A black 2021 Chevy Equinox is parked on dirt under a blue sky after winning the 2021 Chevy Equinox vs 2021 Toyota RAV4 comparison.

Going Head-to-Head with the 2021 Chevy Equinox vs the 2021 Toyota RAV4

Compact crossovers have quietly taken over the automotive industry in the last decade thanks to their versatility and efficiency that make them an attractive option to individuals who don’t need a full-size SUV but want more room and capability than a sedan. Brands like Chevy and Toyota have cashed in on this growing market with the debut of crossovers like the Equinox and RAV4 that have earned their place as two of the best-selling crossovers on the road today. But how do the latest models compare? Here’s a closer look at the 2021 Chevy Equinox vs 2021 Toyota RAV4.

The Most Affordable vs The Most Options

When comparing the crossover that’s most affordable with the crossover that has the most options, the Equinox and RAV4 each claim a victory over the other. The 2021 Equinox is far more affordable than the RAV4, with the base Equinox starting at $23,800 compared to the RAV4 that starts at $26,150. However, the RAV4 is undeniably the favorite when comparing trims with the Equinox offering four trims compared to the RAV4’s six. However, the Equinox also offers two special edition models to add an extra layer of customization.

The Equinox offers an exceptional value beginning with the base model or Equinox L that sits on 17-inch wheels and is equipped with keyless open and start, the Chevy Safety Assist suite, and a 7-inch color touchscreen display with the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system. In comparison, the RAV4 LE starts at $26,150 and is equipped with LED daytime running lights, the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite, and compatibility with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa. While you certainly get more tech features on the RAV4, the price difference seems like quite the jump since the Equinox is already equipped with an infotainment system and convenience features like keyless entry and start.

A light green 2021 Toyota RAV4 is off-roading on a path in the woods.

The Equinox LS adds LED daytime running lamps, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and Teen Driver technology with a starting price of $26,300. The comparable RAV4 XLE has a higher starting price of $27,445, which adds enhanced features like Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and dual-zone automatic climate control. The next two trims from Equinox, the LT ($27,500) and Premier ($31,400) offer even more value with convenience features and upgrades like 18-inch wheels, a driver memory seat, and a hands-free power liftgate.

While the Equinox doesn’t offer anything beyond the Premier trim, the RAV4 continues with the XLE Premium ($30,150), Adventure ($33,255), TRD Off-Road ($35,880), and Limited ($34,680). Offering a power tilt and slide moonroof on the XLE Premium and off-road components like Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel-Drive on the other trims, RAV4 drivers have plenty to choose from when it comes to the popular crossover. Whether drivers are looking for the luxury of the Limited or the off-road capability of the TRD Off-Road, there’s an option for everyone in the RAV4 lineup.

The Best Interior for Passengers vs the Best Interior for Cargo

When it comes to interior space and comfort, the 2021 Equinox takes the lead for several reasons. It offers a longer wheelbase and overall length that translates to even more room for passengers. It also offers premium leather upholstery that adds to the crossover’s luxury and comfort. Despite the higher price tag on the RAV4, leather upholstery is noticeably absent from the Toyota crossover.

The 2021 Equinox has a 107.3-inch wheelbase and 183.1-inch overall length compared to the RAV4’s 105.9-inch wheelbase and 181.5-inch length. While this difference seems small, it adds up to a more spacious cabin that gives passengers in the Equinox even more room with 103.5 cu.ft. of passenger volume compared to the RAV4 at 98.9 cu.ft. This is why the Equinox offers even more legroom for passengers in the second row and more overall room throughout the cabin.

While the Equinox is ideal for people, it doesn’t offer loads of cargo space, which can be problematic when hauling five passengers who have their own luggage and gear. When it comes to cargo space, the RAV4 undoubtedly comes out ahead with its impressive 37.6 cu.ft. of cargo storage when the second row is in use compared to the Equinox at 29.9 cu.ft. When the second row is folded down, the RAV4 delivers even more room with 69.8 cu.ft., which exceeds the Equinox at 63.9 cu.ft. This difference can mean more time spent playing Tetris to fit luggage and gear in the back of the Equinox versus throwing it in and getting your adventure underway. However, the better passenger space in the Equinox will probably serve you better in the long run.

The Most Advanced Safety vs the Most Advanced Tech

A red 2021 Chevy Equinox is shown from the rear parked on a city street.

Safety and technology are fairly standard across all 2021 models, including the RAV4 and the Equinox. Both models are equipped with a suite of standard safety features that are designed to give drivers more confidence when they get behind the wheel by enhancing visibility and minimizing the potential for collisions. The Equinox’s safety suite is known as Chevy Safety Assist and includes Forward Collision Alert, Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, a Following Distance Indicator, and IntelliBeam Auto High Beam Assist. Chevy also equips the Equinox with a rear vision camera, rear seat reminder, and Teen Driver technology in addition to offering upgrades like Adaptive Cruise Control, Rear Park Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, High Definition Surround Vision, and a Safety Alert Seat.

The RAV4 shares similar features under Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 suite, including tools like Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams, Lane Tracing Assist, and Road Sign Assist. Although these features have different names, they are comparable to the Chevy Safety Suite. Like Chevy, Toyota also gives drivers several available upgrade options, including Front and Rear Parking Assist with Automated Braking and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.

As for technology, the Equinox and RAV4 are equipped with the latest connectivity features like touchscreen displays, Bluetooth capability, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. However, the most noticeable shortcoming of the Equinox is that the base model does not come standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration even though it’s equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen display with the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system. However, the lack of this tech on the base model makes the starting price cheaper.

The Best Bang for Your Buck

There’s no question that the 2021 Chevy Equinox and the 2021 Toyota RAV4 offer an exceptional suite of features and capabilities. The decision between the two best-selling crossovers comes down to your budget, driving, and lifestyle needs. If you’re looking for a more affordable price tag and a more spacious and luxurious interior, then the 2021 Equinox is a great option for you. While the Toyota RAV4 is an excellent competitor to the Chevy Equinox, we feel that the Equinox is able to offer you more for the price.