Grand Highlander Vs. 4Runner: Which One’s Right For You?

When it comes to the debate between the Toyota Grand Highlander and the 4Runner, car enthusiasts and prospective buyers might find themselves on the fence. Both models boast distinct features that cater to different needs, but which one truly stands out? 

Here’s a deep dive into the nitty-gritty details of the Grand Highlander and 4Runner, breaking down their pros, cons, and how they compete head-to-head.

A Brief Comparison Table

Feature/AspectGrand Highlander4Runner
Design & AestheticsModern, streamlined, plush interiorsRugged, boxy, functional interiors
PerformanceTuned for city/highwayBuilt for off-road capabilities
Space & ComfortSpacious with modern featuresRoomy but leans towards ruggedness
Fuel EfficiencyBetter fuel economyLess efficient due to off-road build
PricingGenerally higherMore affordable but holds resale value
DriveMore urban-centricOff-road focused
Towing CapacityModerateHigher, suitable for heavy-duty tasks
Infotainment SystemAdvanced with more digital integrationsFunctional with essential features
Safety FeaturesLatest Toyota safety suiteRobust but might lack some latest tech
Ground ClearanceLower for city drivesHigher for off-road challenges

Grand Highlander: Pros and Cons

Grand Highlander
Grand Highlander


  • Modern Design: 

The Grand Highlander sports a sleek, contemporary exterior and plush interiors, reflecting Toyota’s commitment to blending style with substance.

  • Fuel Efficiency: 

Generally speaking, the Grand Highlander boasts a better gas mileage compared to the 4Runner, making it a pocket-friendly option for those long drives.

  • Spaciousness: 

If space is what you crave, the Grand Highlander doesn’t disappoint. With a generous cargo area and expansive passenger space, it stands out for families and frequent travelers.


  • Off-Road Capabilities: 

While the Grand Highlander is great on city roads, it might not be the best option for off-road adventures.

  • Price Point: 

Generally, the Grand Highlander is priced a tad higher than the 4Runner, making it a more significant investment.

Read More: About Comparison Between Mercedes GLE 450 and GLE 350

4Runner: Pros and Cons



  • Rugged Build: 

The 4Runner has a legacy of being the robust SUV suitable for off-road terrains, courtesy of its durable build and higher ground clearance.

  • Towing Capacity: 

For those who need a vehicle that can haul, the 4Runner has a commendable towing capacity, which is often higher than the Grand Highlander’s.

  • Legacy & Trust: 

The 4Runner has been around for a while and has earned a reputation for reliability and longevity.


  • Fuel Consumption: 

In contrast to the Grand Highlander, the 4Runner isn’t as fuel-efficient.

  • Interior Refinements: 

While functional, the 4Runner’s interiors may not feel as premium or modern as the Grand Highlander’s.

Head-to-Head: Features

  • On-Road Performance: 

Both vehicles offer a smooth drive, but the Grand Highlander edges out with its nimbleness in city settings.

  • Off-Road Adventures: 

Here, the 4Runner takes the cake with its off-road prowess, thanks to its sturdy build.

  • Cargo and Space: 

The Grand Highlander generally offers more cargo space, which can be a decisive factor for many.

Key Differences Between Grand Highlander and 4Runner

The automotive world is awash with choices, and when it comes to Toyota, the competition is often in-house. The Grand Highlander and 4Runner, two of Toyota’s stalwart SUVs, cater to different audiences yet inevitably get compared. Let’s deep dive into their key differences.

  1. Design & Aesthetics

Grand Highlander:

The Grand Highlander, being a newer introduction, showcases Toyota’s recent design language. It tends to have a more streamlined and elegant look, with softer edges, more pronounced grille designs, and contemporary LED light fixtures. 

The interiors follow suit with plush materials, a modern dashboard design, and more digital integrations.


A rugged and timeless piece, the 4Runner embodies the old-school SUV design. Its boxier frame, bolder front grille, and larger wheel arches speak to its off-road personality. 

Inside, while you have all the comforts you’d expect, the design leans more towards functionality and durability rather than sheer luxury.

  1. Performance & Drivetrain

Grand Highlander:

Geared more for city and highway driving, the Grand Highlander comes with a refined powertrain that emphasizes smooth operations and fuel efficiency. 

The suspension is tuned for comfort, ensuring passengers experience minimal road disturbances.


Built as a true off-roader, the 4Runner is equipped with a more rugged drivetrain. Its body-on-frame construction, available four-wheel-drive systems, and options like Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control make it a beast on challenging terrains.

  1. Space & Comfort

Grand Highlander:

Being touted for family comfort, the Grand Highlander places a significant emphasis on space. It generally offers more legroom, headroom, and a generous cargo area. 

Add to that more modern infotainment and comfort features, and it’s easy to see why it’s a family favorite.


While the 4Runner doesn’t skimp on space, its focus on ruggedness means certain comfort features might not be as pronounced. 

The cargo space is commendable, but passenger spaces, especially in the third row (if equipped), can feel tighter compared to the Grand Highlander.

  1. Fuel Efficiency

Grand Highlander:

One of its strong suits, the Grand Highlander, owing to its modern powertrain and design efficiencies, offers better miles per gallon. For city dwellers and long-haul drivers, this can result in noticeable savings.


The 4Runner, given its off-road bias and older design, lags in the fuel efficiency department. Expect it to consume more, especially during rigorous driving or when loaded.

  1. Pricing & Resale Value

Grand Highlander:

Typically, the Grand Highlander commands a higher price tag due to its modern features, design, and branding as a more luxurious option. However, like most Toyotas, it holds its value reasonably well.


One of the 4Runner’s hallmarks is its stellar resale value. Thanks to its robust build and long-standing reputation, it often retains value better than many competitors and even some of its Toyota siblings.

Also Read: Are SuperSpeed Wheels Worth It?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is the Grand Highlander bigger than 4Runner?

Yes, the Grand Highlander is generally more spacious, offering more passenger and cargo space compared to the 4Runner.

Which are better on gas: Highlander or 4Runner?

The Grand Highlander tends to be more fuel-efficient than the 4Runner.

What does the Grand Highlander compete with?

Besides the 4Runner, the Grand Highlander also competes with vehicles like the Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, and Subaru Ascent.

Does 4Runner or Highlander have more cargo space?

The Grand Highlander typically offers more cargo space than the 4Runner.

Which is larger: Highlander or Sequoia?

The Toyota Sequoia is larger and more expansive than the Highlander.

Is the Toyota Highlander bigger than the Lexus GX 460?

Yes, in terms of overall dimensions and interior space, the Highlander is generally bigger than the Lexus GX 460.


When deciding between the two, it boils down to individual needs. If urban drives, comfort, and modern design are priorities, the Grand Highlander takes the lead. But for the adventurers who crave off-road thrills and a sturdy build, the 4Runner remains an evergreen choice.

Both the Grand Highlander and the 4Runner cater to different segments. If you prioritize modern design, fuel efficiency, and spaciousness, the Grand Highlander could be your pick. However, for those looking for rugged adventures and trusty build, the 4Runner remains unbeatable. It boils down to individual preferences and needs. Do your homework, test drive both, and then decide which one revs your heart. Safe driving!

Clayton S. Johnson

Well, I am Clayton who writes, manages, and does overall stuff for this website. I live somewhere in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and used to have a full-time job. But the pandemic taught me to do more do with my life. So, I quit my job and travel a lot! Since I have tons of time now, I write about all the stuff I have done, used, and have first-hand experiences.

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