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Two rivals for the highly competitive compact crossover SUV segment are the Toyota RAV4 and the Chevrolet Equinox. While the Equinox has some good qualities, there’s a key element in the RAV4’s favor. The 2023 Toyota RAV4 has one big item that the 2023 Chevy Equinox doesn’t offer: a hybrid model, including the RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid (PHEV). 

Unlike the 2023 Chevy Equinox, the 2023 Toyota RAV4 has a hybrid model, including the RAV4 Prime

Front angle view of red 2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime crossover SUV, highlighting the hybrid models
2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime | Toyota

When thinking of a hybrid vehicle, the first car brand that comes to mind for many people is Toyota. The Japanese automaker has long been the industry leader for hybrids, starting with the iconic Prius. However, Toyota’s hybrid expertise goes far beyond the Prius, with an extensive lineup of hybrid vehicles. This includes the RAV4 crossover SUV.

The RAV4 offers two types of hybrids. One is a traditional hybrid, while the other is a plug-in hybrid with the RAV4 Prime. Conversely, the 2023 Chevy Equinox doesn’t offer a hybrid. All Equinox models are fully gas-powered.

The most impressive of the two Toyota hybrids is the RAV4 Prime PHEV. Its plug-in hybrid system enables you to drive using electric-only power for short distances — with an estimated electric-only drive range of up to 42 miles. The RAV4 Prime is a good alternative to an all-electric vehicle, for you don’t have to worry about range anxiety — or running out of battery power. When the electric power runs out, the RAV4 Prime switches to power from the gas engine.

2023 RAV4 Hybrid models have better fuel economy and performance than the 2023 Equinox

Front angle view of blue 2023 Chevy Equinox crossover SUV
2023 Chevy Equinox | Chevrolet

The most obvious benefit of the 2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid models is high fuel economy. The traditional hybrid gets an estimated gas mileage of up to 40 combined mpg, while the RAV4 Prime has an estimated fuel economy of up to 94 combined MPGe in electric-only mode and 38 combined mpg in hybrid mode. 

In comparison, the estimated gas mileage of the 2023 Chevrolet Equinox is much lower (up to 28 combined mpg). Also, even if you choose the fully gas-powered version of RAV4, you can still enjoy greater efficiency than the Equinox (up to 30 combined mpg).

Not only is the RAV4 more efficient than the Equinox, but it’s also more powerful. And the pinnacle of performance for the crossover SUV is the RAV4 Prime. It churns out a total system output of 308 horsepower. The traditional hybrid delivers 219 horsepower, while the fully gas-powered model produces 204 horsepower. In comparison, the Equinox manages an output of only 175 horsepower. 

Other benefits of the Toyota RAV4 over the Chevy Equinox

The 2023 RAV4 has some other benefits over the 2023 Equinox. This includes better off-road capabilities. This is due to the higher ground clearance (up to 8.6 vs. 8.0 inches), as well as its off-road models (TRD Off-Road, Adventure, and Wilderness Edition). 

Additionally, the RAV4 has a higher maximum towing capacity than the Equinox (3,500 vs. 1,500 pounds). It also provides more total cargo space (69.8 vs. 63.9 cu-ft).

Furthermore, unlike the Equinox, the RAV4 has a complimentary maintenance plan — with two years or 25,000 miles of free factory-scheduled maintenance. Plus, it’s safer. The RAV4 received an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, but the Equinox wasn’t honored by IIHS. 

With the availability of a hybrid model, including the RAV4 Prime PHEV, the 2023 Toyota RAV4 has a big item that the 2023 Chevy Equinox doesn’t offer. If you’re deliberating between the two crossover SUVs, the hybrid models are an important consideration.

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