2020 Ford Explorer vs. 2019 Toyota 4Runner

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/22

Both the Explorer and 4Runner have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Explorer has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The 4Runner’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Explorer has standard Automatic Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The 4Runner doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Explorer has standard Post Collision Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Explorer ST/Platinum has standard Reverse Brake Assist that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The 4Runner doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Explorer’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum has a standard 360-Degree Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The 4Runner only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The Explorer’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the Explorer’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Explorer’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the Explorer uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The 4Runner uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

The Explorer has standard 911 Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Explorer and the 4Runner have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available all wheel drive.

Warranty

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There are over 2 times as many Ford dealers as there are Toyota dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Reliability

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The Explorer has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.

Engine

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/22

The Explorer’s standard 2.3 turbo 4 cyl. produces 30 more horsepower (300 vs. 270) and 32 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 278) than the 4Runner’s 4.0 DOHC V6. The Explorer’s optional 3.3 DOHC V6 hybrid produces 48 more horsepower (318 vs. 270) and 44 lbs.-ft. more torque (322 vs. 278) than the 4Runner’s 4.0 DOHC V6. The Explorer Platinum’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 95 more horsepower (365 vs. 270) and 102 lbs.-ft. more torque (380 vs. 278) than the 4Runner’s 4.0 DOHC V6. The Explorer ST’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 130 more horsepower (400 vs. 270) and 137 lbs.-ft. more torque (415 vs. 278) than the 4Runner’s 4.0 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/22

On the EPA test cycle the Explorer gets better fuel mileage than the 4Runner:

MPG

Explorer

RWD

2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/28 hwy

AWD

2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

3.0 turbo V6

18 city/24 hwy

ST 3.0 turbo V6

18 city/24 hwy

4Runner

FWD

4.0 DOHC V6

17 city/21 hwy

AWD

4.0 DOHC V6

17 city/20 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the Explorer Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Explorer’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The 4Runner doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Explorer has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Ford Explorer, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a five-speed automatic is available for the 4Runner.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Explorer’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 4Runner:

Explorer

Explorer ST

Explorer ST opt.

4Runner

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

13.6 inches

14.3 inches

13.3 inches

Rear Rotors

12.4 inches

12.8 inches

13.8 inches

12.3 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Explorer has larger standard tires than the 4Runner (255/65R18 vs. 245/60R20). The Explorer ST/Platinum’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 4Runner (275/45R21 vs. 265/70R17).

The Explorer’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 65 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 4Runner’s standard 70 series tires. The Explorer ST/Platinum’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the 4Runner Limited’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Explorer has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the 4Runner. The Explorer ST/Platinum’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels on the 4Runner Limited.

Having a flat tire is dangerous, inconvenient and expensive. The self-sealing tires available on the Explorer can automatically seal most punctures up to 3/16 of an inch, effectively preventing most flat tires. The 4Runner doesn’t offer self-sealing tires.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Ford Explorer has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Toyota 4Runner has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

The Explorer’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The 4Runner doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Explorer’s wheelbase is 9.3 inches longer than on the 4Runner (119.1 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Explorer is 3.3 inches wider in the front and 3.3 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the 4Runner.

Chassis

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Unibody construction lowers the Explorer’s center of gravity significantly without reducing ground clearance. This contributes to better on the road handling and better off-road performance and stability. In addition, unibody construction makes the chassis stiffer, improving handling and reducing squeaks and rattles. The 4Runner uses body-on-frame design instead.

The front grille of the Explorer (except 3.3 V6 non-Hybrid) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The 4Runner doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Explorer Hybrid uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The 4Runner doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The Explorer has 24.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 4Runner (152.7 vs. 128).

The Explorer has 1.4 inches more front headroom, 1.3 inches more front legroom, 2.7 inches more front hip room, 4 inches more front shoulder room, 1.9 inches more rear headroom, 6.1 inches more rear legroom, 3.4 inches more rear hip room, 4.1 inches more rear shoulder room, 4.6 inches more third row headroom and 2.9 inches more third row legroom than the 4Runner.

Cargo Capacity

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The Explorer’s cargo area provides more volume than the 4Runner.

Explorer

4Runner

Behind Third Seat

18.2 cubic feet

9 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

47.9 cubic feet

46.3 cubic feet

The Explorer’s cargo area is larger than the 4Runner’s in almost every dimension:

Explorer

4Runner

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

20.8”/49.8”/83.9”

n.a./42”/66.3”

Max Width

59”

57.7”

Min Width

48.1”

42.4”

Height

33.7”

39.5”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Explorer’s second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The 4Runner doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Explorer has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or on the Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

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Maximum trailer towing in the Toyota 4Runner is limited to 5000 pounds. The Explorer offers up to a 5600 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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An Intelligent Oil-Life Monitor is standard on the Explorer to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes based on actual driving conditions. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Toyota doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the 4Runner.

Ergonomics

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The Explorer offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The 4Runner doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Explorer’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The 4Runner’s parking brake has to released manually.

The power windows standard on both the Explorer and the 4Runner have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Explorer is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The 4Runner prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer’s exterior PIN entry system. The 4Runner doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

The Explorer’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The 4Runner’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Explorer has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the 4Runner only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The Explorer has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The 4Runner has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Limited/TRD Pro.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Explorer detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The 4Runner doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Explorer Platinum has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The 4Runner doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Explorer’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 4Runner’s power mirror controls are on the dash where they are possibly hidden by the steering wheel and are awkward to manipulate.

The Explorer ST/Platinum has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The 4Runner offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the Explorer and the 4Runner offer optional heated front seats. The Explorer also offers optional heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the 4Runner.

On extremely cold winter days, the Explorer’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Explorer has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the 4Runner Limited.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Explorer offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The 4Runner doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The Explorer ST/Platinum’s Active Park Assist 2.0 can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The 4Runner doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/22

The Ford Explorer outsold the Toyota 4Runner by 87% during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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