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|285||Max Horsepower (HP)||270|
|Yes||Manual Transmission Available||No|
|19||Combined Fuel Economy (MPG)||17|
Are you shopping for a rugged off-road-ready SUV? If so, you’re likely looking for a vehicle that offers plenty of ground clearance, a torque-focused engine, and an assortment of extra equipment that makes it an off-road champion. While there may be many models out there to choose from, many people are often quick to ask about comparisons between the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited vs 2020 Toyota 4Runner. These are two SUVs that promise rugged capability, while at the same time offer an on-pavement driving experience that is fulfilling and thrilling.
On the one hand is the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, a four-door only version of the Jeep Wrangler that provides plenty of interior spacing, while at the same time still being an expert of the trail. The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited has a starting price of $31,795 and offers a plethora of additional trim configurations under this unique Unlimited body styling. In this four-door style, you’ll find the Sport, Willy's Sport, Sport S, Black and Tan, Sport Altitude, Willy's, Freedom, Sahara, Rubicon, Sahara Altitude, North Edition, Rubicon Recon, and the High Altitude. The spread is quite extensive.
The 2020 Toyota 4Runner, on the other hand, starts at a much heftier $36,120 MSRP and also offers a number of different trim configurations. This list of trim options includes the SR5, SR5 Premium, TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, Venture Special Edition, Limited, Nightshade Edition, and TRD Pro. But this list of trims cannot lead you into an end-all decision. So to help you make a fully educated decision about which car to buy, today, we are going to unpack the specs and characteristics of both vehicles side by side, and give you an idea of which model will better fit your lifestyle.
Performance is incredibly important when determining the value of an SUV, particularly one that’ll be spending a good chunk of time off of the pavement. Off-road driving requires particular specs and gear to make the most out of the experience, and both the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and the Toyota 4Runner offer it in spades.
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is the four-door version of the Jeep Wrangler, meaning it’s a bit larger than the classic two-door variant. That said, the four-door variant also has the same starting engine as the two-door version. This engine is a 3.6-liter V6 that uses either an 8-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission to provide 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. A four-wheel drivetrain is standard across all Jeep Wrangler models, which is to be expected of an SUV of this caliber. Fuel economy in the Wrangler is pretty solid in four-door models, earning 17 MPG in the city and 23 MPG on the highway.
A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is also available in the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, with the ability to provide 270 hp and some serious low-end power. A step above this turbo-4 engine is a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V6 that tops out torque delivery at 442 lb-ft of torque. Riding in the Jeep Wrangler is a smooth and seamless experience whether on the road or off, thanks in large part to the robust suspension system and active sound cancellation found onboard. And if you’re looking to haul cargo long distances, this beast can pull up to 3,500 pounds in some configurations.
The Toyota 4Runner is another four-door off-road centric SUV that can come equipped with some pretty robust trail-ready gear. That said, all models of the Toyota 4Runner get a 4.0-liter V6 engine that has an output of 270 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque. A rather simple 5-speed automatic transmission comes standard in base models, as does a rear-wheel drivetrain. If you want to take advantage of Toyota’s four-wheel drive system, you’ll need to either need to pay extra on the SR5 trim or find it standard on any of the TRD configurations.
If you’re looking for a really off-road-ready Toyota 4Runner, you’ll need to upgrade to the TRD Off-Road or TRD Pro trims. Both of these models offer up a plethora of gear, including off-road tires, an off-road cruise control system, and a raised suspension system. Towing capacity in the Toyota 4Runner is a bit more robust, as all models can haul up to 5,000 pounds. However, expect some reduced fuel economy, as base models only earn 16 MPG in the city and 19 MPG on the highway, which is far less than the Jeep's offering.
Interiors matter when it comes to finding the best SUV. You’ll want an interior cabin space that offers enough room for both passengers and cargo, as well as a number of modern amenities. From the infotainment screen to the amount of trunk space, all of these characteristics play a huge role in the quality of an SUV and its overall utility.
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is pretty spacious when it comes to rugged off-road SUVs. If you’re hoping to store cargo, you’ll find up to 72.4 cu.ft. in the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. A maximum of five passengers can fit inside the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, and even those in the back seats get to enjoy 38.3 inches of total legroom. Base models of the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited get cloth upholstery and durable plastics, although you can upgrade your model to genuine sport leather should you so desire it.
In terms of infotainment, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited gets a 5.0-inch infotainment display with analog controls that allows for Bluetooth connectivity. This screen can be upgraded to a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen that gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which allows for easy connection with your smartphone. A USB charging port and keyless ignition are also standard onboard the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, providing modern convenience even in the entry-level model. Upgrade the Jeep Wrangler, and you’ll find a bigger 8.4-inch infotainment screen, as well as a 115-volt power outlet. At these top-tier levels, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited feels like a rather luxurious ride wrapped in an adventure-ready package.
The inside of the Toyota 4Runner is quite substantial, offering three-rows of seating in total. Although, third-row passengers only get 29.3 inches, and second-row passengers get a rather cramped 32.9 inches of legroom. That said, the 4Runner’s expansive cabin pays off when you start unpacking the cargo capacity, as the measurements top out at 90 cu.ft. in total. The standard cloth is durable, but if you want a more lush material for your seat, you can find both synthetic and real leather at higher trim levels.
In terms of infotainment, the Toyota 4Runner gets an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, which is quite sizable for a base model SUV. Higher trims add on a number of interior amenities, such as a power moonroof and heated front seats. And while these amenities are great, the Wrangler Unlimited is no match with its optional 8.4-inch screen and much greater legroom.
The expectations of safety features in an SUV extend far beyond just crash ratings and the very basic features. While seatbelts and airbags still pay a considerable role in the quality of safety in an SUV, there are now modern features that elevate on and off-road safety to the next level. These are features that are proactive in nature, and provide excellent peace of mind when out on the road or venturing to the trail.
In terms of safety technology, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited starts with the basics, adding a plethora of airbags and seatbelts. If you’re on the lookout for active safety and driver assistance technology, you can find it on every trim as an optional add-on. Some of these features that can be packed onto the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited include automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors.
The Toyota 4Runner also offers some of these active safety features. No matter which model you enter, you’ll find automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors. As a result, you can enjoy both greater protection and awareness when you take to the road. And overall, both the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and Toyota 4Runner have a lot of safety equipment, making them both very safe vehicles.