4Runner vs Jeep Wrangler vs Jeep Cherokee

Our buddies over at Trail4Runner.com decided we needed some newer generation Toyota love on the website. We know a little bit about the ins and outs of the 5th Gen 4Runners, the JK Wranglers, and the Cherokees, but these guys really know what a 5th Gen 4Runner is all about. If you were ever curious about what the differences are between all of these rigs, check out the article below! And make sure to stop by Trail4Runner.com and check out their great photography and piles upon piles of 4Runner mods!

4Runner vs Jeep Wrangler vs Jeep Cherokee – Specs And What They Mean For You!

Trail4Runner.com (Trail4r.com) - 4Runner Blog

5th Gen 4Runner, Jeep JK, Jeep Cherokee (Specs – Comparison on Specs only. This is not a huge comparison of off-road, on-road, interior and exterior. This is based on model specs)

4Runner Vs. Jeeps, that is the age-old question in the off-road community.

This guide will help you determine what 4×4 vehicle is the best option for you. It will help you choose between getting something that is more of a daily driver to a true offroading beast. As you can imagine, we are incredibly partial to the 4Runner over here. We will try to remain as unbiased as possible in providing a spec-based overview of the 5th Gen 4Runner Vs. Jeep JK Wrangler Vs. the Jeep Cherokee. This is an overview on the specs alone and not an in-depth/ in-person review of these vehicles.

5th Gen 4Runner 2018

5th Gen 4Runner

  • Starting at $34,410

The 5th gen 4Runner is the newest generation of the classic Toyota 4Runner. While looking like a high-end vehicle, the 5th gen 4Runner can be an amazing off road and overlanding 4×4 vehicle. The 5th gen 4Runner come’s in 6 different models. There’s the base model aka the SR5 then there’s also the SR5 Premium, TRD Offroad, TRD Offroad Premium, Limited, and TRD Pro.

Model What’s included and the Difference’s

SR5

  •  17-in. 6-spoke alloy wheels
  •  Leather-trimmed steering wheel
  • Towing capacity of up to 5000 lbs.

SR5 Premium

  • SofTex®-trimmed seats
  • Entune™ Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirrors
  • Plus all other SR5 base Options

TRD Offroad

  •  Ground-clearing approach angle of 33° and departure angle of 26°
  • Available Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS)
  • Locking rear differential, Multi-terrain Select and Crawl Control (CRAWL)

TRD Offroad Premium

  • TRD lettering on front headrests
  • SofTex®-trimmed seats
  • Entune™ Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite
  • Plus all other TRD Offroad base model options

TRD Pro

  •  TRD-stamped aluminum front skid plate
  • 17-in. matte-black TRD alloy wheels
  •  Bilstein® shocks w/TRD-tuned springs
  •  All other TRD options

Limited

  •  20-in. split 6-spoke alloy wheels
  • Front and rear parking assist sonar
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control

Driveline options and gearing

  •  4.0L V6
  • 5 Speed automatic transmission
  • 3.72 differential gearing

Paint option’s

  • Nautical Blue Metallic
  • Super White
  • Classic Silver Metallic
  • Midnight Black Metallic
  • Barcelona Red Metalic

Top Offroad/Overlanding Modifications

Interior Space Measurements/Storage

  • Cargo Space 46.3 to 47.2 ft³, 88.8 to 89.7 ft³ with seat area
  • Headroom 39.3
  • Legroom 41.7
  • Shoulder room 57.8
  • Hip room 56.5

The 5th gen 4Runner comes with plenty of space for those of us who are tall. The 5th gen 4Runner has many options available be it the interior or exterior and that’s just from the factory!! Being a 4Runner makes it’s aftermarket parts selection and online community massive due to it being a classic 4×4 Offroading vehicle.

The 5th gen 4Runner is the vehicle for you if you are looking for something that has plenty of storage and a lot of comforts while handling plenty of terrains. Like the Jeep Cherokee, the 4Runner has Independent Front Steering so it has a smooth ride overall unlike the Jeep JK that has a solid axle front end.

For the 5th gen 4Runner if you are looking for something stylish but cheaper that can be heavily upgraded to go offroading in, the SR5 and SR5 premium is for you. If you’re going for stylish and more of a daily driver you would want to choose between the SR5 Premium and Limited depending on your budget.

Now for something you can go offroading in right out of the gate you would want either the TRD Offroad/Offroad Premium or TRD PRO. All three TRD editions are built to handle a good bit of terrain straight out of the gate. They are the perfect choice if you want something you can add tire’s and body armor to and be set. With the CRAWL control and the A-TRAC systems, you will definitely be able to go places.

 

Jeep JK Wrangler

  • Starting at $27,895

The Jeep JK aka the Wrangler along with the Toyota 4Runner is one of the most common and well known 4×4 Vehicles in the world. Unlike the 4Runner, the Jeep JK does not necessarily look like a high-end vehicle but it does look like an Off Road Vehicle.

It looks that way because it is one, and it’s amazing at its job. The Jeep JK come’s in 13 different models: the Sports Edition, which is the base model then there’s the Sport S, Willys Wheeler, Big Bear, Freedom Edition, Willys Wheeler W, Sahara, Rubicon, Smoky Mountain, Chief, Winter, Rubicon Hard Rock, and finally the Rubicon Recon.

Models – What’s Included and Differences

Sport

  • 3.6L Pentastar® V6 Engine with 285 Horsepower and 260 Pound-Feet of Torque
  • 16-Inch Styled Steel Wheels
  • Radio 130 with AM/FM Radio, CD Player, MP3 Player Compatibility and Audio Input Jack
  • Trail Rated® Capability with Tow Hooks and Skid Plates
  • Command-Trac® 4×4 System
  • Dana Front and Rear Axles
  • Washable Interior with Drain Plugs

Sport S

  • 17-Inch Sparkle Silver Aluminum Wheels
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Convenience Group
  • Chrome and Leather-Wrapped Shift Knob and Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel
  • Deep Tint Windows
  • Radio 130 with AM/FM Radio, CD Player, MP3 Player Compatibility and Audio Input Jack

Willys Wheeler

  • 17-Inch High Gloss Black Wheels with 32-Inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A® Tires
  • Gloss Black Grille and Bumper Accents
  • Standard 3.73 Axle Ratio with Trac-Lok® Limited Slip Differential
  • Rock Rails and Jeep® Trail Rated® Kit
  • Satin Black Willys Hood Decals and 4 WHEEL DRIVE Swing Gate Decal
  • Connectivity Group
  • All-Weather Slush Mats and Sports Bar Grab Handles

Willys Wheeler W

  • 17-Inch High Gloss Black Wheels with 32-Inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A® Tires
  • Gloss Black Grille and Bumper Accents
  • Standard 3.73 Axle Ratio with Trac-Lok® Limited Slip Differential
  • Rock Rails and Jeep® Trail Rated® Kit
  • Satin Black Willys Hood Decals and 4 WHEEL DRIVE Swing Gate Decal
  • Power Convenience Group and Connectivity Group

Big Bear

  •  17-Inch Five-Spoke Mid-Gloss Black Aluminum Wheels with BFGoodrich KO2™ All-Terrain Tires
  •  Topographical Map and WRANGLER Hood Decals
  •  Rock Rails and Jeep® Trail Rated® Kit
  •  115-Volt Auxiliary Power Outlet, Power Convenience Group and Connectivity Group
  •  Premium Sunrider® Soft Top
  •  Black Taillamp Guards and Fuel Filler Door
  •  All-Weather Slush Mats and Sports Bar Grab Handles

Freedom Edition

  •  18-Inch Mid-Gloss Granite Crystal Aluminum Wheels
  •  Black Leather-Trimmed Seats with Embossed Oscar Mike Logo
  •  Mid-Gloss Granite Crystal Grille and Bumper Accents
  •  115-Volt Auxiliary Power Outlet, Power Convenience Group and Connectivity Group
  •  Premium Sunrider® Soft Top and Body-Color Fender Flares
  •  Freedom Edition Decals and Badges
  •  Side Steps, Black Taillamp Guards, and Black Fuel Filler Door

Sahara

  • 18-Inch Polished Aluminum Wheels with Granite Crystal Painted Pockets
  • Side Steps and Body-Color Fender Flares
  • Embroidered Cloth and Available Embroidered Leather-Trimmed Seats
  • LED Headlamps and Fog Lamps
  •  Body-Color Grille with High-Gloss Silver Metallic Grille Accents
  •  Available Radio 430N with Navigation
  •  Command-Trac® 4×4 System

Rubicon

  •  17-Inch Aluminum Wheels with 32-Inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A® Tires
  •  Electronic Locking Front and Rear Dana 44 Axles
  •  Rock-Trac® 4×4 System with 4:1 Low Range Ratio
  •  Embroidered Cloth and Available Embroidered Leather-Trimmed Seats
  •  Electronic Front Sway Bar Disconnect
  •  LED Headlamps and Fog Lamps
  •  Rock Rails

Smoky Mountain

  •  18-Inch High-Gloss Black Aluminum Wheels with Polished Edges
  •  Heated Black Leather-Trimmed Front Seats
  •  Body Color Hardtop
  •  Power Bulge Hood
  •  Smoky Mountain Hood Decals
  •  High Gloss Black Exterior Accents
  •  Black Taillamp Guards and Fuel Filler Door

Chief

  •  17-Inch Fine Silver Metallic Wheels with 32-Inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A® Tires
  •  Heated Black Leather-Trimmed Front Seats
  •  White Painted Hardtop
  •  Power Dome Vented Hood
  •  Premium Audio System with All-Weather Subwoofer
  •  CHIEF Badging and Decals
  •  Fine Silver Metallic Exterior Accents

Winter

  •  17-Inch Mid-Gloss Black Aluminum Wheels with BFGoodrich KO2™ Tires
  •  Heated Black Leather-Trimmed Front Seats
  •  Steel Off-Road Bumpers and Premium Off-Road Rock Rails
  •  Premium All-Weather Alpine® Audio System
  •  Winter Edition Decals
  •  Remote Start
  •  Piano Black Interior Accents

Rubicon Hard Rock

  •  17-Inch Polished Face and Semi-Gloss Black Wheels with 32-Inch BF Goodrich KM Mud-Terrain T/A® Tires
  •  Heated Black Leather-Trimmed Front Seats
  •  Winch-Capable Steel Front Bumper with Removable End Caps
  •  Premium Off-Road Rock Rails
  •  Power Dome Vented Hood
  •  Premium Audio System with All-Weather Subwoofer
  •  Premium Sunrider® Soft Top

Rubicon Recon

  •  17-Inch Granite Crystal Wheels with 32-Inch BF Goodrich KM Mud-Terrain T/A® Tires
  •  Heated Black Leather-Trimmed Front Seats with Red Seat Belts
  •  Winch Capable Steel Front Bumper and Steel Rear Bumper
  •  Military-Inspired Dana® 44 Front Axle and Cast Differential Covers
  •  Premium Off-Road Rock Rails with Tread Plates
  •  Power Dome Vented Hood and Premium Sunrider® Soft Top
  •  Connectivity Group, Automatic Temperature Control, and Remote Start

Driveline options and gearing

  •  3.6L V6
  •  6 Speed Manual Transmission Factory
  •  5 Speed Automatic Available
  •  Gear ratios 3.21,3.73, 4.10

Paint option’s

  •  Black
  •  Bright White
  •  Rhino “grayish”
  •  Granite Crystal Metallic
  •  Billet Silver Metallic
  •  Chief Clear Coat
  •  Xtreme Purple Pearl
  •  Firecracker Red
  •  Hypergreen
  •  Chief ” Blue”
  •  Gobi ” A brownish color”

Top Offroad/Overlanding Modifications

The Jeep JK Wrangler modifications list is identical to the Toyota 4Runner’s. While the JK Wrangler has more upgrade options from the factory than the 4Runner, there are far more options in the aftermarket scene. The JK Wrangler has perhaps the most aftermarket support of any vehicle in history. If you think it can be done, then it probably has been done, and is readily available for your JK.

Interior Space Measurements/Storage

  •  Cargo Space 31.7 ft³, 72.4 ft³ with seat area
  •  HeadRoom 41.3
  •  Leg Room 41
  •  Shoulder Room 55.8
  •  Hip Room 55.6

Like the 5th Gen 4Runner, the Jeep JK Wrangler comes with plenty of head space for those of us who are tall. Unlike the 4Runner you can actually remove the top, which has been a useful feature to those who are taller than average.

The Jeep JK is the 4×4 for you if you’re wanting a pure off-road vehicle that you can daily in the summer. Unlike the 4Runner the Jeeps removable doors and top makes it colder in the winter which might be a downer for those who want to daily it year round. The other downer to making it a daily driver is that it has a solid front axle. Thus, it does not provide as much of a smooth ride as the Cherokee and 4Runner’s independent front suspension (IFS).

But, for offroading and a summer daily driver, it is perfect. You can take the base model out offroading straight off the lot and due to it sticking to its roots and not being turned into a luxury type vehicle, you have fewer body panels and undercarriage parts to worry about getting destroyed.

The Jeep JK has plenty of models so the choice of what model you choose is based on what you want. You may want all leather interior and a nice stereo system if you’re going for a luxury type 4×4. Or you may go simplistic and get base interior with AC power outlets which are both great for true offroading. But at the end of the day even the base model JK is highly capable offroad with a good set of all-terrain tires.

And, if you really want to get off the beaten path, you can always go for the Rubicon packages, which come with the lockers, lower geared transfer case, and beefier axles. And, with a smaller lift, and some high clearance fenders, you can stuff 35″ tires or even 37″ tires under the JK Wrangler fairly easily.

Jeep Cherokee 2018

  • Starting at $24,395

The Jeep Cherokee, while on this list, is not the best choice out of the three options for offroading without some work/modifications. But it is still capable stock compared to a good bit of 4×4 vehicles. The advantage of buying a base model Cherokee is the price, functionality, and road manners.

Previously mentioned, we talked about it having independent front suspension (IFS) like the Toyota 4Runner. So it has a smooth ride unlike the Wrangler. It stays warm on the inside year round so it can be a good daily, and finally for the price difference between it and the base Wrangler, you have some upgrade money.

The Jeep Cherokee provides a good looking vehicle that can be purchased at a low cost, upgraded, and still be a daily. If you don’t want the basic model, aka the Lattitude, don’t worry there are 5 other versions as well. There is the Lattitude with Tech Connection Package, Lattitude Plus, Limited, Trailhawk, and finally the Overland Edition.

Model – What’s included and the Differences

Lattitude
  •  2.4L Tigershark® MultiAir® 2 Engine and Nine-Speed Automatic Transmission (3.2L Pentastar® V6 Engine Available)
  •  Uconnect® 3 with 5-Inch Touchscreen with AM/FM Radio, Bluetooth® Streaming Audio and Voice Command
  •  17-Inch Painted Aluminum Wheels
  •  ParkView® Rear Back-Up Camera
  •  Premium Cloth Seats
  •  Roof Rails
  •  High-Intensity Discharge Headlamps

Lattitude with Tech Connection Package

  •  Alexa Skills Enabled with Free Echo Dot and Three-Month Trial to Audible and Amazon Music
  •  Upgraded Exterior with Gloss Black Finishes and Accents
  •  18-Inch Silver Painted Aluminum Wheels
  •  Alpine® Premium Audio System
  •  Uconnect® 3C NAV with 8.4-Inch Touchscreen, Navigation and Voice Command
  •  4G Connectivity
  •  ParkView® Rear Back up Up Camera

Lattitude Plus

  •  2.4L Tigershark® MultiAir® 2 Engine and Nine-Speed Automatic Transmission (3.2L Pentastar® V6 Engine Available)
  •  Uconnect® 3C with 8.4-Inch Touchscreen with Uconnect® Access
  •  Bluetooth® Streaming Audio, Voice Command, and SiriusXM® Satellite Radio
  •  (Navigation Available)
  •  17-Inch Aluminum Wheels with Distinctive Finish
  •  Keyless Enter ‘n Go™ with Start/Stop Button
  •  Leather and Cloth Seating and a Leather-Trimmed Steering Wheel with Audio Controls
  •  Eight-Way Power Driver Seat with Four-Way Power Lumbar Adjustment
  •  Fold-Flat Front Passenger Seat

Limited

  •  2.4L Tigershark® MultiAir® 2 Engine and Nine-Speed Automatic Transmission (3.2L Pentastar® V6 Engine Available)
  •  Uconnect® 3C with 8.4-Inch Touchscreen with Bluetooth® Streaming Audio, Voice Command and SiriusXM® Satellite Radio
  • (Navigation Available) and a 7-Inch Driver Information Digital Cluster Display
  •  18-Inch Aluminum Wheels with All-Season Tires
  •  Heated Leather-Trimmed Seats and Heated Steering Wheel
  •  Blind Spot Monitoring
  •  Rear Cross Path Detection and ParkSense® Rear Park Assist
  •  Remote Vehicle Start and Security System
  •  Power Liftgate

Trailhawk

  •  2.4L Tigershark® MultiAir® 2 Engine and Nine-Speed Automatic Transmission (3.2L Pentastar® V6 Engine
  • Available)
  •  Uconnect® 3C with 8.4-Inch Touchscreen with Bluetooth® Streaming Audio, Voice Command and SiriusXM® Satellite Radio
  •  (Navigation Available) and a 7-Inch Driver Information Digital Cluster Display
  • 17-Inch Polished and Painted Off-Road Aluminum Wheels with All-Terrain Tires
  •  Trail Rated® Capability with Jeep® Active Drive Lock 4×4 System Includes Selec-Terrain® with Rock Mode, 1-Inch Suspension Lift and Skid Plates
  •  Accent-Colored Tow Hooks, Grille, Matte Black Hood Decal, Off-Road Fascia and Roof Rails
  •  Blind Spot Monitoring
  •  Rear Cross Path Detection and ParkSense® Rear Park Assist
  •  Exclusive Trailhawk® Seats with Rivet Cloth Inserts, Nappa Leather-Trimmed Bolsters and Ruby Red Accent Stitching

Overland edition

  •  2.4L Tigershark® MultiAir® 2 Engine and Nine-Speed Automatic Transmission (3.2L Pentastar® V6 Engine Available)
  •  Uconnect® 3C NAV with 8.4-Inch Touchscreen with Navigation, Bluetooth® Streaming Audio, Voice Command and SiriusXM® Satellite Radio
  •  18-Inch Polished Aluminum Wheels, Body-Color Fascia and Cladding
  •  Premium Leather-Wrapped Instrument Panel and Wood Accent Steering Wheel
  •  Heated and Ventilated Nappa Leather-Trimmed Front Seats with Eight-Way Power Driver Seat and Four-Way Power Lumbar Adjustment
  •  Blind Spot Monitoring
  • Rear Cross Path Detection and ParkSense® Rear Park Assist
  • Premium Alpine® Nine-Speaker Audio System

Driveline options and gearing

  •  2.4L I4
  •  3.2L V6
  •  9 Speed Automatic Transmission
  •  Gear Ratio 3.734

Paint option’s

  • Diamond Black Crystal Pearl
  •  Granite Crystal Metallic
  •  Bright White
  •  Velvet Red Pearl
  •  Light Brownstone Pearl
  •  Pearl White Pearl
  •  Rhino
  •  Billet Silver Metallic
  •  Patriot Pearl
  •  Hydro Pearl
  •  Firecracker Red
  •  Olive Green Pearl

Top Offroad/Overlanding Modifications

 

Interior Space Measurements/Storage

  •  Cargo Space 24.6 ft³, 54.9 to 58.9 ft³ with seat area
  • HeadRoom 39.4
  •  Leg Room 41.1
  •  Shoulder Room 57.6
  •  Hip Room 53.8

Unlike the 5th Gen 4Runner and the Jeep JK, the Cherokee does not have a lot of aftermarket support. It has it where it count’s though. While there may not be body armor offered, there are plenty of suspension/tires/electronic upgrades available.

The lack of aftermarket support for body armor is a downer if you are an avid off-roader who hit’s heavy trails. But for a daily driver that sees occasional offroad action, the Cherokee is perfect.

The Jeep Cherokee, while not having the solid axle front end like it’s big brother the JK, is still a great choice. Like the 4Runner, it is quite stylish and it comes in a few different models. If you’re looking for a 4×4 trail vehicle that you can daily but is highly capable, choose the Trailhawk or Overland Edition. If you’re looking for a daily driver that is cheaper, stylish or just something you can upgrade as you go, any of the other models are for you. In that case, you just want to choose what accessories you want due to them not having any special off-road features.

What to buy? 5th Gen 4Runner, Jeep JK Wrangler, or Jeep Cherokee?

If your looking for a vehicle that is truly capable for offroading the 5th gen 4Runner or the Jeep JK is for you. While the Jeep Cherokee is on this list it would be considered the little brother to both the 4Runner and the JK. All three vehicles have their pros and cons just like any vehicle though.

The 5th gen 4Runner is pricier right out of the gate if you want something you can buy and instantly offroad in. The 4runner does have great gas mileage, comfortable interior,  huge aftermarket support, and a smooth ride though, which are huge benefits. Also, with Toyota’s CRAWL and A-TRAC systems, it will get you almost anywhere you want to go.

The Jeep JK is pricier as well, especially if you want a loaded model, but its base model can handle a lot of trails. It also has a lot of aftermarket support, so you can upgrade a base model easily. The Jeep JK, while having comfortable interior, does not have a super smooth ride due to the solid axle front end. It also guzzles gas, which isn’t the best if you are looking for a daily driver/occasional off-road toy.

The Jeep Cherokee starts out cheaper than both the 4Runner and the Jeep JK. If you’re looking for a daily that can be used for some offroading or snow adventures right out of the gate, and won’t empty your wallet, the Cherokee is a great option. A big disadvantage is the fact the Cherokee has little to no aftermarket support. It does have comfortable interior and a smooth ride though, like the 4Runner.

 

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