Do you want to get an off-road capable SUV and you don’t want a 4Runner? So, do you want to see the 4Runner alternatives? Well, if that is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover on this topic where we are going to learn about every possible alternative of this vehicle.
Performing proper research before you decide to spend a ton of money on a vehicle should be your top priority. Especially in this case when you are looking for an alternative to the 4Runner. I’m saying this because the 4Runner is a very capable off-roader.
And if you see the market, you will see a ton of SUVs. But the question is, how many of them are off-road capable? Not many, to be honest. So, getting a proper alternative can be tricky if you don’t understand the off-road ability of the vehicles out there. This is why we are going to help you out.
First, we are going to learn what is the 4Runner and why this model is so popular. Then we will cover some of the specs of the 4Runner and then we will discuss all about the 4Runner alternatives that are out there. We will discuss a few of them and we will compare them with the 4Runner when it comes to off-road capability. So, if you want to learn more about this topic, follow along till the end.
What Is A 4Runner?
Now before we dive into the 4Runner alternatives. Let’s take a look at the 4Runner basics and learn more about this model. This will be really useful for people who want to learn more about the basics when it comes to this model. So, if you are one of them, this chapter is for you. If not, you can jump to one of the following chapters where we elaborate on the alternatives.
Nevertheless, the 4Runner is a mid-size SUV manufactured by Toyota since 1983. Yes, the 4Runner is that old. There are a total of five generations of this model released on the market and all these generations have something special.
What is interesting about the 4Runner is that the first three generations are built on the Toyota Hilux platform. And we all know how legendary is the Hilux when it comes to durability.
So, in this aspect, you can expect this from the 4Runner as well. But what is different from the fourth generation is that Toyota has shifted the platform and the present models of the 4Runner are built on the Toyota Tacoma platform.
So, the model grew in size significantly since 2003 and ditched the boxy shape from the 80s with a sleeker look that is present on the current model as well.
What is worth noting about the present model is that it is based on an older platform. The current model is in production since 2010 and currently is 12 years old. So, we really understand why you are looking for 4Runner alternatives. But more on that, we are going to cover later on. Let’s first take a look at why the 4Runner is so popular vehicle.
Why The 4Runner Is So Popular?
Before we dive into the 4Runner alternatives, let’s cover another topic. And that is the topic of why the 4Runner is so popular. What makes this 10+-year-old model the go-to when it comes to SUVs? Let’s elaborate.
If you are not aware, the 4Runner even as old as it might seem. It gets steady sales that are climbing each year. For example, in 2015 it sold almost 97,000 units. While in 2021 it sold 144,696 units. And this is a crazy amount of vehicles if you are asking me.
There are a few factors because of this. The first factor is that off-road vehicles are in demand right now. You are probably aware that off-road models like the Bronco are revived, and the new Defender was introduced. And all this for a reason. There is a market for these cars. The market has grown significantly when it comes to capable off-road SUVs.
And the second thing is probably the support that this model has from Toyota. A lot of car companies will introduce a model and they will practically forget about it.
But not in the case with Toyota. Toyota has put a great effort into its models and created the TRD and TRD Pro trim levels.
These trim levels focus on performance. More specifically the 4Runner focuses on off-road performance. With the new TRD trims there is a choice of really great-looking colors, upgraded suspension for off-road use, improved interiors with fancy stitching, and TRD badges everywhere.
Basically, Toyota is giving the audience what they really need and this is why the 4Runner sells really well. But what about the 4Runner alternatives? We will get to that in a moment after we cover the specs of the present 4Runner model.
So, we covered the basics of the 4Runner. Now let’s move on and discuss the specs of this model. Knowing the specs, will really going to help you out when it comes to determining which one of the 4Runner alternatives is for you. So, you don’t want to miss that.
This model is based on the Tacoma and has a wheelbase of 109.8 inches and an overall length of 191.3 inches. It is 75,8 inches wide and 70.7 inches tall. The curb weight of the model is between 4,400 and 4,805lbs.
In terms of engines, it is worth mentioning that there is only one engine available. This engine is a 4.0L V6 engine that is producing 270hp and 278lb-ft of torque.
In terms of transmissions, there is only one. And this is a 5-speed automatic transmission with overdrive.
Another thing worth noting is that the trim level options are abundant. There is the TRD, TRD Off-Road, TRD Pro, TRD Sport, SR5, Limited, and the 40th Anniversary Edition for 2023. You could easily get lost in all the trim levels that you could choose when it comes to the 4Runner.
The price is also affordable. Starting at $39,640 when it comes to the basic model. But what is good is that you will not spend a lot of money to spec one of these 4Runners up to your liking. The TRD starts at $43,500.
Now let’s move on to the 4Runner alternatives. What is worth mentioning before we start discussing them is that there are more than a few of them.
The market right now is full of SUVs. Especially ones that are highly capable when it comes to off-road duties. So, let’s cover them in the following chapters and learn more about different options when it comes to this segment.
4Runner Alternatives #1: Toyota FJ Cruiser
Now let’s start with something familiar when it comes to the 4Runner alternatives. And that alternative is the FJ Cruiser made by Toyota.
As you probably know, this SUV was discontinued by Toyota. But since recently, there is a great following when it comes to getting one of these SUVs. And if you want one, it will cost you an arm and a leg on the second-hand market, considering the prices of cars in demand nowadays.
Nevertheless, the FJ Cruiser is built on the same platform as the 4Runner. But the FJ Cruiser implements a retro styling that is reminiscent of the early ancestors of this model. Namely, the original FJ40 from 1984.
What is worth noting is that the FJ Cruiser is sharing the platform and also the engine and transmission with the 4Runner. So, it is powered with the same 4.0L V6 engine and the 5-speed automatic transmission as the 4Runner. As well as a 6-speed manual transmission.
Also, the FJ Cruiser is also a very capable off-roader. This is why it is really popular and in demand on the second-hand market.
There are countless requests to Toyota in order to bring it back. But this will mean that the 4Runner will suffer some losses when it comes to sales. So, seeing the 4Runner back in the US can be a challenge.
If you find one on the second-hand market, would be amazing. There are currently a lot of them being listed on Autotrader. You can get one with high miles for $15,700. Lower mile FJ Cruisers are more expensive costing about $30,000 or more in some cases. So, be prepared to pay a lot of money for these 4Runner alternatives.
4Runner Alternatives #2: Jeep Wrangler
The next on our list of 4Runner alternatives is the Jeep Wrangler. Why so? Well, which vehicle can be a better replacement for a proper off-roader as the 4Runner than the Wrangler? Our pick was very easy when it comes to this.
The Wrangler is a proper and also a very proven off-roader that is with us even before the 4Runner. Everything started with the Willy’s Jeep in WW2. And these military jeeps basically popularized this off-road segment. This is why we see such diversity and models available for off-road enthusiasts all around the world.
What is important for the Wrangler is that the present model is the JL. This model was released in 2017 for the 2018 model year.
The model carries that classic Jeep look and comes in two different versions. As a 2-door SUV and as a 4-door SUV. This means that you are not limited like in the case with the 4Runner to opt only for a 4-door version.
Another benefit of the Wrangler is that it is even smaller and more practical than the 4Runner. The 2-door has a wheelbase of only 96.8 inches.
In terms of engines, you can choose from the 3.6L V6 Pentastar engine that is producing 285hp and 260lb-ft of torque. And the 6.4L V8 HEMI is also known as simply the 392 because it has 392 cubic inches in displacement. The V8 is much more powerful, creating 470hp and 470lb-ft of torque.
In the transmissions department. There are two of them to choose from. A 6-speed manual and an 8-speed automatic. If you want to have a proper off-roader, the manual is the way to go if you are asking me. There is also an abundance of trim levels as well. The base price for the Wrangler is $31,600.
4Runner Alternatives #3: Ford Bronco
The next on our list of 4Runner alternatives is something really special. And that is the new model of the Ford Bronco.
If you didn’t know, Ford revived the Bronco a year ago and introduced a new generation of this model. Since as we mentioned previously in the article, there is a big market for these vehicles. They sell really well. And Ford saw the chance to reintroduce the Bronco again on the market.
The new Bronco is similar to the Wrangler that we covered previously. It also comes in 2-door and 4-door variants and the wheelbase for the 2-door is only 100.4 inches in total. Which makes it really compact and attractive in my opinion.
In addition to this, the Bronco is also a really capable off-roader as the Wrangler. It has off-road Bilstein suspension on all four wheels with Dana axles and also a ton of off-road driving adjustments and mods to choose from.
The base powerplant of the Bronco is a 2.3L inline-4 EcoBoost engine that is producing 300hp and 325lb-ft of torque. Then there are two optional engines. Namely the 2.7L V6 engine that is making 330hp and 415lb-ft of torque. And the most powerful engine is the 3.0 V6 turbo found in the Bronco Raptor that is producing 494hp and 630lb-ft of torque.
Overall, the Bronco is one of the best 4Runner alternatives on the market if you are asking me. There are a lot of trim levels to choose from, including the Raptor. And prices for the base models are also really low starting at $31,500 for the 2-door. The 4-door versions and the higher trims are understandably a lot more expensive. Now let’s move on to our next recommendation when it comes to the 4Runner alternatives.
4Runner Alternatives #4: Land Rover Defender
Now let’s move on to the next 4Runner alternatives. And one of these alternatives is the Land Rover Defender.
We all know the Defender. This model is a true classic used all around the world since the late 40s. But what is interesting is that the newest generation of this model was released in 2019 and this new Defender has ditched the good old boxy design with some more streamlined futuristic look.
And this model immediately created an impact on the market. What is different when it comes to the Defender is that, unlike the previous models that we discussed, this model targets more affluent customers. So, you will highly unlikely be seeing this model sell for $31,000 like the Bronco we discussed previously.
Nevertheless, the Defender comes in three versions, 90, 110, and 130. All of them refer to the wheelbase of the model. So, the Defender 90 is the smallest and this model is a 2-door. The 110 and 130 are 4-door SUVs.
The Defender comes with three different engines to choose from. The smallest is a 2.0L inline-4 engine. This engine is producing 296hp and 295lb-ft of torque. The bigger engine is a 3.0L inline 6 engine that is producing 395hp and 406lb-ft of torque. And the most powerful engine is a 5.0L V8 that is making about 518hp and 461lb-ft of torque.
In terms of transmissions, there is only one of them. And that is the ZF 8-speed torque converter automatic. Frankly, this is one of the best transmissions on the market right now used by a ton of different vehicles.
There are also a number of different trim levels to choose from besides the wheelbases. The cheapest one starts at $56,600. Now let’s move to the next 4Runner alternatives.
4Runner Alternatives #5: Nissan Pathfinder
Now let’s move on to the next in our list of 4Runner alternatives and the next on our list is the Nissan Pathfinder.
The Pathfinder is another really off-road capable SUV manufactured by Nissan. This model has been with us for ages. And the fifth generation was released really recently. 2022 is the first model year for this model.
This model is based on the same platform as the Nissan Frontier which is the mid-size pickup truck offered by Nissan for the US market. The Pathfinder incorporates a very futuristic look that is one of the best selling points for this vehicle if you are asking me. And also it is very large, with a wheelbase of 114.2 inches. Quite comparable to the 4Runner.
The powerplant of this SUV is the 3.5L V6 engine. This engine is producing 284hp and 259lb-ft of torque.
In terms of transmissions, there is also only one transmission to choose from. This is the ZF 9-speed automatic transmission. This is also a very popular transmission used by a lot of vehicles produced nowadays.
In terms of trim levels, we can say that there are a couple of them. The base trim level is the S, then comes the SV, SL, and the top-of-the-line trim is the Platinum. You can also choose whether you want a 2WD version or a 4WD version.
Prices are also affordable when it comes to this SUV. The base price for the S 2WD model starts at $35,999. While the Platinum on the other hand starts at $50,000 for the 2WD version. Overall, the Pathfinder is one of the best 4Runner alternatives if you opt for the 4WD version since these vehicles are pretty much the same size.
Facts about Affordable Midsize SUVs
- The Toyota 4Runner has a pickup truck frame that delivers legitimate off-road capabilities and will offer immense capabilities in the 2024 variant.
- The Ford Bronco has a nostalgia-inducing design and amazing trail-tackling abilities with a 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 300 hp.
- The Honda CR-V has a grander proportion and an attractive interior design inspired by the Civic, with a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine producing 190 hp and 179 lb-ft of torque.
- The Jeep Wrangler offers inspiring opportunities for adventure, four-wheel drive as standard, and two engine options: 3.6-liter V6 or 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4.
- The Kia Sorento is a great alternative to the larger Telluride, offering three rows of seats and a smooth ride with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 191 hp.
- The Hyundai Santa Fe has a lavish interior and is designed for families, offering terrain-conquering power with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 191 hp.
- The Toyota RAV4 has a practical and efficient design with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 203 hp and dynamic torque vectoring to enhance stability.
- The Mazda CX-5 offers a sophisticated interior space and athletic handling with a SKYACTIV 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque.
- The Volkswagen Tiguan offers style, versatility, and power with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 184 hp and three rows of seats.
- The Kia Sportage uses extroverted styling, an attractive tech-filled interior, and a punchy 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 187 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque.
In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to the 4Runner. First, we learned what the 4Runner is and why this model is so in demand nowadays. We learned why the model is really popular and we covered more about its specs and other interesting facts about it.
Then we moved on and we discussed the 4Runner alternatives. Considering that the 4Runner is a proper off-road vehicle, there are not a lot of proper alternatives to it. They might be SUVs, but their performance is somewhat doubtful in off-road circumstances.
This is why we covered all the proper 4Runner alternatives which included the FJ Cruiser which is built on the same platform, the Jeep Wrangler, Ford Bronco, Land Rover Defender, and the Nissan Pathfinder. Our personal favorite of all these models is the Wrangler.
F.A.Q To 4Runner Alternatives
Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.
What Is A 4Runner
The 4Runner is a mid-size SUV produced by Toyota. The 4Runner unlike other SUVs on the market is mainly off-road focused. Targeting the buyers who want a capable off-roader.
Where Is The Toyota 4Runner Made
The 4Runner for the US market is assembled in Japan. More precisely in the Tahara plant in Tahara, Aichi. This means that all models for the US market are imported.
How Much Is A 4Runner
The price for the 4Runner starts at $39,640. This is the base MSRP price for the lowest tier model. But you can spec out a model with all the bells and whistles for about $46,000. The 40th Anniversary Edition for 2022 starts right at $46,999. And this edition has a ton of special features to commemorate this benchmark of the 4Runner.
Is A 4Runner A Truck
Technically it is a truck. But visually it is an SUV. The 4Runner is based on the platform on which the Toyota Tacoma is based. The Tacoma as we all know is the mid-size pickup truck produced by Toyota for the US market.
How Many MPG Does A 4Runner Get
The 4Runner has a relatively average fuel economy. The model gets 16 mpg in the city, 19 mpg on the highway, and a combined fuel economy of 17 mpg. Not the greatest but it is understandable for a vehicle of this size.
How Long Does 4Runner Last
4Runners are really durable SUVs. They easily last for 300,000 miles or even more. Maintenance is key. So, if you maintain the car regularly, it will serve you for a really long time.