New SUVs debut every year, but sometimes it’s nice to stick with the classics. The Dodge Durango and Toyota 4Runner roared onto the scene roughly two decades ago, and they’re still going strong. But with two well-established vehicles, it can be hard to choose a favorite.
If you’re torn, the 2021 Dodge Durango might be the better option, according to AutoTrader.
The Dodge Durango’s pros and cons
The 2021 Dodge Durango starts at $33,260. The base SXT model comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 293 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. It gets 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway and seats up to seven people. Standard features with the SXT trim include an 8.4-inch touchscreen, daytime running lights, and a self-dimming rearview mirror.
But where the Durango really shines is in its upper trims. New for 2021 is the Durango SRT Hellcat, boasting a 6.2-liter V8 harnessing an incredible 710 hp. In fact, AutoTrader notes this engine is so powerful that Dodge provides owners with a free day of training to ensure they get the most out of the vehicle.
Upper-level trims also offer significantly more features, including heated seats, a 10.1-inch touchscreen, and additional advanced driver aids. With the top tow package, this midsize crossover can trailer 8,700 pounds.
AutoTrader reviewers also praise the Durango’s appearance, easy handling, and impressive power. But they note a few drawbacks too. In particular, the most advanced safety features are available only on the highest trim levels. That means the price would spike significantly if you wanted more safety.
Reviewers also call out the Durango’s unimpressive fuel economy and underwhelming cabin. They describe it as “generally easy to operate but nothing special.”
What you’ll get with the Toyota 4Runner
The 2021 Toyota 4Runner is a true SUV with body-on-frame construction. It has a slightly higher base price, starting at $36,590. Its 4.0-liter V6 engine makes 270 hp and gets 16 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway.
Standard features include a backup camera, leather-trimmed steering wheel, and 8.0-inch touchscreen. The 4Runner also comes standard with several advanced safety features, including lane departure alert, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams.
AutoTrader reviewers praise the 4Runner’s impressive off-road capabilities. They like the short nose, making it better-suited to tackling steep inclines. This midsize SUV also offers two-year/25,000-mile maintenance coverage and is well-built with good resale value.
However, the 4Runner’s fuel economy is even worse than the Durango’s. The Toyota offers no other optional powertrains, and test drivers found it didn’t handle particularly well on paved roads.
Why the Durango prevails
In many ways, the Dodge Durango and Toyota 4Runner are very similar. The 4Runner’s abundance of safety features and stellar off-roading capabilities certainly make it a worthy competitor.
However, the Durango offers a few more advantages. AutoTrader points out the Dodge is the clear winner appearance-wise, especially compared with the 4Runner’s dated cabin. The Durango also offers more impressive towing capability.
Perhaps the 2021 Durango’s biggest advantage is its power. Though the 4Runner has only one powertrain, the Durango offers choices ranging from a basic V6 to a 710-hp supercharged V8.
All in all, it’s hard to go wrong with either SUV. But if you want more powertrain options, better towing capability, and a more aesthetically pleasing vehicle, the 2021 Dodge Durango is the way to go.