|1500||Towing Capacity (lbs)||1500|
|39.9||Second Row Legroom (in)||37.8|
SUVs have become the ultimate all-purpose vehicle, especially for families who need the space for cargo and passenger comfort. The variety of SUVs on the market aren’t all the same, and it can be overwhelming to narrow down choices. Each year the choices change with new features, which only adds to the challenge of how to decide which SUV may be right for you. To make it easier, we will compare the 2021 Chevy Equinox vs 2021 Toyota RAV4 so buyers can see how these two compact SUVs match up against each other.
Because Toyota has become such a popular brand, buyers may assume Toyota vehicles are the best choice. In actuality, many SUVs, including the Chevy Equinox, share the same or similar features with the same quality and safety standards. What may also come as a surprise is that the Equinox is available for a lower price at every trim level in comparison to the RAV4. Whether you purchase an entry-level trim or splurge on the most expensive, the 2021 Equinox beats the 2021 RAV4 at every turn. Beginning with the entry-level pricing, the Equinox starts at $2,450 less than the RAV4, which is a significant difference.
Price is important, but it’s also important to have passenger space, connectivity, and safety. In each of these categories, the Equinox is equal to or exceeds the RAV4. Both SUVs offer comfortable seating, but rear-seat passengers in the Chevy have more space and entertainment options available. Parents will find that Chevy kept them in mind to help make your little ones and teens safer, too. Utility for road-oriented SUVs like the Equinox and RAV4 is generally centered around light towing, space for cargo or luggage, and being able to handle adverse weather. All of these features are part of the capability of both SUVs, but buyers may be surprised to learn how the Equinox outdoes the RAV4 in 2021.
If you plan to drive with passengers on a regular basis, space is important. Too often, even in SUVs, the back seat doesn’t accommodate adults or tall teens. In some cases, cargo space becomes the priority over passenger comfort. With the 2021 Chevy Equinox, rear-seat passengers are awarded more space overall than the RAV4 offers, and taller drivers and front-seat passengers are awarded more headroom in the front of the Equinox.
Drivers with a taller torso know how important headroom is when driving a vehicle that doesn’t properly accommodate your height, and the 2021 Equinox gives the front seat 40 inches of headroom over the 37.7 inches in the 2021 RAV4. Legroom, hip room, and shoulder room in the front seat are about equal between the two SUVs for the front seat, but rear seat passengers in the RAV4 are not given the same consideration.
In the 2021 Equinox, even adults can ride comfortably in the rear seats. Legroom is one of the most obvious when it’s lacking, and the Equinox gives an extra two inches to the rear seat passengers over the RAV4, measuring a comfortable 39.9 inches over the RAV4 at 37.8 inches. The rear seats in the Equinox get almost as much space as the front seat, both of which will accommodate above-average heights in adults.
The rear seat hip room can also be compromised in many vehicles, which can be very uncomfortable if you need to seat three in the back seat. The hip room in the RAV4 is only 47.7 inches, compared to the 51.7 inches in the rear seat of the Equinox. Finally, the shoulder room in the Equinox is about even, with the RAV4 taking the edge at 56.4 inches to the 55.5 inches in the Equinox, though the difference is less than an inch. Most of the measurements favor the Equinox for rear seats, so if you have tall teens or plan to drive adult passengers in your SUV, the Equinox will be the better fit.
Most of the technology in the 2021 Equinox and 2021 RAV4 is about the same in terms of what comes standard at the entry-level. Both SUVs include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, have a seven-inch touchscreen for the infotainment, and provide Bluetooth for voice commands and streaming through the audio system. Most brands also offer some form of “connected services,” which can be linked to both the vehicle infotainment and an available app for smartphones. Chevy and Toyota both provide a long list of services for the convenience and safety of the passengers, which include roadside assistance, emergency assistance, vehicle diagnostics, and remote services.
In the case of Chevy’s connected services, you gain instant access through both the infotainment and a free app upon purchase of your new 2021 Equinox. This free access allows you to keep track of your vehicle’s systems and can send you alerts and reports to inform you of potential problems, need for maintenance, or to simply ensure your vehicle is in good working order. Smart Driver can show you tips on how to reduce wear and tear on your vehicle with better driving habits. The convenient Marketplace program connects to participating vendors such as restaurants and gas stations to allow pre-paying for gas or take-out or to make reservations through the system. All these services, including the ability to find a dealer and schedule maintenance through the app, are free, and Chevy allows for additional services like remote access or OnStar services to be added for a monthly fee if desired.
Toyota offers connected services of its own, available as a free trial for six months. For the 2021 RAV4, the only available services for the trial are limited to safety services. WiFi is included, but unfortunately, it is limited to only three months. What you get with the safety services includes automatic collision notification, an emergency assistance button to call for help, enhanced roadside assistance, and a stolen vehicle locator. While these services are excellent to enjoy for a short time, you must then purchase a plan to continue to use them after the trial. All the other services offered through the Toyota connected plans are behind a paywall. If you purchase the 2021 Equinox, you have access to the free services for as long as you own the vehicle.
When it comes to safety, both Chevy and Toyota offer standard driver-assisted safety suites, along with passive safety features that work in the background while you drive. The 2021 Equinox has comparable safety features to the 2021 RAV4 with automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, and lane-keeping assist with lane departure warnings. Automatic high beams are included in both suites as well, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to turn down your high beams while driving at night. The remaining features differ in a variety of ways, but two particular features are focused on child and teen safety.
Chevy chooses to make standard a Rear Seat Reminder and its Teen Driver feature. For parents of small children who may tend to fall asleep in the back seat, the rear seat reminder can help you remember to check for them. Tired parents may forget their little one is in the back seat, so the reminder lets you know you need to check the back seat before you get out of the vehicle. With a 2021 Equinox, your infant or toddler will always be safer. The reminder also lets you know when you opened the back doors to put something in there, so you won't forget the ice cream you bought in the back either.
Teen Driver is for parents of new drivers who may be taking your vehicle out without you. This feature allows parents to set limits on speed and stereo volume, requires the seat belts to be buckled before driving, and gives you a vehicle report card, so you know how your teen drove while they used your Equinox. It's an extra set of eyes that allows you to keep track of what your teen's driving habits are and to help them learn good driving practices.
Toyota offers no compatible features to Chevy’s child-oriented safety features. Having the peace of mind that comes with these reminders and safety parameters can protect your children from fatal accidents. With Toyota Safety Sense, you do gain Radar Cruise Control, but Chevy offers an available Adaptive Cruise Control that is similar. It’s also worth noting here that Chevy offers the option of a rear-seat entertainment system with some trims, another option not offered for the RAV4. Just one more way the Equinox is a great family vehicle.