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Toyota and Lexus are buyers’ first choices for enjoyable and reliable vehicles. If you’re especially interested in an exceptional off-roader, these brands have answers for that too. Perhaps the most popular option under Toyota’s lineup is the 4Runner, and Lexus’ is the GX. But you might wonder, is the Lexus GX the same as the Toyota 4Runner?

The Lexus GX and Toyota 4Runner are similar

A rear shot of a green 2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro on a forest off-road trail near a creek
2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro rear | Matthew Skwarczek

The 4Runner and the GX have a few similarities, excellent reliability scores being one of them. However, the 4Runner appeals more to the masses because of its focus, performance, and value. And if you’re a tech-lover, the 2020 4Runner is one of the better versions to buy. 

The 4Runner has a 4.0-liter V6 engine that produces 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. You’ll find that the 4Runner offers satisfying power, but the standard five-speed automatic has earned mixed reviews. For instance, reviewers at Edmunds feel like the 4Runner’s transmission shifts smoothly and acknowledges that it’s a bit outdated compared to some class rivals.

Reviews are also mixed regarding the 4Runner’s on-road performance, but it does just fine overall. What’s more impressive is this Toyota’s off-road abilities. The base model trim is off-road ready, but you’ll want to consider the 4Runner TRD trim for more extreme adventures. Towing ability is also a highlight of the 4Runner; it can tow up to 5,000 pounds. According to CR’s testing, the 4Runner can haul a 5,000-pound trailer to 60 mph in about 17 seconds. 

The Lexus GX has more luxury features than the Toyota 4Runner

Is this Lexus GX the Same as the Toyota 4Runner
A 2020 Lexus GX 460 | Lexus

If you’d like to splurge a bit more, the GX is an enticing choice. Many shoppers wonder if the GX is the luxury version of the 4Runner, and that’s true. The GX is also the upscale version of the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, which Toyota doesn’t sell in the U.S. 

As a luxury model, the GX offers several advantages over the 4Runner. The GX is the smoother ride of the two and more powerful. The GX features a 301-hp 4.6-liter V8 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Some critics also feel that the GX makes better use of its interior space than the 4Runner. 

For the most sophisticated off-roading experience, Lexus’ available Off-Road Package is worth considering. This package includes a multi-terrain select function and crawl control. On the inside, the GX impresses with its plush cabin, but it is slightly outdated.

On the plus side, GX has various modern active safety features similar to the 4Runner. However, the 4Runner now comes standard with smartphone apps like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. These features aren’t even available as options on the GX. 

It all comes down to pricing on the Lexus and Toyota SUVs

The GX provides a grander riding experience and opulence. That, of course, comes at a higher price tag. A new GX costs $53,100; the latest 4Runner is $36,340.Both models have earned high reliability and owner satisfaction scores; both present excellent resale value. But the 4Runner is the better choice for its affordability, even as you climb trim levels.

No matter which SUV you go with, you’ll most likely be a fan for life. Toyota has some of the biggest followings with its off-road vehicles, and Lexus closely follows that with some added features to make up for the price. If you can swing the cost of either one, get ready to make some friends.


The 2021 Toyota 4Runner’s Top TRD Trim is Missing a Key Off-Road Feature