2020 Chevrolet Equinox vs. 2020 Toyota Highlander

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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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 Toyota Highlander doesn’t offer comfort guides on its rear seat belts.

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

Warranty

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The Equinox’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Highlander’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

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J.D. Power and Associates rated the Equinox first among compact suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Highlander 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 Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.

Engine

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As tested in Motor Trend the Chevrolet Equinox 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder is faster than the Toyota Highlander:

Equinox

Highlander

Zero to 60 MPH

6.6 sec

7.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.2 sec

15.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.1 MPH

91.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

Equinox

Highlander

2WD

1.5 turbo 4 cyl./6-spd. Auto

26 city/31 hwy

21 city/29 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./9-spd. Auto

22 city/29 hwy

20 city/28 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

4WD

1.5 turbo 4 cyl./6-spd. Auto

25 city/30 hwy

20 city/27 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./9-spd. Auto

22 city/28 hwy

n/a

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 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chevrolet Equinox 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Highlander.

Tires and Wheels

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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 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 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

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The Equinox Premier handles at .83 G’s, while the Highlander XLE AWD pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Chassis

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The Chevrolet Equinox may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 800 to 850 pounds less than the Toyota Highlander.

The Equinox is 11.8 inches shorter than the Highlander, 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 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 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Cargo Capacity

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The Equinox has a much larger cargo volume than the Highlander with its rear seat up (29.9 vs. 16 cubic feet).

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

Towing

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The Equinox can be flat towed on all four wheels (dingy 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 Highlander can’t be towed flat on the ground.

Ergonomics

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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 Highlander doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Equinox’s optional 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 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 does not have an oil pressure gauge.

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 PIN entry system. The Highlander doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

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 PIN entry system. The Highlander doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

The Equinox’s optional rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Highlander offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/05

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Chevrolet Equinox and the Toyota Highlander, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Chevrolet Equinox outsold the Toyota Highlander by 45% during 2019.

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