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The 2021 Toyota 4Runner is a legendary off-road SUV with few competitors. However, the 2021 Chevy Tahoe Z71 should command the same respect among car enthusiasts.

Traditionally only thought of as a family SUV, the Tahoe is actually quite versatile. And it may take 4Runner loyalists by surprise, but the Tahoe Z71 is one of the best off-roaders of 2021.

The 2021 Toyota 4Runner’s affordability comes at a cost

A silver 2021 Toyota 4Runner parked on a dirt road
The 2021 Toyota 4Runner on display | Toyota

In a way, pitting the 2021 Chevy Tahoe Z71 against the 2021 Toyota 4Runner is like comparing apples to oranges.

Even the base Tahoe is priced well above most 4Runner models, and the Z71 costs nearly $10,000 more than the top-tier 4Runner TRD Pro. However, you really get what you pay for when it comes to these elite off-roaders.

Starting at an MSRP of $60,495, the 2021 Chevy Tahoe Z71 blends ruggedness with luxuriousness.

Meanwhile, the 2021 Toyota 4Runner isn’t quite a vehicle you want to use as your family hauler. While it’s outfitted with supreme off-roading equipment, its interior isn’t ideal for running errands or going on road trips.

The 2021 Chevy Tahoe Z71’s plush interior makes everyone happy

A front-facing look at a white 2021 Chevy Tahoe Z71 driving down a dirt road
The 2021 Chevy Tahoe Z71 in action | Chevrolet

You can easily identify where your extra bucks are going when you buy a Tahoe Z71. It comes with leather upholstery, a tri-zone automatic climate control system, and a wireless device charger.

Meanwhile, 2021 Toyota 4Runner owners will have to settle for a dual-zone automatic climate control system and synthetic leather upholstery. Notably, Toyota makes leather seats available via a package, but it doesn’t offer wireless charging.

The 2021 Tahoe Z71 also features a 10.2-inch infotainment touchscreen display compatible with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Unfortunately, the 4Runner is stuck in the past. It only has an eight-inch touchscreen and the wired versions of those smartphone mirroring systems.

Additionally, Chevrolet provides a wealth of packages to improve your 2021 Tahoe Z71 experience. Some of the available features include an automatic heated steering wheel, a navigation system, and front/rear park assist.

Off-road showdown: Is the Tahoe Z71 or 4Runner more capable?

Adventurous drivers know that power isn’t the end-all-be-all when it comes to off-road efficiency. However, a little extra juice never hurts.

Thankfully, the Tahoe Z71 has power in spades, as Chevrolet gave it a bit of a boost for 2021. It features a 355-hp 3.5-liter V6 that leaves the 4Runner’s 270-hp 4.0-liter V6 in its dust.

Like the 2021 Toyota 4Runner, the 2021 Chevy Tahoe Z71 has a four-wheel-drive system, skid plates, and a two-speed transfer case. The Tahoe Z71 also features a heavy-duty air filtration system, so you can ride in comfort while tackling the most daunting terrain.

Meanwhile, shoppers can add Chevrolet’s Advanced Trailering Package, Max Trailering Package, and Off-Road Capability Package. While costly, you’ll gain features like magnetic ride control, an air-ride adaptive suspension system, and hitch guidance for the rearview camera.

In his review of the Tahoe Z71, Christian Wardlaw of J.D. Power highly recommended adding the Off-Road Capability Package. He stated, “In my experience, the combination [of magnetic ride control and the air-ride adaptive suspension] filters out nearly all impact harshness while at the same time eliminating nearly all unwanted body motions.”

The 2021 Chevy Tahoe Z71 is the off-road king

Chevrolet’s three-row SUV isn’t the cheapest 4Runner alternative. However, you’ll be much happier in the end if you choose the 2021 Chevy Tahoe Z71 over Toyota’s off-road icon.

Not only does the Tahoe Z71 beat the 2021 Toyota 4Runner at its own game. But Chevrolet’s large SUV also doubles as a vehicle your entire family will love.