The mid-size SUV market is full of vehicles offering exciting versatility, off-road capabilities and high-tech safety features. Here’s how the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the 2021 Toyota 4Runner compare.
Jeep Grand Cherokee 2021
Above average: Classic style always looks fresh; several choices of powertrains; specific off-road and high performance trim levels; luxurious cabin; 7,200 pound towing capacity
Below average: Total heavy weight; retains the personality of a truck; seats useful for five only (option L adds a third row seat); fuel economy.
Consensus: The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee was one of the first midsize SUV offerings and set the bar for decades of SUV models to come. A capable all-terrain machine, the Grand Cherokee can not only handle unpaved terrain, but is also a minimum of luxury appointments if it does.
2021 Toyota 4Runner
Above average: Good power; capable off-road; excellent fit, finish, reliability and resale value; two year / 25,000 mile free maintenance program.
Below average: Poor fuel consumption; steep driving; higher starting price
Consensus: The Toyota 4Runner is the last of its breed to offer a true truck-based chassis rather than many other midsize SUVs. But this setup is the key to the 4Runner’s off-road capabilities. The Trail Edition finish combines cool and practical off-road characteristics.
Grand Cherokee vs. 4Runner: Rough and Ready
Jeep grand cherokee
The Grand Cherokee was one of the first midsize SUVs and boasts a heritage of off-road capability. The base vehicle is equipped with the V6 engine which provides plenty of power for most city needs. From there, you can upgrade to the 5.7-liter V8 or the 6.4-liter V8, both of which boost performance impressively, with the latter engine putting out 465 horsepower. As if that weren’t enough, in true Mopar style, you can order the 6.2-liter TrackMaster engine producing 707 horsepower and equipped with all-wheel drive.
As you might expect, the Grand Cherokee is capable of all-terrain. The Trailhawk package comes with a 2-speed transfer case, electronically controlled limited-slip differential, excellent air suspension that provides a smooth ride and excellent ground clearance. Hill Descent Control helps to tackle steep inclines or descents. A first for the Grand Cherokee, an optional third row seat (the “L” model) brings the total seating capacity to seven. But the seats are tight and only fit the little ones. Keep in mind that this is the last year of the current generation, an all-new Grand Cherokee tilts later this year as a 2022 model.
One of the original midsize SUVs that debuted in the 1980s, the 4Runner is a quintessentially comfortable Toyota that has undergone many refinements over the decades. The body-on-chassis design makes the 4Runner one of the few truck-based SUVs in the class. This can be a mixed blessing for some looking for good city manners and off-road preparation. The 4Runner is available in four different levels, from the basic SR5 2WD to the all-terrain capable TRD Pro (which includes the impressive Fox 4WD suspension system) and up to the luxurious Nightshade and Limited Editions.
Only one engine is offered, the high-performance 3.5-liter V6 developing 270 horsepower. The 5-speed automatic transmission lags behind when it comes to advanced shifting technology, but is a reliable and recognizable way to change gears. The part-time 4WD system is better on mileage than the full-time option. Fuel economy remains the weakest link in the 4Runner, even in 2WD. Even with the 23 gallon fuel tank, the range is less than 400 miles per tank. Like the Grand Cherokee, the 4Runner offers an optional extra tight third row.
All-terrain capability; small third row option; both are approaching the end of their production cycle.
Advantages of the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Multiple powertrain offerings; performance-oriented SRT options; luxury date; comfortable ride; maximum towing capacity of 7,200 pounds.
Advantages of the 2021 Toyota 4Runner
Manufacturing quality; reliability; resale value; 2 year, 24,000 mile free maintenance.
Combined with higher towing rates across the board and four different engine options, the Grand Cherokee is a very different type of SUV from the 4Runner. But the Toyota has a number of perks, including better reliability, a more functional off-road styling, plentiful engine power for most challenges, and even two years of free maintenance to keep things running smoothly. In this comparison, the 4Runner is our choice.
Ready to buy a Jeep Grand Cherokee or a Toyota 4Runner? Buy now for one on sale near you.
|Jeep Grand Cherokee 2021||2021 Toyota 4Runner|
|Motor||3.6 liter V6 engine||4.0-liter V6 engine|
|Powerful||295 hp at 6,400 rpm||270 hp @ 5,600 rpm|
|Couple||260 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm||278 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm|
|Transmission||8-speed automatic||5 speed automatic|
|Fuel economy||21 mpg (18 city / 25 highway)||17 mpg (16 city / 19 highway)|
|Also available||5.7-liter V8; 6.4-liter V8; 6.2-liter supercharged V8; 4×4||4×4|
|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 Global Security||4 stars||4 stars|
|Maximum seating capacity||5||7|
|Wheelbase||114.8 inch||109.8 inch|
|Total length||189.8 inch||191.3 inch|
|Width||76.5 inch||75.8 inch|
|Height||69.3 inch||71.5 inch|
|Turning diameter||37.1 feet||37.4 feet|
|Headroom, forward||39.9 inch||39.3 inch|
|Headroom, aft||39.2 inch||38.6 inch|
|Legroom, front||40.3 inch||41.7 inch|
|Legroom, rear||38.6 inch||32.9 inch|
|Shoulder room, front||58.7 inch||57.8 inch|
|Shoulder room, rear||58.0 inch||57.8 inch|
|EPA passenger volume||105.4 cubic feet||144.5 cubic feet|
|EPA cargo volume||84.6 cubic feet||89.7 cubic feet|