RAV4 Vs 4Runner: Comparing Toyota’s Best-Selling SUVs 

Are you in the market for a reliable SUV that can handle both your daily commute and your weekend adventures? Then you might like Toyota’s impressive lineup, which includes the popular RAV4 and the rugged 4Runner. 

But which one is right for you? In this post, we’ll break down the differences between these two SUVs, so you can make an informed decision. 

Stick around to find out, and discover what sets these two Toyota SUVs apart from each other.

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Quick Comparison Table – RAV4 Vs 4Runner

RAV4 Vs 4Runner: Comparing Toyota's Best-Selling SUVs 

Here’s a quick comparison between both SUVs.

Toyota RAV4
Toyota 4Runner
Compact SUV
Midsize SUV
180.9 inches
191.3 inches
73 inches
75.8 inches
Up to 5 passengers
Up to 7 passengers (with optional third row)
Cargo Space
Maximum of 69.8 cubic feet
Maximum of 88.8 cubic feet
Interior Design
Modern and refined
Maximum of 3,500 pounds
Maximum of 5,000 pounds
Fuel Economy
More fuel-efficient with up to 35 mpg highway
Less fuel-efficient with up to 21 mpg highway

RAV4 Vs 4Runner: Detailed Comparison

Now, let’s dig a little deeper.


Winner: Tie. Depends on preferences and usage purposes.

The Toyota RAV4 is a compact SUV with a length of 180.9 inches and a width of 73 inches. On the other hand, the Toyota 4Runner is a midsize SUV measuring 191.3 inches in length and 75.8 inches in width. 

The RAV4’s compact size makes it more parking-friendly with a tight turning radius. 

However, the 4Runner’s spacious cabin and cargo area make it ideal for larger families or for hauling bigger items.


Winner: 4Runner

Both the Toyota RAV4 and 4Runner offer comfortable seating for up to five passengers. 

However, the 4Runner has an advantage with an optional third-row seat, increasing its seating capacity to seven passengers. If you frequently travel with friends or have a large family, the 4Runner is a more practical choice.


Winner: 4Runner

If cargo space is a priority for you, then the Toyota 4Runner is the better choice. 

It has a maximum cargo capacity of 88.8 cubic feet, while the RAV4 has a maximum cargo capacity of 69.8 cubic feet. 

Additionally, the 4Runner has a sliding cargo deck, making it easier to load and unload heavy items.


Winner: 4Runner

The Toyota RAV4 and 4Runner have similar safety features, including Toyota Safety Sense. 

However, the 4Runner has a higher roof and more ground clearance, which gives it a better view of the road and improves its ability to navigate rough terrain. 

If you drive frequently in areas with poor visibility or rough road conditions, the 4Runner is a safer choice.

Interior Quality And Technologies

Winner: Tie. Depends on preferences.

The Toyota RAV4 and 4Runner both have high-quality interiors with comfortable seats and soft-touch materials. 

The 4Runner has a rugged interior design that reflects its off-road capabilities, while the RAV4 has a more modern and refined interior. 

If you prefer a stylish and comfortable look, go for the RAV4.

 If you want true luxury, the 4Runner has more premium features, including a JBL audio system and a larger touchscreen display.


Winner: 4Runner

The Toyota 4Runner is the better choice if you need to tow heavy loads. 

It has a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds, while the RAV4 has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.

Reliability And Handling

Winner: Tie. Depends on use purpose.

Both the Toyota RAV4 and 4Runner are known for their reliability and durability. 

The 4Runner is built on a truck-based platform, making it better suited for off-road driving and rugged terrain. 

Meanwhile, the RAV4 is built on a car-based platform, giving it better handling and a smoother ride on paved roads. Depending on your use purpose, either one could be a better option.

Drivetrain Options

Winner: Tie

The Toyota RAV4 and 4Runner both have great drivetrains. 

The 4Runner has a range of drivetrain options, including a full-time four-wheel drive system with a locking center differential, making it customizable and versatile for off-road enthusiasts. 

Meanwhile, the RAV4 has a standard front-wheel drive and an optional all-wheel drive system with dynamic torque vectoring or multi-terrain select, making it a comfortable and efficient choice for everyday driving.

Fuel Economy

Winner: RAV4

The Toyota RAV4 is the best option for fuel economy. It has an estimated 35 mpg highway for front-wheel drive and 33 mpg highway for all-wheel drive. 

In comparison, the 4Runner gets an estimated 21 mpg highway for rear-wheel drive and 20 mpg highway for four-wheel drive. 

The RAV4’s fuel-efficient engine saves you money on fuel costs and reduces your carbon footprint by emitting fewer greenhouse gasses into the environment. 

Choosing a fuel-efficient vehicle like the RAV4 can also contribute to a cleaner and healthier planet for future generations.

Advantages of 4Runner over RAV4

If you’re looking for an SUV that can handle rough terrain and tow heavy loads, the 4Runner 2023 is a top choice. Thanks to its truck-based platform, it’s built to take on even the toughest challenges. 

Here are some of its biggest advantages:

  • Higher ground clearance for off-road driving.
  • Optional third-row seat increases seating capacity.
  • Higher towing capacity for larger loads.
  • Higher-end media features and good interior build quality.

Advantages of RAV4 over 4Runner

While the 4Runner has its strengths, the 2023 RAV4 offers several advantages for buyers seeking a capable SUV that’s also more practical for everyday driving. 

Here are some major ways it’s better:

  • More affordable than 4Runner.
  • More suitable for city driving.
  • RAV4 hybrid offers better fuel economy and lower emissions.
  • More agile handling and smoother ride due to car-based platform.

Which is better for you: 4Runner or RAV4?

If you’re a city driver or commuter who values affordability, practicality, and fuel efficiency, the Toyota RAV4 is the perfect choice. Despite its low price, the RAV4 offers comfort and style. 

But if you need an SUV that can handle rough terrain and severe weather, the Toyota 4Runner is the better option. Its sturdy build, powerful engine, and ample cargo space make it perfect for families or anyone who needs to haul heavy loads.


Which SUV is better for families, RAV4 or 4Runner?

4Runner offers more space for larger families.

Which SUV is better for off-road driving, RAV4 or 4Runner?

4Runner is better for off-road driving due to its sturdy build and four-wheel-drive system.

Which SUV performs better in snow RAV4 and 4Runner?

4Runner’s larger build makes it more stable in snow.

Which SUV is better for city driving, RAV4 or 4Runner?

RAV4 is better for city driving due to its smaller size and better fuel efficiency.

Which SUV has better resale value, RAV4 or 4Runner?

4Runner retains its value better due to its rugged and reliable off-road vehicle reputation.

Which SUV has a quieter cabin, RAV4 or 4Runner?

RAV4 generally has a quieter cabin due to superior sound insulation and a more refined suspension system.

Final Thoughts

Since both SUVs come from Toyota, you can have guaranteed reliability and comfort either way. It’s hard to go wrong with anything made by that brand. 

Picking between the two comes down to any specific needs you have. 

But to help you along, these are our recommendations. If you’re a city slicker, the RAV4 is the way to go. But if you’re a rugged adventurer, the 4Runner is the SUV you should pick. 

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Psst: Do You Know The RAV4 Hidden Menu?