4Runner or JLU

AV8

New member
Greetings! I’ve visited this website/forum from time to time, but this is my first post and I’m hoping some of you will weigh in with your experience. My wife and I live in S/W Montana. We spend a great deal of time off-road exploring the backcountry, hunting, fishing, etc.. In fact, we live about 5 miles from any asphalt.

Most of our exploring has been in my 2014 Jeep JK 2dr. It has a 2.5” lift, re-geared and trussed axles, 285/75R17 tires, etc. This Jeep, not my first, has been awesome and more than capable for any of the terrain we’ve encountered. However, it is a bit small for the 2 of us, our 2 dogs (45 lb. Healers), and anything beyond a day trip. It’s also not a great platform for trips out of the area. Although I’ve always been a Jeep guy, I’m beginning to appreciate “roughing it” in comfort.

I’m considering a 4Runner TRD. If I go this direction, I intend to install a moderate lift, 275 or 285/70R17 A/T tires, roof top tent, etc. I may do a winch, bumpers, and rear tire carrier, but don’t want to make it too heavy. I’m confident I’d enjoy the on-road performance and ride quality, but how capable are the 4Runners off-road? We don’t rock crawl. Our adventures are about getting out and exploring, not about looking for opportunities to test the vehicles capabilities. Also, if I go with the 4Runner, which package (Off-Road, Pro, Premium) and mods would recommend for our intended purpose.

Thank you in advance. I’ve always been impressed by the knowledge and helpfulness of this forum.
 

AggieOE

Trying to escape the city
I have a JKUR and a 4Runner SR5.

I LOVE daily driving the JKUR. It's fun, small, tight, cool, and gets lots of compliments as everyone loves a Jeep. When the weather is good, there is no better weekend than a top off, doors off, weekend. And! It is by far the most capable out of the box vehicle you can buy so you know you're in the best vehicle for any trail.
HOWEVER.... I love the 4Runner. I really wish I would have bought a TRD Off-Road instead of the SR5 (I probably will one day). Every time we go on a trip involving camping, off-roading, and any length of pavement, I lose sleep debating which vehicle to take.

The Jeep is amazing on the trail (Solid Axle & 2 Lockers) and the 4Runner is amazing on the highway but still really good on the trail (Recall the SR5 does NOT have a locker). Also, the 4Runner has like 9 or 10 airbags which we, unfortunately, have used before.
If I had a TRD Off-Road, It wouldn't be a question. We'd always take that on trips.

Your questions also hinges on one important part... are you keeping your Jeep or not? If so, then 4Runner 100%. If not keeping it, then it depends on how/where you travel.

If we had to reduce to one vehicle, I'd sell both and get a TRD Off-Road Premium (w/ sunroof) 4Runner, throw a OME lift on it, some 33s, and a good winch.
 

bkg

Explorer
Wow... Apples and oranges...

We have a 13 JKUR and a 15 4Runner SR5 Premium.

I'm honestly incredibly impressed with the ergonomics of the Jeep, but the biuld quality of the 4Runner is heads and tails above the JKUR. I can't comment on anything JL.
 

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Series1Rangie

Adventurer
I don’t own either a jku or T4R, but travel with people who do. I have rented both for various reasons on various trips so have a couple of thousand miles behind the wheel of a jku and T4R pro.

All of that said, here’s my take. The T4R is a great all rounder and people really like them. I get the T4R was a bit mushy on the highway. The JKU is much more civilized than either the TJ or YJ I’ve had in the past, so you’ll likely feel like it’s an upgrade in the highway from what you have now.

To me the decision points are space and open air. I found the jku just didn’t have space for 4 adults and stuff for an overnight trip. We had to load a hitch carrier and strap stuff to the spare tire. But the doors came off and the freedom top was great, even doing 60+ through backroads in UT and AZ. The T4R solves that but was enclosed and not comfortable worh the windows down at speed, lots of poor air flow in the cabin.

You really won’t go wrong with either, and the space may not be an issue in the jku if the dogs don’t need seats and those are removed.

Depending upon timeline I’d look at the bronco to bridge this gap.

My $.02

Good luck deciding and let us know what you get.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

GreggNY

Well-known member
Have you driven the 4Runner yet? I owned 3 JKU’s in various forms from stock to very built and loved them as the most fun vehicles that I’ve driven. Road manners weren’t great, space was tight, but they were FUN and I’ve never had more confidence to go anywhere. I did drive my last from NY to CO and had a blast.

I recently test drove a brand new 4Runner Off Road and literally didn’t like anything about it. I went into the dealer actually wanting to drive it off if the lot. But TO ME, the suspension felt mushy, lots of body roll and nose dive on braking, no ‘fun to drive’ feeling at all and felt like any regular car. On the contrary, any time I’ve hopped in a Jeep, it was all smiles. So FOR ME, it would be no contest between the two. And I’m not bashing the 4Runner at all because I do know that they’re capable and a ton of people love them. But if you are a Jeep person, make sure you don’t mind driving the 4Runner before you stress over trying to make decisions online.

All of this is obviously only my opinions/thoughts...
 

Dalko43

Explorer
Wow... Apples and oranges...
Not really, they're both some of the last, true BOF SUV's within the midsized segment. Besides some obvious differences in design (removable roof/doors and solid front axle for jeep), they're both off-road oriented SUV's, more so than the unibody, crossover vehicles that have become so prevalent.

Regarding OP's comparison of the two:
4runner is a great all-rounder - capable offroad and comfortable onroad. I would say that unless you are going out of your way to find the most extreme of 4x4 trails, the 4runner's IFS will not be a hindrance to any explorations. The stock design is surprisingly capable, especially with rear locker and KDSS...I consider it an underrated billy goat. It really can go most places, if you know how to drive. Chassis is overbuilt for what it is with ~1.5k lbs of payload, but the 4.0l v6 and 5 speed, while dependable, don't lend themselves to super heavy overland builds. My advice is to keep the mods light.

Jeep JL: I've seen and driven a few. I know Jeeps are great at offroad work, but its still FCA vehicle, with all the issues that come with that brand. Overall build quality and durability isn't great...weather-proofing coming off and interior pieces that don't age well...perhaps trivial stuff, but it is indicative of the level of quality, or lack there of, that went into that vehicle's design. Unless you're getting the diesel, the powertrain is very similar to what the 4runner has.
 
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AV8

New member
Thank you all for your input, much appreciated.

Aggie, no I will not be keeping the Jeep, which makes the decision more challenging. Your last sentence is quite instructive, thank you.

Series1, the Bronco has been on my mind, but am always a bit leery of the 1st year of a new vehicle and R&D issues.

Greg, we owned a 2WD 4Runner in the mid-90’s and loved it. We’ve always regretted not buying it with 4WD, as it would have been a keeper. Your question is great and, yes, I need do drive a new one, as well as a JLUR. I agree about the feeling of driving a Jeep.

Dalko, thanks for the comparison and input regarding the 4Runner’s off road performance, which is my greatest concern.

Please keep the comments coming, particularly relative to the 4Runner’s off-road performance. I’ll b test driving both vehicles in the next few weeks. Thanks!
 

AV8

New member
BKG, I appreciate the feedback regarding the build quality of the Toy. Whichever I buy, I plan on keeping it long-term.
 
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bkg

Explorer
BKG, I appreciate the feedback regarding the build quality of the Toy. Whichever I buy, I plan on keeping it long-term.
I suspect you can find stuff to like and dislike about each. I was completely surprised by the Jeep's ergonomics - everything seems within reach by just lifting a finger.

Quality, though, is definitely different. The three things I can't stand about the 4Runner are the brake dive, Entune (2015, at least), and lack of low end torque. Brake dive was corrected when it got suspension and tires - now much nicer. Entune still sucks, but it's not my rig and she's happy with it, so it's irrelevant. Similar with low-end torque. The engine likes to rev, and I've contemplated regearing more than once.

I should not, my JK is running 4.56's on 35's... and is supercharged. So it's not a like-to-like.

Having driven it across country, though, I can guarantee that if we were driving any long distance and had to choose between the two, we'd choose the F350. :D :D
 

jadmt

Well-known member
My buddy who has had 3 newer JKU rubicons 14, 15 and 16. all set up very well got a wild hair and stopped in the Toyota dealer and walked out with a brand new TRD. he told me not to test drive one or I would be trading. He immediately put an ARB bumper on and winch up front and a Falcon lift and TRD pro wheels with Falken tires. put exactly 2400 miles on it and traded it on a pickup. Said it was not quirky enough.
 

AggieOE

Trying to escape the city
.,..

Jeep JL: I've seen and driven a few. I know Jeeps are great at offroad work, but its still FCA vehicle, with all the issues that come with that brand. Overall build quality and durability isn't great...weather-proofing coming off and interior pieces that don't age well...perhaps trivial stuff, but it is indicative of the level of quality, or lack there of, that went into that vehicle's design. Unless you're getting the diesel, the powertrain is very similar to what the 4runner has.
Eh.... listen to the guy from "The Road Chose Me" and his reasons why he bought a JKUR for world travel.
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I didn't mention reliability as a deciding factor because with 80k miles on my Jeep and the 4Runner, both are very dependable, and I haven't heard anything negative from anyone else.
The motors for the front door locks on the 4Runner both went out already and I had to replace. The wheel speed sensors on the Jeep went out and I had to replace. Both have also left me stranded with a dead battery. Other than that, no issues on either FCA as a whole is valid but the Jeep Wrangler is pretty bullet-proof nowadays when kept near stock and used as intended. The chassis is old and quite bare-bones. The Rubicon staples alone haven't changed really since 2006. The Minivan V6 has been used in almost every model of FCA made and there's a reason for that. Now the JLUR has new transmission and engine options that may be a little unproven. So, I don't know if anyone can vouch for those yet.

Don't let "reliability" be your deciding factor here because I don't think there is much of a difference anymore.
 
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amongmany

Member
Don't let "reliability" be your deciding factor here because I don't think there is much of a difference anymore.
Do you really believe this? (Genuinely asking — not meant as disagreement.)

I'm on the hunt for a new rig and have been leaning heavily toward a Toyota (prob a GX470). Somehow, buying one with 150k+ miles on it doesn't bother me, while a Jeep with similar mileage makes me concerned. Is that unwarranted?

Of course, the price difference between the two in the same age range is also huge.
 

bkg

Explorer
Don't let "reliability" be your deciding factor here because I don't think there is much of a difference anymore.
Going to have to disagree on that... but at the end of the day, what matters most is if the owner is happy. I've had plenty of annoying things on the JK... so far, nothing on the 4Runner. Of course, experiences vary quite a bit.
 

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Dalko43

Explorer
Eh.... listen to the guy from "The Road Chose Me" and his reasons why he bought a JKUR for world travel.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="
" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

I didn't mention reliability as a deciding factor because with 80k miles on my Jeep and the 4Runner, both are very dependable, and I haven't heard anything negative from anyone else.
The motors for the front door locks on the 4Runner both went out already and I had to replace. The wheel speed sensors on the Jeep went out and I had to replace. Both have also left me stranded with a dead battery. Other than that, no issues on either FCA as a whole is valid but the Jeep Wrangler is pretty bullet-proof nowadays when kept near stock and used as intended. The chassis is old and quite bare-bones. The Rubicon staples alone haven't changed really since 2006. The Minivan V6 has been used in almost every model of FCA made and there's a reason for that. Now the JLUR has new transmission and engine options that may be a little unproven. So, I don't know if anyone can vouch for those yet.

Don't let "reliability" be your deciding factor here because I don't think there is much of a difference anymore.
Wrong place to start this conversation, but I genuinely believe that there still is a big difference between Toyota and domestic OEM's with regards to build quality and longevity.

Saying that the modern JL is "bullet-proof" is also relative...compared to Jeeps of yesteryear, sure. Compared to 4x4's and Ute's sold throughout the rest of the world, ehh no. There is a reason that Toyota, Nissan, Ford (global variants), Mitsubishi, Mercedes dominate the foreign 4x4 markets whereas Jeep has relatively minor shares of those markets.

That's not to say that the Jeep is a "bad" vehicle or that the wheels will fall off as soon as you leave the dealer lot...I think all OEM's, including FCA, have made massive strides in build quality compared to 10 years ago. But certain companies, like Toyota, take their time on generation and technology upgrades to ensure longterm durability, whereas others are constantly refreshing and battling for the title of 'most modern' vehicle.
 

AV8

New member
Thank you all for your input. I’ll be driving both in the next couple weeks. Leaning toward a 4R TRD Off-Road Premium with KDSS.
 
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