The mid-size SUV for people who really want an SUV.
The Toyota 4Runner is the last — and best — of its kind. Its body-on-frame and live rear axle appeal to buyers who still expect their mid-size SUV to do the things for which SUVs were actually invented: go off-road and tow. Those who spend most or all of their time traversing parking lots and highways might want to stick with the Highlander, because the 4Runner suffers from a bumpier ride and less-confidence-inspiring steering. That said, the 4Runner, last redesigned for 2010, is a much more refined and efficient vehicle than the mid-size trucks that dominated the sales charts even ten years ago. For one, it comes only with a V-6 engine, the same 4.0-liter that Toyota offers in the FJ Cruiser and the Tundra pickup. The interior isn’t luxurious (there needs to be a reason for the Lexus GX460 to exist, after all), but it is comfortable and nicely laid out, with fold-flat second- and (optional) third-row seats. It also incorporates a neat party trick, literally: at the push of a button, the stereo will send full power to the back speakers, creating a lively atmosphere for tailgate parties.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
new for 2013
The 4Runner carries over essentially unchanged.
Front, side, side curtain, and knee air bags; ABS; traction and stability control; a backup camera; and a tire-pressure monitoring system are standard.
Real SUV utility and capability
Handsome inside and out
More refined than one expects
Trucklike driving dynamics
Not very fuel efficient
Base Price Range: $32,185–$37,850
DRIVE: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel
TRIM LEVELS: SR5, Trail, Limited
BODY STYLE: SUV, 5- or 7-passenger
ENGINE: 4.0L V-6, 270 hp, 278 lb-ft
TRANSMISSION: 5-speed automatic
PASSENGER VOLUME: 103.1 cu ft
CAPACITIES: Towing 5000 lb; cargo (behind third/middle/front seats) 9.0/46.3–47.2/88.8–89.7 cu ft