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If you like the Toyota brand and are looking for a midsize SUV, then you’ll have a pick of two models: the 4Runner or Highlander. There are various things to like about both SUVs. However, the 2023 Toyota 4Runner has one huge strength over the 2023 Toyota Highlander: off-road capabilities.

2023 Toyota 4Runner has greater off-road capabilities than the 2023 Toyota Highlander

White 2023 Toyota 4Runner midsize SUV driving off-road
2023 Toyota 4Runner | Toyota

SUVs that can head off the beaten path are all the rage these days — and on this front, the 2023 Toyota 4Runner delivers. It’s one of the best off-road SUVs available. If you’re longing for some wilderness adventures, then the 4Runner is the way to go. It has greater off-road capabilities than the 2023 Highlander. While the Highlander is a fine midsize SUV for on-road road family excursions, it’s not as strong for off-road use.

For confident driving over challenging terrain, the 4Runner offers a traction-enhancing four-wheel drive system. With the available transfer case, it’s more advanced than the more basic all-wheel drive setup offered for the Highlander. Plus, the 4Runner has ground clearance of up to 9.6 inches, compared to 8.0 inches for the Highlander. Higher ground clearance makes it safer and more effective for driving over obstacles, such as rocks.

Furthermore, unlike the Highlander, the 4Runner has off-road models with the TRD Pro and TRD Off-Road trims. The most capable and feature-rich one is the TRD Pro, which has all-terrain tires, an off-road-tuned suspension, and off-road drive modes.

2023 4Runner is also better than the 2023 Highlander for driving in adverse weather conditions

Gray 2023 Toyota Highlander midsize SUV parked on roof of building
2023 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

The off-road capabilities of the 2023 Toyota 4Runner provides additional advantages over the 2023 Toyota Highlander. With its superior traction, the 4Runner is better for driving in adverse conditions, such as wet, snowy, or icy roads. For midsize SUV drivers that live in a harsh winter climate with heavy snow, the 4Runner is a good choice. Its high ground clearance also makes it easier to drive in deep snow.

Plus, the off-road capabilities of the 4Runner aid driving on poor-quality roads. Sooner or later, SUV drivers encounter poor-quality roads, such as ones with cracks, potholes, and broken concrete. For these types of road conditions, the 4Runner is the superior choice. 

Other benefits of the Toyota 4Runner over the Highlander

The 2023 4Runner has some other benefits over the 2023 Highlander. This includes a higher horsepower output for its engine. The 4Runner’s 4.0-liter V-6 churns out 270 horsepower. In comparison, Highlander’s turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four engine generates 265 horsepower, while its hybrid powertrain produces 243 horsepower.

Also, the 4Runner provides more storage space. It has a total cargo capacity of 89.7 cu-ft, compared to 84.3 cu-ft for the Highlander. Plus, for additional storage, the 4Runner offers an available sliding rear cargo deck with under-floor storage.

Another benefit of the 4Runner is its configurability. Owners can personalize the midsize SUV in many different ways. Along with the wide range of trim choices, this includes the option for either a two-row or three-row model, versatile cargo configurations, and a plethora of accessories. 

With its off-road capabilities, the 2023 Toyota 4Runner has a huge strength over the 2023 Toyota Highlander. The off-road prowess is a key element to keep in mind for midsize SUV drivers, particularly those that aim for wilderness adventures.

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