2021 Toyota 4Runner vs Jeep Wrangler
While crossover SUVs have become more popular than ever, they aren’t quite rugged enough for some drivers. Serious adventure seekers may need a traditional truck-based SUV. The 2021 Toyota 4Runner is definitely more than capable of handling of an off-road excursion. Another great option is the trail-ready 2021 Jeep Wrangler. Although these SUVs may share some common traits, they are also some stark differences between them. In this head-to-head comparison, we’ll find out whether the 4Runner or the Wrangler is the better choice.
Toyota only offers the 4Runner with a one powertrain. Motivating the SUV is a familiar V6 engine, which pushes out 270 horsepower. This engine is famous for its long-term durability. It provides plenty of muscle during real-world driving conditions.
Far more powertrain options are available for the 2021 Jeep Wrangler. A V6 engine with 285 horsepower comes standard. Buyers can step up to a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which cranks out 270 horsepower. Drivers who desire better fuel economy may want the Wrangler’s EcoDiesel engine. Jeep rates it to generate a whopping 442-lb-ft of torque. New for 2021 is the limited-production Wrangler 392 Rubicon. This model receives a monstrous Hemi V8 engine with 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque.
Drivers who crave an extra fun factor when taking their ride out on the road need look no further than the Wrangler, boasting a 6-speed manual transmission and V6 powertrain. In comparison, all new 4Runner models come equipped with an older 5-speed automatic - but for those wanting maximum excitement behind the wheel, there's really only one choice.
With an estimated 0-60 mph time of 7.7 seconds, the 2021 Toyota 4Runner accelerates quickly enough. However, road tests show the two-door Wrangler Sport can clock a much quicker 0-60 mph time of 6.1 seconds. Although the four-door Wrangler Unlimited is not quite as quick, it still scampers to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds.
Thrill seekers will especially love the all-new Wrangler 392 Rubicon. It rips a 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds. No other Wrangler in history comes close to offering as much performance. The 4Runner simply can’t compete with this high-powered model. Another newly available option is Wrangler 4xe. This plug-in hybrid model develops an impressive 375 horsepower while still prioritizing fuel efficiency.
The 4Runner dominates when it comes to towing power. Able to haul up an impressive 5,000 pounds of cargo behind its wheels, this SUV is perfect for drivers with bigger items in tow like fishing boats and camping trailers. Despite offering a moderate 3,500-pound maximum capacity on the four door models; two-door Wrangler variants still provide enough muscle at 2,000 pounds - letting you take whatever adventure awaits your way.
The edge is fuel economy goes to the Jeep Wrangler. Even the V6-powered Wrangler can deliver up to 20 mpg town/24 mpg freeway. Expect trims equipped with a turbo four-cylinder engine to be a tad more frugal in the city. Opting for the EcoDiesel engine further increases efficiency to 22 town/20 mpg freeway. Keep in mind that the hybrid-powered Wrangler 4xe benefits from a 25-mile electric driving range. This allows drivers to make short trips without consuming any gas.
4Runner owners will have to spend more money on fuel. They can expect the SUV to return roughly 16 mpg town/19 mpg freeway. Most SUVs in the segment are better on gas. Luckily, premium fuel is not needed.
Though neither of these SUVs are agile performers in the handling department, Toyota's 4Runner does come out ahead with its independent front suspension and softer street tires. For those looking for an even more exhilarating drive experience, there is Kinetic Dynamic Suspension to drastically reduce body lean aboard the 4Runner Limited model. Ultimately though, it’s Jeep's Wrangler that lags behind due to its solid axles providing a less-than smooth ride on winding roads.
The Jeep Wrangler is a truly remarkable off-roader, with unparalleled capabilities that leave its Toyota 4Runner counterpart in the dust. Its electronically disconnecting front sway bar and exclusive four wheel drive system provide maximum traction on all types of terrain, while the additional rear locking differentials ensure optimal ground clearance - making it an ideal machine for any rough trip.
In regard to braking performance, neither vehicle has a big advantage over the other. The 4Runner recorded a 60-0 mph stopping distance of 127 feet. This is only slightly better than the 4Runner’s 60-0 mph stopping distance of 128 feet. However, Wrangler models equipped with larger all-terrain tires take around 135 feet to come to a halt.
For decades, the 4Runner has been one of the most reliable SUVs available. It boasts an impressive 4.0 out of 5.0 dependability rating, while experts give the Wrangler only an average rating. Both SUVs come with a standard 60,000-mile powertrain warranty and 36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper protection; however, diesel-powered Wrangler models enjoy an extended 100,0000-mile powertrain warranty.
Despite their tough construction, pickups and SUVs typically provide a smoother ride than other vehicles. However, when it comes to the 2021 Toyota 4Runner there's no competition - its body-on-frame engineering ensures an excellent driving experience regardless of terrain. By contrast, those traveling in a Jeep Wrangler will likely encounter more bumps on uneven roads as they won't benefit from such advanced suspension technology.
The Jeep Wrangler has never been known for having a quiet interior. A fair amount of wind noise tends to enter its cabin at highway speeds. Drivers may also hear some noise from the SUV’s knobby tires. While the Toyota 4Runner is far from being the quietest model in the segment, its cabin isn’t as noisy.
With an impressive forward visibility and reclining rear seats, the 4Runner can provide a safe yet comfortable ride for all its passengers. Offering up to 7 people thanks to an optional third-row seat, this SUV stands out from other vehicles in its class with regards to comfort and convenience. Comparatively speaking, potential buyers should bear in mind that while Wrangler Unlimited provides more back legroom than the 4Runner due it's four door design; car reviewers consider that when looking for support you just need look no further than the Toyota model.
There’s more cargo space in the 4Runner. It provides 47 cubic feet of cargo space in the rear. By comparison, the Wrangler offers up to 32 cubic feet of cargo space. Expect the two-door Wrangler to offer significantly less storage space with the rear seats erect. While neither SUV offers a hands-free liftgate, a power rear window is offered on the 4Runner. Families can grab items without needing to open the tailgate.
While both SUV offers a user-friendly infotainment system, the 4Runner comes standard with a far better unit. Even the entry-level 4Runner receives a 7.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone integration. A much smaller 5.0-inch touchscreen comes standard on the Wrangler. This basic interface also lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. Amazon Alexa is exclusively found on the 4Runner, thus enabling drivers to access their phone’s functions by making verbal commands.
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The 2021 Toyota 4Runner may excel in many areas, but its overall safety rating from the NHTSA is a middling four stars due to inadequate front impact protection. In contrast, despite not having an official score yet, the Wrangler's headlights do leave much to be desired; they earn an abysmal 'Poor' rank by the IIHS—even with optional LED lights that ostensibly improve nighttime driving visibility.
Among the 4Runner’s key advantages is its standard Toyota Safety Sense package. It includes several confident-inspiring driving aids. Among these active safety features include pre-collision warning with active braking, lane departure alert, and dynamic radar cruise control.
While the Wrangler may not come standard with any advanced safety technologies, automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control are on its list of optional features. Furthermore, only the Wrangler offers blind-spot monitoring. This active safety technology greatly enhances the drivers sense of awareness on fast-paced highways. Rear cross-traffic detection is built into the system, which warns you of vehicles when backing up.
What Has the Best Value?
Toyota lists the base 4Runner with a starting MSRP of $36,765. Meanwhile, Jeep gives the base two-door Wrangler a starting price of $28,295. However, upgrading to the four-door Wrangler results in an increased MSRP of $31,795.
The base Wrangler Sport does bring a lot of value to the table. Buyers stand to save more than $3,000 by choosing the Wrangler over the 4Runner. However, a less pleasing infotainment system is found on the base Wrangler. Far more standard safety technologies also come equipped on the 4Runner.
Hardcore off-road enthusiasts will be choosing between the Wrangler Rubicon and the 4Runner TRD Pro. Toyota has priced the 4Runner TRD Pro at more than $50,000. Meanwhile, the four-door Wrangler Rubicon has a starting MSRP of around $42,000 before adding any options. Because the Wrangler Rubicon is such an impressive off-roach machine, it proves to be the best value.
Which is Better?
The Wrangler is renowned for its off-road capability, versatility and iconic style. From the removable roof to detachable doors - you won't find this unique combination in any other SUV on the market! And when it comes down to performance, no one does power quite like a Wrangler 392 Rubicon – with blistering acceleration that's sure to get your heart racing. Meanwhile, if distinct styling options are more your thing then opt for the 4Runner which offers muscular looks guaranteed to turn heads wherever you go.
The Wrangler easily takes the lead for interior quality, with reviewers describing the 4Runner's design as outdated. Outfitted with some unique features and superior materials all around, the new Jeep is a cut above its Toyota counterpart. To top it off, hitting 20 mpg on any stretch of highway will be significantly easier - and less expensive - in an economical Wrangler than its fuel-sipping competitor.
When it comes to the perfect ride, car shoppers have a tough decision ahead. The Jeep Wrangler's open-air design and offroad capabilities may entice some buyers - but for those looking for an investment worthy of long term reliability, they'd be wise to consider the Toyota 4Runner instead. Boasting superior handling characteristics along with peace of mind assurance due its proven track record in terms of dependability; this is one choice that won't let you down.