2020 Jeep Wrangler vs. 2020 Toyota 4Runner: Compare SUVs

February 24, 2020

The 2020 Jeep Wrangler and 2020 Toyota 4Runner are titans of the trail, moguls in the muck, kings or queens of crud.

When it must go anywhere and carry up to five adults, there are few vehicles that can match their might.

We’d always suggest the Toyota 4Runner or Jeep Wrangler for their tough looks, hardware to match, and creature comforts, but only one rates higher on our scale.

MORE: Read our 2020 Toyota 4Runner and 2020 Jeep Wrangler full reviews

2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

The Toyota 4Runner matches its tough reputation with its looks. The 2020 4Runner is actually a relatively old vehicle underneath—it was last comprehensively updated in 2009, with some exterior changes since.

The 4Runner’s rugged looks are punctuated by a big maw, broad shoulders, and blocky touches. Different trims get different treatments: the 4Runner Limited is slathered in chrome, the 4Runner TRD versions get macho blacked-out exterior treatments.

Under the hood of the 4Runner is an aged but reliable 4.0-liter V-6 that makes 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. A neolithic 5-speed automatic transmission is the only choice to drive the rear or all four wheels. Just about everything in the 4Runner prioritizes brute-force off-roading, down to the Fox shocks and lifted suspension on TRD Pro models that can go just about anywhere.

2020 Jeep Wrangler Sahara EcoDiesel

2020 Jeep Wrangler Sahara EcoDiesel

2020 Jeep Wrangler

2020 Jeep Wrangler

2020 Jeep Wrangler

2020 Jeep Wrangler

2020 Jeep Wrangler

2020 Jeep Wrangler

By contrast, the Wrangler is much newer—despite its retro looks. The Wrangler was comprehensively updated in 2019 with a slew of creature comforts and safety systems.

The boxy Jeep Wrangler won’t be confused with anything else on the roads, but the new Jeep is a little more user-friendly than older models. The doors and roof all still come off with just a handful of tools and about an hour of garage time. The new update added much-needed safety systems and interior updates, but the looks largely haven’t changed.

Under the hoods of most Wranglers will be a 3.6-liter V-6 that makes 285 hp. A plucky turbo-4 is available (and it’s good) or a 3.0-liter turbodiesel is the off-roading and mileage champ (but it’s $4,000 more and that’s not likely to be recouped in fuel savings anytime soon). The 3.6-liter V-6 can be paired to a 6-speed manual transmission for hardcore fans otherwise it’s an 8-speed automatic with every other engine. The Wrangler’s roster of powertrains is more refined and more advanced.

2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

Four adults fit into the Wrangler and 4Runner, although leg room isn’t exceptional in either. The 4Runner is available with an optional third row, but we’d skip it; the Wrangler’s optional rear tow hooks make for great skeeching, but what you do in your own time is none of our business. (No really, don’t sled behind cars please.)

The 4Runner is better at holding cargo; with the rear seats up it holds more than 46 cubic feet compared to the Wrangler’s 31 cubic feet.

It’s too early for full crash-test data for the new Wrangler but early results aren’t impressive, including a rare three-star score for rollover crash safety. The 4Runner doesn’t excel either. Its structure is relatively old, but Toyota does make standard automatic emergency braking that the Jeep skips on many trims.

2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon EcoDiesel

2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon EcoDiesel

Not much on either SUV is cheap, either. Boxy off-roaders like the 4Runner and Wrangler are hot—they’re ATMs for dealers and automakers. It’s not out of line for top trims of the Wrangler to cost more than $60,000; a 4Runner TRD Pro commands more than $50,000, too. There’s hardly a value to be found in either truck, but our features score favors the 4Runner for better standard gear on lower, less-expensive trims.

In the end, the Wrangler wins out narrowly: 5.4 to 5.0. It’s the best retro, boxy off-roader we didn’t know we needed.

And now we need to get lost.

Summary

5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Toyota 4Runner is a solid choice for weekend warriors made better this year thanks to more safety gear, but pavement-pounders should look elsewhere.
5.4
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler is an American SUV icon and off-road wonder, but not without compromise.

Styling

6.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Toyota 4Runner has old-school styling that has aged well.
Read More
8.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler is sharper and more cohesive to look at than ever, both inside and out.
Read More

Performance

5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Toyota 4Runner won’t make you yearn for a curvy road, but it can be reasonably polished in certain configurations.
Read More
5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler remains a seriously capable off-roader and is now at least tolerable on the road.
Read More

Comfort & Quality

5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Toyota 4Runner is spacious, but not all that comfortable inside.
Read More
5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler is compromised in its comfort and quality, but better than in years past.
Read More

Safety

4.0
Expert Rating
Newly standard active safety tech addresses a major deficit for the 2020 Toyota 4Runner.
Read More
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler lacks full crash test scores.
Read More

Features

7.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Toyota 4Runner is expensive, but few rivals can match its off-road gear.
Read More
5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler comes in a variety of flavors and capability, all of which are more expensive than they should be.
Read More

Fuel Economy

3.0
Expert Rating
You didn’t expect a boxy SUV like the 2020 Toyota 4Runner to be thrifty, did you?
Read More
4.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler manages only mediocre fuel economy.
Read More

MSRP

from $36,120
from $28,295

Invoice

from $33,230
from $27,796

Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway

17
20

Engine

Regular Unleaded V-6, 4.0 L
Regular Unleaded V-6, 3.6 L

Drivetrain

Rear Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
Four Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
Compare Free Dealer Price Quote
With competitive price quotes from multiple dealers, you will be prepared when you meet your local car dealer. Please tell us how to contact you so that dealers can compete for your business!
Search Dealers by ZIP Code
Update ZIP Code
2020 Toyota 4Runner
2020 Jeep Wrangler
Looking for dealers in your area...
Powered By
*As configured. Excludes taxes, title, license and other customary fees, such as dealer documentation fees, tire and battery disposal fees and, where applicable, finance charges. By clicking on “Get Your Price Quote Now”, you agree to our Terms of Use (including the Supplemental Terms) and Privacy Policy. You further consent to being contacted at the number you provided by CarsDirect and certain participating automotive dealerships, which may include autodials, text messages, and/or pre-recorded calls; this consent is not a condition of purchase or service. Message and data rates may apply.
2020
The Car Connection
See the winners »
2020
The Car Connection
 
Ratings and Reviews
Rate and review your car for The Car Connection
Review your car
Related Head to Head
The Car Connection Daily Headlines
I agree to receive emails from The Car Connection. I understand that I can unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy.
Thank you! Please check your email for confirmation.