Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A blue 2023 Chevy Equinox Premier is shown from the side during a 2023 Chevy Equinox vs 2023 Toyota RAV4.

The Consumer-Friendly Choice: The 2023 Toyota RAV4 vs. the 2023 Chevy Equinox

A new model year means excitement. It means that the various manufacturers across the industry will be offering the very best for consumers to pick from, which is precisely why we’re here today. For many drivers, the SUV has become the ideal vehicle to own and operate. Providing storage space, practicality, and better-than-average fuel efficiency, many consumers have taken a favorable approach to the SUV rather than the four-door sedan.

Two manufacturers who have a lengthy track record of providing customers with the very best are Chevy and Toyota. With a brand new model year arriving, it’s only natural that both of these industry titans would do their very best to outdo one another. And while the spirit of competition is strong, the real winner of this battle is the consumer, who reaps the benefits of innovation and hard work. Today, it’s the 2023 Chevy Equinox vs 2023 Toyota RAV4. Only one can triumph as the better option for consumers, so let’s begin!

A Matter of Cost

The first item many consumers look for when purchasing a vehicle is price. This isn’t just limited to the sticker price but how much they’ll pay for fuel, insurance, and repairs. But, because the starting MSRP is usually the first item anyone notices, it’s only fitting to start our comparison there. The starting price for the 2023 Toyota RAV4 is $27,975. While this underbids competitors such as the Honda CR-V, it’s more expensive than similar offerings from Mazda, Kia, Volkswagen, and Chevy. At the other end of the spectrum, The Chevy Equinox is priced much less at $26,600. The Kia Sportage and Mazda CX-5 are less expensive, but the Equinox is definitely in a slightly lower price range than the RAV4.

A white 2023 Toyota RAV4 is shown from the side while off-road.

Fuel Consumption

Aside from what you’ll be paying to drive your new vehicle from the lot to your driveway, we now focus our attention on the other costs that you can expect to have. And we begin this comparison with fuel. Naturally, fuel costs can vary depending on how you drive and whether or not you spend more time on the freeway or the city limits. First, we’ll see what the Chevy Equinox has to offer regarding fuel costs.

Testing conducted by the EPA shows that the Equinox gets an estimate of 26 MPG in the city, a number which increases to 31 MPG on the highway for a combined MPG of 28. The RAV4, on the other hand, is just barely inches by the Equinox in terms of conservative fuel consumption. It gets 27 MPG in the city and 34 MPG on the highway for a combined total of 30 MPG. The EPA also estimates that consumers will save upwards of $500 in fuel costs over a period of five years when compared to the industry average. Based on the first two parts of our comparison, it’s a matter of paying more upfront or paying more over time. The choice is yours and depends on your budget.

Insurance and Repairs

Fuel costs and MSRP aside, the other two major costs of owning a vehicle come in the form of insurance premiums and maintenance. Most states require drivers to have insurance for any vehicle they own, and having routine maintenance performed at regular intervals is how you keep your vehicle on the road and in good condition.

Car insurance premiums vary from state to state, and your driving record, insurance carrier, and age are all factors that will determine how much you pay each month. The average cost to insure a Chevy Equinox is somewhere in the ballpark of $1,561 a year. This is considered cheaper than the national average by $664. The Toyota RAV4 is slightly cheaper to insure, with estimates coming in at $1,438 a year. This is $787 less than the industry average and much like the cost of fuel, this price is very close when compared to the Equinox.

Much like insurance, repair costs are very much a nonlinear matter. We all know that life can be unpredictable, and this is especially true when it comes to unforeseen mechanical issues. But we’ve consulted the averages to give you a ballpark figure of what you might be paying for when it comes to either vehicle.

Once again, the Chevy Equinox turns out to be a worthwhile investment in terms of being a reliable vehicle. Repair costs stay under $1,000 per year for the first six years of ownership. In that time period, the chances of the Equinox needing a major repair are approximately 14.23%. This probability doesn’t get past the threshold of 25% until ten years of ownership, so selling or trading in your Equinox before that point might be advantageous.

Toyota has always maintained a reputation as a manufacturer of reliable vehicles, and the RAV4 is certainly no exception to this lengthy and established track record. Annual repair costs remain relatively inexpensive during the first nine years of ownership, and the probability for a major repair doesn’t come close to a 25% chance until the vehicle has been on the road for eleven years. These statistics are beyond impressive and beat the industry average by a mind-blowing $3,602.

Both vehicles make worthwhile choices in terms of insurance and repairs. All too often, these factors become overlooked during the selection and buying process. All vehicles incur these costs over time, and much like depreciation, no make or model is immune. Whether it’s Chevy or Toyota, you’ll have the ability to go the extra mile while retaining peace of mind.

A blue 2023 Chevy Equinox Premier is shown from the rear at an angle.

Safety: Is It Standard or Available?

Now that we’ve established the differences relating to costs, we wanted to end our comparison with a brief look at safety, which is easily the most important part of any vehicle purchase. There are a lot of features that are similar to one another in the industry, so it’s not a question of what each vehicle has. It’s a matter of what comes standard and what’s limited to the upper trim levels.

The Chevy Equinox is not an unsafe vehicle by any means; the 2023 model received a coveted five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While the Equinox comes standard with automated emergency braking and pedestrian detection, features such as adaptive cruise control cost extra. The exact opposite is true for the Toyota RAV4. Toyota has the same features as the Equinox standard but includes adaptive cruise control, which is quickly becoming the most coveted driving assistance feature. Perhaps the RAV4 has a higher price tag, but it’s certainly worth every penny.

Our Final Verdict

The Chevy Equinox and Toyota RAV4 are both vehicles of exceptional quality, and which one you decide to purchase all depends upon your personal preference regarding which brand you prefer. As we’ve seen here today, both are adequately priced and can easily fit within the confines of an average budget. More than that, the ability to go for a considerable length of time while retaining minimal repair costs speaks to both brands’ unwavering dedication to quality. No matter what vehicle you choose, you’ll be making a worthwhile investment.