2018 Toyota 4Runner vs. Highlander

June 21st, 2018 by

The Toyota 4Runner and the Toyota Highlander are both extremely popular SUV’s on the market today; however, they have a variety of differences. Which Toyota SUV would be best for you? Continue reading to learn more about the key differences between the 2018 Toyota 4Runner and the 2018 Toyota Highlander. View our 4Runner vs. Highlander direct comparison page.


These two reliable SUV’s are relatively close in price. The 4Runner has a starting MSRP of $34,819 while the Highlander starts at $31,230. 4Runner’s starting price point is a bit higher than that of the Highlander due to 4Runner’s V6 engine and 4WD capabilities. However, if you decide you prefer a V6 engine, it is available on higher trim levels of the Highlander, which would respectively raise the price.

Fuel efficiency

Highlander takes the cake when it comes to fuel efficiency, with an EPA-estimated 21/27 (city/hwy) MPG compared to 4Runner’s 17/21 (city/hwy) MPG. Additionally, the Highlander does offer a Hybrid option which records an EPA-estimated 30/28 MPG. If fuel efficiency is what you’re looking for, the Toyota Highlander would probably be the best option.


When it comes to performance, the 4Runner comes standard with a 4.0-liter V6 which produces 270 hp. The Highlander comes standard with a 4-cylinder engine that produces 185 hp, however the higher trim levels come with a 295 hp V6 engine. If you’re looking for a base model with great performance, look to the 4 Runner. However, if you don’t mind spending a bit extra to get a higher trim level, the Highlander might be the right choice.

Cargo & Passenger capacity

The 2018 4Runner comes in 5-7 passenger seating arrangements depending on trim level. The Highlander can seat 7-8 passengers and comes with bench seating or captain chair options depending on trim level.

Both of these SUV’s have great cargo capacities. Starting with the Highlander’s 83.7 cubic feet behind the driver and front passenger seat, 42.3 cubic feet behind the second row and 13.8 cubic feet behind the third row. The 4Runner has 88.8 cubic feet behind the first row, 46.3 cubic feet behind the second row and 9 cubic feet behind the third row. The 4Runner has more cargo space when the second and third rows are folded down, while the Highlander has more cargo space when all three rows are up and in place.

Off-Road and towing

If you’re looking for the perfect family SUV, the Highlander is a great choice. However, if your weekends are often spent off-road, you may want to consider the 4Runner. With ground clearance of 9.6 inches and an approach/departure angle of 33/26 degrees, the 4Runner has great off-road capabilities. The Highlander’s ground clearance is 8 inches and it has an approach/departure angle of 18/23 degrees. The unibody frame of the Highlander makes it a more smooth and comfortable ride, whereas the reinforced body-on-frame construction of the 4Runner makes it a bit louder and more rugged.

If you’re looking to pack up the boat and head to the lake, the 4Runner may be the best option, thanks to its standard towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. The Highlander starts at the base model with a towing capacity of 1,500 lbs. while the higher trim levels have varying towing capacities. For a full list of SUV trim levels and their towing capacities, visit our SUV towing page.


While the 2018 4Runner does come with some standard safety features such as Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) and more, it does not come standard with Toyota Safety Sense. The Highlander, on the other hand, comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) on every model. This advanced set of safety features includes Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/ SA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), and Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/ PD).


So you’re basically an expert on the Toyota 4Runner and the Toyota Highlander at this point, right? Well, maybe not an expert, but you get the gist. So, which is the best for your lifestyle? If you take frequent trips to the lake, go off-roading or enjoy the option of having 4WD, the 4Runner would probably be the best option for you. On the other hand, if you mostly drive in or around the city, like a quiet and smooth ride, the Highlander may be a better choice. Ready to shop around? Check out our 4Runner and Highlander inventory.

Posted in Comparisons