|137-252 HP||Horsepower||203 HP|
|203-260 lb-ft||Torque||184 lb-ft|
What features would you prioritize in a search for a crossover SUV? Spaciousness and luxury, maybe? In-cabin technologies? Cargo space, perhaps? What about versatility? Fuel economy? Or maybe, like so many other prospective buyers, your choices are predetermined by the all-powerful price tag. Whatever your areas of focus are (and let’s be honest, they’re likely to be a little bit of ‘all of the above’) there’s a good chance you’ll find the perfect fit. Why? Because the entire industry is restructuring around the crossover SUV segment in an effort by automakers to offer the most competitive products at every trim level and price point. In other words, the selection is better than ever. But, if we’re being honest, it also makes the comparison of one model versus another more challenging since it’s harder to discern the key attributes of one from that of another. And with that in mind, let’s compare the 2019 Chevy Equinox vs 2019 Toyota RAV4 to see if we can determine which one comes out on top.
In terms of size, the Chevy Equinox just manages to edge out the Trax which stands as the most diminutive of Chevy’s crossover offerings. Currently priced to start at $23,800 MSRP the Equinox was classified as a midsize offering when it was first introduced for the 2005 model year. Now in its third generation, the Equinox is highly regarded having earned a 5-Star Overall Safety Rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and J.D. Power’s pick for “Most Dependable Compact SUV”. Served up in a total of eight trim levels (L, LS, three variants of the LT and three more for the Premiere) the Equinox can be configured as with either front or all-wheel drive. It can also come with one of three powertrains, each of which we’ll take a closer look at.
As with the Equinox, the RAV4 only outranks the C-HR in terms of its physical footprint and accessibility of pricing. Available in both standard and Hybrid variants, the RAV-4 is priced to start around $25,500 for the former and $27,385 for the latter. A seasoned veteran with a quarter-century under its belt, the RAV4 (now in its fifth generation) comes in your choice of five trim levels (LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure and Limited). Available in both front and all-wheel drive the RAV4 comes powered by a single choice of engines, tweaked slightly across trim levels. It too earns a 5-star Safety Rating from IIHS and enjoys ‘Best Resale Value’ status from Kelley Blue Book.
That said, both the Equinox and RAV4 make an impactful first impression. But the Equinox manages to edge out the RAV4, earning top marks in terms of favorable pricing, number of trim levels and variety of powertrains. And with that in mind, we’ll rule the Equinox an early favorite (1:0 Chevy).
Noting that both the Equinox and RAV4 can be configured for all-wheel drive, any discussion of performance shifts over to power ratings and overall handling quite easily.
As previously noted, the Chevy Equinox comes with one of three available powertrains. The first, a 1.5-liter direct-injected, turbocharged four-cylinder featuring a dual overhead cam design and variable valve timing. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, this powertrain delivers 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque. Next up is a 2.0-liter variant of the same engine, paired to a 9-speed automatic transmission capable of 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Finally, the option of a 1.6-liter Turbo-Diesel delivers a more modest 137 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. Of these, the most competitive fuel economy falls in around 39 mpg highway, 28 mpg city.
With the RAV4 being powered exclusively by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to an ECT-i (Electronically Controlled automatic Transmission with Intelligence) there is less flexibility in terms of performance. That said, the RAV4 is capable of up to 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, delivering 35 mpg highway, 26 mpg city.
So, as if the Equinox didn’t already offer more diversity in terms of powertrains, to also outclasses the RAV4 in terms of max horsepower, torque rating and optimal fuel economy (2:0 Chevy).
Speaking in terms of performance, things are pretty cut and dry. But when it comes to discussion of design or overall aesthetic, the conversation becomes far more subjective. Both offerings could be described as modern and ’faithfully on-brand’, but are there any discernible features that make one more universally appealing than the other?
Well, not really. The Equinox is more traditional, utilizing clean lines and contours that emerge predictably from a minimalist combination of grille and front fascia. Simplicity rules and some might consider that to be an ideal approach.
The RAV4 takes a few more changes with a more aggressive front fascia, slant headlamps, and a more rigid design philosophy. In comparison to the Equinox, the RAV4 conveys a more adventurous aesthetic that others might prefer.
That said (and all things being equal) it comes down to personal preference. Both are perfectly appealing and deserving of credit. In turn, we’ll chalk this up to a tie, to be determined by the individual car buyer (3:1 Chevy).
As with the exterior, interior design is also largely subjective with what’s pleasing to one eye doing little (or nothing) for another. But discussion of interior design also speaks to use of space, comfort and control placement. Both are speculated to seat five passengers (although their more diminutive statures accommodate parties of four more comfortably) and their general aesthetics seem to be a continuation of their exterior. The Equinox is traditional, utilizing smooth lines and lacking any sense of embellishment. Look closely, and you’ll notice the use of a curved theme, which seems to hug the entire front of the cabin inwards, creating a greater sense of intimacy.
The RAV4, on the other hand, is bolder and includes the option of a dramatic two-tone theme at higher trim levels. Even the extended touchscreen ascending from the center stack is indicative of aspirational design. But unlike the Equinox, the base theme of the cabin consists of horizontal lines stretching outward from the center, creating a sense of more expansive openness.
That said, both designs are great - deserving of a point - but this too comes down to personal preference (4:2 Chevy).