2020 Jeep Gladiator vs. 2019 Toyota 4Runner: Which Is the Better Bug-Out Vehicle?

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator as well as the 2019 Toyota 4Runner may possibly not be virtually identical in form. One is really a less-than-full-size convertible pickup, and another is really a mid-size SUV. However when life's trials push one to bug out of town for safety or even to just escape to more peaceful pastures, one of these brilliant rugged, off-road-friendly ruffians is what you would like parked within your driveway. Whether it is fleeing zombies, a flood, or an impending visit from your own in-laws, these overland-ready utilitarians are designed to tackle less trodden paths while packed with gear-and to check good while doing it-without entirely sacrificing on-road drivability. Just how do they build up?

 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium
Michael SimariCar and Driver

The Matchup
The all-new Gladiator clearly is really a beefed-up four-door Jeep Wrangler JL having a cargo bed. Despite its freshness available on the market, it really is arguably among few vehicles that may make Toyota's current 4Runner seem modern. Using its front and rear live axles and design cues that trace back again to World War II, the Gladiator can be an anachronism that is meticulously fussed to operate much better in day-to-day use than they have any to. And you may remove its roof and doors and fold its windshield down flat, which spikes its driver's cool factor much better than a selfie with Keanu Reeves. The Gladiator's inherent compromises limited it to third invest our latest comparison test of compact pickups. The 4Runner fared only slightly better in its last comparison test, back during Obama's first term, when it finished second towards the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

That Toyota sold about 140,000 4Runners this past year speaks towards the solid group of fans that SUV has cultivated over time. Just like the Jeep, the 4Runner's person is mounted atop another ladder-type frame, diminishing its packaging efficiency and only a tougher build. It only includes a live axle at the trunk, and its own control-arm front suspension and conventional SUV layout ensure it is feel less just like a novelty on the highway compared to the Jeep. Its 270-hp 4.0-liter V-6 is really a decent match for that Gladiator's 285-hp 3.6-liter V-6. Both these vehicles possess a maximum passenger count of five, the Toyota's 5000-pound towing capacity falls well lacking the Jeep's 7650-pound rating.

 2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland
Michael SimariCar and Driver

The 4Runner starts at $35,905 in rear-drive SR5 form; four-wheel-drive models begin at $37,780; and it's really possible to exceed $50K at the top Limited Nightshade 4WD model. Given its antiquity, the Toyota can't be had with certain active safety features, such as for example front and rear automated emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, that exist around the newer Jeep. While pricing for that four-wheel-drive-only Gladiator opens in a similarly reasonable $35,040, its breadth of optional equipment allows you to inflate that figure massively. Witness our $55,040 test vehicle, and that is just a mid-level Overland model.

On the highway
Stellar road manners aren't incorporated with either of the vehicles. They are old-school trucks with chunky transfer-case shift levers poking up with the floorboards. Their responses are vague, performance is modest, and their rides tend to be choppy, specially the Gladiator's. Both are adequately quick-zero to 60 mph takes 7.3 seconds within the Jeep and 7.7 within the Toyota-yet their soft suspensions and tall-sidewall tires combine to create them feel ponderous on the highway. The 4Runner is specially lethargic because of its hefty steering and five-speed automatic transmission. On the other hand, the intelligent action from the Jeep's optional $2000 ZF eight-speed automatic (a six-speed manual is standard!) is effective to help make the a lot of the V-6's 260 lb-ft of torque. Combined with the Gladiator's better low-speed maneuverability and-thanks in large part to its sprawling 137.3-inch wheelbase-good-for-a-Wrangler stability at higher speeds, this is actually the Wrangler that non-Jeepers will see probably the most tolerable.

 2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland
Michael SimariCar and Driver

Both 4Runner as well as the Gladiator are heavy at about 4800 pounds and push huge amounts of air, making them similarly thirsty in the pump; both of our test vehicles averaged significantly less than 20 mpg. With plenty of ground clearance and two-speed transfer cases, both vehicles offer significant capability once the pavement ends, even though Gladiator's 27.5-inch-longer wheelbase implies that it is a bit large for a few trails, and it'll often scrape its belly over obstacles. Our 4Runner TRD Off Road Premium's abilities were bolstered from the $1750 Kinetic Dynamic Suspension system that hydraulically manages body roll, giving the automobile increased wheel articulation while off-roading. Both models offer more extreme off-road variants within the 4Runner TRD Pro as well as the Gladiator Rubicon.

Both of these vehicles share few similarities inside, save for both sitting rather tall within the saddle, rendering it cumbersome to climb in and out. Passenger space in the initial and second rows of seats is slightly better within the Gladiator (104 cubic feet towards the 4Runner's 96), the upright cabin makes it feel smaller sized than it really is. Apart from some initially funky ergonomics, like the shallow dashboard as well as the located window switches, the more sophisticated Jeep also has got the nod for materials and electronics, including Fiat Chrysler's excellent 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen interface. The Toyota will seem more familiar to any SUV driver, and most of its controls are intuitively arranged, but its plastics and switchgear appear and feel cheap, and its own 6.1-inch center touchscreen is looking for a large upgrade. While power outlets and connectivity options are plentiful both in vehicles, there is no mistaking that this Jeep design is really a decade newer.

2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium
Michael SimariCar and Driver

Six-footers will see similar degrees of comfort in the trunk seat of either vehicle, even though Gladiator's seatbacks certainly are a little more upright than we want, and the trunk door aperture includes a narrowing cutline in the bottom that means it is an attempt to squeeze through. Folding down the trunk seats makes little difference in its versatility, although there's that five-foot bed out back that's ideal for large, grungy items. And a spacious 47 cubic feet of secure cargo space, the trunk end from the Toyota also houses many of the 4Runner's niftiest features: an available third row of seats on certain models ($1365); an optional-and convenient-slide-out cargo floor ($350, reduces cargo volume by one cubic foot); and the typical power rear window, which, used, is more entertaining than it really is useful.

Apart from their distinct personalities and various cargo layouts, what truly separate the Jeep Gladiator as well as the Toyota 4Runner will be the intangibles. The 4Runner, while highly capable, simply drives just like the old SUV that it's. The Gladiator, for several of its a lot more antiquated design foibles, brings a feeling of occasion to its use, and that is before you decide to remove its roof and doors. That novelty, coupled with a good execution that improves upon the on-road composure from the newly redesigned JL Wrangler, helped the Gladiator make partial converts from several drivers previously indifferent towards the seven-slot grille. As the Gladiator is definately not perfect-and downright expensive in the event that you get pleased with your options and accessories-it's the sort of fun we'd desire to bring along when at risk of the hills.

Michael SimariCar and Driver


2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland 4x4

front-engine, rear/4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door pickup

$55,040 (base price: $41,890)

DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection

220 cu in, 3605 cc
285 hp @ 6400 rpm
260 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm

8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

Suspension (F/R): live axle/live axle
Brakes (F/R): 13.0-in vented disc/13.6-in vented disc
Tires: Bridgestone Dueler H/T 685, 255/70R-18 113T M+S  

Wheelbase: 137.3 in 
Length: 218.0 in 
Width: 73.8 in 
Height: 73.1 in 
Passenger volume: 104 cu ft 
Curb weight: 4812 lb

Zero to 60 mph: 7.3 sec
Zero to 90 mph: 16.2 sec
Zero to 100 mph: N/A
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 7.8 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 3.6 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 5.2 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 15.6 sec @ 88 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 98 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 195 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad*: 0.74 g

Observed: 18 mpg
75-mph highway driving: 21 mpg 
Highway range: 460 miles

Combined/city/highway: 19/17/22 mpg



2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium 4WD

front-engine, rear/4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback

$44,473 (base price: $40,740)

DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection

241 cu in, 3956 cc
270 hp @ 5600 rpm
278 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm

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