Car Buying Strategies
Home | New Cars | Ford | 2021 Ford Explorer
Which is better? More reliable?

2021 Ford Explorer vs Toyota 4Runner

Compare Cars
2021 Ford Explorer vs Toyota 4Runner
Find Used Car Deals Near You

2021 Explorer vs 4Runner - What is the Difference Between Them? Which is Better?

Buying Tip: Before you walk into a dealership, price shop Online first. Avoid overpaying by using the following pricing services:
• Car Clearance Deals
• NADAguides
• CarsDirect
• MotorTrend
With these services you can:
• Force dealers to compete for your business.
• Start your own online price war.
• Many prices are not advertised online.
• It's Free and No Obligation.
Visit Car Clearance Deals, CarsDirect & MotorTrend.

With more people spending more time in their vehicles, the amount of space within each model has become more essential over time. Long commutes, youth activities, and family vacations that require passengers to spend extra time inside an auto make the need for comfort and additional space more noticeable than ever before. Seeking to resolve this ongoing issue, buyers are opting for SUVs that are known for their passenger comfort, entertainment amenities, and ample cargo space. Two of the most well-known SUV models include the 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Toyota 4Runner. Though both accomplish the same goals for buyers, each does so in a different way.

The 2021 Ford Explorer is more of a conventional model. Although it incorporates some sporty attributes, this SUV is like other options you might find at a local dealership. Yet, the 2021 Toyota 4Runner forges a path of its own. Easy to take off-roading and responsive on highways, the Toyota 4Runner balances upon a fine line between all-terrain fun and daily utilization. While both models are perfect for gaining access to extra room and displaying the bold SUV look some buyers prefer, the 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Toyota 4Runner are each seen in a different light. Exhibiting their unique strengths in a way for buyers to compare them against one another, these two models appeal to different types of consumers.

The Powertrain

To start off, the 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Toyota 4Runner are quite different under the hood. While the 2021 Toyota 4Runner limits its engine options to just one main choice, the 2021 Ford Explorer has four options total to consider. The Toyota 4Runner is focused on generating power that will propel drivers through challenging off-road situation. It accomplishes this through the incorporation of a standard 4.0-liter V-6 engine. Creating a way for drivers to customize their experience. the Toyota 4Runner allows its signature V-6 engine to be paired with rear-wheel, four-wheel, or all-wheel drive, as well. Paired to its standard five-speed automatic transmission, this SUV also offers a two-speed transfer case with manual mode selection to assist drivers with all-terrain navigation.

The powertrain options of the 2021 Ford Explorer are much more diverse than those of the 2021 Toyota 4Runner. Yet, none of these motors are as off-road savvy as the Toyota 4Runner's staple engine. A 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine leads the way in lower trims of the 2021 Ford Explorer. This engine option is soon followed up by a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 that is available in two layouts that generate either 365 horsepower or 400 horsepower, depending on the selected model. Showing off its innovative side, the 2021 Ford Explorer also offers a hybrid layout that will appease consumers who are more environmentally-conscious. The Explorer's hybrid setup consists of a 3.3-liter V-6 engine and an electric motor.

Comparing the fuel economy of the 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Toyota 4Runner is not necessarily fair to the 4Runner, which only offers a gasoline engine option. If we were to evaluate that concept by itself, the 2021 Ford Explorer would still excel over the Toyota 4Runner. Coming in at 25 high mpg in fuel efficiency in its 400-hp engine layout, the 2021 Ford Explorer still beats the 2021 Toyota 4Runner's fuel economy of just 19 highway mpg. Taking it a step further, the 2021 Ford Explorer's thrifty rear-wheel drive hybrid model is the best in fuel economy out of all this SUV's trim options.

An important concept to many buyers is the inclusion of a standard warranty in a new vehicle purchase. The 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Toyota 4Runner gives people what they want in identical limited warranty and powertrain warranty offers. Covering each model for three years or 36,000 miles, the limited warranty covers general breakdown and faulty workmanship. The powertrain warranty of the Explorer and the 4Runner also lasts for a period of five years or 60,000 miles. The main difference between the warranties of the 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Toyota 4Runner is the inclusion of a complimentary scheduled maintenance package. This specific attribute does not accompany the 2021 Ford Explorer, but the 2021 Toyota 4Runner does include complimentary scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles.

Drivability

Although the 2021 Toyota 4Runner was designed for off-road excursions, it gives the 2021 Ford Explorer a run for its money in towing capacity. The Toyota 4Runner has 5,000 pounds of towing power in its best layout thanks to its generous torque production and durable frame. Despite the laidback attitude of the 2021 Ford Explorer, this model tops the 4Runner with a 5,600-pound towing potential. The Ford Explorer must be equipped with the proper equipment to be able to reach this goal, but nonetheless it is able to do so with proper enhancements.

If we stop to think about it, though, the fun off-road attitude of the 2021 Toyota 4Runner was made to grapple with rough terrain and not necessarily haul large loads. In contrast, the 2021 Ford Explorer has limitations in its all-terrain abilities but provides exceptional towing power. The 2021 Toyota 4Runner runs as you would expect. A bit gruff in its mid-level sport trim, the 4Runner performs well and accelerates nicely. In comparison, the 2021 Ford Explorer is agreeable and composed but not nearly as spry and spunky as the enthusiastic Toyota 4Runner. Buyers may find a bit more athleticism in the ST sport trim, but it still falls short from the exhilarating ride of the 2021 Toyota 4Runner.

The 2021 Toyota 4Runner kicks things off with a well-rounded offering of tech amenities. It incorporates an 8.0-inh infotainment screen as standard and manual buttons and knobs as controls. An entertainment system known as Etune adds in Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM, but the navigation system and premium 15-speaker audio system must be purchased separately as upgrades. Just a bit more advanced, the 2021 Ford Explorer utilizes an 8.0-inch touchscreen that is replaced with a vertically-oriented 10.1-inch layout in middle trims. It also incorporates an in-dash navigation system and a 12-speaker B&O sound system as standard.

Buying Tip:

To avoid overpaying on a new car, shop prices online first. Get up front pricing before you walk into a dealership. We recommend the following free services; Car Clearance Deals, NADAguides, CarsDirect & MotorTrend.
These free services will offer you the lowest prices and supply you with multiple competing price quotes. You will know the best price before you visit the dealer.

Safety

Whether you are cruising down the highway or having fun at the local mud park, the safety of drivers and passengers is of utmost importance. Each of these models do their best to offer quality safety features and modern driver assistance enhancements. Both models scored rather well on evaluations done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The 2021 Ford Explorer scored a five-star safety ranking, while the 2021 Toyota 4Runner came in just under that with an enviable four-star safety ranking. Despite their admirable rankings in these tests, each one barely missed out on being named as a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.

Part of the reason for the high rankings of the 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Toyota 4Runner stems from their incorporation of driver assistive safety features as standard inclusions. Refusing to make customers pay for basic safety features, these models offer a variety of standard driver assistive safety feature across all trims. Forward-collision warning, blind spot monitoring, and lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist are just a few functionalities that can be found in both SUV models. While the 2021 Toyota 4Runner throws in adaptive cruise control as standard, the 2021 Ford Explorer opts for self-parking assist provisions.

Which Has the Best Value?

To determine the innate value of any vehicle, one must consider the starting price, cost of ownership, and trim level inclusions. What may initially seem like a good deal can quickly deteriorate as common powertrain issues, costly repairs, and exuberant MSRPs emerge. In general, the 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Toyota 4Runner are considered as affordable SUVs. With some room to opt for higher-level trims that reach new heights in price, there is quite the variety for shoppers to consider. Simply put, you are not locked into a specific price range in these models. From basic to upscale, you can have it all in a new Ford Explorer or Toyota 4Runner.

How the specific features of each vehicle add up to the total cost is a good measure of its inherent value. The 2021 Ford Explorer adds in a 400hp engine that is quite the steal at the price that is suggested. Still yet, the Ford Explorer offers a hybrid powertrain setup for interested customers, which improves this vehicle's versatility and value. Similarly, all the off-road attributes of the 2021 Toyota 4Runner create quite the deal in this all-terrain SUV model. To outfit other SUVs with this equipment, significant upgrades that are quite costly would have to be implemented. Yet, the 2021 Toyota 4Runner includes all these amenities even in its base models.

Which is Better?

Determining which model is better between the 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Toyota 4Runner is somewhat dependent on consumer preference. If you purchase a vehicle that does not perform as expected or cannot hold up to the lifestyle you adhere to, you will inevitably be dissatisfied with your purchase. Getting it right the first time calls for a lot of planning, but you will likely be much happier with your choice long-term. This guide is meant to help buyers consider the strengths and weaknesses of each model, but it is up to each buyer to make the ultimate decision on which one would work the best for their expectations.

Someone with an active lifestyle would fare better with the adventure-seeking 2021 Toyota 4Runner that is already equipped to head out into the unknown alongside them. Luggage racks on the top, all-terrain tires, and black accenting creates a bold look that sporty buyers will appreciate. In addition to making off-road navigation easier, the 2021 Toyota 4Runner also has the looks to match. Buyers who enjoy a bold, athletic appearance will likely feel at home with the distinctive characteristics of this model. Although it is not your typical family vehicle, the Toyota 4Runner certainly has enough passenger space to be used as one, as well.

The interesting thing about the 2021 Ford Explorer is that it appeals to a wide array of customers. From parents to environmentalists to sport-minded individuals, there is a version of the Ford Explorer to appeal to each specific type of personality. The 2021 Ford Explorer hybrid offers a way for families and large groups to travel without breaking the bank on fuel. Not only does it save money, but it is also extremely modern and offers zero emissions which benefits the environment. If you would rather opt for extra horsepower in lieu of a hybrid, the 400hp engine of the Ford Explorer should be your choice. Still yet, if you just want a good-looking SUV that is dependable and high-quality, the 2021 Ford Explorer still meets these desirable qualities.

The choice between the 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Toyota 4Runner is yours to make, but after considering all the differences between these two models we like to versatility of the 2021 Ford Explorer the best.

Save Money on a 2021 Ford Explorer:
Find New Car Clearance Prices - Many Vehicles are Selling Below Dealer Invoice Prices.

Every dealer offers a secret price. Many prices are below invoice. Find yours here.
In Depth 2021 Ford Explorer Comparison Guides:

2021 Ford Explorer VS Chevrolet Tahoe
2021 Ford Explorer VS Chevrolet Traverse
2021 Ford Explorer VS Dodge Durango
2021 Ford Explorer VS GMC Acadia
2021 Ford Explorer VS Honda Pilot
2021 Ford Explorer VS Hyundai Palisade
2021 Ford Explorer VS Jeep Grand Cherokee
2021 Ford Explorer VS Kia Telluride
2021 Ford Explorer VS Lincoln Aviator
2021 Ford Explorer VS Subaru Ascent
2021 Ford Explorer VS Toyota 4Runner
2021 Ford Explorer VS Toyota Highlander
2021 Ford Explorer VS Volkswagen Atlas
Featured Buying Guide
Dealer Invoice Price
Save Thousands on a New Car! Start Your Own Online Price War

Get local dealers to compete for your business. Get a free - no obligation price quote from the following online pricing services:

Best Price
Car Clearance Deals
NADAguides
CarsDirect
MotorTrend


They Compete - You Win! See who has the lowest price & save.
Dealer Cost Calculator:
Dealer Cost Calculator