2012 Toyota 4Runner vs. Its Competition

2011 Toyota 4Runner 4WD 4-door V6 SR5 (GS) Angular Front Exterior View
Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor

The 4Runner is a great choice, especially in Trail trim, if you really need the off-road ability front and center, while all else follows in priority.

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 new Jeep Grand Cherokee might just have the 4Runner beat in many respects; the Jeep is more refined and comfortable on the road than the 4Runner, yet there's nothing quite like the completely off-road-focused Trail model in the Grand Cherokee lineup.

The 4Runner also maneuvers and rides a bit better than the Pathfinder, and it has a far better interior than the Nissan.

The Ford Explorer was all-new last year 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.

And it doesn't cost much more than a loaded 4Runner Trail.

But with a complicated power-folding third-row seat that takes up cargo space, and a side-opening hatch (the wrong side), there's really no reason to hit the Lexus showroom.

2011 Toyota 4Runner 4WD 4-door V6 SR5 (GS) Angular Front Exterior View2012 Toyota 4RunnerBrowse Used Listings2012 Ford Explorer2012 Ford ExplorerBrowse Used Listings2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT82012 Jeep Grand CherokeeBrowse Used Listings2011 Lexus GX 460 4WD 4-door Angular Front Exterior View2012 Lexus GX 460Browse Used Listings2011 Nissan Pathfinder 2WD 4-door V6 SV Angular Front Exterior View2012 Nissan PathfinderBrowse Used Listings
Quick Specs
8.2
The brawny 2012 Toyota 4Runner targets off-road purists who sometimes need to haul the family—and it's better on the highway than you might think.
8.6
It's a rifle shot at the heart of the crossover market: the 2012 Ford Explorer gives any SUV loyalist a reason to leap off their very high horse.
8.6
The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee only gets better this year with the addition of the SRT8's thundering HEMI V-8.
7.6
The 2012 GX 460 is a good pick for those who need the serious towing ability of a body-on-frame SUV, along with the refinement of a Lexus. But gas mileage is dismal, and it has some pretty critical packaging flaws that limit its usefulness.
6.2
The 2012 Nissan Pathfinder appeals to those who need tow or off-road, yet occasionally carry passengers; if it's the other way around, you can do better.
MSRP From    
$31,090$28,280$27,195$53,245$29,290
Gas Mileage    
17 MPG City / 23 MPG Hwy17 MPG City / 25 MPG Hwy12 MPG City / 23 MPG Hwy15 MPG City / 20 MPG Hwy13 MPG City / 22 MPG Hwy
Engine    
Gas V6Gas V6Gas/Ethanol V6Gas V8Gas V6
EPA Class    
Sport Utility Vehicle 2WDSport Utility Vehicle - 2WD2WD Sport Utility Vehicle4WD Sport Utility Vehicle2WD Sport Utility
Style Name    
RWD 4-Door V6 SR5 (GS)FWD 4-Door BaseRWD 4-Door Laredo Altitude4WD 4-Door2WD 4-Door V6 S
Drivetrain    
Rear Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive4-Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity    
57577
Passenger Doors    
N/AN/A4N/AN/A
Body Style    
Sport Utility VehicleSport Utility VehicleSport Utility Vehicle4-Door SUVSport Utility
Transmission    
Automatic w/Manual ShiftAutomatic w/manual shiftAutomaticAutomaticAutomatic
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2012 Ford Explorer2012 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee2012 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2012 Lexus GX 4602012 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2012 Nissan Pathfinder