Toyota Highlander vs Toyota 4Runner

March 4, 2015

Searching for your next SUV can be an arduous task with the array of sizes and capabilities offered by auto manufacturers. Although even when a buyer is confident in a particular brand, there are still choices to be made. Take Toyota for example, which produces two SUVs with similar features. Both the Highlander and 4Runner are four-door SUVs available with V6 engines and seating for at least five. With so much in common, the key issue for buyers will be the differences.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Highlander & 4Runner >>

Going Head to Head

In general, the Highlander is a more family-friendly SUV thanks to its versatility. Not only are there three rows of seats for up to seven passengers, but the Highlander's unibody construction makes for a better ride on pavement. Plus, unlike the 4Runner, the Highlander is available with a hybrid powertrain.

On the other hand, the 4Runner is outfitted with the legendary solid rear axle that has helped make this model known as much for off-road capability as on. The 4Runner is available only with a strong V6 that provides an average of 3 mpg less than the Highlander's standard four-cylinder engine. The 4Runner comes with rear-wheel drive as standard, but does offer full-time four-wheel drive on pricier trims.

Both SUVs have a maximum cargo capacity of around 92 cubic feet and are also close in length -- at just under 16 feet.

A small but telling feature in how these two SUVs differ is the removable center section in the Highlander's middle-row of seats. Once removed, the second row becomes two captain's chairs with an open aisle between them, allowing easy access to rear seating, much like a minivan.

Our Verdict: Toyota Highlander

While the 4Runner can carry five passengers and all their cargo through the woods, that's just not what most are looking for in a modern SUV. Offering utility in a more drivable package, the Highlander takes this Toyota comparison.

Take a closer look at the Toyota Highlander >>

Take a closer look at the Toyota 4Runner >>

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