Vehicle Comparison: The 2011 Toyota 4Runner vs. the 2011 Jeep® Grand Cherokee
When it comes to utility vehicles with off-road capability, many might think of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. However, a close examination of the 2011 Toyota 4Runner and the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee reveals that the 4Runner excels at off-road ability, roominess and value in comparison to the redesigned Grand Cherokee.
The fifth-generation Toyota 4Runner enters 2011 ready to take on the newest Grand Cherokee. But is the Grand Cherokee up to the test? Start with popular model configurations – the 4Runner SR5 4x4 and the Grand Cherokee Laredo 4x4 with a V6 engine. An MSRP of $31,265 starts the 2011 4Runner at a $950 price advantage over the Jeep. However, you need to add equipment to the Jeep to make it comparably equipped to the 4Runner, and when you do, the 4Runner’s advantage grows to over $6,000. As you’ll see, the 2011 4Runner offers a number of features – a third-row seat among them – that the Jeep Grand Cherokee does not.
Both the Toyota 4Runner and Jeep Grand Cherokee come equipped with fully modern V6 engines, but the 4Runner offers a distinct advantage in torque – 278 lb/ft at 4,400 rpm vs. 260 lb/ft at 4,800 rpm in the Jeep. So, the 4Runner will feel more responsive in all types of driving, and it also delivers 17 mpg in city driving vs. 16 for the Grand Cherokee 4x4 V6.
Now, consider some facts about every day usage. If you value cargo capacity in an SUV, you’ll definitely appreciate the extra 12.1 cubic feet of space the 4Runner offers behind the second-row seat compared to the Grand Cherokee (47.2 cubic feet in the Toyota vs. 35.1 in the Jeep). Now, consider the practicality of features like park distance sensors, a universal garage door opener and a full-size spare tire; they’re all standard on the 2011 Toyota 4Runner and extra-cost options on the 2011 Grand Cherokee.
The 4Runner even comes standard with a Towing Package and trailer hitch; both are optional on the Grand Cherokee. Now you have an idea of why, in adding options to the Grand Cherokee, you can end up some $6,000 more expensive than a Toyota 4Runner.
Next, consider a valuable safety feature that comes standard on the 4Runner, but that you can’t add to the Grand Cherokee at any price – Brake Assist. In an emergency situation, Brake Assist is designed to detect sudden or “panic” braking and adds the full pressure needed to stop the vehicle as quickly as possible. This additional brake pressure can help the driver avoid hitting something that suddenly veers into the vehicle’s path for example.
In terms of off-road capability, the Toyota 4Runner draws on over 50 years of expertise and counts among its brand siblings the legendary Land Cruiser and FJ Cruiser models. Like those vehicles, the 4Runner is built around robust body-on-frame construction vs. the Jeep’s unit body construction. The 4Runner also provides 9.6 inches of ground clearance vs. the Grand Cherokee’s 8.6 inches, and the 4Runner comes standard with underbody protection including skid plates for the engine, front suspension, radiator, fuel tank (and transfer case on 4X4 models). Such protection, which is vital in off-road travel, is optional on the Grand Cherokee.
Hill Start Assist Control is standard on all 4Runner models, and you can add trail capability with the aptly named 4Runner Trail model, which adds a locking rear differential and Multi-terrain Select and CRAWL Control features. With CRAWL, the vehicle follows a set speed on hills, leaving the driver to simply steer. This kind of technology not only puts the 4Runner ahead of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, but ahead of Land Rover models as well.
Describing the 4Runner Trail, the experts at Motor Trend said, “The truck-based Trail is the real deal, filling a niche largely abandoned by other manufacturers.” And that’s the bottom line with the 2011 Toyota 4Runner; it’s the real deal. Come in and see why with a test drive.
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