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The 2023 Toyota Highlander and 4Runner are two of the most sought-after midsize SUVs. They’ve been on the market for decades and hold solid reputations for quality. However, because the Highlander is the more popular SUV, consumers might assume it also has the better resale value among Toyota midsize SUVs. However, that isn’t the case: The Toyota 4Runner holds that distinction.

Here’s why the 2023 Toyota 4Runner is the automaker’s three-row SUV with the better resale value.

Resale value: 2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 Toyota 4Runner

A gray 2023 Toyota 4Runner midsize SUV is towing a boat on the road.
2023 Toyota 4Runner | Toyota

As is typically the case with Toyota vehicles, the 2023 Highlander and the 2023 4Runner have excellent resale value. Because of this, owners can rest assured these vehicles will be worth more than most SUVs in the future, making them wise investments. However, the 2023 Toyota 4Runner’s used value ranges from $35,494 and $59,418. Of course, the exact number depends on the trim level and other factors, such as condition. The 4Runner has a resale value of 64.4%. Because of this, it earned a Kelley Blue Book 2023 Best Resale Value Award and ranks sixth out of 10 models. This is the list of all vehicle types, not just SUVs.

Regarding the 2023 Toyota Highlander, it’s not far off from the value of the 4Runner. Currently, the Highlander is still worth between $33,651 and $55,404. This figure is according to Edmunds. After five years, the 2023 Highlander should retain about 44.6% of its value. For further context, J.D. Power gave the 4Runner a 90 out of 100 rating for its “great” resale value. Meanwhile, the Highlander scored 89 out of 100 from the data analytics firm.

The Toyota Highlander and 4Runner are solid three-row SUVs in this category. However, people who want the most value after five years might want to consider the 4Runner because it’s the best midsize Toyota SUV in resale value.

A white 2023 Toyota Highlander Turbo XSE parked in front of a modern building.
2023 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

The 2023 Toyota Highlander is the automaker’s best-selling midsize SUV. Most shoppers might be surprised by how much more popular the Highlander is than the 4Runner. Based on Kelley Blue Book sales figures for 2023, the Highlander sold an impressive 58,079 units through July 2023. That sales figure put it as the sixth top-selling SUV of the year.

As for the 2023 Toyota 4Runner, it’s much lower on the list of the best-selling SUVs at number 23. In terms of sales through July 2023, the 4Runner had sold 29,620 units. That means many more consumers are interested in the Highlander, but why? Perhaps the biggest reason is that the Highlander is a much more modern crossover, whereas the 4Runner is an aging truck-based SUV.

Additionally, the Highlander is more modern in performance and fuel economy. Sure, many drivers still love potent V6 engines, but most are unwilling to sacrifice efficiency just to have one. Besides this, the 4Runner is the more expensive of the two midsize SUVs, starting at $40,155. However, the 2023 Highlander has a base MSRP of $36,620.

How are these 2 Toyota SUVs different?

The 2023 Toyota Highlander and 4Runner are among the best midsize SUVs on the market. However, they are also vastly different vehicles. The Highlander comes standard with a turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. It has a maximum output of 265 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, with front- and all-wheel drive options. This SUV takes about 7.3 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph.

Regarding the 2023 Toyota 4Runner, it comes standard with a 4.0-liter V6 harnessing 270 hp and 278 lb-ft. That pairs with a five-speed automatic transmission. According to road tests, the 4Runner takes about 7.9 seconds to reach 60 mph. That’s despite the V6 engine and slightly higher horsepower than the Highlander.

Fuel economy is a massive difference between the two Toyota SUVs. The Highlander averages 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. However, the 4Runner gets only 16 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. This difference in efficiency is easily one of the biggest reasons the Highlander is more popular. However, the 4Runner is known for its rugged off-roading capabilities, thanks partially to its body-on-frame construction.

Additionally, the Highlander has a more practical design. For example, not all 2023 4Runner models have three rows. However, all Highlander versions have this layout, seating seven or eight depending on the configuration. Furthermore, the 4Runner has an outdated interior. A prime example is its 8.0-inch touchscreen display. Though the Highlander comes standard with the same size infotainment screen, buyers can upgrade to a 12.3-inch unit.

Overall, despite having a slightly higher resale value, the 2023 Toyota 4Runner is much less popular than the Highlander. There are many notable reasons why. However, the biggest takeaway is that both are high-quality vehicles with drivers who still like owning them.