Toyota offers two popular midsize SUVs: the family-friendly Highlander and the 4Runner, a legendary off-roader. Find out the differences between the two sibling SUVs in this 2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 Toyota 4Runner comparison.
2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 Toyota 4Runner: What are the differences?
In this 2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 Toyota 4Runner comparison, we evaluated several areas. This includes performance, gas mileage, towing, off-road capabilities, safety, passenger and cargo space, warranty coverage, reliability, and price.
Highlander vs. 4Runner: Performance and gas mileage
On the performance front, the 2023 Toyota Highlander offers two engine options. Its turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four engine generates 265 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque, while its hybrid engine produces 243 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. In comparison, all 2023 Toyota 4Runner models are powered by a 4.0-liter V-6 engine, which generates 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque. The 4Runner has a higher maximum horsepower, but the Highlander has a higher maximum torque.
For efficiency, the Highlander has the advantage. The gas-powered Highlander has an estimated fuel economy of up to 25 combined mpg, while the Highlander Hybrid has a gas mileage of up to 36 combined mpg. In comparison, the 4Runner has an estimated fuel economy of up to 17 combined mpg.
Highlander vs. 4Runner: Towing
On the towing front, both the gas-powered 2023 Highlander and 2023 4Runner can tow up to 5,000 pounds. However, the Highlander Hybrid has a towing capacity of just 3,500 pounds.
Highlander vs. 4Runner: Off-road capabilities
The 4Runner has the advantage for off-road capabilities. While the Highlander is geared for on-road driving, the 4Runner is one of the most highly capable off-road SUVs. Compared to the basic all-wheel drive system that’s offered for the Highlander, the 4Runner offers a more advanced four-wheel drive system with an available transfer case.
Also, the 4Runner has higher ground clearance than the Highlander (up to 9.6 vs. 8.0 inches). Furthermore, unlike the Highlander, the 4Runner offers an off-road-focused model with the TRD Pro trim, which includes off-road features like all-terrain tires, an off-road-tuned suspension, and off-road drive modes.
Highlander vs. 4Runner: Safety
On the safety front, the Highlander has the advantage. For the previous model year, the Highlander earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, which is the highest possible IIHS rating. However, the 4Runner didn’t receive any safety honor from IIHS.
Highlander vs. 4Runner: Passenger and cargo space
Which Toyota SUV is bigger: the 2023 Highlander or the 2023 4Runner? For exterior dimensions, the Highlander is slightly bigger than the 4Runner, with a longer wheelbase and overall length. This larger size results in a more spacious interior for the Highlander. It has a total passenger volume of 141.3 cu-ft, compared to 128.0 cu-ft for the 4Runner three-row model and 93.7 cu-ft for the two-row model.
However, the 4Runner offers slightly more storage space. It has a maximum cargo capacity of 89.7 cu-ft, compared to 84.3 cu-ft for the Highlander.
Highlander vs. 4Runner: Warranty coverage and reliability
For warranty coverage, both the Highlander and 4Runner have the backing of a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. However, the Highlander is slightly more reliable than the 4Runner. It earned a J.D. Power reliability rating of 82/100, compared to 81/100 for the 4Runner.
Highlander vs. 4Runner: Price
Which Toyota SUV costs more: the 2023 Highlander or the 2023 4Runner? The price information is not yet available for the 2023 model year, but both SUVs will likely cost slightly more than the 2022 versions.
The starting price of the 2022 Highlander ranges from $35,855 MSRP for the L trim up to $49,510 MSRP for the Platinum Hybrid trim. In comparison, the starting price of the 2022 4Runner ranges from $38,105 MSRP for the SR5 trim up to $52,920 MSRP for the TRD Pro trim.
2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 Toyota 4Runner: Which SUV is better?
In this 2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 Toyota 4Runner SUV comparison, each SUV has various advantages. For the 2023 Highlander, advantages include maximum torque, gas mileage, safety, passenger space, and reliability. Conversely, advantages for the 2023 4Runner include maximum horsepower, off-road capabilities, and cargo space.