Kids indeed think, say, and ask the funniest things.
Take my youngest Lil Lily, for example,
I recall how when the Toyota 4Runner came out and was being advertised, whenever its advert came on, she would ask whether you had to be a runner to buy one! Or, like when the Jeep Grand Cherokee advert first aired, she asked if it was made by Cherokee Native Americans!
Then, just when I thought Lil Lily was heading for a career as a stand-up comedienne, she asked me the most thought-provoking question about both the Toyota 4Runner and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Our conversation went something like this…..
Lil L: Hey dad!?
Me: Yes, sweets.
Lil L: Sooooh, what really are the Toyota 4Runner and Jeep Grand Cherokee? What’s your take on them? And if I was to buy one of them, which should I?
Me: (cat-catch-my-tongue-pause-then) Aaahhhh, well sweets, let me put it like this……..
What is the Toyota 4 Runner?
When you think of tough, compact mid-size SUVs with great history and astonishing durability, the Toyota 4Runner models are on my shortlist. These do-anything and go-anywhere adventure vehicles are equipped with body-on-frame construction, impressive off-road capability, and gutsy power terrain. They definitely lead the charge when it comes to SUV toughness.
Feast your eyes on the Toyota 4Runner below, for instance.
What is the Jeep Grand Cherokee?
But if you are looking for something a bit more premium and grand, yet at the same time preserve the soul of the ultimate thrill seeker’s vehicle, then perhaps it would be worth considering the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Check out the beauty below.
The question though, Lil is: are these two vehicles really that different, or have they actually just been cut from the same aluminum cloth? Let’s inspect both the bodies and flip the hoods of both the Toyota 4Runner and the Jeep Grand Cherokee to see what’s what.
Any SUV worth its salt typically has an abundance of interior space for occupants and cargo. The 2022 Toyota 4Runner Ltd 2WD (Natl), for instance, does not disappoint on that front. Its roomy interior provides up to five occupants with 38.6-inches front headroom and 41.7-inch front legroom. Like the one below.
Ordinarily, Toyota 4Runners has a variety of cargo options. The 2022 4 Runner SR5 2WD (Natl) edition, for example, is no different. With a trunk space of 47.2 cubic feet and heated front seats, this ride is made for long road trips on wintry nights.
To aid adventure, it boasts the Toyota 4Runner’s signature power rear window which makes access to the cargo area easier. To assist the adventurer in you further, for camping or tailgating purposes, the 4Runner SR5 2WD (Natl) can be equipped with a pull-out cargo deck that supports up to 440 pounds.
Almost as ruggedly handsome (if not more so) as the latest Toyota 4Runner models, the Jeep Grand Cherokee arguably matches or even surpasses the 4Runners. Coming with heated front and rear seats, power-adjustable front seats, interior ambient lighting, automatic high-beam headlamps, remote start, and more, the 2022 new generation of modernized interior cabins accommodate the standard five passengers.
Although the Grand Cherokee L model is a seven-seater. However, while the 2020 Jeep Cherokee came with cargo space of 25.8 cubic feet, the 2022 Jeep Cherokee Summit 4X4, for instance, has improved this cargo volume to 38 cubics feet-still comparatively smaller than the Toyota 4Runner. Perhaps the highlight of the Grand Cherokee’s interior is the infotainment system.
While the 2022 Toyota 4Runner Ltd 2WD (Natl) has a sensitive 8.0-inch touch-display that’s very responsive to touch and easy to use, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has a sizeable 8.4-to-10-inch touch screen with standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM satellite radio display which is very responsive to touch and easy to use, all in crystal clear high resolution. It navigates seamlessly all the media controls and car settings.
When it comes to technology that impresses, the Toyota 4Runner SR5 2WD (Natl) will not disappoint. It comes with an array of active and passive safety features that are ushered in by the Toyota Safety Sense P; a robust suite of active safety systems that includes a Pre-Collision System with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
In addition, the Toyota 4Runner SR5 2WD (Natl) edition is also equipped with a Star Safety System, a six feature suite that is designed to help keep you and your passengers out of harm’s way. Safety is topped up by a backup camera and a comprehensive occupant protection system with eight standard airbags. The Toyota 4Runner SR5 2WD (Natl) edition definitely has you covered should trouble come knocking.
In the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Adaptive cruise control and Lane departure warning were optional, while there were standard in the 2021 Toyota 4Runner. The 2022 Grand Cherokee models have improved safety features. They boast a digital rearview mirror, a 360-degree exterior camera system, front and rear parking sensors, and a collision avoidance feature invaluable for when traveling through intersections.
Both these cars have safety at their core, but in this duel, the 4Runner arguably has a more impressive resume.
The 4Runner has barely evolved its design from the classic rugged designs of the 80s. Its boxy shape with the long boot adds to the appearance of a no-nonsense adventure machine capable of exploring all four corners of the globe.
For instance, the 2021 Toyota 4Runner comes with an aluminum 4.0liter V6 engine with 270 horsepower. It can go from 0-60mph in 7.7 seconds with a top speed of 115mph. The big V6 engine enables it to tow up to 5000 pounds.
This 4Runner is also designed with an available electronic locking rear differential that helps it traverse unpredictable trails as well as Hill Start Assist control that helps to keep it stationary when leaving off the brakes on a steep incline. The Downhill Assist Control is also part of the amazing capabilities of the 4Runner.
This helps drivers to navigate descents at more controlled speeds. Over the years, the 4Runners have reached a new pinnacle for adventure.
In comparison, the Grand Cherokee carries a 3.6liter V6 engine with 293 horsepower. The sprint time from 0-60mph in 7.6 seconds with an incredible top speed of 180mph.
It has a towing capacity of 4500 pounds, 500pounds shy of the 4Runner. Although it is built for the off-road, it is a very good everyday driver. It is quieter than the 4Runner and more comfortable on corners and gentler on bumpy roads.
How can an off-road legend with the capabilities of the Toyota 4Runner be even more capable? This is so much so that the 4Runner SR5 has been described as having “impressive off-road capacity.” That is because engineers at Toyota Racing Development (TRD) have taken the time to combine the 4Runner’s rugged underpinnings of high ground clearance with TRD Off-road and TRD Pro Trims that come with sturdy all-terrain tires and a brawny suspension.
In comparison, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has an impressive arsenal of off-road tech. These include hill descent assist, a low range transfer case, and various terrain modes that modify the stability control and how it deals with sending traction to each side of the vehicle. The Jeep also comes with an off-road package screen that provides a lot of detail on what is happening underneath the car, which provides information like steering angle, accessory gauges, and pitch and roll.
Basically, in terms of off-roading features, the 4Runner is like a rugged builder who uses his bare hands to build a house, whilst the Grand Cherokee is the nerdy architect, who uses 3D technology to build the same house.
The Toyota 4Runner from around $38000 for the standard model with various TDS and TRD editions going up as high as $60000. Compared to the Jeep Grand Cherokee ranges between $40,000 and $70,000 for the Summit Reserve edition, the price similarities point to the similarities in functionality, security, and capability.
Benefits of Each
Whilst the Grand Cherokee can certainly pull its own against the Toyota 4Runner when it comes to horsepower, generally, however, it cannot yet compare with the Toyota 4Runner range of models’ (i) engine torque (ii) cargo capacity (iii) standard cruise control (iv) tech (e.g. lane departure warning). So, despite the Grand Cherokee models’ comfort and technology making them a delight for new-age explorers, they are yet to top those of the 4Runner.
For nearly 40 years, the 4Runner has led the offroad pack with its tough-as-as-nails construction and iconic style. During that time, like most Japanese manufactured goods, Toyota has built a world-class reputation for quality, durability, and reliability.
Me: So, that said sweets, if I were you, given a choice between a Toyota 4Runner and a Jeep Grand Cherokee, I would buy a Toyota 4Runner. It’s tougher, has a globally trusted pedigree, and performs better on and off-road than the Jeep.
Narrator: But (thankfully ) Lil L was in Lala-land.