Greene Ford Compares 2017 Ford Explorer VS 2017 Toyota 4Runner Near Flowery Branch, GA

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2017 Ford Explorer

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VS

2017 Toyota 4Runner

Safety Comparison

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Explorer 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 (except Base/XLT) 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 (except Base/XLT/Sport)’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 (except Base)’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 (except Base)’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.

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, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive and front and rear parking sensors.

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:

 

Explorer

4Runner

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

3 Stars

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:

 

Explorer

4Runner

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.9 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

159 G’s

179 G’s

Hip Force

214 lbs.

233 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Max Damage Depth

17 inches

20 inches

HIC

407

507

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

Warranty Comparison

There are over 2 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.

Reliability Comparison

The Explorer has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

Engine Comparison

The Explorer’s optional 2.3 turbo 4 cyl. produces 10 more horsepower (280 vs. 270) and 32 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 278) than the 4Runner’s 4.0 DOHC V6. 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/Platinum’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 Explorer Sport/Platinum 3.5 turbo V6 is faster than the Toyota 4Runner:

 

Explorer

4Runner

Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

7.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.8 sec

22 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.3 sec

7.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

16.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

96 MPH

88 MPH

Top Speed

123 MPH

105 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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

 

 

Explorer

4Runner

 

2WD

2.3 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

19 city/27 hwy

n/a

 

 

3.5 V6/Auto

17 city/24 hwy

17 city/22 hwy

4.0 V6/Auto

4WD

2.3 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

18 city/25 hwy

n/a

 

 

3.5 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

16 city/23 hwy

17 city/21 hwy

4.0 V6/Auto

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

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

 

Explorer

4Runner

Front Rotors

13.85 inches

13.3 inches

Rear Rotors

13.5 inches

12.3 inches

The Explorer stops much shorter than the 4Runner:

 

Explorer

4Runner

 

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

201 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The Explorer Base/XLT’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 4Runner’s standard 70 series tires. The Explorer’s optional tires have a lower 50 series profile than the 4Runner Limited’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Explorer Base/XLT has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the 4Runner.

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 3 inches longer than on the 4Runner (112.8 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Explorer is 3.4 inches wider in the front and 3.4 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the 4Runner.

The Explorer Sport 4WD handles at .83 G’s, while the 4Runner TRD Off-Road pulls only .71 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Explorer Limited 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.8 seconds quicker than the 4Runner TRD Off-Road (27.7 seconds @ .63 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.

The front grille of the Explorer uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The 4Runner doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Explorer Sport 4WD is quieter than the 4Runner TRD Off-Road:

 

Explorer

4Runner

At idle

37 dB

43 dB

Full-Throttle

73 dB

76 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The Explorer has 23.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 4Runner (151.5 vs. 128).

The Explorer has 2.1 inches more front headroom, 1.2 inches more front legroom, .8 inches more front hip room, 3.7 inches more front shoulder room, 2 inches more rear headroom, 6.6 inches more rear legroom, 1.1 inches more rear hip room, 3.2 inches more rear shoulder room, 3.5 inches more third row headroom and 4 inches more third row legroom than the 4Runner.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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

 

Explorer

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:

 

Explorer

4Runner

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

19.7”/49”/79.8”

n.a./42”/66.3”

Max Width

48”

57.7”

Min Width

40”

42.4”

Height

45.5”

39.5”

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 Sport/Platinum’s optional second and 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 when your hands are full, the Explorer’s cargo door can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Explorer also (except Base) offers an optional power cargo door, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or just by kicking your foot under the back bumper. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening cargo door.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Explorer 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 (except Base/XLT)’s optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and 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/Platinum’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’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. The 4Runner has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Limited/TRD Pro.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Explorer (except Base/XLT/Sport) 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.

The Explorer offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The 4Runner offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

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

On extremely cold winter days, the Explorer’s optional (except Base) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Explorer (except Base/XLT) 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.

The Explorer (except Base/XLT/Sport)’s optional Enhanced 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 $138 less for a starter, $43 less for fuel injection and $817 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations Comparison

The Ford Explorer outsold the Toyota 4Runner by over two to one during the 2016 model year.

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