2019 Chevrolet Equinox vs. 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the Chevrolet Equinox’s rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer comfort guides on its rear seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Equinox are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

Compared to metal, the Equinox’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid has a metal gas tank.

Both the Equinox and the Highlander Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Chevrolet Equinox is safer than the Toyota Highlander Hybrid:

 

Equinox

Highlander Hybrid

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

159

195

Neck Injury Risk

17%

47%

Neck Stress

190 lbs.

509 lbs.

Neck Compression

10 lbs.

73 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

363/349 lbs.

409/517 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

26%

32%

Neck Stress

153 lbs.

219 lbs.

Neck Compression

51 lbs.

55 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

264/236 lbs.

387/392 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Chevrolet Equinox is safer than the Toyota Highlander Hybrid:

 

Equinox

Highlander Hybrid

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

16 inches

Spine Acceleration

40 G’s

43 G’s

Hip Force

730 lbs.

829 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The Equinox’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Highlander Hybrid’s (6 vs. 5 years).

There are over 2 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Toyota dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Equinox’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 17th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Equinox Diesel gets better fuel mileage than the Highlander Hybrid:

 

 

 

MPG

Equinox

 

FWD

1.6 turbo 4 cyl. Diesel

28 city/39 hwy

 

AWD

1.6 turbo 4 cyl. Diesel

28 city/38 hwy

Highlander Hybrid

 

AWD

LE 3.5 DOHC V6 Hybrid

30 city/28 hwy

 

 

XLE /Limited/Platinum 3.5 DOHC V6 Hybrid

29 city/27 hwy

 

 

3.5 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

The Equinox has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

The Equinox stops much shorter than the Highlander Hybrid:

 

Equinox

Highlander

 

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

187 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

132 feet

138 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

146 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The Equinox Premier’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum’s 55 series tires.

The Equinox has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Equinox Premier AWD handles at .86 G’s, while the Highlander Hybrid Limited pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Equinox Premier executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Highlander Hybrid Limited (27.7 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 28.2 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Equinox’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the Highlander Hybrid’s (37.4 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis

The Chevrolet Equinox may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1300 to 1550 pounds less than the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

The Equinox is 9.4 inches shorter than the Highlander Hybrid, making the Equinox easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the Equinox uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Equinox uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The front step up height for the Equinox is 2.1 inches lower than the Highlander Hybrid (17.2” vs. 19.3”). The Equinox’s rear step up height is 2 inches lower than the Highlander Hybrid’s (17.5” vs. 19.5”).

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Equinox easier. The Equinox’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 28.6 inches, while the Highlander Hybrid’s liftover is 29.7 inches.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Equinox LT/Premier’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Equinox Premier’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

The Equinox (except L/LS) offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Equinox Premier’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Equinox’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Highlander Hybrid does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The power windows standard on both the Equinox and the Highlander Hybrid have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Equinox is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Highlander Hybrid prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Equinox’s front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Highlander Hybrid’s standard power windows’ rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

On a hot day the Equinox’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Highlander Hybrid can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Equinox LS/LT/Premier’s available exterior keypad. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system.

When the Equinox Premier is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Highlander Hybrid’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Equinox Premier has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Highlander Hybrid offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Model Availability

The Equinox is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Equinox owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Equinox will cost $85 to $1705 less than the Highlander Hybrid over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Chevrolet Equinox will be $1830 to $6870 less than for the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

Recommendations

The Chevrolet Equinox outsold the Toyota Highlander by 36% during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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