Right

The first advantage of the Equinox is its starting price. Even after destination fees, the 2019 Equinox starts under $25,000. The RAV4 starts above that at $26,595.

The Equinox also has the more flexible engine lineup. The base engine makes a pedestrian 170 horsepower, but an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder motor makes 252 hp. That’s more than either powertrain on the RAV4, and it’s good for a zero-to-60 mph sprint of 7.5 seconds.

Finally, the Equinox has an edge on interior space. It has 2.3 inches more front head room than the RAV4, and 2.1 inches more rear leg room. This adds up to a more accessible and comfortable ride.

What the RAV4 Gets Right

Although the Equinox’s base price may be lower, it’s a little deceptive – the base Equinox L has hardly any options and won’t be seen much at dealerships. The next trim up is $2,000 more, which makes it $200 more expensive than the base RAV4.

For the money, the RAV4 offers more features, especially in the safety department. Automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and pedestrian detection are all standard on the RAV4 – none of these are on the Equinox.

The RAV4 is more practical as well. It has 37.6 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the rear seats and 69.8 cubic feet with the seats folded, compared to the Equinox’s 29.9 and 63.9 cubic feet, respectively. The RAV4 also has an inch more ground clearance for off-road duties.

Though the Equinox’s top engine may be the most powerful, the base RAV4 has more grunt than the cheapest Equinox. It’s more efficient, too, at an EPA-estimated 26 miles per gallon, 35 mpg highway, and 29 combined.

This goes double for the RAV4 Hybrid, which outclasses the Equinox diesel in both power and efficiency. The Hybrid’s 40 mpg combined rating is at the top of the class, and well more than the 32 mpg combined of the Equinox diesel.

Where to Compromise?

Neither of these crossovers is perfect. The RAV4 could use a little more interior space, and the Equinox has the advantage on power. But the Equinox falls short or the RAV4 on features, cargo space, and efficiency. Choosing between the two comes down to deciding which of these areas are the main priorities.

Our Verdict: Toyota RAV4

Crossovers are about being adventurous and practical, and the Toyota RAV4 is better at both. The hybrid option is a class leader, but even the base model is a good value. Chevrolet would do well to imitate Toyota’s standard safety tech. For now, the RAV4 stays on top.

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

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


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