For those who really need the off-road ability, the 4Runner is a great choice, especially in Trail trim.
With the available KDSS system, the 4Runner won’t rattle you as much as a Pathfinder or Grand Cherokee, while still offering as much ability for most types of off-roading.
The 4Runner also maneuvers and rides a bit better than the Pathfinder, while compared to the Grand Cherokee it gets better fuel economy than the Jeep does in V-6 or V-8 form.
The Ford Explorer is all-new for 2011 and is now built on more carlike underpinnings; it might provide adequate off-road capability for those who occasionally take to the trail, and with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine on the way, should be a much more fuel-efficient choice.
Yet another alternative is the 4Runner's cousin, the Lexus GX 460.
While sharing the same underpinnings, the GX 460 is a luxury SUV of the sort that was popular earlier last decade, with running boards and a V-8 engine.
But with a side-opening hatch (the wrong side) and a complicated power-folding third row that sacrifices, the GX 460 is the inferior of the two in many respects.
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|2011 Toyota 4RunnerBrowse Used Listings||2011 Ford ExplorerBrowse Used Listings||2011 Jeep Grand CherokeeBrowse Used Listings||2011 Lexus GX 460Browse Used Listings||2011 Nissan PathfinderBrowse Used Listings|
|17 MPG City / 23 MPG Hwy||17 MPG City / 25 MPG Hwy||16 MPG City / 23 MPG Hwy||15 MPG City / 20 MPG Hwy||13 MPG City / 22 MPG Hwy|
|Gas V6||Gas V6||Gas/Ethanol V6||Gas V8||Gas V6|
|Sport Utility Vehicle||Sport Utility Vehicle - 2WD||2WD Sport Utility Vehicle||4WD Sport Utility Vehicle||2WD Sport Utility|
|RWD 4-Door V6 SR5 (GS)||FWD 4-Door Base||RWD 4-Door Laredo||4WD 4-Door||2WD 4-Door V6 S|
|Rear Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive||4-Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive|
|4 Door SR5||4 Door||Sport Utility Vehicle||4-Door SUV||Sport Utility|
|Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Automatic||Automatic||Automatic|