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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 Subaru Outback 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 Outback doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.
The Equinox Premier offers an optional Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Outback only offers a rear monitor.
Both the Equinox and the Outback 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Equinox the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 169 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Outback has not been tested, yet.
The Equinox’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Outback’s (6 vs. 5 years).
There are almost 5 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Subaru dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Equinox’s warranty.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Equinox first among compact suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Outback isn’t in the top three in its category.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th, below the industry average.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 21 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.
The Equinox’s standard 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 27 lbs.-ft. more torque (203 vs. 176) than the Outback 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.
On the EPA test cycle the Equinox AWD with its standard turbo 4 cyl. gets better fuel mileage than the Outback XT CVT turbo 4 cyl. (25 city/30 hwy vs. 23 city/30 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 Outback doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
For better stopping power the Equinox 2.0T’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Outback:
For better traction, the Equinox Premier’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Outback (235/50R19 vs. 225/65R17).
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 Outback Onyx Edition XT/Limited/Touring’s 60 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Equinox Premier offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Outback’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.
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 Outback doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
The Chevrolet Equinox may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 350 pounds less than the Subaru Outback.
The Equinox is 8.2 inches shorter than the Outback, making the Equinox easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The Equinox uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Outback doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Equinox’s rear seats recline. The Outback’s rear seats don’t recline.
The Equinox can be flat towed on all four wheels (dinghy towed), allowing recreational vehicle owners to bring it with them on the road. When they reach their destination, the Equinox can be unhitched and driven around locally. The Outback can’t be towed flat on the ground.
The Equinox 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 Outback doesn’t offer a remote starting 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 Outback does not have an oil pressure gauge.
The power windows standard on both the Equinox and the Outback 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 Outback prevents the driver from operating the rear 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 Outback’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 Outback can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The Equinox’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Outback Premium/Limited/Touring/Onyx.
Both the Equinox and the Outback offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Equinox has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Outback doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
The Equinox (except L/LS) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Outback doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
The Equinox is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Outback doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.
The Chevrolet Equinox outsold the Subaru Outback by almost two to one during the 2019 model year.
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