Crossover & Midsize

Spend More To Drive a 2021 Toyota RAV4 Instead of a Chevy Equinox

It’s difficult for consumers to assess the value of a vehicle. There are so many factors at play, such as comfort, performance, features, and resale value. Sometimes, it’s just easier to choose a model with a lower starting price. However, that may not be the best decision when picking between the 2021 Toyota RAV4 and the 2021 Chevy Equinox.

Compact SUVs like the RAV4 and Equinox are perfect options for savvy shoppers. With affordable starting prices and relatively high gas mileage, these models are perfect commuter vehicles. So if money is top of mind, you’ll likely want to know which model will provide a better return on investment.

The Equinox seems like a smart purchase at first glance. After all, it looks more upscale and has a little extra passenger volume. Plus, its starting MSRP of $23,800 is $2,250 less than that of the RAV4. However, Chevrolet’s compact SUV may cost you more in the long run.

Why does the 2021 Toyota RAV4 hold such a considerable advantage in value, and is the 2021 Chevy Equinox still worth consideration? Let’s take a deeper dive into each SUV so you can make a more informed buying decision.

What we love about the 2021 Toyota RAV4

A green 2021 Toyota RAV4 parked with a mountain in the background
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 on display | Photo via Toyota

Some may claim the RAV4 is overhyped, but these critics are overlooking the Toyota advantage. What does this mean? Toyotas are stereotypically value buys, and there is truth to this statement. 

For instance, the 2021 Toyota RAV4’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine delivers outstanding all-around performance. It makes 203 hp while achieving an EPA-estimate 30 MPG city/highway combined. Meanwhile, the 2021 Chevy Equinox’s standard 170-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine only gets an EPA-estimated 28 MPG combined.

Toyota also offers the RAV4 Hybrid and the relatively affordable RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid. Meanwhile, Chevrolet only manufacturers gas-powered 2021 Equinox models.

The RAV4’s fuel-sipping powertrain options will save you significant money at the pump. However, that’s not the only way the 2021 Toyota RAV4 makes more financial sense. According to Kelley Blue Book, the RAV4’s strong resale will help narrow down the price gap between the two vehicles.

Like the 2021 Chevy Equinox, the RAV4 comes with many standard driver-assistance technologies. However, its suite of systems is somewhat more impressive. Toyota equipped the RAV4 with road sign recognition and lane trace assist, which identifies the road ahead and keeps the vehicle in the center of the lane. You won’t find either of these systems on the Equinox.

What we love about the 2021 Chevy Equinox

A red 2021 Chevy Equinox parked on pavement with a blue sky in the background
The 2021 Chevy Equinox on display | Photo via Chevrolet

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Some drivers aren’t as worried about long-term value as others, and that’s OK. That’s why the 2021 Chevy Equinox may be a better fit for some people. For example, those who are inexperienced behind the wheel might want to consider this model. 

The new Equinox is one of the best SUVs for teenage drivers. Parents can use its standard Teen Driver system to set speed and volume limits. These restrictions promote safer driving, giving parents more peace of mind when their young one is behind the wheel. Meanwhile, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 doesn’t come with a similar system.

Toyota’s compact SUV reigns supreme

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The 2021 Toyota RAV4 is one of the most popular models on the market for a reason. It’s a dependable SUV that holds its value well. Additionally, its fuel-efficient performance and impressive assortment of standard safety features set it apart from the competition.

Meanwhile, the 2021 Chevy Equinox is a smart choice for a particular segment of drivers. And it’s a good candidate for leasing. However, most consumers will get better value from the RAV4 over the years.