The 4Runner is a little more old fashioned with its body-on-frame construction, while the Grand Cherokee is a bit more modern.
There are a lot of "soft-roaders" out there that have the aesthetics of an SUV but don’t have the off-road chops to back them up. Two midsize SUVs that both walk the walk and talk the talk in terms of off-roading are the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Toyota 4Runner, two of the most off-road capable vehicles in their class.
Let’s take a look at how the old school 4Runner and the more modern Grand Cherokee compare in 2019.
The Toyota 4Runner hasn’t received a thorough update since the 2010 model year and, unfortunately, it shows. Its boxy design is starting to look quite dated, especially compared to more modern competitors, including the Grand Cherokee. It has a look that certainly matches its off-road capabilities, but it also just looks old. See the 2019 Toyota 4Runner models for sale near you
The Grand Cherokee, on the other hand, is one of the more handsome entries in its segment. Although its current generation is only one year newer than that of the 4Runner, Jeep has done a nice job keeping it fresh with a significant face-lift in 2014. One thing we like about the look of this Jeep is that it can vary greatly as you work your way through the model range. For example, the base Laredo, the luxurious Summit and the off-roady Trailhawk all look very different despite all being the same SUV at their core. This means you can tailor the look of your Grand Cherokee to fit your taste and your budget. See the 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee models for sale near you
As for exterior dimensions, the Grand Cherokee and the 4Runner are pretty similar in size with the Toyota being about four inches taller and one inch narrower than the Jeep.
The dated design of the 4Runner continues on the inside. It has an interior design that’s practical and uses durable materials, but again, the design is showing its age. The interior materials are too cheap for its price point and although the seats are reasonably comfortable on their own, the ride quality of this Toyota is sub-par.
The Grand Cherokee has an impressive interior at all trim levels and, like the exterior, the interior can vary greatly depending on what trim you’re in. Regardless of trim, this Jeep uses nice materials all around and has a very modern design that might make you feel like you’re in a more expensive SUV. It also offers a more comfortable ride than the Toyota, partially thanks to its unibody construction.
It’s worth noting that the Toyota 4Runner is available with a third row of seats and the Jeep Grand Cherokee is not. The Toyota also has more cargo space than the Jeep. If you want to take more than five people off-roading including yourself, the 4Runner can accommodate and the Grand Cherokee can’t. However, Jeep has promised a 3-row Grand Cherokee is on the way soon so keep an eye out for that if you want an off-roader with more seats.
The 4Runner only has one engine available and the Grand Cherokee has four.
2019 Toyota 4Runner Engine
4.0-liter V6; 270 horsepower, 278 lb-ft of torque; 17 mpg city/21 mpg hwy
2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Engines
3.6-liter V6; 295 hp, 260 lb-ft of torque; 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy
5.7-liter V8; 360 hp, 390 lb-ft of torque; 14 mpg city/22 mpg hwy
6.4-liter V8; 475 hp, 470 lb-ft of torque; 13 mpg city/19 mpg hwy
6.2-liter supercharged V8; 707 hp, 645 lb-ft of torque; 11 city/17 mpg hwy
As we mentioned earlier, the 4Runner has a truck like body-on-frame construction, while the Grand Cherokee has a more car like unibody construction. Traditionally, body-on-frame is better for off-roading, but the Grand Cherokee is a good example that a unibody SUV can have some serious off-road chops. Its unibody construction makes it more road-friendly than the Toyota and its available V8 engines further show that the Jeep is more committed to on-road performance.
Both of these SUVs come standard with rear-wheel drive and are upgradable to 4-wheel drive. They also both have two different 4WD systems available. In the Toyota, you can get part-time 4WD with active traction control in the SR5 and TRD Off-Road trims. Upgrading to the Limited 4WD model includes full-time 4WD with a limited slip differential with a locking feature.
In the Grand Cherokee, the entry-level 4WD system is Quadra-Drive I, which is full-time 4WD. Upgrading to Quadra-Drive II, which is standard on the Trailhawk model, adds a low range and an electronic limited slip differential, making it a lot like the better 4WD system in the 4Runner.
The 4Runner and the Grand Cherokee are both proven off-roaders with more capability than you’ll find in most midsize SUVs, but the Jeep is a decidedly better street car than the Toyota.
Here’s an area where the Jeep far exceeds the Toyota without question. The 2019 4Runner comes standard with a 6.1-in infotainment system, which is pretty small and dated by today’s standards and it isn’t available with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. The Grand Cherokee comes standard with a far superior 7-in unit with standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and it’s upgradable to an even better 8.4-in system.
The Toyota also offers very little in terms of modern safety and driver-assistance technology. The Jeep, on the other hand, now comes standard with blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. The Grand Cherokee is also available with much more safety tech that includes adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and more.
Despite the many aforementioned advantages of the Grand Cherokee over the 4Runner, the Toyota is more expensive than the Jeep. The 2019 Grand Cherokee has a starting MSRP of $31,945 and the 4Runner starts at $35,110. However, the prices get a bit closer when you add 4WD. The most affordable 4WD 4Runner you can get starts at $36,985 and that number for the Grand Cherokee is $34,245. The top end of the Grand Cherokee is quite a bit more expensive than the most expensive variants of the 4Runner, which makes sense considering the Jeep is available with much more luxury on the inside and much more muscle under the hood.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee surpasses the Toyota 4Runner in almost every category. The Jeep is more affordable, more road-friendly, offers more variety and is arguably just as capable off-road as its old Toyota rival. Hardcore off-roaders might find the extra simplicity of the 4Runner to be a good thing, but for most drivers, the Grand Cherokee is the way to go for a good family SUV with strong off-road capability. Find a Toyota 4Runner for sale or Find a Jeep Grand Cherokee for sale