2020 Chevrolet Equinox vs 2020 Toyota RAV4
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2020 Chevrolet Equinox vs 2020 Toyota RAV4

By Autolist Staff | August 25 2020

2020 Chevrolet Equinox

2020 Toyota RAV4

Our User's Take

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2020 Chevrolet Equinox score: 7.2/10

Highlights:
  • Engaging drive dynamics and handling.
  • Generous space inside.
  • Reasonably fuel-efficient.

2020 Toyota RAV4 score: 7/10

Highlights:
  • Lots of standard driver assistance technology.
  • Efficient powertrain choices.
  • Spacious interior and cargo area.
  • Distinctive off-road models.

How they stack up:

Safety Features:

Chevrolet Equinox: 8/10

  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Chevrolet Equinox with a Top Safety Pick designation for the 2020 model year. That second-highest honor is due in part to the crossover’s ‘Good’ scores in all crashworthiness categories and a ‘Superior’ rating for front vehicle-to-vehicle crash prevention.

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rated the Equinox five out of five stars overall, which includes five-star ratings in all categories except for rollover resistance, where it earned four stars.

  • Standard safety features include a rearview camera, automatic emergency braking, following distance indicators, forward collision alerts, front pedestrian braking, and lane-keep assist with lane departure warnings.

  • Optional safety equipment includes lane change alerts with blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts, rear parking assist, an HD surround-view camera, and adaptive cruise control.

Toyota RAV4: 8/10

  • The RAV4 comes standard with an extensive list of driver assistance features, called Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. All models come with adaptive cruise control with forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and assist, automatic high beams, and road sign recognition. Some models also get blind-spot monitoring and front and rear parking sensors with rear cross-traffic alert. While rivals from Ford, Honda, Subaru, among others, also make much of this equipment standard, many others still don’t.

  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2020 Toyota RAV4 its Top Safety Pick award, its second-highest honor. Crash test and prevention scores were all high, but most RAV4 models come with headlights the agency deemed insufficient. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the 2020 RAV4 its highest five-star overall rating.

Value:

Chevrolet Equinox: 6/10

  • Equinox starts under $24,000, but good luck finding the base L trim. It’s a special-order option, so there won’t be any sitting on dealers’ lots waiting for a buyer. After that, the Chevy’s price climbs quickly with options and trim level additions.

  • The Equinox has a sluggish base engine and interior materials that don’t feel up to its sometimes-premium price tag.

  • The Equinox L comes standard with a host of driver-assist features and a reasonable set of standard tech features, like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but it’s about access here, and the L trim is hard to find. Stepping up one level adds at least $4,000 to the price tag, which may not be an attractive option for many buyers.

  • All-in, the Equinox’s price tag scrapes $40,000 with options, which is closing in on premium territory.

  • Middle trims, such as the LT, add plenty of features without pushing the price tag too far north.

Toyota RAV4: 6/10

  • While the RAV4’s base price and standard equipment are competitive, higher grades get expensive quickly and approach the highest levels in the compact SUV class. And that’s before factoring in that, hybrid versions aside, the RAV4 doesn’t offer a more powerful engine option to rival the turbocharged Mazda CX-5 or V6-powered Jeep Cherokee, for example. And fully equipped versions of the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester cost less than a top-tier RAV4.

  • The XLE Premium, at around $31,000 to start, is the least expensive way to get desirable items such as dual-zone automatic climate control and a power liftgate. The off-road-oriented models begin with the RAV4 Adventure at just over $34,000, which is about the same price as the more capable Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk.

Efficiency:

Chevrolet Equinox: 7/10

  • When equipped with the base 1.5-liter engine and front-wheel drive, the Equinox has an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 26/31/28 mpg city/hwy/combined. With AWD, those numbers shift to 25/30/27 mpg.

  • The 2.0-liter turbo engine delivers fuel economy of 22/29/25 mpg with FWD and 22/28/24 mpg with AWD.

  • Those fuel economy numbers are competitive in the Equinox’s segment, but it’s important to note that premium fuel is recommended for the larger turbo engine.

  • Competitors like the Honda CR-V are both more efficient and quicker than the Equinox. The CR-V is also cheaper in most configurations and can offer great fuel economy from a hybrid powertrain, which the Equinox does not offer. Other competitors like the Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4 are also available with a frugal hybrid powertrain that put them well ahead of the Equinox in terms of gas mileage.

Toyota RAV4: 8/10

  • The 2020 Toyota RAV4 2.5-liter gasoline is rated by the EPA at 28 mpg city, 35 highway, and 30 mpg combined. All-wheel-drive LE models fall one mpg in city and highway, while all other all-wheel-drive models drop between 2 and 3 mpg highway compared to the standard model.

  • RAV4 Hybrid models are rated at 41 mpg city, 38 mpg highway, and 40 mpg combined.

  • All of the RAV4’s EPA estimates are near or at the top of the class. The Ford Escape and Honda CR-V front-drive models come closest to the RAV4.

  • Both the Ford and Honda are also available as hybrid variants, but only the Ford’s front-drive hybrid edges the Toyota. Compared to other gasoline models, the RAV4 boasts better EPA figures than many subcompact SUVs, which is worth considering if fuel economy is a priority.

Driving Experience:

Chevrolet Equinox: 7/10

  • The base engine is about as base as it can get. It’s sluggish and underpowered and takes quite a bit of effort to move the Equinox with any urgency. The standard six-speed automatic transmission is well matched to the engine, however, and finds its gears without hassle.

  • The optional 2.0-liter engine is a much better match for a vehicle of the Equinox’s size and weight, and it adds a welcome power boost. Scooting around town is a breeze, and the engine can push the Equinox to highway speeds and beyond without issue.

  • The Equinox’s ride can be rough at times, a problem that is made noticeably worse with the optional larger wheels. That said, the crossover’s handling is confident and surprisingly stable when the roads get curvy, and braking performance is exceptional for a family vehicle.

Toyota RAV4: 6/10

  • The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine provides adequate performance, but not much more. While its 202 horsepower rating is somewhat higher than the standard engines offered in many rivals, it’s less responsive than models with standard turbocharged engines. The transmission also works hard to tap into that power, and engine noise levels are higher than expected. The hybrid powertrain is more responsive and quieter in certain conditions.

  • Steering and handling are also off from the best-in-class, and generally make the RAV4 drive larger than it is. The all-wheel-drive system in Adventure and TRD Off-Road models can at least be programmed for different terrain surfaces and conditions while switching to two-wheel-drive mode when four-wheel traction isn’t needed. It offers better-than-expected off-road performance, and more than most drivers will likely need.

Tech Features:

Chevrolet Equinox: 7/10

  • Standard features such as a seven-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, voice commands, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Chevy Safety Assist, USB charging ports, a six-speaker audio system, a 4.2-inch driver information screen, two 12-volt power outlets, a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, OnStar, SiriusXM radio, and active noise cancellation.

  • Available features include a 120-volt power outlet, a Bose premium seven-speaker audio system, an eight-inch touchscreen, navigation, app capability, HD radio, a rear-seat entertainment system with DVD player, USB data ports, and a universal home remote system.

  • Some features, such as the Bose audio system, are still added-cost options that drive up the cost of even the top trim levels.

Toyota RAV4: 7/10

  • With the addition of Android Auto for 2020, the RAV4 is finally competitive in terms of in-car technology. All models get Android Auto, as well as Apple CarPlay now, which nearly all of its rivals include as standard now. A seven-inch touchscreen is standard on base-level cars, while higher trims can be upgraded with an eight-inch version, and an audio package includes a JBL sound system and built-in navigation. While relatively easy to use, Toyota’s infotainment system lacks the clarity and ease of use from systems found in Jeep models and the Chevrolet Equinox, and it’s not as responsive as that found in the Volkswagen Tiguan.

  • In addition to driver assistance technology, the RAV4 can be equipped with up to five USB ports, a 360-degree camera, and ventilated front seats. Also available is a digital rearview mirror, which is able to switch from being a traditional mirror to a camera projection of what’s behind the vehicle. No other vehicle in the RAV4’s class offers that feature, even if it’s likely to be most useful when towing a trailer, because all models come equipped with some form of a backup camera.

Style & Design:

Chevrolet Equinox: 8/10

  • Chevy last redesigned the Equinox from the ground up in 2017, but the crossover has remained current thanks to sharp styling that is well proportioned and handsome.

  • The Equinox’s cabin is attractive, but Chevy placed a heavier emphasis on durable materials than it did on making the cabin feel upscale. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s at odds with the Equinox’s sometimes premium price tag.

  • The touchscreen and all controls are within easy reach for drivers of all sizes, and though it’s not a driver-oriented cockpit, the design is comfortable and ergonomic.

  • The Equinox has a low ride height that makes it easy to enter and exit, and easy to load cargo in and out. The only downside with this is that doors and bumpers can scrape on high curbs in urban areas.

  • Higher trim levels feature two-tone leather and metal accents that add a high-end feel to the Equinox, but there are enough hard-touch and cheap-feeling materials to offset any gains that a nice leather interior can offer.

Toyota RAV4: 7/10

  • The RAV4 is essentially available in three appearances, with traditional models keeping a corporate Toyota look. LE models make do with standard steel wheels, while many other rivals now offer alloy wheels across the line. The XSE models have a sportier appearance, while the Adventure and TRD get a rugged look. It’s a matter of preference, but at least Toyota offers distinct choices between trims, something most vehicles in the segment do not offer. If anything, the off-road-oriented variants of the RAV4 stand out most in this class. All versions, at least, offer an excellent glass area for good outward visibility.

  • The interior design is sound and quality of materials satisfactory for the class. The touchscreen is mounted high for good visibility, while several physical knobs and buttons make adjustments easy while driving. Base models, however, have some lower-rent fabrics. And all versions lack the visual panache of the Mazda CX-5 or the higher quality plastics in a VW Tiguan.

Practicality:

Chevrolet Equinox: 7/10

  • The Equinox lags behind some of its competition in cargo space, with 29.9 cubic feet of space behind the second row. It’s still good enough to handle everyday driving duties for most people, especially grocery runs and kid-hauling.

  • There are plenty of storage spaces for small items, and the underfloor storage increases cargo options in the back. There are small trays for mobile phones that have rubber to help keep items from sliding around.

  • A low step-in height and load floor make the Equinox ideal for people that don’t want to lift items into tall SUVs and trucks. The Equinox’s ride height also works well for folks that need help entering and exiting the vehicle.

  • Selecting the optional panoramic sunroof reduces the headroom noticeably, but otherwise, the Equinox’s cabin is spacious and comfortable for four to five adults.

Toyota RAV4: 8/10

  • All RAV4 models benefit from a spacious cabin and highly usable cargo area, despite it being on the smaller side of its immediate rivals. Headroom and legroom for four adults are generous, even if five is a squeeze. Those installing car seats should find the process easy, thanks to rear doors that open wide. Cargo space is among the best in the class, although the Subaru Forester’s boxier and taller shape may provide more usable space than the slightly sloping rear end of the Toyota.

  • Only the three-row Volkswagen Tiguan and Mitsubishi Outlanderoffer more space for cargo and people, but those who regularly use three rows of seats in an SUV will be better served by a midsize crossover, rather than a compact.

  • The RAV4 is also capable of towing a maximum of 3,500 pounds when properly equipped. That’s among the highest in the segment, save for the V6-powered Cherokee. Given its four-cylinder engine, however, it may not be the most pleasant towing experience.

Cost of Ownership

2020 Chevrolet Equinox

2020 Toyota RAV4

Annual Fuel Costs

$1,364
15k miles at $2.183/gal
$1,213
15k miles at $2.183/gal
Fuel Economy

22 mpg (miles per gallon)
City
25 mpg (miles per gallon)
City
28 mpg (miles per gallon)
Highway
32 mpg (miles per gallon)
Highway

Safety

2020 Chevrolet Equinox

2020 Toyota RAV4

NHTSA Crash Test Results

Overall
Overall
Safety Features

Standard
Autonomous Braking
Standard
Autonomous Braking
Standard
Blind-Spot Warnings
Standard
Blind-Spot Warnings
Standard
Adaptive Cruise Control
Standard
Adaptive Cruise Control
Standard
Lane-Keep Assist
Standard
Lane-Keep Assist
Standard
Cross-Traffic Alert
Standard
Cross-Traffic Alert

Interior

2020 Chevrolet Equinox

2020 Toyota RAV4

Interior Features

Standard
Leather
Standard
Leather
Standard
Moonroof
Standard
Moonroof
Standard
Heated Seats
Standard
Heated Seats
Standard
Keyless Entry
Standard
Keyless Entry
Standard
Climate Control
Standard
Climate Control
Technology

Standard
Apple Carplay
Standard
Apple Carplay
Standard
Android Auto
Standard
Android Auto
Standard
Satellite Radio
Standard
Satellite Radio
Standard
Bluetooth
Standard
Bluetooth
Standard
Navigation System
Standard
Navigation System

Under the Hood

2020 Chevrolet Equinox

2020 Toyota RAV4

Powertrain

Transmission
Transmission
FWD
Drivetrain
FWD
Drivetrain
Drivetrain

N/A
Horsepower
N/A
Horsepower
N/A
Torque
N/A
Torque
N/A
Cylinders
N/A
Cylinders