Jeep Wrangler Unlimited vs. Toyota 4Runner

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - July 2, 2018

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited underwent a much-needed complete redesign, but we won’t fault you if you can’t spot the changes right away. Also in desperate need of a redesign is the Wrangler’s key competitor, the Toyota 4Runner, but Toyota has yet to announce any anticipated changes. Redesigns aside, these two SUVs are similar in many ways, leading to a lot of customers wondering which is the best buy.

We dug deep into both the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and Toyota 4Runner to find out which is the better model. Continue reading to see what we think.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Wrangler Unlimited & 4Runner »

What the Wrangler Unlimited Gets Right

The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited starts off with a pricing advantage, beginning at $34,440, making it over $1,000 cheaper than the base 4Runner. The new Wrangler Unlimited also boasts a completely redone exterior that's very similar to previous generations but with mild tweaks that modernize it. The Wrangler Unlimited’s cabin is also more comfortable, roomier in the rear seat, and less truck-like next to the 4Runner.

Think of off-road travel, and the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is one of the first models that comes to mind. While the 4Runner is good off the beaten path, the Wrangler Unlimited’s legendary four-wheel drive puts it over the top. The added option of a mild-hybrid four-cylinder engine makes the Wrangler more fuel efficient at an EPA-estimated 22 miles per gallon city, 24 mpg highway, and 22 combined.

What the 4Runner Gets Right

The 4Runner, though showing its age, has a more traditional SUV look that many buyers will prefer to the rugged-looking Wrangler Unlimited. Neither of these SUVs will deliver great rides, but the 4Runner is a bit more composed on the road than the Wrangler Unlimited.

The 4Runner is down a bit in standard power next to the base Wrangler Unlimited, but it boasts a significantly higher tow rating. The 4Runner can tow up to 5,000 pounds, while the Wrangler Unlimited can handle up to a 3,500-pound trailer. Towing isn’t the only area the 4Runner wins, as its 47.2 cubic feet of cargo room with the rear seats up and 89.7 cubes with the seats lowered crush the Wrangler Unlimited by more than 16 cubic feet in both measurements.

Got to Haul? The 4Runner is Your Tool

While the 4Runner is close to the Wrangler Unlimited in many areas, it fails to get ahead in most of them. The only clear-cut victories for the 4Runner is the extra 1,500 pounds in towing capacity and massive cargo area.

Verdict: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited remains the best off-road SUV in the non-luxury class, leaving its competitors eating its slung mud. That said, models like the Toyota 4Runner are catching up, so Jeep needs to work hard to stay ahead, and the Wrangler’s redesign is a step in the right direction.

Take a closer look at the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited »

Take a closer look at the Toyota 4Runner »


Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Google+ | Website