RAV4 vs. Chevrolet

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Small SUV Comparison of Toyota’s RAV4 and Chevy Equinox

Car buyers looking for an affordable small SUV have options. If you have been kicking tires for a while, you have no doubt already considered the Toyota RAV4 and the Chevy Equinox. While these two vehicles are similar in some ways, the discerning shopper finds more value in the Toyota. Find out why in this RAV4 vs Equinox matchup.

About the Equinox

Chevrolet’s Equinox LS FWD is large for its class. While the base model’s four-cylinder engine is adequate, buyers often prefer to upgrade to the optional 3.6 liter V6. This increases the costs and impacts fuel economy. The underpowered four-cylinder is more economical, but is ill suited for the Equinox’s larger frame. The bulk also makes the Equinox difficult to maneuver in crowded traffic. It’s turning radius is wide for its class at over 40 feet.

The smaller engine produces 182 horsepower and offers a fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon in the city and 32 miles per gallon on the highway. With its 18.8 gallon fuel tank, drivers can go much farther between fill-ups, but they still end up burning more fuel on average. Expect to travel approximately 400 miles before stopping.

The greater mass of the Equinox does help to quiet and smooth the ride. This is particularly advantageous on long trips. It has a wider stance which gives passengers more shoulder room, but this doesn’t mean that the interior of the vehicle is arranged particularly well. It has limited cargo space and less legroom for passengers in the back seat.

About the RAV4

Toyota’s RAV4 has simplified the powertrain options. Every buyer gets the same 2.5 liter 4-cylinder engine and six-speed transmission. This system produces 176 horsepower. The EPA estimates that drivers will have a fuel economy of 24 miles per gallon in the city and 31 miles per gallon on the highway. With a 15.9 gallon tank, expect to make it about 381 miles before refueling.

Although smaller than the Equinox, the RAV4 has more interior space. The cargo area of the RAV4 is 38.4 cubic feet. With the rear seats folded down, you have 73.4 cubic feet. The most area possible in the Equinox is only 63.7 cubic feet. The RAV4 is also more maneuverable which is a key feature for small SUV buyers. With its shorter wheelbase, the RAV4’s turning radius is a mere 34 feet.

The RAV4 is also equipped with a modestly styled interior that is reminiscent of the Camry. It has the company’s Entune feature which allows the entertainment system to integrate with smartphone technology. The RAV4 has one of the best crash test and safety ratings of any other small SUV and is outfitted with a blind spot detection system and lane departure warning.

Why the RAV4 Is the Better Buy

The RAV4 and the Equinox have a similar cash price. This means that buyers can expect to pay about the same for financing, taxes, and insurance. Fuel economies are about the same with Toyota having a slight advantage. For most maintenance and repair items, the costs are also about even.

Where the RAV4 stands out is the expected depreciation rate. The more popular brand helps buyers retain more of their value over the long run. Market demand for used Toyotas is much higher than the demand for the Equinox. When it comes time to sell or trade your RAV4, you can expect to retain more of the money you initially invested.

Shoppers in the small SUV market value affordability, reliability, and maneuverability. In all three categories, the RAV4 is the better buy.

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