2013 Toyota 4Runner vs. Its Competition

2013 Toyota 4Runner
Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor

If you need true off-road ability, and you need it more than just once or twice a year, the Toyota 4Runner is an excellent 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 new Jeep Grand Cherokee is more refined and comfortable on the road than the 4Runner, yet there's nothing quite like the completely off-road-focused Trail model.

An all-new Pathfinder, following more of a crossover design, is due later this year as a 2013 model; expect it to keep some off-road ability but place a greater focus on family comfort and usefulness.

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.

The 4Runner's cousin, the Lexus GX 460, is another alternative; 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.

The GX doesn't cost much more than the 4Runner Trail, but with its complicated power-folding third-row seat and side-opening hatch, we'd rather have the Toyota.

And the most dedicated off-road weekend-warrior types should also consider the slightly more compact Toyota FJ Cruiser, which uses some of the same off-road hardware.

2013 Toyota 4Runner2013 Toyota 4RunnerBrowse Used Listings2013 Ford Explorer Sport2013 Ford ExplorerBrowse Used Listings2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT82013 Jeep Grand CherokeeBrowse Used Listings2013 Lexus GX 4602013 Lexus GX 460Browse Used Listings2013 Nissan Pathfinder  -  First Drive  -  10/20122013 Nissan PathfinderBrowse Used Listings2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser2013 Toyota FJ CruiserBrowse Used Listings
Quick Specs
The 2013 Toyota 4Runner is just as brawny as it looks off-road, yet much better than you'd probably suspect on the highway.
The Ford Explorer trades some trail-riding and towing for on-road driving lessons, and comes out fluent.
The 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee blurs the SUV-crossover line expertly; better transmissions are at the top of the wish list.
The 2013 Lexus GX 460 plays to a niche audience, as a luxury SUV for those who need serious towing ability and body-on-frame ruggedness combined with Lexus refinement; but there are too many factors limiting its appeal for normal family use.
The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder is in a new place that's just right for families who want a big, comfortable, sensible wagon, but it's given up some of its path-finding heritage to get there.
The Toyota FJ Cruiser is the real deal, pairing authentic trail toughness with modern conveniences; but families and commuters attracted mainly to its brawny, very stylish look should think twice.
MSRP From     
Gas Mileage     
17 MPG City / 22 MPG Hwy16 MPG City / 24 MPG Hwy12 MPG City / 23 MPG Hwy15 MPG City / 20 MPG Hwy19 MPG City / 26 MPG Hwy15 MPG City / 20 MPG Hwy
Gas V6Gas V6Gas/Ethanol V6Gas V8Gas V6Gas V6
EPA Class     
Sport Utility Vehicle 2WDSport Utility Vehicle - 2WD2WD Sport Utility Vehicle4WD Sport Utility Vehicle2WD Sport UtilitySport Utility Vehicle
Style Name     
RWD 4-Door V6 SR5 (GS)FWD 4-Door BaseRWD 4-Door Laredo4WD 4-Door2WD 4-Door SRWD 4-Door Automatic (GS)
Rear Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive4-Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
Passenger Doors     
Body Style     
Sport Utility VehicleSport Utility VehicleSport UtilitySport Utility VehicleSport UtilitySport Utility
Automatic w/Manual ShiftAutomatic w/manual shiftAutomaticAutomaticContinuously Variable RatioAutomatic
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2013 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2013 Ford Explorer2013 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee2013 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2013 Lexus GX 4602013 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2013 Nissan Pathfinder2013 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser