The 2020 Jeep Wrangler and the 2020 Toyota 4Runner are two of the most well-known off-road vehicles on the market today. Each is iconic in its own way from the very exterior style to the overall capability and performance, these are utility vehicles through and through. These SUVs were made to rule the off-road scene with an iron fist. But which is better for you in terms of the daily driver? Read on below as we compare these two titans of the trail.
2020 Jeep Wrangler
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler is the embodiment of the Jeep brand with roots dating back to its days as a military vehicle in World War II, and its off-road capability has kept it at the forefront of utility vehicles ever since. But the off-road capabilities and military roots haven’t kept the Jeep Wrangler from evolving in a four-wheel-drive vehicle with tech and luxury to match its historic roots and utility. The Wrangler offers everything from air conditioning to leather interior to 2 versions of a mild-hybrid engine to a four-door version called the Wrangler Unlimited. No matter the trim or version you get though, you still have the ability to enjoy the outdoors by removing the doors and roof and folding down the windshield for that iconic Jeep look found in the history books.
The Jeep Wrangler received an update to its comfort and safety systems in 2019 but has retained its overall boxy styling that has become so recognizable on the road. You’ll never confuse a Jeep Wrangler with anything else. The doors and roof all still come off with only a few necessary tools and maybe an hour in the driveway.
The interior and safety systems were where the big updates were made in 2019. The 2020 Jeep Wrangler seats up to 4 people but the legroom in the back seats isn’t all that great. Definitely wouldn’t recommend those seats for anyone that’s received a “you’re really tall” comment from someone before. Sporting a narrow, squared-off dashboard, interspersed with round air vents and blocky switches for the climate control, and a classic infotainment center we are all used to seeing today, the interior continues the historic vibe as much as it can to match the exterior. In terms of technology, you can go either barebones accessories or completely loaded up with all the usual fun techy stuff. Uconnect is easy to use on the touchscreen, which is available in three different sizes. Apple Car Play, Android Auto, navigation, and a nine-speaker Alpine audio system are all available features for you to add as well.
As an everyday driver or errand runner, the Wrangler has plenty of room for groceries or gear, making a trip to the store or run the kids to practice easy. Although be careful, there is a significant tradeoff in terms of cargo space between the 4-door and 2-door. The 2-door Wrangler is perfectly capable of hauling whatever you need, it might just take a little more planning and analysis to get everything in the back.
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler is rocking the standard 285-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 engine with a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic or it can even be paired with a six-speed manual gearbox. It is a Wrangler so the part-time 4-wheel drive is standard across all trim levels and controlled by the lever on the center console. The V-6 manual transmission was able to hit 0 to 60mph in 6.1 seconds while the automatic transmission was just a little bit slower at 6.8-seconds.
Fuel-economy wise the Wrangler still hasn’t made much headway there but is staying strong at 21-mpg city and 22-mpg highway. However, with 2020 comes the new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine giving you 22-mpg city and 29-mpg highway with 260 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque.
2020 Toyota 4Runner
The 2020 Toyota 4Runner has and continues to fit the mold of the mid-size SUV in size, horsepower, and cargo volume, where the 4Runner is breaking that mold is in its off-roading ability and that is exactly where it steps up to take on the Jeep Wrangler. So, if your ride leads from the highway to the gravel road to the untamed trail then the 4Runner is right up your alley.
The exterior look of the Toyota 4Runner hasn’t changed since the redesign in 2010. What is new for 2020 is the 4Runner Venture Special Edition that draws its inspiration from the TRD Off-Road Premium trim. Since the exterior look of the 2020 Toyota 4Runner is unchanged we’ll focus on the new Venture Special Edition for this description. In this case, the 4Runner Venture Special Edition is all about form and function. Drawing from the TRD version, the Venture sports gray TRD wheels and blacked-out emblems and badges. Where is does differ is the custom appearance which is set apart from other trims and greatly accented by the Barcelona Red paint job. It comes with a Yakima roof basket which enhances the functionality of the rig, but that also enhances aerodynamic drag and wind noise. It is a great looking vehicle as a whole and definitely one that you should be sure to look at if you are in the market for a 4Runner.
New for 2020 4Runners are now sporting Toyota’s Safety Sense P (TSS P), an expanded lineup of driver-assistance features that include a pre-collision system with autonomous braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure, and auto high-beams. The exterior look of the 2020 Toyota 4Runner may not have changed much but the safety features on the exterior have taken a great leap forward.
The interior of the 2020 4Runner has more than a few new features and enhancements. Straight out of the gate is the new infotainment system which increases the screen size from 6.1 inches to 8 inches and now features Apple Car Play and Android Auto capabilities. Redesigned interment clusters include a 4.1-inch screen providing info like the standard trip meter and fuel-economy info as well as the new TSS P display. All trim levels of the 2020 4Runner also have upped their USB port game by including two rear USB ports and the 4Runner SR5 Premium and TRD version both come standard with Toyota’s smart key for keyless entry and push-button start.
Other than those new features we highlight the interior has remained relatively the same. Although the dash is not much to look at, Toyota maintains the overall comfortability with wide seats and plenty of legroom. Cargo wise the 2020 4Runner has a large and flexible area in the back and several deep cubbies in the front for the driver and passenger make the 4Runner not only a great off-road vehicle but also a great hauler. The only drawback in the cargo area is the height which can seem uncomfortably high for some people.
Tech-wise, as stated above, the infotainment screen is standard across all 4Runner trim levels and has a very simple and intuitive setup that responds quickly to driver and passenger commands. And while Apple Car Play and Android Auto is available, you will only find that capability in upper trims. Regardless of the capability of syncing up your iPhone or Android with the screen, there are plenty of USB ports and 12-volt outlets to keep everyone’s phone charged.
Performance-wise the 2020 4Runner has its strong points and its low points just like any other SUV on the road today. The 4Runner is rocking a 4.0-liter V6 engine with a 5-speed automatic transmission, which when put to the 0-to-60 test comes in with a time of 7.5 seconds. Although you will definitely hear the V6 groan as it tries to come in with that time. But where the Toyota 4Runner really excels is its off-road capabilities sporting either a rear, four, or all-wheel drive. All models except the SR5 and the Limited come with a selectable part-time four-wheel drive to really give it a dynamic off-road functionality. Limited models come with a full-time all-wheel drive which divvies out torque to the front or rear wheels as necessary depending on the road or trail condition you are taking on.
Fuel economy shows the age of the 4Runner’s powertrain combos at the pump. The competition has a similar city mpg but tends to do better on the highway compared to the 4Runner. A little lower than the 2020 Jeep Wrangler, the 2020 4Runner sports a 17 city mpg, 20 highway mpg, with a combined 18 mpg, so don’t expect to save money at the pump if you are driving away in a 4Runner.
2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4×4
2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road 4×4
|285-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 (regular gas)||Engine||270-hp, 4.0-liter V-6 (regular gas)|
|8-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual||Transmission||5-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual|
|285 hp @ 6,400 rpm||Engine Horspower (@ RPM)||
270 hp @ 5,600 rpm
|260 ft-lbs. @ 4800 rpm||Engine Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)||278 ft-lbs. @ 4400 rpm|
|22 City / 25 Highway / 20 Combined||EPA MPG Rating||17 City / 20 Highway / 19 Combined|
|17.5 gal.||Fuel Tank Capacity||23.0 gal.|
|Standard||Remote Keyless Entry||Standard|
|Standard||Power Door Locks||Standard|
|Front & Rear Removable||Power Windows||Standard|
|Dual-zone front automatic||Air Conditioning||Manual|
|2||12-Volt DC Power Outlet||5|
|Available||Adaptive Cruise Control||Standard|
|Available: With voice activation||Navigation||Available: With voice activation|
|Standard||Apple Car Play / Android Auto Integration||Available|
|8 Speaker System||Audio Speakers||8 Speaker System|
|Driver and front passenger seats available||Heated Seats||Not available|
|Safety & Driver Assist|
|Driver and front passenger||Front Airbags||Driver and front passenger|
|Seat-mounted, driver and passenger||Side Airbags||Seat-mounted, driver and passenger|
|Not Available||Side-Curtain Airbags||Curtain 1st & 2nd row|
|Not Available||Lane-Departure Warning||Standard|
|Available||In-Vehicle Assistance Service||Standard|
While both of these rigs are built for off-road we are going to have to name the 2020 Jeep Wrangler the winner in this head-to-head comparison. Not only does the Wrangler have all the off-road capabilities of the 4Runner, but it also has a bunch of additional options that make it much more unique for the owner. Being able to take off the doors and roof relatively easily for that classic Jeep feel is definitely a highlight and performance-wise the Wrangler outshines the 4Runner in horsepower, torque and mpg. There may be a little less room overall but that is a trade we are willing to make to be behind the wheel of the super unique 2020 Jeep Wrangler.