Which is the Better Off Roading Machine?
Now-a-days it can be hard to find an affordable, off road ready SUV, trust us we looked. While looking we discovered that the Jeep Wrangler and the Toyota 4Runner are some of the best because they hold their value and offer incredible off-roading performance.
But Which one should you go with?
Well in this article, these SUVs are going to be going head to head in 10 different categories to see which one reigns supreme.
So keep reading to find out which one comes out on top!
When it Comes to Safety
The 2017 Jeep Wrangler hasn’t been put through the full battery of safety tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). On the other hand, the 2017 Toyota 4Runner received a four-star overall rating from NHTSA, and in the IIHS’ testing it got a Good score on all but the small-overlap front impact test, where it was given a Marginal rating.
As for the Wrangler Unlimited (the Unlimited model is the four-door variant), it performed well on the IIHS’ small- and moderate-overlap front crash tests with a Good rating; however, it only received a Marginal score in the side impact test, and in NHTSA evaluations, the Wrangler Unlimited only got a three-star rating on the rollover and front crash tests. Which is why we are giving this one to the 4Runner.
When it Comes to Efficiency
The 2017 Wrangler Unlimited and 2017 4Runner are more focused on off-road performance than fuel economy. Both rigs have similar fuel economy estimates, with the 4Runner rated at 17/21 mpg city/highway in rear-drive guise and 17/20 mpg with four-wheel drive. As for the Wrangler Unlimited, opting for the standard six-speed manual nets you 16/21 mpg, and the automatic drops those numbers to 16/20 mpg.
As for fuel capacity, both the Wrangler Unlimited and 4Runner have large gas tanks at 22.5 gallons and 23.0 gallons, respectively. This means you’ll have somewhere around 400 miles of range, giving you plenty of wiggle room for adventures or for crawling your way deep into the wilderness to get to where you’re going. We're calling this one a tie.
As for Acceleration
Both the 4Runner and Wrangler Unlimited use V-6 engines and older transmissions, but the Toyota is quicker despite having less power and weighing more than the Jeep. In Motor Trend testing, a 2014 4Runner hit 60 mph in 7.5 seconds and the quarter mile in 15.7 seconds at 87.5 mph. A 2016 Wrangler Unlimited, on the other hand, did the sprint to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds and the quarter mile in 16.3 seconds at 82.5 mph. 4Runner is the winner of this category.
What About Off-Road Capability?
Sure, the Toyota 4Runner is highly capable when the pavement ends—especially in TRD Pro trim—but the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited takes things up a notch. From disconnecting axles and off-road-specific tires to reinforced axles and a 4:1 low gear ratio in some models, the Wrangler was built to tackle nearly every terrain. We've gotta give this one to the Wrangler.
We Gotta Test the Fun Factor
In addition to its off-road capability, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited offers a removable roof and doors. Whereas the 4Runner only has a sunroof in some trim levels (and a rear window that folds down), the Wrangler can be had with a removable cloth or hard top roof, putting you even closer to nature when you’re out in the wilderness tackling trails or crawling rocks in the desert. So, this one obviously goes to the Wrangler.
Although Toyota has a rich heritage of off-road-capable SUVs that includes the 4Runner and multiple generations of the Land Cruiser, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is part of an even longer bloodline. With its heritage dating back to World War II, the Wrangler is a descendant of the old Willys MB utility vehicles used by the U.S. military during World War II. After the war, civilian versions dubbed the CJ went into production with multiple configurations, including a small truck. Another point for the Wrangler.
Look at all Those Tech Features
Neither the 4Runner nor the Wrangler Unlimited come equipped with the most modern multimedia systems. The Wrangler Unlimited features an infotainment system that predates FCA’s current easy-to-use Uconnect system. The interface found in the Wrangler is an old Garmin-based unit that has a 6.5-inch touchscreen and a 40-GB hard drive with 28 GB set aside for media.
As for the 4Runner, it does have Toyota’s Entune system, but it’s the oldest version that’s also shared with other aging models in the Japanese automaker’s lineup. You get a 6.1-inch touchscreen, some apps, and an optional navigation system with grainy graphics. Additionally, this unit pales in comparison to the newer iteration of Entune found in the likes of the Corolla, Tacoma, and the 2018 Camry. Another tie.
Touch of Luxury
Don’t expect to get coddled in comfort driving in either SUV, but the 4Runner offers a more premium-oriented Limited variant with perforated leather upholstery, a JBL premium audio system, and heated and ventilated front seats. This one goes to the 4Runner.
Which has More Cargo Space?
Although the Toyota 4Runner’s third row is cramped, the SUV’s size can come in handy when those seats are folded down. With the second row of both SUVs folded, the Toyota offers 88.8 to 89.7 cubic feet of cargo space compared to the two-row Jeep’s 70.6 cubic feet. Another point for the 4Runner.
And the Winner is....
According to our research and experience with these two vehicles the Toyota 4Runner comes out on top.
But it was a close race, so don't take our word for it go out and try out both before you make your decision!
And once you have an off road vehicle of your own, head over to EZWheeler.com to stock up on all of the aftermarket off roading parts and accessories you'll need.