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2021 Dodge Durango vs. 2021 Toyota 4Runner: Which Is Better?


The 2021 Dodge Durango and 2021 Toyota 4Runner midsized SUVs have gone through years of refinement since their debut decades ago. Which is better?

Quick Facts

  • The 2021 Dodge Durango features new LED lights front and back and an updated interior design.
  • The Durango finally receives the SRT Hellcat with 710-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter engine option.
  • The Toyota 4Runner is an amazing off road vehicle that is a great alternative to the Jeep Wrangler with many more comfort and high tech safety features.

2021 Dodge Durango

2021 Dodge Durango HellcatBase Price: $33,260 / Read our 2021 Dodge Durango Review

What we like: Increased tow rating to maximum of 8,700 lbs; solid and secure ride feel; great looking exterior design; SRT Hellcat will take your breath away with power

What we would change: Best safety features reserved for top trim levels; interior is generally easy to operate but nothing special; disappointing fuel economy even with V6; base level V6 is underpowered for vehicle

Overview: After 23 years of production, the Durango has evolved into a strong midsize SUV contender with impressive refinements that make it comfortable to drive, great looking and powerful if one of the three optional V8 options are selected. But there are plenty of cool things on the Durango beyond the massively powerful SRT 392 and SRT Hellcat editions that garner all the headlines. Key safety tech includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert and automatic braking. The unfortunate part is that if you want all this great safety equipment, you’ll have to check the box for the upper level trims, which also carry a higher price tag. Convenience items are also plentiful such as the oversize back door that opens nearly 90-degrees, a second row seat that flips and folds and a massive cargo area that goes all the way to 85.1 cubic feet.

What’s new for 2021: Arrival of the Durango SRT Hellcat with 710 horsepower from a supercharged 6.2-liter V8; LED headlights and taillights are standard; redesigned dashboard with better storage; upgraded infotainment with Uconnect 5 system; wireless charging system optional, top tow package increases rating to 8,700 lbs

Features and technology: Currently there are six different Durango trim levels beginning with the SXT featuring a 293 hp V6. The SXT trim level includes a tri-zone automatic climate control system, self-dimming rear view mirror, LED headlights/daytime running lights, 12-volt outlets and an 8.4-inch touchscreen. The GT trim features 20-inch alloy wheels while the R/T comes with a powerful 5.7-liter V8 engine, special sport suspension, added styling elements, heated front and second row seats, 115-volt AC outlet and highly legible 10.1-inch touch screen.

The Citadel special edition features advanced driver aids for added safety, Nappa leather upholstery and assorted cool chrome accents. For the SUV fan craving the peak of performance, the SRT 392 incorporates the 6.4-liter V8 (475 hp) with Brembo brakes, sport-tuned adaptive suspension, all wheel drive, self-leveling headlamps and embroidered SRT logos throughout. If that’s still not enough, the SRT Hellcat goes one better with three more horses than the Grand Cherokee at 710 hp. To keep you in tune with how to handle the enormous engine power under hood, Dodge provides a complimentary day’s training at a high performance driving school.

What does the future hold: The Durango continues to see refinement with every model year adding cool features that make it attractive. The addition of the SRT Hellcat edition is case in point. The Durango continues to draw a solid audience of buyers consistently selling over 60,000 vehicles annually and ensuring that the Durango should be around for many years to come. Find a 2021 Dodge Durango for sale new you

2021 Toyota 4Runner

2021 Toyota 4Runner Front View in SilverBase Price: $36,590 / Read our 2021 Toyota 4Runner Review

What we like: Excellent off road capability; large, highly functional cargo area; well-designed touchscreen system; more comfortable off-road alternative to the Jeep Wrangler; short nose is better for steep inclines

What we would change: no optional engine powertrain systems; poor fuel economy; substandard handling on paved roads; dated interior design

Overview: Despite the upcoming debut of an all-new 4Runner for 2022, the latest model has a lot of very cool features and has a vast number of trims to fit most buyer requirements. The 3.5-liter V6 feels more than adequate which is a good thing since it is the only engine available. As per usual for Toyota, the fit, finish and quality are extremely impressive and resale values are strong. The complimentary two-year/25,000-mile maintenance coverage could be the decider for those buyers on the fence.

What’s new for 2021: The all-new limited-volume Trail Edition features a special styling package SR5 with 17-inch alloy wheels, basket style roof rack, and 40-quart cooler on a sliding tray in the rear; all 4Runners received LED low beams and LED fog lights for 2021; TRD Pro trim level adds “flow-formed” black alloy wheels and a specialized off-road suspension designed by Fox Shocks

Features and technology: Offered in eight different trim levels, the newest 4Runner has levels from plain to fancy. The base level SR5 4Runner features skid plates, full size spare tire, heated mirrors, windshield wiper defroster, power lift gate, 8-way adjustable driver’s seat, 40/20/40-split/recline/fold second-row seating, and much more. The auxiliary 12-volt outlets and 115-volt inverter outlet allow you to plug in just about anything you can imagine.

The Limited or Nightshade Editions of the 4Runner are quite luxurious for this serious off road machine, the Nightshade offering plenty of black out elements inside and out that will certainly be popular. The Limited includes a very off-road friendly suspension (code name X-REAS) that includes a locking center differential (if four-wheel drive is ordered), LED high beams, front and rear parking sensors, dual zone automatic climate control, active dampers, heated front seats, JBL audio system, and Safety connect emergency communications system.

What does the future hold: With the future forecast of an all new 4Runner for 2022, the future of the model line is very bright. With an average of 130,000 4Runners sold every year, Toyota’s midsize SUV is certain to be around for many years to come. Find a 2021 Toyota 4Runner for sale near you

Durango vs 4Runner: Strengths comparison

Dodge Durango Benefits: Better looking exterior design; better around town driving comfort; updated elements like oversize touch screen and LED head and taillights standard; 8,700 tow rating when properly optioned

Toyota 4Runner Benefits: Impressive off road ability; solid reliability, quality construction, resale value; short front overhang is able to handle more aggressive inclines; two years / 25,000 mile complimentary maintenance coverage

2021 Dodge Durango vs 2021 Toyota 4Runner: Which is better?

The Toyota 4Runner is an impressive off road handling machine with lots of cool safety and high tech comfort/convenience equipment that midsize SUV buyers will find attractive. The dated exterior (new vehicle on the way in 2022), single engine availability and less impressive on-pavement handling make it less attractive than the Dodge Durango that is a very cool looking SUV with a better tow rating. Add to that the wide array of engines from V6 through 710 hp Hellcat edition and you have a package that is sure to draw a crowd. In this two-horse race, the Durango is our choice for better SUV. Find a 2021 Dodge Durango for sale or Find a 2021 Toyota 4Runner for sale

2021 Dodge Durango 2021 Toyota 4Runner
Engine 3.6-liter V6 4.0-liter V6 engine
Horsepower 293 hp @ 6,400 rpm 270 hp @ 5,600 rpm
Torque 260 lb-ft 4,000 rpm 278 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
Transmission 8-spd automatic RWD 5-spd automatic RWD
Fuel Economy 21 mph (19 city/26 hwy) 17 mpg (16 city/ 19 hwy)
Also Available AWD; 5.7-liter V8 (360 hp); AWD
6.4-liter V8 (475 hp); 6.2-liter supercharged V8 (710 hp)
Specs
Basic Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 4 Stars 4 Stars
Max Seating Capacity 7 7
Wheelbase 119.8 inches 109.8 inches
Overall Length 200.8 inches 191.3 inches
Width 75.8 inches 75.8 inches
Height 70.1 inches 71.5 inches
Turning Diameter 41.0 inches 37.4 feet
Headroom, Front 39.3 inches 39.3 inches
Headroom, Rear 39.8 inches 38.6 inches
Legroom, Front 40.3 inches 41.7 inches
Legroom, Rear 38.6 inches 32.9 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 58.5 inches 57.8 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 57.7 inches 57.8 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 141.4 cubic feet 144.5 cubic feet
EPA Cargo Volume 85.1 cubic feet 89.7 cubic feet

 

Cam Benty
Cam Benty served as editor-in-chief for a number of automotive and sports-related publications early in his career, including Motor Trend Specials, Hot Rod and SPORT Magazine. After 20 years of experience creating monthly publications, he changed it up a bit, building custom publishing inserts and full-length specialty magazines for major car companies,including Ford, General Motors and Honda. A... Read More about Cam Benty

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