Greene Ford Compares 2014 Ford Explorer VS 2014 Toyota 4Runner Near Atlanta, GA

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2014 Ford Explorer

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2014 Toyota 4Runner

Safety Comparison

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The 4Runner doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The Explorer Limited/Sport offers an optional collision warning system, which detects an impending crash through forward mounted sensors and flashes a bright light and sounds a loud, distinctive tone to warn the driver to brake or maneuver immediately to avoid a collision. The system also pre-charges the brakes to begin deceleration more quickly. The 4Runner doesn't offer a collision warning system.

The Explorer Limited’s optional 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 XLT/Limited/Sport’s optional 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 XLT/Limited/Sport’s optional 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 optional 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.

Both the Explorer and the 4Runner have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all wheel drive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Ford Explorer is safer than the Toyota 4Runner:




5 Stars

4 Stars



4 Stars

4 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

305 lbs.

438 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

452/475 lbs.

488/468 lbs.



5 Stars

3 Stars




Chest Compression

.4 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

159 lbs.

271 lbs.

Neck Compression

31 lbs.

58 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Ford Explorer is safer than the Toyota 4Runner:



Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Chest Movement

.8 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

135 G’s

163 G’s

Hip Force

295 lbs.

407 lbs.

Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

32 G’s

36 G’s

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

676 lbs.

869 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Instrumented handling tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and analysis of its dimensions indicate that the Explorer, with its four-star roll-over rating, is 7.2% to 7.7% less likely to roll over than the 4Runner, which received a three-star rating.

Warranty Comparison

There are over 3 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.

Engine Comparison

The Explorer’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 20 more horsepower (290 vs. 270) than the 4Runner’s 4.0 DOHC V6. The Explorer Sport’s standard 3.5 turbo V6 produces 95 more horsepower (365 vs. 270) and 72 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 278) than the 4Runner’s 4.0 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Ford Explorer V6 is faster than the Toyota 4Runner:



Zero to 60 MPH

7.5 sec

7.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

21.3 sec

22 sec

Quarter Mile

16 sec

16.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

89 MPH

88 MPH

Top Speed

108 MPH

105 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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




2.0 ECOBoost/Auto

20 city/28 hwy


3.5 V6/Auto

17 city/24 hwy

17 city/23 hwy

4.0 V6


3.5 V6/Auto

17 city/23 hwy

17 city/22 hwy

4.0 V6

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.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Explorer stops much shorter than the 4Runner:



70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

201 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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 SR5/Trail’s standard 70 series tires. The Explorer’s optional tires have a lower 50 series profile than the 4Runner Limited’s 60 series tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Explorer’s wheelbase is 2.8 inches longer than on the 4Runner (112.6 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Explorer is 3.8 inches wider in the front and 3.8 inches wider in the rear than on the 4Runner.

The Explorer Limited 4WD handles at .77 G’s, while the 4Runner Trail 4x4 pulls only .73 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Explorer Limited 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.1 seconds quicker than the 4Runner Trail 4x4 (27.4 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 29.5 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

Unibody construction makes the Explorer’s chassis much stiffer, which contributes to better handling, and enables softer springs to be used for a better ride. Unibody construction’s stiffness also contributes to better durability and less body squeaks and rattles. The 4Runner doesn’t use unibody construction, but a body-on-frame design.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Explorer Limited 4WD is quieter than the 4Runner Trail 4x4:



At idle

35 dB

42 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The Explorer has 23.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 4Runner (151.7 vs. 128).

The Explorer has 2.1 inches more front headroom, .8 inches more front hip room, 3.5 inches more front shoulder room, 1.9 inches more rear headroom, 6.9 inches more rear legroom, 1 inch more rear hip room, 3.2 inches more rear shoulder room, 3.5 inches more third row headroom and 3.9 inches more third row legroom than the 4Runner.

The Explorer offers an optional rear tailgate seat that can be flipped rearward and used for tailgate picnics. (Do not use seat reversed while vehicle in motion.) The 4Runner doesn’t offer a rear tailgate seat.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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



Behind Third Seat

21 cubic feet

9 cubic feet

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



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






The Explorer has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The 4Runner doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

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

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults or children, the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport offers an optional power rear liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Explorer (except Base/XLT) 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 engine computer on the Explorer automatically engages the starter until the car starts with one twist of the key and disables the starter while the engine is running. The 4Runner’s starter can be accidentally engaged while the engine is running, making a grinding noise and possibly damaging the starter and ring gear.

The Explorer Limited’s standard easy entry system 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 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 XLT/Limited/Sport’s exterior keypad. The 4Runner doesn’t offer an exterior keypad 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’s optional 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 variable 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. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The 4Runner has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Limited.

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

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

Both the Explorer and the 4Runner offer available heated front seats. The Explorer Limited 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.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Explorer Limited/Sport 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.

To help keep rear passengers entertained, the Explorer offers optional rear seat controls for the radio which can play a separate audio source. The 4Runner doesn’t offer rear seat audio controls.

The Explorer Limited’s optional Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The 4Runner doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Explorer is less expensive to operate than the 4Runner because typical repairs cost much less on the Explorer than the 4Runner, including $116 less for a starter, $182 less for fuel injection, $129 less for a fuel pump and $818 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations Comparison

Strategic Vision rates overall owner satisfaction with vehicle quality. With a Total Quality Index of 858, Strategic Vision rated the Ford Explorer 15 points higher than the Toyota 4Runner in the Mid-Size Traditional Utility category.

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Explorer as the 2011 North American Truck of the Year. The 4Runner has never been chosen.

The Ford Explorer outsold the Toyota 4Runner by almost four to one during 2013.

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