2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid vs. 2020 Chevrolet Equinox

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Equinox doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Highlander Hybrid has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Equinox doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum has standard Automated Braking 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.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Highlander Hybrid AWD’s standard Downhill Assist Control allows you to creep down safely. The Equinox doesn’t offer Downhill Assist Control.

The Highlander Hybrid’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Equinox doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Highlander Hybrid and the Equinox 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, daytime running lights and around view monitors.

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid weighs 665 to 1321 pounds more than the Chevrolet Equinox. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

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The Highlander Hybrid’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Equinox’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Highlander Hybrid for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Chevrolet only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Equinox.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked fourth.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota third in reliability. Chevrolet is ranked 25th.

Engine

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The Highlander Hybrid’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 73 more horsepower (243 vs. 170) than the Equinox’s standard 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

Highlander Hybrid

Equinox

FWD

Auto

36 city/35 hwy

26 city/31 hwy

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

AWD

Auto

35 city/35 hwy

25 city/30 hwy

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

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

Highlander Hybrid

Equinox

2WD

4 cyl. hybrid/Auto

36 city/35 hwy

26 city/31 hwy

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

n/a

22 city/29 hwy

4WD

4 cyl. hybrid/Auto

35 city/35 hwy

25 city/30 hwy

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

4 cyl. hybrid/Auto

35 city/34 hwy

22 city/28 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

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

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Equinox with the 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Highlander Hybrid has 2.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Equinox FWD’s standard fuel tank (17.1 vs.

14.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Highlander Hybrid has 1.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Equinox AWD’s standard fuel tank (17.1 vs. 15.6 gallons).

Transmission

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The Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Equinox:

Highlander Hybrid

Equinox 1.5T

Equinox 2.0T

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.3 inches

11.3 inches

11.3 inches

Tires and Wheels

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

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Highlander Hybrid LE/XLE has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Equinox. The Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the Equinox Premier.

Suspension and Handling

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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Highlander Hybrid’s wheelbase is 4.9 inches longer than on the Equinox (112.2 inches vs. 107.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Highlander Hybrid is 3.1 inches wider in the front and 3.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Equinox.

For greater off-road capability the Highlander Hybrid has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Equinox (8 vs.

7.9 inches), allowing the Highlander Hybrid to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

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The Highlander Hybrid has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Equinox can only carry 5.

The Highlander Hybrid has 38.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Equinox (141.3 vs. 103.2).

The Highlander Hybrid has 1.2 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front legroom, 3 inches more front hip room, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, .9 inches more rear headroom, 1.1 inches more rear legroom, 5.3 inches more rear hip room and 3.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Equinox.

Cargo Capacity

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The Highlander Hybrid’s cargo area provides more volume than the Equinox.

Highlander Hybrid

Equinox

Third Seat Folded

48.4 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

29.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

84.3 cubic feet

63.9 cubic feet

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

Towing

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The Highlander Hybrid’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Equinox’s (3500 vs. 1500 pounds).

Ergonomics

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The Highlander Hybrid’s 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 Highlander Hybrid 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. (This window function must be activated by your Toyota service department.) The driver of the Equinox can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Highlander Hybrid Platinum’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Equinox’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Highlander Hybrid Platinum has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Equinox doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Highlander Hybrid 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.

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