Since its debut in 1984, the Toyota 4Runner has maintained a loyal following thanks to impressive off-road credentials, the abundance of passenger and cargo space, and lots of standard safety features.
However, its outdated interior and unrefined handling are two areas where the 4Runner could improve.
If you like the Toyota 4Runner but want to know what alternatives there are, you’re in the right place. Read on to discover 10 cars similar to the Toyota 4Runner.
1. Toyota Highlander
If you’re looking for a more family-friendly SUV, then the Toyota Highlander is an excellent alternative to the 4Runner.
The unibody Highlander can seat up to 8 people and comes with more tech features and a better infotainment system than the 4Runner. It’s also more affordable than it’s rugged cousin.
Both vehicles have a similar cargo capacity, with the 4Runner being better suited for cargo since it has one less row of seats.
The Highlander is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that is quite similar to the 4Runner’s. However, the Highlander achieves significantly better fuel economy than the 4Runner thanks to being the far lighter vehichle.
The 4Runner is the obvious winner when it comes to off-roading thanks to its body on frame design and superior ground clearance. However, the Highlander is more comfortable for daily driving.
2. Subaru Outback (Wilderness Edition)
The often overlooked Subaru Outback is another SUV that’s built on a car platform. While its main focus is comfort and a smooth ride, it also comes with an adventurous trim level (Wilderness Edition) that comes with some excellent off-road features to rival that of the 4Runner.
While the standard Outback only has 8.5-inch ground clearance, the Wilderness comes with an impressive 9.5 inches (only 0.1 inches shorter than the 4Runner ) The WIlderness also comes with decent towing capacity, but can’t quite match the 4Runner.
The Outback comes with slightly better fuel economy than the 4runner, but again can’t quite match the 4Runners famous reliability and resale value. That said, you’ll save a significant chunk when purchasing the Outback, as it starts
Check out this video of how the Outback compared to the 4Runner when the guys at Driving Sports put them to the test in the Rocky Mountains. While the\
For me, the Outback is the perfect option if you only occasionally go off-road, as the body-on-frame design of the 4Runner means you get heavy truck-like handling and poor truck-like fuel economy. However, if you plan on doing some serious boulder bashing, the 4Runner is still the better option.
3. Jeep Grand Cherokee
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a similar midsize SUV with a loyal fanbase and is an excellent alternative to the 4Runner if off-roading is a big priority.
It comes with Quadra-Lift air suspension that allows you to adjust the height of the vehicle to provide up to a whopping 10.9 inches of ground clearance. That’s 1 inch more than the 4Runner offers!
As well as that, it’s also built on a Mercedes ML platform so has excellent ride quality and a more luxurious interior. Both SUVs are similarly priced, however the Jeep comes with better fuel economy, more towing capacity, and better in-car tech features. That said, the 4Runner enjoys slightly more cargo space.
There’s so much doubt the 4Runners solid body-on-frame still beats the unibody Grand Cherokee on rough terrain, but the Jeep Grand Cherokee is the better SUV in almost every other metric apart of reliability and resale value. I’d therefore recommend the Jeep over the 4Runner unless you’re on doing some serious off-road trials.
4. Lexus GX
If you were impressed by the 4Runner, then you’ll probably go crazy for the new 2022 Lexus GX.
While maintaining all the structural and engineering features of the 4Runner, the GX adds a sporty and luxurious touch with upgraded interior features.
The 2022 Lexus GX features a powerful 4.6-liter V8 engine giving out 301 hp which is incredibly close to the 4Runner’s 270 hp V6.
Similar to the 4Runner, the GX does 16 mpg in the city and 19 on the highway.
Its towing capacity is 6,500 pounds, not much higher than the 4Runner’s 5000 pounds.
5. Chevrolet Tahoe
Few SUVs are as iconic as the Chevrolet Tahoe, thanks to its versatility and advanced design features.
As is the case with the 4Runner, the Chevrolet Tahoe maintains a body-on-frame structure rather than a unibody design, making it a truck-based SUV rather than a crossover.
This superb machine and people-hauler pack a 420 hp, 5.3-liter V8 engine, pumping out more power than the 4Runner’s 270 hp V6 engine.
When it comes to gas mileage, the base Tahoe offers an EPA-estimated 16 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway which is nearly an identical match to the 4Runner.
With a towing capacity of up to 8,400 pounds and an impressive 7.9 inches of ground clearance, the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe is great at hauling.
You’re likely to pay around $48,795 for a rear-wheel-drive LS but for more handling, you might consider the $66,495 front-wheel-drive LS.
6. Ford Explorer
Although most modern generation Explorers have switched to a lighter-duty crossover configuration, they’ve still kept the Explorer name and much of its capability.
It’s, therefore, no surprise that the Explorer was by far the best-selling mid-size SUV in the US last year, according to Autobytel.
Most midsize SUVs fall short of the Explorer’s cargo capacity thanks to its 18.2 cubic feet of space behind the third row.
Close to the cargo space, the 4Runner has to offer, the Explorer gives you 47.9 cubic feet with up to 87.8 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded.
Just like the 4Runner, the Explorer has plenty of headroom and legroom even for taller riders ensuring a comfortable drive.
Despite its performance on the road, even the trim with a twin-turbo V6 engine gives you great gas mileage as well.
It does 18 mpg in the city which is impressive for a V6 engine and comparable to the 4Runner’s 16 city mpg.
7. Toyota RAV4
The Toyota Rav4 base LE is a giant in the fuel economy end of the spectrum.
However, the Limited and TRD Off-Road models that possess a broad array of equipment are aimed at a very different type of buyer.
Regardless of which trim suits you, RAV4 comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine which doesn’t seem like much but it is quite impressive on the road.
Similar to the 4Runner, the engine delivers 270 hp and much-improved gas mileage of 28 mpg in the city and a whopping 35 mpg on the highway.
What’s more, the square-jawed look draws inspiration from the 4Runner, although its car-based construction results in a significantly smoother ride than the 4Runner’s.
8. Toyota Sequoia
If you ignore the curvy edges on the front of the car, the Toyota Sequoia looks exactly the same as the 4Runner.
Many off-road enthusiasts recommend the TRD Sport and TRD Pro trims, and if you are not much of an off-roader, you might be better suited to the base SR5 trim.
The SR5s 18-inch wheels deliver a softer ride than the 4Runner.
On the other hand, the 4Runner has better gas mileage but falls behind when it comes to towing capacity.
Its torque-rich engine and rugged frame give it a towing capacity of 7,400 pounds.
All the trims come with a 5.7-liter V8 engine pumping out 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque with the popular six-speed transmission.
9. Toyota Venza
The Toyota Venza can be described as a 4Runner with greater engine power, a more sporty feel, enhanced features, and more luxurious interior finishes.
All Venzas feature a 2.5-liter hybrid engine with two electric motors sending power through a continuously variable automatic transmission to its front wheels.
Despite its smaller engine, the Toyota Venza makes nearly the same horsepower (219 hp) as the 4Runner.
Very few cars can beat a good old fashion hybrid engine when it comes to fuel economy.
It gives a smooth and quiet ride doing 39 mpg in combined city/highway driving.
10. Mitsubishi Outlander
The Mitsubishi Outlander features clean emissions while still offering an improved engine output and torque.
Redesigned with the latest automotive technologies including exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and the electrically operated valve timing control (VVT) system.
Thus, the Outlander strikes a unique balance between fuel economy and performance.
Interestingly, this new Outlander has a lot in common with the 4Runner.
The two SUVs have the same engines as well as several share other components.
Like the 4Runner, it features a maximum cargo space of 79.7 cubic feet.
It also does 24 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway which is pretty solid for a compact SUV.
11. Mercedes GLE 350
The Mercedes GLE 350 features a turbocharged four-cylinder which is pretty much a de facto standard powertrain.
Just like the 4Runner, the GLE 350 has a powerful engine producing 255 hp.
Built for both inner-city trips and off-roading, the GLE is quite versatile.
Coming in at 74.9 cubic feet, the GLE 350’s cargo capacity matches that of the 4Runner.
Its gas mileage is slightly better than the 4Runner’s as it does 19 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway.
12. Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler won MotorTrend’s 2019 SUV of the Year award for adeptly mixing modern attractiveness with a treasured legacy.
Apart from the rugged and boxy structure, the Jeep Wrangler and the 4Runner do share a lot of features.
The trim with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces 270 hp which is identical to the 4Runner power outputs.
It does 13 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway, slightly below the 4Runner’s fuel efficiency.
Like the 4Runner, the Wrangler has a cargo capacity of about 89.7 cubic feet with seats folded.
The towing capacity of the 4Runner is higher as the Wrangler can only haul up to 3,500 pounds.