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|23||Fuel Economy (mpg)||17|
There's something special about a vehicle that can handle all of the basic needs of the average driver but can also take you off-road and into the wild. Comparing the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee WL vs 2022 Toyota 4Runner, you will find two vehicles that can certainly accomplish both tasks with relative ease. Both brands have built their individual legacies on unique events in world history that allowed them to persevere under enormous pressure. For Jeep, it was the Second World War and the importance the vehicle served in turning the tide of victory. For Toyota, it was a worldwide energy crisis where the needs of consumers shifted from powerful and overbearing engines to fuel-efficient vehicles that were smaller in size but produced bigger savings at the pump. While both brands took slightly different roads on their path to success, their contributions have been numerous, and their accolades are almost too many to mention. Today, we'll be looking at the Grand Cherokee WL and 4Runner and deciding which one is the better do-it-all SUV.
Any vehicle that possesses the ability to handle the basic commute and travel off the pavement needs a formidable powertrain to navigate between these two surfaces. So, as many have asked throughout the generations of purchasing an automobile, "what's under the hood?" When it comes to Toyota's midsize SUV, there's a significant lack of variety. The powertrain options are limited to a single engine: a 4.0L V-6 that generates an acceptable 270 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque. Many industry critics have pointed out the sluggish nature of the vehicle, with the obsolescent five-speed automatic transmission not helping in this department.
Car & Driver Magazine noted that it took the 4Runner 7.7 seconds to travel from 0-60 mph. While these specifications already place the Toyota at a disadvantage, the real low point of the vehicle is its less than admirable fuel consumption. In an age where the price of fuel has reached record highs, Toyota, the manufacturer that once was a savior during an energy crisis, hasn't been able to replicate its success. The 2022 4Runner is rated for just 17 MPG combined, attaining 16 MPG while driving in the city and 19 MPG while on the highway. Needless to say, you won't be going too far without several trips to the pump.
If the appeal of the 4Runner is limited by lack of variety and a gas-hungry powertrain, then Jeep has certainly outmaneuvered its competition in this instance. The Jeep Grand Cherokee WL is equipped with three distinctive powertrains, each one offering its unique advantages. Standard issue for Jeep's revered SUV is a 3.6L V6 that outshines Toyota's older engine in terms of fuel consumption. With 22 MPG combined, the 2022 Grand Cherokee WL can achieve 19 MPG while in the city (the same amount the 4Runner gets while driving on the highway) and 26 MPG on the highway. The V6 also outperforms the 4Runner with its 293 hp and 8-speed automatic transmission.
Not limiting itself to only one powertrain, the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee WL offers more options for those hungry for horsepower and those looking to maximize their savings when it comes to fill-ups. For those who want to fulfill their dreams of high octane performance, a 5.7L HEMI V8 is available, which generates an impressive 360 hp along with 390 lb-ft of torque. The HEMI also boosts towing up to a best-in-class 7,200 lbs––although even the 6,200 lb tow rating of the base V6 beats the mere 5,000 lbs that the 4Runner can haul.
The most remarkable addition to the Grand Cherokee WL is its new 4xe plug-in hybrid powertrain. In an age where more and more manufacturers are looking to go green to benefit the environment and ease the burden of gas prices for consumers, the Grand Cherokee is the newest recipient of this cost-effective technology. This hybrid powertrain generates 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque while getting 22 MPG combined. However, it can also travel on battery power for 26 miles, getting 56 MPGe in the process. With this impressive powertrain, you can commute around Santa Ana and Irving on battery power during the week and then switch to maximum hybrid power when it's time to explore the Angeles National Forest on the weekend.
There's much more to any vehicle than what's underneath the hood. Today's vehicles are bastions of technology and innovation that display the continuous development within the industry. With each model year, there are a variety of new features that keep us safe while we're on the road and make the drive a lot less stressful. Both Toyota and Jeep have equipped their respective vehicles with a variety of implements that accomplish both of these tasks.
With the 4Runner's less-than-favorable powertrain, Toyota has its work cut out for it in terms of offering tech-savvy options. Like most models that are on the road today, the technology along with the vehicle's interior are all anchored by the infotainment screen. The one found on the 2022 4Runner measures out to an admirable 8 inches. Not too shabby. Along with the screen size, the system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and there is a Wi-Fi hotspot available via subscription. For those who wish to pay a little bit extra, a 15-speaker stereo system and navigation can be added.
Once again, the Jeep Grand Cherokee WL outshines its competitor by including a slightly larger 8.4-inch screen standard with an even larger 10.1-inch screen available as an option. There is even a second screen available just for the front-seat passenger to use! While also offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Jeep also includes SiriusXM. Stereo options are also much more extravagant in the Grand Cherokee. The standard offering is a six-speaker setup, with a nine-speaker premium sound system available. But for those who want the volume to be taken to its maximum potential, a premium 19-speaker McIntosh system will keep you awake on the long commutes and quite possibly your neighbors as well.
Safety and driving assistance features are plentiful in both offerings from Toyota and Jeep, with both making adaptive cruise control, automated braking, and lane keep assist all standard across every trim. The concerning factor that's almost too impossible to ignore is the NHTSA safety rating on the 4Runner, which only scored four stars out of five. In an age where consumers expect five stars to be the standard for any vehicle that's built for family use, this might be a red flag with some.
We've come a long way from the days where SUVs lacked any discernible curves and were composed of designs that had a lot of straight lines and shapes that were more akin to a box. Both Toyota and Jeep have done a wonderful job at adapting to the changes in trends and have made each vehicle stand out when it comes to its unique aesthetics and individual style.
Simply put, the Toyota 4Runner looks like an SUV. But while it's certainly acquired a few curves over the years to make it slightly more appealing to the eye, it lacks the individuality that competing manufacturers currently offer. Inside, the 4Runner is just what you might expect after looking at the exterior. Some have referred to the interior design as "unrefined," and that's putting it lightly. If it were a breakfast cereal, it would be one without taste or nutritional value. While this might appeal to the consumer who has an eye for practicality, even for those who enjoy the rugged life and are looking for an off-road vehicle, there are more enticing and exciting options that are specifically made for getting off the beaten path.
Perhaps the most stylish alternative is the Grand Cherokee WL. The redesigned model finds a way to retain a shape that's reminiscent of some of the earlier incarnations while knowing how to add new curves in the right places for an upgraded look that's appealing and enticing. If the exterior of the Jeep turns your head, then the interior will certainly take your breath away. Nowhere else is the redesign more apparent and appealing than in the Grand Cherokee's stylish interior. Wood trim combined with roomy and comfortable seating is inviting, and the placement of the infotainment screen and center console create an artistic contrast that perfectly blends the old-style rugged outdoorsman and modern aristocrat together in an exquisite package.