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2021 4Runner vs. 2020 Grand Cherokee Comparison

The Toyota 4Runner was introduced in 1984 as a modified Hilux pickup truck. It’s now in its 5th generation. The Jeep Grand Cherokee, in comparison, was introduced eight years later in 1992. It was intended to replace the Jeep Cherokee. Since Cherokee sales were still going strong, Jeep has kept both vehicles in the mix.

The 4Runner has a legendary off-roading reputation, as do many of the vehicles in Jeep’s lineup. You’ll find a whole host of features that can help off-road performance on both of these vehicles. The 4Runner TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, Venture Special Edition, and TRD Pro have Multi-terrain Select and Crawl Control (CRAWL) for even more driving support in certain off-road situations. Another useful driving feature is Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) which is standard on all trim levels. The 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee has Hill Start Assist, but to get Hill Descent Control you'll need to upgrade to the higher-end North Edition grade.

All leased and purchased new Toyota vehicles come with a ToyotaCare plan which includes factory-scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years/unlimited miles.

In this head to head, we’ll see who wins in key categories like performance, reliability, and interior.

Publish Date: 10/01/2020

2021 4Runner driving on rocky terrain

Performance

  • The 4Runner offers different levels of standard off-roading features, like Downhill Assist Control (DAC) when you upgrade to the 4x4 SR5, SR5 Premium, Limited, or Nightshade Edition.
  • Unlike the 4Runner base model, the Grand Cherokee Laredo E does not have Hill Descent Control.
  • The 4Runner’s body-on-frame construction absorbs off-roading stress better than the Grand Cherokee's more rigid unibody chassis.

The 4Runner has many different levels of standard and optional off-roading features to help keep you going no matter where you tread.

Off-Road Capabilities

Among these features is Downhill Assist Control (DAC) offered on the upgraded 4x4 SR5, SR5 Premium, Limited, and Nightshade Edition. The Toyota 4Runner base trim, the SR5 with 4x4, also has features such as part-time 4WD with Active Traction Control (A-TRAC). The TRD Off-Road trim has an electronically controlled locking rear differential, Multi-terrain Select, and Crawl Control (CRAWL). To help improve on-road handling and reduce body roll, the 4Runner also has an available Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) on the TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, and Venture Special Edition. Another helpful feature is Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) that helps minimize backward rolling on steep ascents. The 2020 Grand Cherokee has Hill Start Assist but to get the Selec-Terrain® System you’ll need a 4x4 trim like you would with the 4Runner. Their Hill Descent Control is not available on the base-grade Grand Cherokee Laredo E for either drivetrain.

The Toyota 4Runner SR5 4x2 has a lighter Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 6,100 lbs. while the Grand Cherokee has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 6,500 lbs. Although it's lighter, the 4Runner remains tough with a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. on all grades. The Grand Cherokee does have larger towing capacities available, but the base-grade Laredo E only has a towing capacity of 3,500 lbs.

Whether you're towing or traveling, the 4Runner’s body-on-frame construction allows for a more even stress distribution when off-roading because of the separate truck-frame build compared to the Grand Cherokee’s more rigid unibody construction built for better handling.

2020 4Runner driving through a puddle

Reliability

  • In the category for SUVs, the 4Runner was awarded the Best Resale Value: Top 10 for 8 Years in a Row by Kelley Blue Book®.
  • With an Overall Consumer Rating of 82 out of 100, the 4Runner received a higher J.D. Power Overall Consumer Rating than the 2020 Grand Cherokee.
  • Toyota's Roadside Assistance lasts two years and unlimited miles. The Grand Cherokee's roadside assistance coverage lasts for five years but does include as many services as ToyotaCare.

Vehicles like the 4Runner and Grand Cherokee don't get where they are without winning recognition and reputation.

Best Resale Value

The 4Runner was awarded the Best Resale Value: Top 10 in the SUV category for 8 Years in a Row by Kelley Blue Book®’s KBB.com. Taking the number five spot on the KBB 10 Best Overall Resale Values: Cars, Trucks and SUVs, the 2020 4Runner made an appearance while the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee did not.

Based on J.D. Power verified owner reviews, the 2020 4Runner received an Overall Consumer Rating of 82 out of 100 while the 2020 Grand Cherokee received an 80 out of 100.

To back up this recognition, all leases and purchases of new Toyota vehicles come standard with ToyotaCare, a factory-scheduled maintenance plan that lasts for two years or 25,000-miles. It also includes 24-hour roadside assistance lasting for two years/unlimited miles. The Grand Cherokee has roadside assistance coverage for five years but it is limited to towing to the nearest FCA US LLC dealer and flat tire, lockout and fuel delivery.

Interior of 2021 4Runner

Interior

  • You get a larger cargo volume of 89.7 cu. ft. behind the front seats in the 4Runner SR5.
  • You also get two more speakers with the 4Runner which comes standard with eight speakers while the Grand Cherokee has six.
  • The 4Runner Limited, Nightshade Special Edition, and TRD Pro come standard with 15 JBL® Speakers. The Grand Cherokee's available upgraded sound system on the Trailhawk or higher trims only comes with 10 speakers.

Interior connectivity features and cargo space should never take a back seat to other specs, even in a comparison of off-roading capable vehicles.

Roomy Interior with Connectivity Options

The 4Runner has more seating available and offers versatile cargo solutions. The base trim 4Runner SR5 has a comfortable 89.7 cu. ft. cargo volume behind the front seats. The base trim Grand Cherokee Laredo E has a cargo volume of 68.3 cu. ft. There are also multiple options for creating more space within the 4Runner whether you're hauling materials or driving passengers. You can fold down the available third row, second row, or both rows of seats to accommodate depending on your needs. The Grand Cherokee offers a 60/40 Folding Seat.

For more seating, the SR5, SR5 Premium, Limited, and Nightshade Edition have an available seven seats with the optional third row while the Grand Cherokee only offers five seats on all grades.

The base trim 4Runner also features eight speakers, Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay®, and Amazon Alexa compatibility. The base trim Grand Cherokee only has six speakers and comes with Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay® but does not have Amazon Alexa. To get the available upgraded sound system with 10 speakers, you have to get the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk or higher. For those who really want to rock out, the 4Runner offers Premium Audio with JBL® Speakers. This package includes 15 speakers and comes standard on the Limited, Nightshade Special Edition, and TRD Pro.

Isolated 2021 4Runner in red

Conclusion: 4Runner vs. Grand Cherokee

  • The 2020 Grand Cherokee has a Selec-Terrain® System but you’ll need a slightly more expensive 4x4 trim. Same for the 4Runner's more advanced off-road features.
  • Coming in at number five for the KBB® 10 Best Overall Resale Values: Cars, Trucks, and SUVs, the 2020 4Runner retains its value over the years.
  • You get more connectivity options and an upgraded sound system with eight speakers in the 4Runner SR5 as opposed to six in the Grand Cherokee.

The 4Runner delivers a variety of standard off-roading features. Multi-terrain Select and Crawl Control (CRAWL) come standard on the TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, Venture Special Edition, and TRD Pro. To get a similar Selec-Terrain® System on the 2020 Grand Cherokee you’ll need a 4x4 configuration.

The 2020 4Runner was ranked number five in the KBB® 10 Best Overall Resale Values: Cars, Trucks, and SUVs. The 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee did not make the top 10 list.

The base trim 4Runner SR5 has 8 speakers and more connectivity options than the Grand Cherokee. The base trim Grand Cherokee only has 6 speakers. To get the available 10 speakers you have to get the Trailhawk or higher.

For more off-roading features and better connectivity options, go for the 2021 Toyota 4Runner.