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So, much like the usual subjects of carbon-dating tests, the Toyota 4Runner is a relic, albeit one with a niche use for the right buyer.This TRD Off-Road iteration marks a nice middle ground in the 4Runner lineup, and one can ratchet up the burliness by opting for the TRD Pro or down with the more basic 4Runner SR5 or luxe Limited.We dirtied the 4Runner at a local off-road park and barely taxed its capability.In any event, the Toyota also is far more livable than the Jeep thanks to its fixed roof, independent front suspension, and better-appointed (and quieter) interior.Instead, the 4Runner has a steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedals, windows to see out of, four-wheel drive, and big ground clearance for off-roading.
And the solid rear axle mixes awkwardly with the independent front suspension, the setups delivering roly-poly handling and significant body dive under braking. The steering has vague on-center action, so you’ll spend plenty of effort on long trips nudging the wheel to and fro.
Both are among the dwindling handful of SUVs capable of leaving the mall parking lot the grassy way, both have four doors, both are similar in size, and both cost about the same when optioned similarly.
They’ve both been around for a long while, too, with the JK-generation Jeep dating to 2007 (but there’s an all-new Wrangler coming for 2018). or to make it easier to poke one end of a surfboard out of the cargo hold.
Another difference: The Toyota’s roof doesn’t come off, but its rear window—the one in the tailgate—can retract for semi-open-air motoring . The Toyota’s 9.6 inches of ground clearance and 33-degree approach and 26-degree departure angles aren’t as extreme as the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon’s 10.0-inch and 42.2- and 32.5-degree measurements.
Still, they allow the 4Runner to scamper over the sort of obstacles that would leave most modern crossovers panting and begging for mercy.
—works with a five-speed automatic transmission to move the 4Runner.