2021 4Runner vs. 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 but Cherokee sales were still going strong, so Jeep kept both vehicles in the mix.

Some 4Runner trims, like the SR5 Premium, offer Downhill Assist Control (DAC). 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 better off-roading. Another useful driving feature is Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) which is standard on all trim levels. The 2021 Grand Cherokee has Hill Start Assist but to get Hill Descent Control, you'll need to get the Laredo E 4x4 and add the available All-Weather Trail Rated Package.

All newly leased and purchased Toyota vehicles come with the ToyotaCare plan which includes factory-scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first, and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years/unlimited miles. The Grand Cherokee offers roadside assistance through the Mopar® company that lasts for 5 years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.

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

Published Date: 07/13/2021

2021 4Runner parked in the mud

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.
  • The Grand Cherokee's Hill Descent Control is not available on the base trim Laredo E 4x4 without an optional package.
  • The 4Runner’s body-on-frame construction gives it a more stable build for off-roading adventures.

4Runner trims offer different levels of standard off-roading features to 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 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 minimizes backward rolling on steep ascents.

The 2021 Grand Cherokee has Hill Start Assist but to get the Selec-Terrain® System and Hill Descent Control you’ll need the Laredo E 4x4 trim. Plus, you'll have to add the All-Weather Trail Rated Package for an additional $1,695.

The Toyota 4Runner SR5 4x2 has a lighter gross weight of 6,100 lbs. while the Grand Cherokee has a gross weight of 6,500 lbs. Although it's lighter, the 4Runner remains tough with a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. on all trims. The Grand Cherokee’s base trim, Laredo E, has a towing capacity of 3,500 lbs.

2021 4Runner parked on a wet road

Reliability

  • The 4Runner was awarded the Best Resale Value: Top 10 for 8 Years in a Row by Kelley Blue Book ®’s KBB.com.
  • Based on J.D Power verified owner reviews, the 2020 4Runner received an 85 out of 100 for Quality and Reliability while the 2020 Grand Cherokee received an 80 out of 100.
  • Toyota's Roadside Assistance lasts two years and unlimited miles. The Grand Cherokee's roadside assistance plan lasts for 5 years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.

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

Best Resale Value

The 4Runner was awarded the Best Resale Value: Top 10 for 8 years in a row by Kelley Blue Book®’. 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 85 out of 100 for Quality and Reliability 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, whichever comes first. It also includes 24-hour roadside assistance lasting for two years/unlimited miles. The Grand Cherokee base trim comes with a 5 year or 60,000 mile, whichever comes first, roadside assistance program. Jeep also just introduced the Jeep Wave® program which includes complimentary maintenance for the first 36 months. However, it only covers the first three oil changes and tire rotations.

2021 4Runner parked on a steep hill

Interior

  • 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.
  • The base trim 4Runner has eight speakers. The base trim Grand Cherokee only has six speakers.
  • The 4Runner Limited, Nightshade Edition, and TRD Pro comes standard with 15 JBL® Speakers.

Toyota knows that interior features and cargo space should never take a back seat to other specs.

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 seating for five on all trims. Also Smart Key with Push-Button Start is standard on all 4Runner models.

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 9 speakers, you have to get the Grand Cherokee Laredo X and the Sun and Sound Group package for $1,695. 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 Edition, and TRD Pro. You can get that surround sound feel in the Grand Cherokee with the 19 Speakers High-Performance Audio system on the Overland, but it will cost you an additional $1,495.

2021 4Runner parked on a dirt road in front of a grassy landscape

Conclusion: 4Runner vs. Grand Cherokee

  • The 2021 Grand Cherokee has a Selec-Terrain® System but you’ll need a slightly more expensive 4x4 model and an additional package. The 4Runner upgraded models include similar off-roading features.
  • The 2020 4Runner was ranked number five in the KBB 10 Best Overall Resale Values: Cars, Trucks, and SUVs.
  • 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 standard.

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 2021 Grand Cherokee you’ll need the slightly more expensive Laredo E 4x4 trim and the All-Weather Trail Rated Package.

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 standard compared to the Grand Cherokee. The Grand Cherokee only comes with 6 speakers. To get the available 9 speakers you have to get the Laredo X and the Sun and Sound Group package.

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