2021 Jeep Wrangler vs. 2022 Toyota 4Runner Comparison

Erin Riches-Wong | Sep 16, 2021

At first glance, the 2021 Jeep Wrangler and 2022 Toyota 4Runner might not seem like obvious rivals. The Wrangler is a compact SUV with a removable roof and doors. The 4Runner is a midsize SUV with a fixed roof. But for consumers who like the idea of going off-road, these are two of the most capable sport-utility vehicles you can buy. And both can be yours for less than $50,000.

If you're considering either of these old-school SUVs, this 2021 Jeep Wrangler vs. 2022 Toyota 4Runner comparison should help.

Price and Value

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Blue Front Quarter View

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

Consumers shopping for a 2021 Jeep Wrangler will find that this compact SUV comes in Sport, Willys S, Sport S, Islander, Willys, 80th Anniversary, Freedom, Sport Altitude, Sahara, Rubicon, Sahara Altitude, High Altitude, and Rubicon 392 trim levels. The Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid (PHEV) comes in Sahara, Rubicon, and High Altitude trims.

You can get a Jeep Wrangler with two or four doors. The 2-door model rides on a short 97-inch wheelbase and seats four. The 4-door Unlimited has a longer 118-inch wheelbase. It can accommodate five occupants and has lots more cargo capacity. The Wrangler's higher trim levels and the hybrid Wrangler 4xe only come with four doors.

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler ranges from $29,070 to $74,440, not including a $1,495 destination charge. Most Wranglers start around $40,000. There's a significant jump in price to the mighty Rubicon 392. Four-wheel drive (4WD) is standard on all 2021 Jeep Wranglers.

Many new Wranglers come with a one-year trial subscription to SiriusXM Guardian connected services. Services include automatic collision notification, rapid access to roadside assistance, and remote door locking and engine starting. The Jeep also has a Wi-Fi hotspot.

You will enjoy free scheduled maintenance for the first three years or 36,000 miles that you own a 2021 Jeep Wrangler.

The Wrangler ranks highest among Compact SUVs in the J.D. Power 2020 Resale Value Awards.

Consumers will find that the 2022 Toyota 4Runner comes in SR5, TRD Sport, Trail Special Edition, SR5 Premium, TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, Limited, and TRD Pro trim levels.

Toyota sells its midsize SUV in a 4-door body style. Five-passenger seating is standard. An optional third-row seat increases capacity to seven, but with the 4Runner's high floor and relatively short wheelbase, it's an occasional-use third row at best.

Pricing on the 2022 Toyota 4Runner ranges from $37,305 to $52,120, not including a $1,215 destination charge. Most trim levels have standard rear-wheel drive (also known as 2WD or 4x2) and optional 4WD. Four-wheel drive is standard on the TRD Off-Road and Pro trims.

Connected services on the 2022 4Runner include automatic collision notification, live emergency assistance, rapid access to roadside services, and concierge services (on 4Runners with factory navigation). These services are free for the first 12 months of ownership. Toyota does not offer remote access features on the 4Runner. There is a Wi-Fi hotspot, though.

Toyota offers complimentary scheduled maintenance for the first two years or 25,000 miles that you own a 2022 4Runner.

The 4Runner ranks highest among Midsize SUVs in the J.D. Power 2020 Resale Value Awards.

Advantage: Jeep Wrangler

Reliability and Quality

2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Front Quarter View

2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

The Jeep Wrangler does not rank among the top three Compact SUVs in either the J.D. Power 2021 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS)or the 2021 Initial Quality Study (IQS). The 2021 Jeep Wrangler comes with the following warranty and roadside assistance coverage:

  • Standard warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Hybrid system warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles
  • Hybrid battery warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles (10 years or 150,000 miles in California emissions states)
  • Roadside assistance: 5 years or 60,000 miles (5 years or 100,000 miles for diesel engine)

The Toyota 4Runner does not rank among the top three Midsize SUVs in either the 2021 VDS or the 2021 IQS. The 2022 Toyota 4Runner comes with the following warranty and roadside assistance coverage:

  • Standard warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Roadside assistance: 2 years or 25,000 miles

Advantage: Jeep Wrangler

Performance and Efficiency

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Interior Dashboard

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

Consumers will find a diverse range of engine choices for the 2021 Jeep Wrangler. The base engine is a 3.6-liter V6 rated at 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard. You'll spend an extra $2,500 to get the well-tuned 8-speed automatic, and at that point, the $750 eTorque mild-hybrid system is also worth considering.

Available only with the automatic transmission, Jeep's eTorque system powers the Wrangler's electrical system, smooths out its automatic engine stop/start system operation, and improves fuel economy. One potential downside to eTorque is that the stop/start system engages more frequently. This improves gas mileage, but on hot days, it also reduces air-conditioner performance.

Jeep offers a small discount if you equip a 2021 Wrangler with the optional turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, which has the eTorque system and 8-speed automatic as standard. The 4-cylinder develops 270 hp and an impressive 295 pound-feet torque.

If you're set on having a diesel Jeep Wrangler and don't mind paying for it, the EcoDiesel turbocharged, 3.0-liter V6 generates 260 hp and a very satisfying 442 pound-feet of torque. An 8-speed automatic is standard.

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid combines the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with a 17.3-kilowatt-hour battery pack and two electric motors. One of the motors is built into the 8-speed automatic transmission. Total output is 375 hp and 470 pound-feet of torque.

At the top of the lineup is the Wrangler Rubicon 392. A dream come true for Mopar fans, this high-performance Jeep Wrangler has a 6.4-liter V8 rumbling under its hood, plus all the off-road hardware from the Rubicon trim. It's rated at 470 hp and 470 pound-feet of torque, and an 8-speed automatic is standard.

Jeep offers three different 4WD systems on the Wrangler:

  • The basic Command-Trac part-time system
  • The optional Selec-Trac system with an automatic 4WD mode
  • The Rock-Trac system exclusive to the Wrangler Rubicon

Rock-Trac comes in two variations: a standard part-time version and an optional version with automatic 4WD. The Rock-Trac systems offer the lowest gearing for off-roading.

Compared to other Wranglers, the Rubicon has a more aggressive final drive ratio, front and rear locking differentials, a front stabilizer-bar disconnect feature, 35-inch off-road tires, and 10.8 inches of ground clearance. An available Xtreme Recon package provides beadlock-capable wheels (allowing you to air down the tires off-road), a suspension lift with 12.9 inches of clearance, and an even lower final drive ratio.

Unlike the Gladiator and larger Jeep SUVs, the Wrangler can't tow much. All versions max out at 3,500 pounds.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates V6-equipped 2021 Jeep Wranglers at 19 to 21 mpg in combined city and highway driving. Expect lower mpg on Wranglers with the Xtreme Recon package. With the turbo 4-cylinder, the Jeep rates 22-23 mpg combined. Diesel Jeep Wranglers rate 23-25 mpg combined. The heavy Wrangler 4xe PHEV rates just 20 mpg combined but provides an estimated 22 miles of all-electric range. The Wrangler Rubicon 392 rates 14 mpg combined.

The 2022 Toyota 4Runner only comes with one engine. Its 4.0-liter V6 makes 270 hp and 278 pound-feet of torque. A 5-speed automatic transmission is standard.

Although these numbers aren't far off the ratings for the Wrangler's V6 and turbo 4-cylinder engines, the 4Runner feels nowhere near as energetic or refined when accelerating at highway speeds. Its old-school 5-speed automatic often hunts for the best gear, whereas Jeep's snappy 8-speed automatic excels at keeping its engines in the heart of their power bands.

Toyota offers both part-time and full-time 4WD systems for the 4Runner. The latter is available only on the Limited and has a Torsen-type center differential that automatically reapportions engine torque between the front and rear wheels.

The TRD Off-Road, Off-Road Premium, and Pro trim levels use the part-time 4WD system but have a locking rear differential. These trims also have Toyota's Multi-Terrain Select system with Rock, Rock/Dirt, Mogul, Loose Rock, and Mud/Sand modes.

Only the 2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro trim has anything close to the Wrangler Rubicon's arsenal of off-road hardware. The TRD Pro comes standard with all-terrain tires, and its modified suspension provides a one-inch increase in ride height over other 4Runners. Still, if you're looking to match the Rubicon, you'd have to make aftermarket modifications.

A properly equipped 4Runner offers a solid 5,000-pound tow rating, but don't expect to make rapid progress with a trailer in the back.

The 2022 Toyota 4Runner is less fuel-efficient than the Jeep. All 4Runners rate 17 mpg in combined driving.

Advantage: Jeep Wrangler

Safety and Driving Assistance

2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Sport Interior Dashboard

2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Sport

If you want advanced driving assistance aids (ADAS) in a 2021 Jeep Wrangler, you'll need to step up to at least the Sport S trim level. It can be equipped with option packages that include a forward-collision warning (FCW) system with automatic emergency braking (AEB) and a blind-spot warning (BSW) system with rear cross-traffic warning. Only the Rubicon 392 has these important safety aids as standard.

Some Jeep Wranglers can be equipped with adaptive cruise control (ACC). In addition, automatic transmission-equipped 4-door Wranglers have an off-road cruise control system known as Selec-Speed Control that helps you manage throttle and braking inputs at very low speeds.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released a partial set of safety ratings for the 2021 Wrangler. It receives 4 out of 5 stars in frontal-impact crash testing. It has a 3-star rating for rollover resistance. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) testing, the 4-door Wrangler Unlimited earned the highest-possible Good ratings in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests. It has a Marginal rating (second-lowest) for small-overlap frontal-offset crash safety.

You get more standard ADAS in the 2022 Toyota 4Runner, which has FCW with AEB and pedestrian detection, ACC, and automatic high-beam headlights. You also get lane-departure warning (LDW), but the system provides excessive audible alerts, and many drivers end up turning it off. Toyota does not offer a BSW system on the 4Runner. The TRD Off-Road and Pro trims have Crawl Control, which is Toyota's off-road cruise control system.

The 2022 Toyota 4Runner has a 4-star overall rating from the NHTSA. It earns 4 out of 5 stars in frontal-impact crash testing and a full 5 stars for side-impact crash safety. It has a 3-star rating for rollover resistance. In IIHS testing, a 2021 4Runner earned Good ratings in most crash categories but just a Marginal rating in the challenging small-overlap frontal-offset crash test.

Advantage: Neither

Toyota offers more standard ADAS, but only Jeep offers a blind-spot warning system.

Infotainment and Technology

2021 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Rear Quarter View

2021 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

Lower-trim versions of the 2021 Jeep Wrangler have a basic 5-inch audio display. If you want to use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, you'll need to upgrade to the available 7- or 8-inch touchscreen interface. Both support wired smartphone integration, and the latter includes a factory navigation system. Some Jeep Wranglers have rear-seat USB ports.

Every 2022 Toyota 4Runner has an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment interface with wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. Rear-seat USB ports are standard. Factory navigation is available on most trims.

Advantage: Neither

These systems offer similar features and functionality, so you'll want to schedule some test drives to determine your favorite.

Comfort and Utility

2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Sport Rear Quarter View

2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Sport

In many ways, the 2021 Jeep Wrangler is a toy for adults. You can remove the roof on any Wrangler, whether it has the convertible-type soft top or the more robust hardtop. You can also take off the doors and fold down the windshield during off-road adventures. Drain plugs in the floors make it easier to clean up after you get home.

The downside of this transformability is some inconvenience during mundane tasks. There is no overhead liftgate on the Jeep. The side-hinged lower gate has a heavy, full-size spare tire mounted on it, and it swings from left to right. You get used to it, but it's inconvenient during curbside loading. On hardtop Wranglers, you can flip up the rear glass to load groceries.

At least there's ample cargo capacity. The 4-door Wrangler provides 31.7 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 72.4 cubic feet when folded.

In comparison, the 2022 Toyota 4Runner feels much more conventional. It has a traditional single-piece overhead liftgate; although, the rear glass powers down separately. With the back glass and all the side windows down, the 4Runner offers much the same sensory experience as a Wrangler without its roof.

The Toyota has the edge in cargo capacity. The 4Runner has a generous 47.2 cubic feet of capacity behind the second-row seats. With the rear seats folded, it maxes out at 89.7 cubic feet. A high cargo floor is one drawback to 4Runner ownership. To address this, Toyota offers a slide-out cargo deck on 5-passenger 4Runners that makes it easier to load heavy items with minimal impact on total cargo volume (it maxes out at 88.8 cubic feet with the sliding deck).

Inside, the 2022 Toyota 4Runner looks old-fashioned but proves quite user-friendly. Its oversized buttons and dials are clearly labeled and easy to manipulate, even when you're wearing gloves. And although it's still a climb into the cabin (as it is in the Wrangler), the 4Runner's seats are roomy and supportive.

Advantage: Neither

For open-air adventures, get the Jeep. If comfort and space are priorities, get the Toyota.

Learn More About the Jeep Wrangler and Toyota 4Runner

If you'd like to learn more about these SUVs, be sure to read our expert reviews of the 2021 Jeep Wrangler and 2022 Toyota 4Runner. To find out how people like you rate models in this segment, be sure to check out our ratings from verified vehicle owners.

Also, please keep in mind that while the information in this article was accurate and valid on September 15, 2021, it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker's website or your local dealership.

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