2020 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2020 BMW X3

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 2019/10/16

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Toyota 4Runner are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW X3 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the 4Runner and the X3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available four-wheel drive and rear parking sensors.

Warranty

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Toyota’s powertrain warranty covers the 4Runner 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than BMW covers the X3. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the X3 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 4 times as many Toyota dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the 4Runner’s warranty.

Reliability

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the 4Runner’s reliability 28 points higher than the X3.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 7th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. BMW is ranked 8th.

Engine

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The 4Runner’s 4.0 DOHC V6 produces 22 more horsepower (270 vs. 248) and 20 lbs.-ft. more torque (278 vs. 258) than the X3’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The 4Runner has 5.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the X3’s standard fuel tank (23 vs. 17.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The 4Runner has 5.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the X3 M40i’s standard fuel tank (23 vs. 17.7 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the 4Runner’s standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the X3:

4Runner

X3

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

13 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the 4Runner has larger standard tires than the X3 (245/60R20 vs. 225/60R18). The 4Runner’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the X3 (265/70R17 vs. 245/45R20).

The Toyota 4Runner’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The BMW X3 only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The 4Runner has a standard full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the X3, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare or run-flat tires, either of which has mileage and speed limitations.

Suspension and Handling

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The 4Runner TRD Off-Road/Venture offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The X3 doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

For better maneuverability, the 4Runner’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the X3 xDrive30i’s (37.4 feet vs. 39.4 feet). The 4Runner’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the X3 M40i’s (37.4 feet vs. 39.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the 4Runner has a 1.6 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the X3 (9.6 vs. 8 inches), allowing the 4Runner to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

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The 4Runner offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the X3 can only carry 5.

The 4Runner has 26.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the X3 (128 vs. 101.4).

The 4Runner has 1.4 inches more front legroom, .2 inches more front shoulder room and 1.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the X3.

Cargo Capacity

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The 4Runner’s cargo area provides more volume than the X3.

4Runner

X3

Third Seat Folded

46.3 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

47.2 cubic feet

28.7 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

89.7 cubic feet

62.7 cubic feet

The 4Runner 5-Passenger’s optional sliding cargo floor is capable of supporting 440 pounds, to make loading and unloading cargo easier and safer. The X3 doesn’t offer a sliding load floor.

The 4Runner’s cargo area is larger than the X3’s in almost every dimension:

4Runner

X3

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

42”/66.3”

36.5”/69”

Max Width

57.7”

47”

Height

39.5”

30.1”

The 4Runner’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The X3’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Payload and Towing

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The 4Runner’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the X3’s (5000 vs. 4400 pounds).

The 4Runner has a much higher standard payload capacity than the X3 (1625 vs. 893 lbs.).

The 4Runner has a much higher maximum payload capacity than the X3 (1700 vs. 915 lbs.).

Ergonomics

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Consumer Reports rated the 4Runner’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the X3’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

The 4Runner has a 115-volt a/c outlet in the cargo area, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The X3 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the 4Runner owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 4Runner will cost $240 less than the X3 over a five-year period.

The 4Runner will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the 4Runner will retain 61.48% to 71.13% of its original price after five years, while the X3 only retains 47.34% to 48.23%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 4Runner is less expensive to operate than the X3 because it costs $690 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 4Runner than the X3, including $260 less for a water pump, $644 less for a muffler, $100 less for front brake pads, $155 less for a starter, $172 less for fuel injection, $383 less for front struts and $1207 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota 4Runner will be $11307 to $15114 less than for the BMW X3.

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 2019/10/16

The TRD Pro was selected by Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine as their 2015 4x4 of the Year. The X3 has never been chosen.

The Toyota 4Runner outsold the BMW X3 by almost two to one during the 2019 model year.

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