It’s no surprise that overlanding is one of the fastest-growing hobbies in America.
Overlanding is a huge part of American culture, and it’s not hard to see why: there are few things more satisfying than being able to go anywhere you want with a set of wheels at your disposal.
But when it comes down to picking the right vehicle for this activity, you need to think about more than just how much space you’ll have inside or how big your budget might be. You also need to consider what kind of terrain you’ll be driving on and whether or not these vehicles will hold up adequately enough for those conditions. In this article, we’re going to compare the Toyota 4Runner vs Jeep Wrangler to see which one is better suited for overlanding.
For those of you not familiar with overlanding here is a quick rundown: it’s when you take your car on an off-road trip in the wilderness.
Usually, this is done through traveling between campsites or stopping points, checking out what nature has to offer. A lot will depend on where you are in the world and how far you want to travel.
Why Are 4Runners Popular For Overlanding?
When it comes to overlanding, one of the most important factors is undoubtedly the vehicle itself. Having the right vehicle, configured for the areas you want to go will be the difference between a fun trip and one that you wish you could easily forget.
One of the main things 4Runners and Toyota are known for is reliability and overall lack of issues. When you’re driving in the middle of nowhere, getting stuck with a vehicle that breaks down would be a major inconvenience, so it’s critical to have a vehicle that is not only capable but also reliable.
Some argue 4Runners are like the Swiss Army knife of the overland world. They aren’t great at any one aspect of overlanding, but they are solid at most things depending on how your rig is built out. This versatility is one of the main reasons why 4Runners are so popular among people who overland.
The 4Runner overall is pretty comfortable when it comes to offroad vehicles, good lines of vision, comfortable seats with ample legroom make a long day driving less of a chore.
Why Are Jeep Wranglers Popular For Overlanding?
Jeep Wranglers are very popular in the offroad and overlanding community because they are Trail Rated. This means they have been put through a series of tests by Jeep to ensure that they can handle some pretty intense offroad environments right from the factory.
Jeeps are also highly customizable, so you can really make them your own depending on what kind of offroad terrain you’ll be tackling.
One downside to Jeeps, however, is that they generally are not as reliable as 4Runners and they are known to have more issues over the years of ownership.
At the end of the day, Jeeps have long been a staple in the overlanding community and for good reason, they’re versatile and capable vehicles that can handle a variety of terrain.
How Does The Toyota 4Runner Compare To The Jeep Wrangler When It Comes To Overlanding Capabilities?
Toyota 4Runners and Jeep Wranglers have a lot of similarities, but also many differences when you are trying to compare them for overlanding scenarios.
If this is going to double hat as your daily driver in addition to overlanding, there are some important considerations you should take into account that we will get into.
The 4Runner is a much more refined and comfortable vehicle than the Jeep Wrangler, although the newer JL Wranglers have come a long way in creature comforts. It also has a better turning radius which can be important when making tight turns in between trees or rocks on trails.
One of the most popular ways to customize a Jeep is by installing off-road tires. This will give your Jeep better traction and handling when driving on rough terrain. You can also install a lift kit to give your Jeep more ground clearance, which is important when driving on rocky or uneven terrain. Another popular modification is to install a snorkel, which will allow your Jeep to drive through deep water without getting water in the engine.
What Are The Similarities?
One similarity is that they are both are fairly trail-capable in stock form, meaning they have been put through a series of tests by their respective manufacturers to ensure they can handle a variety of difficult offroad environments.
Another similarity is that they are both highly customizable, so you can make them your own depending on what kind of terrain you’ll be tackling.
Jeeps and 4Runners are highly customizable vehicles, which is one of the reasons why they are so popular among offroad and overland drivers. You can customize everything from the suspension to the engine to make it fit your specific needs. This level of customization allows you to really tailor the Jeep to your own specific driving style and needs, which is a huge advantage when it comes to overlanding.
Finally, they are both comfortable vehicles for off-road use, with good lines of vision and ample legroom, which makes them ideal for long days driving offroad.
What Are The Big Differences?
Jeep Wranglers are certainly a popular choice for overlanding as well, but they simply can’t compare to the 4Runner when it comes to things like durability. 4Runners have been shown to be reliable and last between 250,000 and 500,000 miles with proper maintenance, while Jeeps are known to have more issues over time and may only last 150,000 to 250,000 miles on average. But a lot goes into how you maintain it and how hard you are on the vehicle.
Size & Weight
Another big difference is weight. The 4Runner is a much larger and heavier vehicle than the Jeep Wrangler, which can be an advantage when it comes to some offroad terrain but can also be a disadvantage. Jeeps have better departure and break-over angles but the 4Runner can be customized to improve these from stock form.
The 4Runner also has a ton more cargo space than the Jeep Wrangler, which is important when you’re trying to pack for a long trip.
When it comes to off-road capabilities, the 4Runner and Jeep Wrangler are neck and neck. However, the Jeep does have an edge with better offroad capabilities stock, a solid front axle, and potentially a front locker if you have a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.
Is the Toyota 4Runner or Jeep Wrangler Better For Overlanding?
As we have talked through the benefits of both vehicles you will probably start to realize it is hard to say which one is better. Both vehicles have a popular fanbase in the overlanding community for good reason.
Ultimately, it will depend on what you are looking for and what your specific needs are. If you are looking for a comfortable and more refined overlanding vehicle with great durability then the 4Runner is probably your best bet.
But if you want a more capable off-road vehicle out of the box that can handle a wider range of obstacles then the Jeep might be the better choice.
Personally, I have owned a 2018 Toyota 4Runner and a 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, and both were great vehicles. The Jeep was really fun to drive, but I ended up selling it because it had a ton of recalls and ongoing annoying issues. I still own the 4Runner and use it for my daily driver and overland vehicle of choice.
I really think it comes down to which vehicle is better for your specific needs and budget. Which is something you have to work through on your own.
The Toyota 4Runner and Jeep Wrangler are both great options for overlanding. The best choice will depend on your specific needs, budget, and the type of terrain you’ll be covering in your travels. Hopefully this article helped you narrow down which vehicle is best for your needs.