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Toyota 4Runner vs Toyota Highlander

jkk1961jkk1961 Posts: 2
edited April 2014 in Toyota
Looking to purchase a reliable SUV. Seems that Toyota is pushing the 2001 4 Runners with incentives, and according to Edmunds, one can be had for about $500 over invoice. The Highlander on the other hand is going around $2000 over invoice. Drove the Highlander and didn't care for the captain's chairs, will be driving a 4 Runner today. The "obvious" choice would seem to be 4 Runner. Any thoughts?


  • gwapogwapo Posts: 20
    It's so easy to decide when you've got much money.
  • johndoe6johndoe6 Posts: 12
    If you like the trucklike ride in an SUV then you should consider the Runner. The Highlander has a more car-like ride according to the posts in the Toyota Highlander topic. You should get what you like and what you can afford.
    Let us know what you think of the Runner and what you have decided to purchase.
  • verywellverywell Posts: 1
    Re 4-Runner as Highlander, 4-runner will be a truck-like handler and ride but a very serviceable vehicle. I just bought a Highlander and it's great; built on a Lexus RS300 chassis and thus car-like in handling and ride; plenty of power with the 220 HP gun. I, too, found first two dealers I went to wanted $500-1000 over sticker-this about two months after its coming on the market. Took delivery on my Highlander on Memorial Day; found a local dealer who discounted it about $1400 below sticker and gave me nearly $1500 more for my trade that other dealers offered; that way, I came out almost $3000 less than the other deals I looked at. You may have to look around to find it but it's worth the effort and wait.
  • off road stuff, then pick the 4Runner. If you are gonna be mostly on cement, but want snow/ice help, go with the Highlander.

    If you are gonna have ppl in the back seats, I think HL. The rear of the 4R is most un-comfy!
  • pillarspillars Posts: 1
    I drove a Highlander about a month ago, fully expecting to like it, based on the reviews. I found the 4 with 2-wheel drive didn't have enough power to handle traffic. Then I tried a 6 with 4-wheel drive. It felt as if the power was constantly shifting (on a straight-away highway) from wheel to wheel, as if they were competing for it. Very unsettling. Not much power.

    Had never driven a 4-Runner. Read the reports. Found a clean '97 SR5. Drove it. Loved it. Bought it.

    This replaces a 1990 Carry wagon with 165,000 miles in mint condition - not a speck of rust - new brakes, shocks, paint. Mint. In case you know anyone looking.
  • I own a 4Runner and a Lexus RX300. Wife likes the Lexus and I like the 4Runner. I feel too removed from the road in the Lexus, but it is more comfy on trips and much more comfy in the rear. Don't expect to off-road in the Highlander. Not made for that.
  • sjsazsjsaz Posts: 10
    I test drove both and found that the Highlander has alot more pick-up & more interior room. But wait until Feb 2002 when I believe the new look 4runner should debut
  • I keep hearing that the new 4 Runner will be out in 2003. If Toyota is planning to release a new 4 Runner in a few months someone would have seen one by now.
  • jf01jf01 Posts: 88
    From what I've been able to find, or put together, the next 4Runner will be out for the 2003 model year, which I think means around mid 2002, like with the Highlander. I think that is also why Toyota is pushing the 4Runner and Corolla, because newer versions will be out sometime this year. I don't know why the Tundra is included with these two though.
  • rmormo Posts: 1
    Hope this info will be helpful to everyone out there. The new 2003 4-Runners will be in Dealer showrooms on Oct. 15th 2002. Yes they will be totally redisigned, much larger with a V8 engine and optional third row seat.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Unless you are offroading or towing on a regular basis, get the highlander - much more comfy ride and more room in the back, not to mention easier on the gas and a few grand cheaper...

    ...well, except that right now, 4Runners are being sold $5-8K below sticker, because in two months plus the 2003 will be here, and with the dramatic improvements they are apparently making, no-one will look twice at the 2002 again!

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

  • beagles3beagles3 Posts: 132
    These two vehicles are at opposite ends of the spectrum. I personally own a 99 SR5 4X4 4-Runner with 100,000 mi on the odometer. Great vehicle with no problems. But, if you want comfy, go with the Highlander,but, if you don't mind a stiffer ride, I think the 4-Runner is more durable for multiple usage. But, the 4-Runner is definately more $$,so, if that's an issue, buy the Highlander. The 4-Runner rides on a truck frame and the Highlander on a car frame.
  • I test drove a used 01 Highlander Limited for a day. Comfortable,carlike ride,very well appointed.I really liked it.{not it's price}, Then I test drove 01 used SR5 4Runner. Smaller inside, truck ride and feel.Bought the Runner the next day. Paid less for the Runner and not as luxo as the Highlander but I think it will be much more of a 4wheel drive machine than the Highlander. I suggest drive em both and consider how you will be mostly using it. Both are good dependable machines. Build quality and value is good. Their are bargains out there if you look long enough.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    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.
  • brad_22brad_22 Posts: 154
    Have you ever shared your research about the HL AWD system with anyone at Toyota? I'm curious what their response is/would be.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    But lots and lots of email traffic to/from:

    The responses are usually so cryptic as to need translation, but by who?

    "the description of the VC on the Lexus web page is from the dictionary, and may not reflect the actual implementation."

    Some of them are posted on the RX300 thread.
  • greggsa4greggsa4 Posts: 24
    We have both the 4runner and the Highlander. The 4runner works out better if I'm hauling something (the rear window goes down and sometimes I have to stick things out of it). The Highlander drives much nicer . We love it. Buy the vehicle that fits your needs. Also, I saw pictures of the new 4runner on one of edmunds web sites. It might have been in the 4runner town hall I don't remember. If you look around enough you'll find it. It looks alot like the Sequioa.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    is way more practical for around town useage, and smoother in its ride. It also has a lower-emissions engine! (yay!) Plus, it gets better mileage.

    But in just a couple of weeks, the new 4Runner is going to be here, with WAY more power and lots of new luxury amenities and techno gizmos oriented to offroading, without much of a price increase. Of course, the HL is cheaper. And now, with the new Runner upsized, HL will probably be a little smaller too.

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

  • that there will be a substantial price hike for the 2003 redesign.
    It is impossible for Toyota to maintain prices at 2002 levels or even with a slight price increase.
    Price increase, imo, will be proportionally to the incorporation of new equipment and other techno gizmos.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    base price has increased, but middle of the pack 4WD is going to be around $30K - they have released prices - and that is the same as the old model. Apparently 4Runner sales dropped substantially in 2001 and it scared the Toyota folks, so they lowered the price a little and added lots of stuff for the '03 to get sales back up to 100,000 annually.

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

  • abtsellerabtseller Posts: 291
    03 4Runner. Its an SR5 4wd. Nicely equipped. Very nice vehicle. Much bigger than the 02. Has the 4.7L V8 from the Tundra/ Sequoia. These babies will be bringing full sticker for a while. Lots of back seat room/ leg room.

    MSRP on this one is $34,xxx, it has a sunroof, all the airbags, the aluminum wheels, roof rack, mats, and the dual cargo area.

  • esswebessweb Posts: 51
    The 4 Runner V8 Sport is about 3k more than a similarly equiped highlander V6 non-limited. Other than the off-roading which few of us do, the 4 Runner offer a V8 engine that doesn't consume any more gas(a little more), a 5 speed auto vs. a 4, and more JBL speakes if you option, a side curtain airbag instead of side airbag in the HL. Oh, and the suspension is enhanced in the Sport version also. I think all that worth the 3K extra, if it is still within your budget.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    SR5 highlanders rarely top $30K, and have to be fully loaded to do so. If you want a 2WD, their range is around $28K. 4Runner sport V-8 starts at $34K, so that is $6K, not 3. Perhaps you meant the SR5, which is $30K, and is only about $2K more than HL with the V-6.

    But in that case, you do not get the sport suspension in the Runner, and the mileage is 15/19 Runner vs 18/22 HL. As soon as you option in the JBL sound system in the Runner, the price gap widens again.

    It remains to be seen (and varies widely around the country) whether good deals can be had on the Runner right now, given its newness, whereas dealers are bargaining on HLs.

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

  • esswebessweb Posts: 51
    4 Runner V8 Sport + DJ + GY = 29986 (invoice)

    HL V6 SR5 + AG + CQ + HE + VD +BE = 26688 (invoice)

    In order to get the VSC and Side Airbag in HL, you probably have to order all those other things. And 4 runner does offer more standard features like privacy glass, remote keyless and stuff.
  • mabucfanmabucfan Posts: 5
    I have to call in the experts here! We are down to models in our search for a new vehicle: the 4Runner and the Highlander. The reviews for the Highlander have been spectacular, and I enjoyed the ride. Drove the 4Runner yesterday - and really enjoyed that ride as well!

    The issues I have, and what I'm looking for advice on:

    1. My key considerations for the new vehicle: storage space (I've been driving a Civic for 7 years) and enhanced handling in inclement weather - is the AWD a better option, or 4WD? I am not a hardcore off roader.

    2. On the 4Runner - can you stay in 4WD with the SR5 V8? If I stick with the V6, are the 4WD modes easy to understand, and get into while driving?

    Any help here is appreciated.

  • twobrownstwobrowns Posts: 52
    I recentlly purchased an 03 highlander. Prior to the purchased I test drove both back to back and I prefered the car like handling of the Highlander and the better gas milage and I would seldom get off road . The 4runner is a terific veh. and I am certain I would have been satisfied with this veh.
  • tfuzztfuzz Posts: 93
    I traded a 2001 Highlander for a 2003 4Runner. Both are excellent vehicles. I would not have traded except 1) I prefer a truck based SUV for towing our pop-up camper, 2) occasionally I need to go through a blizzard (drifting snow) in the middle of the night to get to work, 3) I expect to do some light off roading (fire roads, that sort of thing) more often in the future, and 4) I frequently carry two dogs in the back and like to be able to roll the back window down part way for better ventilation (while parked).

    The HL was a little more comfortable (for me anyway--definitely more car-like), had better gas mileage, and I thought was a little more fun to drive. It was also cheaper to insure and had lower property taxes. I didn't notice a whole lot of difference in interior room between the two, but you can check the exact measurements in the specs. If space is your main concern you might also check out the Honda Pilot. The HL did just fine in inclement weather, even ice and snow (but doesn't have the ground clearance or locking differential for really deep snow). If you want/need a truck based SUV the Runner would probably fit your need better. If you want/need a car based SUV look at the HL. Except reasons mentioned above I would probably rather have my HL back. However, for a truck the Runner is VERY nice and you don't give up much comfort (for highway cruising) at all.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    1. split decision - Runner has more storage space, but if all you will be facing is rain and snow on pavement, the AWD is all you really need. The edge goes to HL - save yourself a few $$.

    2. On the V-8 Runner, you are in 4WD all the time. On the V-6, you go to 2WD (rear drive) by pressing a button on the dash - it is very easy and you will not even notice it.

    Runner is much heavier, will drive as such, and will get worse gas mileage. BUT if interior space is your number one priority, it does have an advantage over HL.

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

  • gklatvgklatv Posts: 35
    I own '00 4Runner and '03 HL. Most likely you will be happier with HL in a long run - quieter and more comfortable car-like ride, plenty of interior room and cargo space, AWD system with V6, better gas mileage. I love my 4Runner, but prefer wife's HL going places with family.
  • If you drive an 03 4Runner I think you would agree it is a much nicer vehicle than the 00 4Runner. I'm sure there is a big differnce in ride quality between your 00 4Runner and your 03 HL but the difference(after driving both 03 models) in my opinion is insignificant.
This discussion has been closed.