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2022 Toyota 4Runner vs Highlander

2022 Toyota 4Runner vs Highlander

2022 4Runner vs Highlander - How Do They Stack Up? What are the differences?

If you're searching for a Toyota SUV with third-row seating you may be surprised to find you have two options. The 2022 Toyota 4Runner and the 2022 Toyota Highlander are both spacious SUVs with individual attitudes that are great for families and adventurers. While the 2022 Toyota 4Runner is a smaller SUV that competes with other practical crossovers, the 2022 Toyota Highlander is an athletic full-size SUV that has optional third-row seating.

How can you tell which one is right for you, though? As Toyota SUVs, these two models have many similar features that are comparable and suitable for most buyers. Yet, they are just different enough in their purposes, size, and features to differentiate themselves from one another. If you're an adventurous person who enjoys off-road travel, the sporty capability of the 2022 Toyota Highlander would be ideal. Yet, if you need a multifaceted SUV that is great for daily driving or family travel, then you might want to consider the 2022 Toyota 4Runner.

You truly can't go wrong with either of these SUV models, as both are renowned for their reliability, affordability, and functionality. Despite their subtle difference in cost, many shoppers can afford either of these models. In fact, the number of features that each of these SUVs is able to integrate as such an economical cost is quite impressive. You'll get a lot of bang for your buck in either the 2022 Toyota 4Runner or the 2022 Toyota Highlander, but let's take a closer look at what really sets these two SUV models apart.

Size and Styling

As we preclude, the 2022 Toyota 4Runner is slightly smaller than the 2022 Toyota Highlander. The 4Runner could be classified as a crossover, as it fits five passengers in its standard layout. Additional third-row seating can be added in as an optional upgrade, whereas the 2022 Toyota Highlander features third-row seating as standard. Third-row seating in the 2022 Toyota 4Runner can fit two extra passengers and is available in SR5, SR5 Premium, and Limited models.

On the inside of each of these models you'll find plenty of space for cargo and passengers. With all seats folded up, the 2022 Toyota 4Runner has 9.0 cubic feet of storage space behind the third-row seat and 46.3 cubic feet of space behind the second row. In comparison, the 2022 Toyota Highlander has 16.0 cubic feet of storage space behind the third row and 48.4 cubic feet of storage space behind the second row.

Not one to admit defeat, though, the Toyota 4Runner does have slightly more cargo space in its cabin with all the seats folded down. In this case, the 4Runner maintains 88.8 cubic feet of cargo storage space compared to the Highlander's 84.3 cubic feet of comparable storage space.

You'll also find a difference in the interior design of these two SUV models. While the 2022 Toyota 4Runner is more practical and comfortable, the 2022 Toyota Highlander is sporty and athletic.


There are many differences under the hood of the 2022 Toyota 4Runner vs. the 2022 Toyota Highlander. You'll find a single engine option consisting of a 4.0-liter V6, which is nothing to balk at, in the 4Runner. You can get 270 horses out of this engine and produce upward of 275 lb.-ft. of torque, which is a great fit for the rugged, off-road travel you'll likely be doing in this SUV.

In comparison, you'll find two engine options in the 2022 Toyota Highlander which makes it a bit more versatile. It's here that you'll find a choice between a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 295 horsepower and 263 lb.-ft. of torque with ease, but you'll also discover a sustainable and economical hybrid engine option, too. The 2022 Toyota Highlander offers up a hybrid powertrain that produces 243 horsepower to compete with the similar horsepower of the 2022 Toyota 4Runner, making the choice between these two models a hard one.

In terms of handling, you'll find that the drivetrain in each of these SUV models drives their responsiveness and agility. In the 2022 Toyota 4Runner rear-wheel drive is a standard amenity, while an upgrade to 4-wheel drive is also an option. Some sportier trims, like the TRD, actually make 4WD standard, too. However, you won't find this option in the 2022 Toyota Highlander. It relies on front-wheel drive as its standard inclusion. Yet, it does offer an upgrade to all-wheel drive in an attempt to provide drivers with some way to take on undesirable weather and road conditions a bit easier.

As you can imagine, the differences in the powertrain of the 2022 Toyota 4Runner and the 2022 Toyota Highlander also govern their fuel efficiency. Even the gas-powered Highlander beats out the 4Runner at its average of 21 city mpg and 29 highway mpg compared to the 4Runner's 16 city mpg and 19 highway mpg. The hybrid Toyota Highlander is even better with its average of 36 city mpg and 35 highway mpg.

Towing power is also something to consider in the comparison of the 2022 Toyota 4Runner against the 2022 Toyota Highlander. You won't find much difference here, though, unless you are considering the hybrid Highlander. Each gas model of the 4Runner and the Highlander can tow up to 5,000 pounds, with the exception of the hybrid Highlander which downgrades to a 3,500-lb. towing capacity.

Comfort, Options and Performance

When it comes to comparing the quality of materials in the 2022 Toyota 4Runner vs. the 2022 Toyota Highlander there is minimal, but noticeable, variance. The Toyota 4Runner stays true to its off-road persona with utility-driven amenities within its cabin. The Toyota Highlander is slightly more upscale and even borderline luxury, especially in its hybrid model. Premium features, like second-row heated seats, are available in the 2022 Toyota Highlander but not in its 2022 Toyota 4Runner competitor.

Within the cabin of the 2022 Toyota 4Runner and the 2022 Toyota Highlander buyers will also find similar tech amenities. There isn't much difference between these two, as they both offer standard Safety Connect, as well as a Wifi HotSpot. Remote start, premium audio systems, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are also available in both SUV models. What makes these two different from one another in the tech arena is actually the size of the touchscreen. While the 4Runner includes a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen, the premium Highlander upgrades to a 12.3-inch infotainment screen display.

When you are considering an SUV purchase you want something that is going to last you a long time. Both of these SUVs score well in terms of reliability. You can expect either option between the 2022 Toyota 4Runner and the 2022 Toyota Highlander to last a long time. However, just based on its build and intention to handle rigorous driving and harsh conditions, the 2022 Toyota 4Runner fares slightly better in the reliability sector.


Safety features are a good concern to have when considering a new SUV purchase. You want something that you can trust and rely on to keep you and your passengers safe. Toyota takes safety seriously, which is why it includes a signature suite of safety features known as Toyota Safety Sense on both of these SUV models. In this suite of safety enhancements in the 4Runner and the Highlander you'll find Lane Departure Alert, Automatic Highbeams, Lane Tracing Assist, a Pre-Collision System, and RoadSide Assist.

Of course, the 2022 Toyota 4Runner and the 2022 Toyota Highlander have to be a bit different in their safety regime. So, in the differences between these two models you'll find that the Toyota Highlander includes a couple more safety amenities. These consist of integrated turn signal mirrors and lane-keeping assist. Yet, the 2022 Toyota 4Runner also has something to add that the 2022 Toyota Highlander doesn't: safety tow hooks. Each of these vehicles is slightly unique in their safety intricacies, but for the most part they are largely the same in their safety mechanisms and functionalities.

Aiding in the safety of passengers in the event of a collision are the integrated airbags in each of these SUVs. Again, both the Toyota 4Runner and the Toyota Highlander are highly similar with the exception of a few airbag inclusions. Within each of these SUVs, airbags are included in the driver's side, passenger's side, and in the front as standard. However, front head and rear head airbags are optional in the 2022 Toyota 4Runner, whereas they are standard on the 2022 Toyota Highlander.

You don't have to just take our word for how safe these SUVs are, though. National crash testing agencies put vehicles through collision situations regularly and evaluate their standard and available safety features to determine their ranking compared to other similar models. The 2022 Toyota Highlander received outstanding remarks as a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS. In comparison, the 2022 Toyota 4Runner missed this mark, due to its performance inside small overlap front test. Also, the 202 Toyota Highlander received a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration compared to the four-star rating of the 2022 Toyota 4Runner.

Which Model to Choose?

Deciding between the 2022 Toyota 4Runner and the 2022 Toyota Highlander is a difficult task to undertake. Both of these models are worthy of comparison, thanks to their reliability, safety, affordability, and design. Despite their similar statuses as Toyota SUVs and relative similarities, each of these models has its own personality and amenities to match.

If you're an off-road enthusiast, you'll enjoy the rugged nature of the 2022 4Runner. Sure, it's smaller and has less passenger space, but overall it has more cargo area than the Highlander. It also has off-road aesthetics, design elements, and safety enhancements that are intended to make rugged travel easier and equip passengers with what they need to handle such sport.

Comparatively, the 2022 Toyota Highlander might cost a bit more, but it certainly has more upscale attributes to justify the increase in price. It is adorned with premium amenities, has an available hybrid powertrain, and fares better on safety tests. The Highlander is much more versatile than the 4Runner with its two engine options, and its hybrid layout is more efficient, too.

Depending on your lifestyle and interests, the Toyota SUV that will serve you best can be determined by exploring the attributes and features of these two models. The 2022 Toyota Highlander is going to be your upscale SUV with plenty of room for extra passengers, while the 2022 Toyota 4Runner is going to be your rugged and spry off-road venturer. Maybe you are torn on what attributes you find more useful in an SUV, in which case your decision between the 2022 Toyota 4Runner and the 2022 Toyota Highlander would be even more difficult to make.

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2021 Toyota 4Runner VS Highlander