Crawley, who were relegated last season, will be much the happier of the two sides as they earned a deserved point against one of the favourites for promotion from Sky Bet League Two.
Crawley went in front on 56 minutes when Welshman Gwion Edwards stooped to head home. The move was started by the perseverance of striker Lee Barnard, who nipped in front of goalkeeper Sam Slocombe near the dead-ball line to keep the opening alive.
But nine minutes later Hylton, who was his club’s top scorer last season, showed his finishing ability with the equaliser.
Danny Rose picked him out with a fine pass and Hylton advanced on the left and buried a low shot beneath stopper Freddie Woodman.
Crawley restricted Oxford to few clear chances, but near the end Kemar Roofe forced Woodman into a good save with a powerful shot and, from the corner, Johnny Mullins had a strong header denied by the keeper.