2012 Toyota 4Runner vs. Its Competition

2011 Toyota 4Runner 4WD 4-door V6 SR5 (GS) Angular Front Exterior View
Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Senior 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 4Runner
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2012 Ford Explorer2012 Ford Explorer
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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT82012 Jeep Grand Cherokee
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2011 Nissan Pathfinder 2WD 4-door V6 SV Angular Front Exterior View2012 Nissan Pathfinder
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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.
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$29,290
Gas Mileage   
17 MPG City / 23 MPG Hwy17 MPG City / 25 MPG Hwy12 MPG City / 23 MPG Hwy13 MPG City / 22 MPG Hwy
Engine   
Gas V6Gas V6Gas/Ethanol V6Gas V6
EPA Class   
Sport Utility Vehicle 2WDSport Utility Vehicle - 2WD2WD Sport Utility Vehicle2WD Sport Utility
Style Name   
RWD 4-Door V6 SR5 (GS)FWD 4-Door BaseRWD 4-Door Laredo2WD 4-Door V6 S
Drivetrain   
Rear Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveRear Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity   
5757
Passenger Doors   
N/AN/A4N/A
Body Style   
Sport Utility VehicleSport Utility VehicleSport Utility VehicleSport Utility
Transmission   
Automatic w/Manual ShiftAutomatic w/manual shiftAutomaticAutomatic
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2012 Ford Explorer2012 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee2012 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2012 Nissan Pathfinder