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Toyota 4Runner vs Toyota Highlander



  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    is not AWD, not even close.

    Well, it really is, but only with good traction.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    been a quiter!

    Still trying to head off Bush's war, even today.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    are promised nightly here in San Francisco...

    Loved that post about the asphalt/concrete comparison...even though no-one has laid concrete around here in 50 years due to the cost, so that what there is left is cracked and buckling, causing that rough ride that highlander owner posted about....

    Of course, concrete doesn't last as long.

    And some AWD is better than no AWD, even in mid-priced Toyota crossovers! LOL

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • brad_22brad_22 Posts: 154
    ...recently gave the Highlander a "9" out of 10 when compared against the off-roading capability of some other cross-over SUVs. I know this doesn't qualify the HL as a boulder-basher, but they did have some nice comments about the Highlander's performance in the snow.

    That "AWD" has to be good for something! : )
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I suppose the X5 and ML aren't crossover vehicles.

    "concrete doesn't last as long..."

    IMMHO concrete will last a lot longer than asphalt provided the under-layment is properly prepared.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    that was what I meant to say: asphalt doesn't last as long.

    Soon you will need a hummer just to traverse the supposedly-paved roads of California...

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    It would really help a lot if we could outlaw studded tires or even put a surcharge on them based on the number of days they were not needed in each county.

    Surcharge would be dedicated to repairing the roadbed damage by stud useage.
  • afmsc89afmsc89 Posts: 1
    Reading through the messages, everything boils down to preference. My wife has a 02 HL Limited with AWD V6 and I have the 4R Limited V8. I had the opportunity to drive the HL to Columbus OH from SA,TX and to handled and performed as well as my 4R. If you're a person mover I would go with the HL if you do outside activities and want a more eclectic SUV I would pick the 4R. Either way, they are both worth the $$$ Both SUVs provide the quality and dependiblity I have expected and come to appreciate for over 25 years.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Your 4R could have made that trip safely in the worse snow/ice storm of the century, the HL wouldn't have gotten more than a block fromyour home.

    If the HL is as comfortable and reliable as my 01 AWD RX (it is, close anyway) then you made the right choice for a fair-weather drive.
  • I'd just finished test-driving the Pilot EX-L/NAV (eh...*hand see-sawing back and forth*...bit overrated, I thought) and, since the Toyota dealership was just down the road, stopped by to test drive the HL Limited.

    I wasn't all that impressed with the Highlander, either, and my hubby and I agreed that we needed a bit more cargo room. With two dogs and plans for me to do a bit of travel nursing in Phoenix and Seattle, we knew we'd need AWD or 4WD and a NAV.

    I'd taken a few peeks on-line at the 4Runner, and my brother (a mechanic back home) couldn't praise it enough. Decided to take a V6 out for a spin...and LOVED it. My chest was pushed back into the seat when I gave the accelerator a less-than-gentle nudge, the cargo room was just what we needed, and though the 'Runner's turning radius will never beat my Accord's on-a-dime nimbleness, it still hung a u-turn in less space than I expected.

    Four and a half hours (and much negotiation 'tween me, the sales manager, and my brother on my cell phone) later, I was taking my new "baby" home. By the way, the NAV's been a Godsend; I'm not afraid of getting lost anymore.
  • stevtecstevtec Posts: 4
    You see that black pickup truck all the way out near the water across the deep sand?


    Our "not AWD" Highlander made it all the way through 5-6 in deep sand out to the water near where that truck was without much of a problem. Our "not AWD" Highlander also made it all the way up the 2-3 mile sand road which also had some deep stuff to cut through as well without much of a problem.

    Our "not AWD" Highlander also made it through the DC blizzards this past winter which had schools shut down for over a week. It got my fiance to and from the hospital she works at everyday without a problem. It also made it through a blizzard from the DC area up to Pennsylvania and back over Christmas. When the HL started slipping and sliding a bit, the VSC/TRAC system did its thing and kept it on the road when other vehicles were sitting in ditches.

    Here's my car....


    It took almost two hours to dig that sucker out of nearly 2 FEET of snow.

    Now here's our "not AWD" Highlander...


    We used our rear bumper and the "not AWD" system in combination as a "shovel" and I had that thing out and ready to get my fiance to the hospital in about 2 minutes. You see how clear it is around it? Thats all thanks to our "not AWD" system working. :-)

    By the way, there was a 2WD Rodeo stuck in the middle of a halfway plowed road on the way back from dropping my fiance off at the hospital she works at. To get around them, I drove our "not AWD" Highlander around them THROUGH A SNOWBANK without a problem. After I parked in our parking spot which was only shoveled with our "rear bumper" and only somebody with a AWD system could get into it, I went back and helped PUSH the people with the stuck 2WD Rodeo to get them going.

    And whereas I have to be extremely careful and light-foot it in my Maxima during wet/rainy weather when pulling out, especially on an incline, you can simply stomp on it in our "not AWD" Highlander without a care in the world and there is always plenty of traction.

    Yeah, the HL doesn't have any locking differentials. We don't need one. It doesn't even have a limited slip besides the center diff - VSC/TRAC replaces that and then some. And no, it doesn't have a low-range transfer case. We don't need that either. But for a "not AWD" AWD system, the HL sure does do a pretty damn good job of doing things and going places where 2WD's can't get!

    Thank you, drive through. image

    - Steve
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    You drove backward before taking the picture, was that to simulate RWD in a FWD vehicle and is that how you outdid the other vehicles?


    Rear bumper as snow shovel, definitely a RWD capability.

    Look, I survived too many years in north central MT with only RWD to question the extra advantage and capability of the HL and/or RX AWD system. I would certainly expect an HL or RX to be able, even more capable, of doing the same.

    Where I am coming from:

    Two Jeeps, and 85 and a 92, both with the "deluxe" AWD/4WD system. If you're shopping, or looking, for capability close to those, as was/am I, then the HL nor the RX will not be even a close match.

    I was hoping the RX330, with the new brake modulation AWD system, would bring it closer to the Jeep drivetrain standard, but now I have learned of a firmware "time-out", maybe as little as 45 seconds, to protect the ABS/VSC/Trac/AWD/BD/BA pump motor from being overtaxed and thereby over-heating.

    At this point I will probably still buy an RX330, but will devise a ciruit so the pump motor can be more directly and but still automatically activated.

    I will be buying the air suspension model and WILL be adding wheel spacers all around so snowchains can be safely used, if ever required.

    Oh, my 78 911 Targa has been out on the west coast sandy beaches quite often, it's a [non-permissible content removed] cleaning out the sand afterwards from the wheelies...

    Never bothered with tire pressures either.
  • stevtecstevtec Posts: 4
    That's easy. Once it starts snowing, it's pretty much snowy all winter long, right? So you can take your 2WD vehicle and put some good winter tires on it and even add chains if you want and you'll be doing just as well if not better than a 4WD/AWD vehicle w/o winter tires. In Finland (spent some time here on business), hardly ANYBODY has 4WD/AWD. Most cars are FWD, and when the snowy seasons starts they just put on studded tires. The Finns all have two sets of tires.

    Here in the DC area the climate is a bit different. There could be 6 inches of snow to plow through one day, and completely dry the next. Nobody uses chains around here. Nobody uses winter tires either. You'll just rip them to shreds as soon as the roads are plowed in a day or so and then it's back to dry pavement. That's why AWD is useful around here. You can run a single set of tires that will work "okay" in all conditions and AWD gives you the extra traction when you need it.

    But comments like these.....
    ========== wwest ==========
    "Neither the RX nor the HL have usefull AWD systems. There is just enough fluid in the VC to allow them to be marketed as AWD without incurring customer legal response.

    HL is not AWD, not even close.
    Well, it really is, but only with good traction.

    Your 4R could have made that trip safely in the worse snow/ice storm of the century, the HL wouldn't have gotten more than a block fromyour home."
    ========== /wwest ==========
    ...are pretty misleading, IMHO.

    The HL/RX do "not have useful AWD systems"? Not useful to whom? Someobdy that needs to go boulder hopping??! image If that's what you mean, heavy-duty off road, then yes, I'll agree to that. But our HL's AWD system has handled mild to moderate duty off-roading just fine for us. Whether it's unplowed 6in snow roads, or fairly deep sand at the beach, its made it through it all.

    A snow/ice storm of the decade (not century) just rolled through the mid-atlantic / northeast corridor this past winter, and my fiance was able to make it from the DC area to Pennsylvania WHILE IT WAS SNOWING/ICING just fine. Tons of 2WD cars were off the road and in fact I was begging and pleading for her to NOT make the trip but she insisted. AWD + VSC/TRAC worked just fine. And while my parents had their 2WD cars parked at the bottom of the hill-top development they live on, our AWD Highlander made it just fine all the way up the hill.

    Now, could a 2WD with snow tires and possibly snow chains have done all this? Sure, I don't see why not. But we don't live in a climate where there is a regular and severe enough snowy season to actually warrant buying and planning for this equipment. Montana is a bit different. So is Finland.

    If you're to the point where you're hitting this 45 second timeout on the VSC/TRAC, then you're already in it deep enough that you probably need a better AWD/4WD system anyways with either locking or limited slip diffs both front and rear. In that case, buy a Jeep. image Even on the beach, snow, and other bad weather, VSC/TRAC has never been working for more than an instant or two for us.

    As for your Porsche on the beach...

    My Maxima has 6.1in of ground clearance, performance biased tires, and an open-diff FWD setup. I could have made it out on the beach just fine too. After a rainstorm packing it all down. image The 5-6in deep completely dry and grainy stuff we cut through in the HL AWD would have gotten my Maxima stuck almost right away, and I bet it would have gotten your Porsche stuck too.

    So anyways, maybe the HL/RX AWD system is "not useful" to you. But that doesn't mean that you can make a blanket statement about it claiming that it is in general "not useful" to all people. It's certainly been VERY useful to us both in getting my fiance to work through snow/ice when the entire city is shut down, and in having a little fun on the weekend also. image

    - Steve
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    that a simple FWD RX or HL with VSC/Trac wouldn't have done just as well??

    And even I can tell you that a RWD RX or HL would have done all you asked.

    Beach sand WAS dry and grainy, that's why so much of it ended up inside the car.

    Grew up in NE Arkansas, mostly, fifth grade in Philly. Other than tractor and mules learned to drive in NH (and Goose Bay) in the USAF. Lots of experience negotiating in and around B47s and KC97s on an ice and snow covered ramp.

    Then off to MT (and ND) for Boeing on the Minuteman project. Met my wife in MT and stayed over for a bit.

    Settled in Seattle in 65.

    My core feeling is that the AWD RX and HL are a waste of money over the FWD with VSC and Trac.
  • 243243 Posts: 6
    I am looking at the highlander / 4runner or lexus 330.. after all the extra's the toyota's aren't that far behind in price. I am leaning towards the lexus .. any comments.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The only reason I know of to buy one of these is if you expect to encounter really adverse roadbed conditions this coming winter. It truly does have a 4WD, rear biased to boot, and enough suspension clearance for snowchains if needed.

    If you expect to encounter this type of condition in an HL or RX then get the RX330 with air suspension (it has more rear tire/strut clearance) and add 1" wheel spacers all around so you can use snowchains safely.

    The 4runner AWD/4WD system will not give up and leave you stranded on a snowy mountain pass some dark and stormy night.

    The HL or RX might very well.
  • terrafirmaterrafirma Posts: 212
    This is kind of a unfair comparison. They are not for the same market. Toyota agrees with me otherwise they wouldn't be selling the two side by side.

    The Highlander, imo, is like the Subaru Outback. AWD or FWD (both capable of good traction in incliment weather) and good cargo capacity. Designed for the, as Nissan would say, "On-road adventures".

    The 4Runner is designed to be what the 4Runner always has been- legendary off-road. DSC, VDC, TC, XREAS, locking diff, 4hi, 4lo...I mean this ain't designed just for a snowy day to grandma's house!

    The 4Runner is on a truck chassis. Rugged, tough frame for off-roading, live axle for articulation, more ground clearance, full array of skid plates, humongus 4 wheel disc brakes. The features are designed for things other than what the Highlander is. The 4Runner is a LEV vehicle and I assume the Highlander is too.
    Fortunately, the brilliant minds at Toyota also made the 03 4Runner so good ON-road that it's really a "do it all and do it all WELL" suv. That's what an suv should be right? Do everything. The 4Runner can do that.

    BUT, you don't do "everything" and don't want to. The Highlander fills the bill. Car body, car ride and plenty of room. It gets great reviews and I'm sure they will continue with a new-improved generation Highlander to keep the success rolling.

    Designed for two different markets. Both perfectly happy to do what they were designed to.
  • Greetings:

    I am wondering if anyone here test drive or own both 2004 4Runner v6 sport edition and 2004 Highlander v6? If so, which one is punchier (more responsive) when passing other cars on the highway and which one is quieter?

    Advance thanks for your feedback.

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    the HL is more punchy at highway speeds, although the Runner is no slouch. Unfortunately, it was not quite a fair comparison in that regard, as the Runner was a 4WD, and the HL was a FWD.

    4Runner is significantly quieter at highway speeds than the HL.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • koho955koho955 Posts: 97
    The 4-runner is way more comfortable for a 6' man than the HL. The HL drives better (less truck) but is definitly not comfortable. The problem is the steering wheel need to telescope and the arm rests need to be part of the center storage conmpartment.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Off-road, highway comfort, and wintertime adverse roadbed conditions. Oftentimes the latter need dictates, regretably, an off-road capable vehicle.
  • bmurraybmurray Posts: 2
    Sorry, but I have to disagree with Koho955 here. Drove the 4runner V6 sport numerous times b/c I was positive it was the car for me...I'm 6'1" and felt like I was back in my corolla in the 4runner. My 5'4" wife agreed. She said she felt like a sardine and could only imagine what it was like for me. My left shoulder also sat/rubbed against the left pillar. Headroom was lacking as well. Ended up buying the HL V6 and am extremely happy I did..MUCH more visibility and room up front.
  • One is a light duty truck the other is a go anywhere Camry.

    Flame suit on !
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Actually, the Camry is being compared to something else. :-)


    Toyota Camry vs Honda CR-V


    Steve, Host
  • Apparantly, the Camry is the universal comparison vehicle, LOL!


    Did anybody compare it to an H2 yet?
  • twins2twins2 Posts: 16
    I looked at this extensively last year. Both are good cars. If price isn't a huge cosideration, go with the lexus 330 AWD. The mechanics are very similar but its just nicer and worth it if you spend time in your car. If price is a consideration, get the Highlander. The 4runner is on a truck platform and you'll notice the difference in the ride, and most people don't really do serious offroading. I got the lexus 330 and love it but passed it on to my folks since a minivan is in my future (had it been the highlander, i would be considered only a good son and not a great one).


    I borrowed it in this recent snowstorm and it handled great. Love the navigation and rear camera as well. The prices should get better as people try to get the hybrid version. I would stick with the regular rx 330. Good luck
  • bazbaz Posts: 2
    Currently have a '03 Grand Cherokee LT Thinking about the Highlander V6 or 4Runner V8. Regularly tow trailer with 3000 pound capacity. Will I have any problem with the Highlander? Any thoughts on which to get?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Anyone comparing?

    Steve, Host
  • agnostoagnosto Posts: 205
    Not sure your preference, but I can assure you there is no comparison between Highlander and 4Runner ... I just purchased a 2006 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4WD V8 (5 Speed) Shadow Mica/Stone Leather and I feel so good and safe in it and the power ohhh boy it is something else ... its towing capacity is 7000 lbs.

    The driving experience is also so good ... I got the Michelin Cross Terrain tires which it helps significant.

    Good luck... :)
This discussion has been closed.