2020 Lexus RX Series vs. 2020 Chevrolet Equinox

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/10/16

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus RX Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Chevrolet Equinox doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Lexus RX Series are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Chevrolet Equinox doesn’t offer height-adjustable front seat belts.

The RX Series has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Equinox doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The RX Series offers optional Auto Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Equinox doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the RX Series and the Equinox have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, 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, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The Lexus RX Series weighs 557 to 1466 pounds more than the Chevrolet Equinox. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Lexus RX Series is safer than the Chevrolet Equinox:

RX Series

Equinox

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

53

109

Chest Movement

.7 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

110 G’s

195 G’s

Hip Force

214 lbs.

357 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

165

288

Spine Acceleration

44 G’s

55 G’s

Hip Force

594 lbs.

630 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

275

377

Hip Force

685 lbs.

730 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RX Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 104 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Equinox was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

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The RX Series comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Equinox’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RX Series 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Chevrolet covers the Equinox. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Equinox ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The RX Series’ 6 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Equinox runs out after 100,000 miles.

Reliability

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the RX Series’ reliability 27 points higher than the Equinox.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked fourth.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Chevrolet is ranked 23rd.

Engine

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The RX 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 125 more horsepower (295 vs. 170) and 65 lbs.-ft. more torque (268 vs. 203) than the Equinox’s standard 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. The RX 350’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 43 more horsepower (295 vs. 252) and 8 lbs.-ft. more torque (268 vs. 260) than the Equinox’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The RX 450h’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid produces 56 more horsepower (308 vs. 252) than the Equinox’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the RX 350 3.5 DOHC V6 is faster than the Chevrolet Equinox 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.:

RX Series

Equinox

Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

9.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

16.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.7 MPH

81.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the RX 450h gets better fuel mileage than the Equinox AWD (31 city/28 hwy vs. 25 city/30 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the RX Series Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Equinox doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The RX Series Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 2.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Equinox FWD’s standard fuel tank (17.2 vs. 14.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The RX Series’ standard fuel tank has 3.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Equinox AWD’s standard fuel tank (19.2 vs. 15.6 gallons).

Transmission

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The RX 450h has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Equinox doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the RX Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Equinox:

RX Series

Equinox 1.5T

Equinox 2.0T

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.3 inches

11.3 inches

11.3 inches

The RX Series’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Equinox are solid, not vented.

The RX Series stops shorter than the Equinox:

RX Series

Equinox

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the RX Series has larger tires than the Equinox (235/65R18 vs. 225/65R17).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RX Series has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Equinox. The RX Series’ optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the Equinox Premier.

Suspension and Handling

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The RX Series has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the RX Series flat and controlled during cornering. The Equinox’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The RX Series offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Equinox’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The RX Series has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Equinox doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RX Series’ wheelbase is 2.5 inches longer than on the Equinox (109.8 inches vs. 107.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RX Series is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Equinox.

The RX 350 handles at .79 G’s, while the Equinox LT AWD pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The RX 350 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Equinox LT AWD (27.1 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the RX Series has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Equinox (8.2 vs. 7.9 inches), allowing the RX Series to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

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The RX Series has 3.2 inches more front legroom, 2.4 inches more front hip room, .6 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom, 4.4 inches more rear hip room and 2.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Equinox.

Cargo Capacity

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A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the RX Series. The Equinox doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

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The RX Series uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Equinox uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Chevrolet. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 36% lower rating, Chevrolet is ranked 13th.

Ergonomics

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The RX Series’ standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the Equinox.

The RX Series offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Equinox doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The RX Series’ front and rear power windows all open or close 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 Equinox’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the RX Series the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Equinox can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The RX Series has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Equinox doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The RX Series’ rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Equinox’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The RX Series’ available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Equinox’s headlights are rated “Marginal.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RX Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Equinox doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the RX Series offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Equinox doesn’t offer cornering lights. The RX Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The RX Series has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Equinox and isn’t available on the Equinox L/LS.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the RX Series owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the RX Series with a number “5” insurance rate while the Equinox is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

The RX Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the RX Series will retain 46.6% to 51.56% of its original price after five years, while the Equinox only retains 41.13% to 44.06%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RX Series is less expensive to operate than the Equinox because it costs $382 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the RX Series than the Equinox, including $340 less for a muffler, $85 less for front brake pads, $155 less for fuel injection, $274 less for a fuel pump and $28 less for front struts.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/10/16

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus RX Series, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Chevrolet Equinox isn't recommended.

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

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