One of the greatest and longest on-going debates is the Jeep vs Toyota debate. Off-road guys and gals all around the world have an opinion on this topic. Toyota fans hate Jeeps fans, and Jeep fans seem to hate Toyota fans.
Jeeps people swear by Jeeps, and Toyota people swear by Toyota’s. There might not be a right or wrong answer to this debate, but lets go ahead and compare Jeep vs Toyota.
Jeep vs Toyota: Interior
This part of the debate is kind of awkward. Because Toyota’s are cheap vehicles and as such have cheap interiors, and Jeep’s are also cheap, with cheap interiors. So regardless of which one you think is better, they both kind of suck.
Features of Toyota and Jeep interiors are fairly basic. You can get power everything, but base models are mostly manual everything, unless you’re talking about Land Cruisers, which are better off being compared to a Land Rover and not a Jeep.
Both have a cloth interior on most models with an optional leather interior on higher up models.
XJ Cherokee Interior
Quite honestly the interior on both old and new Jeeps and Toyota’s aren’t really something to bring up. They’re both fairly basic, even in 2016 they have fairly similar interiors.
Jeep vs Toyota: Reliability
This is one the single most important factors for most people. Reliability is generally the deciding factor for people who are looking for used cars, and even new cars. You might think that both Jeep and Toyota are fairly reliable.
But that is not the case at all.
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As a big Jeep fan it pains me to see this chart, but the numbers don’t lie. According to these numbers, the Jeep brand is amongst the most unreliable automotive brands in the US. Toyota on the other hand is pretty high up on the list of brand reliability.
That list covers 2014+ models of Jeep and Toyota. But what about the older models?
Like i’ve mentioned in countless other articles, the Jeep 4.0L is known as one of the single most reliable engines ever built. It was built by AMC, and it was used in tractors, boats, and Jeeps. It does having cooling issues if you live in some place hot like I do in Arizona, but other than that its a stupidly strong little engine.
Toyota SUV engine’s from the same time frame as the 4.0L Jeep include the 22re, 3.0L, and 3.4L. The 22re is a well known little engine, it doesn’t make much power but it never dies. Its arguable more reliable than the Jeep 4.0L.
The 3.0L on the other hand is known for blowing up every 100k miles. By blowing up I mean over heating and killing the head gaskets. The 3.4L is much more reliable than the 3.0L, but doesn’t compare to the 22re or the Jeep 4.0L.
Jeep vs Toyota: Off-Road
Like i’ve mentioned in other articles, comparing vehicles off-road can be kind of difficult. This is because its not based on numbers like typical performance data. Yes there are numbers like ground clearance, but its not one single number that determines whether or not a vehicle is good off-road.
Things like articulation, wheel base (length), wheel track (width), approach and departure angles, height, and various other little things can make a vehicle handle drastically different. But most importantly, driver experience will make a vehicle amazing or make it awful.
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Luckily, both Toyota and Jeep share a similar 4WD system. Unlike Land Rover’s both of these are true 4WD, and not AWD. 4WD locks the front and rear axle together at a 50/50 power distribution when the vehicle is put into 4WD. This means you’ll get consistent handling, especially when climbing hills or difficult obstacles.
Unfortunately, Toyota’s use independent suspension up front, which severely limits articulation. Don’t get me wrong, i’ve seen some really flexy IFS trucks, but nothing compared to a solid axle, which Jeep’s have.
Many Toyota owners do a solid axle swap, but honestly I’m kind of jealous of Toyota’s IFS. It might not be that great off-road, but it doesn’t death wobble, and it handles way nicer on the road.
So, unless you’re doing some sort of rock crawling, you can probably get anywhere a Jeep can in a Toyota. Thats not guaranteed because I’ve seen plenty of Toyota’s get stuck in places where my Jeep didn’t even have to try, but that may just be driver error for the Toyota.
Jeep vs Toyota: Price
Price is one of the most important factors when picking out a vehicles. We must stay within our allotted budget. Plus any money you save can be put into modifications. Prices vary a lot based on location, condition, milage, and modifications.
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I can tell you from lots of experience that XJ Cherokee’s range from $1,500-$2,500 for a good stock one, all the way up to $6k for a good built one. Most XJ’s fall somewhere in the middle, not stock, but not built. My personal XJ cost $1,000, it was stock and had a fair share of issues, which isn’t a problem for me personally.
I have never purchased a Toyota, and I only have a few friends who own Toyota’s, but from what i’ve found on Craigslist, 4runners range from $1,700 to $3,000 for a good stock one. Built 4runners go as high as $7k. So the prices are only marginally higher than an XJ Cherokee.
Jeep vs Toyota: Old Models
Assuming you’re an off-road enthusiast, these are the models that you are probably interested in. Thus far we’ve mostly talked about the older Toyota’s like the 2nd and 3rd gen 4runner, and older Jeep’s like the XJ Cherokee. Like I mentioned before, both are pretty bare bones when it comes to the interior.
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The biggest difference between older Toyota’s and older Jeep’s is the suspension design and the reliability of the engine. Like I mentioned before, the older 4runner’s 3.0L is pretty crappy engine. It constantly blows head gaskets and over heats.
The Jeep 4.0L is a little temperamental with cooling, but it is one of the most reliable production engines ever made.
The factory IFS on Toyota’s holds them back when off-roading, but can be easily swapped out for a solid axle set up. Jeep’s on the other hand are already equipped with a solid axle set up. This provides tons of articulation and allows stock Jeep’s to go places that stock Toyota’s can’t.
Jeep vs Toyota: New Models
As I die hard Jeep guy, this is where things kind of start to change for me, and the Jeep vs Toyota debate as a whole. Newer vehicles are coming with all sorts of fancy traction control system and things like “crawl control”.
To put it simply, the playing field has leveled out, no longer are stock Jeep’s way better than stock Toyota’s. Jeep’s are still better, but only marginally so, unless you’re talking about the Rubicon model.
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I’ve got to give it to Toyota, they’ve really stepped up their game in the off-road industry the past few years. The all new Tacoma is loaded with off-road features such as “Crawl Control” which is essentially hill accent control combined with an advanced traction control system. The result? Being able to easily get out of hairy situations.
The model year before the 2016 Tacoma also received the TRD Pro edition. The first time I saw a TRD Pro was the first time I actually thought about owning a Toyota for off-roading. The TRD Pro can be had on the Tundra, Tacoma, and 4runner. Its a factory package that includes larger tires and slight lift with Bilstein suspension.
As I mentioned before, both Toyota and Jeep still have pretty basic interior’s. Both are filled with fairly cheap plastics, decent leather, and a fancy touch screen info/entertainment system.
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Luckily for Toyota, newer Jeep’s are as unreliable as Land Rover’s, so Toyota defiantly takes the crown when it comes to newer vehicles. I would still personally prefer a Wrangler, but I really want a TRD Pro Tacoma one day.
Jeep vs Toyota: Summary
Like I said in the beginning of this article, there isn’t really a right or wrong answer when it comes to the Jeep vs Toyota debate. Both are pretty competent little off-road SUVs. The Toyota is a better daily driver with its IFS, but is a little lacking off-road because of it. The Jeep is better off-road but its solid front axle can make on road handling a little scary sometimes.
Either way, they’re both great little SUVs. If you want to get really serious about off-roading get a Jeep. If you want to daily drive and occasionally go on some trails, get a 4runner.
20 thoughts on “Jeep vs Toyota: Which One is Better and Why?”
1st gen toyota pickups have solid axles 84/84 4runners have solid axles and landcruisers have solid axles till 2000 and came with lockers
Jeeps are POS! They look like bricks on wheels and have the same aerodynamics. They are terrible in winter driving and swap ends on an icy road faster than a frisbee. Their close together headlights cause accidents because they look much further away in fog and other low visibility conditions. Why anyone would want one is a complete mystery.
Sounds like you’ve never owned a jeep, so who would you be to talk about them?
Thanks for your contribution, Hunter.
He’s clearly biased against Jeeps, but nothing he said indicated whether he owned one or not. I don’t have to own a Pinto to know if someone hits me in the rear end it’s likely to erupt. I’ve owned both and I’d have to agree with him on points 1 & 2, with point 1 obviously being my personal preference. If you disagree with point #2 refer to your gas mileage. I’ve never heard of the headlights being an issue though. Obviously with any steering geometry the shorter the wheelbase the less stability but better handling.
Jeeps seem like they transition easier into serious offroading due to the single axle front and ease of lifting/tire clearance. I’m personally happier with my Tacoma with LT IFS and mid travel rear since I like the way it looks and it doesn’t feel like I’m driving a clown car. To each his own I suppose.
I drove a Pinto, I drove a Vega. I bought a VW ! More power and fun.
I’ve had four Jeeps and they’re terrific. Had one Toyota Land Cruiser years ago – and it was a horse also. They’re both great vehicles!
With a Jeep and a Taco, I’d take the Jeep in the winter (commuting, quick trips, off road, doesn’t matter) every single day of the week and the headlights are great – unless i’m traveling on the plowed/salted interstate, then the Taco it is.
That said, you’re right about one thing :aerodynamics. I reliably get 10+ more mpg in the Taco in similar driving conditions.
Never had a problem with my jeep in snow. Lived in Chicago and did 65 easy in 4 inches of snow when it was a blizzard. Headlights are the same distance as other cars. Jeep won a war? What did your hunk of junk Toyota do? I noticed most Toyota owners like to run their mouth a lot.
My Mustage GT Conv. is worse than my TJ in Winter.Then again even so I did by Jeep as daily driver. Opps take that Back I got a grand for hat along with my car.
Toyota land cruiser are known for the fact they make army try. The Hilux is crazy good. It still with me for 12 years. Jeep make good engine but they carry to much weight. Toyota 4L is better than the jeep 4L.
Toyota is still owned by Toyota
Toyota’s look cool
Toyota motors consistently surpass 400k miles
Toyota’s over all reliability is ranked in the top 5
Toyota is more expensive due to better quality
Jeep is owned by Fiat…..I also heard rumor that Fiat might sell Jeep to China. Lol.
Jeep’s look like Hummers H2’s and 3’s, which aren’t cool looking at all.
Jeep motors consistently break down before 200k miles
Jeep’s over all reliability is ranked in the bottom 5
Jeep is less expensive due to lesser quality
I drove a 2004 wrangler for 8 years and I’ll I can say is that I never had an issue with the 4L i6 but I had a faulty brake booster and torque converter both factory faux pas. I also ripped my rear shock mounts twice before having them welded and gusseted. numerous issues with steering components which ultimately resulted in near total aftermarket replacement; I ran 33″ tires. I miss driving the old box down the road though but agree that new model Wranglers are priced far too high given how little value one gets in a road vehicle but Aces in the Off-road arena. My 04 Sport with Auto and dual tops was $26000 and looked good. The new sport has half as many features as my TJ yet costs 15K more. IMO, More engine power and slightly wider is not worth the extra $$. Yes the ride sucks, especially after a lift. The aerodynamics about as good as a wall with wheel and just all around bad quality issues. I doubt much has changed in the JK’s. I also drove a Toyota Tacoma for a few years and had zip happen to it in that time.
As a Toyota owner for 31 consecutive years since my first ‘98 Extra Cab pickup I bought new, I have never, ever had to do anything beyond regular maintenance to any of my Toyota trucks and SUV and non have ever left me stranded, stuck of in a bind. On the other hand, many of my friends and off-road bussies who owned Jeeps had called on me many of time to get them from the side of the road or on the trail broken down….
Toyota or Jeep? Toyota for me everyttime!
I have been driving Jeeps since 1985. I have never had a serious problem with any of them. Just regular maintenance and NOTHING else. I’m a light weekend off-roader. My old XJ had 350k miles on it before I sold it for my current 2012 Grand Cherokee SRT8. I’m about to trade it in for the 2018 Trackhawk that I ordered. I have nothing against Toyotas but it always amazes me that they cannot help trash talk Jeeps. Enough already. Enjoy what you have and stop the fanboy crap.
I can tell you right now that my 2014 Rubicon was garbage. Ill never own one of those JunKs ever again. Everything broke on that thing. It never got to go offroad and never removed the hard top. Its still leaked, overheated, leaked oil, the entire dashboard failed, and still think my 95 corolla would kill it in the snow.
Author neglected to consider the venerable 80 series LC, which was available with electronic front and rear lockers, coil sprung all four corners, 3-link and 5-link solid axles, front and rear. And you want a bullet-proof motor??– Toyota 4.5l I-6
LOVE my ’96 80 series
Must say, second most capable off-road vehicle I’ve owned was the ’91 Cherokee with Selec-trac.
Oh, and btw, by ’91, wasn’t the 4.0 litre motor in my Jeep cherokee made by Toyota anyway . .. .?!
The last real Jeeps were TJ Wranglers and XJ Cherokees. I own one of each and also lease a ’17 Renegade. Out of all, the XJ is my favorite. My Reni is a loaded Trailhawk. I would call it a very fine luxury sub-compact. Jeep in name only. Ride, fit, finish and amenities, I would put it in a class of BMW of 4 or 5 years ago. My TJ is a stock, mint ’98 with only 70k. The XJ I bought on a cash for junk call for 400 bucks. A battery, tires and a couple minor accessory problems. It runs like a champ at 225k NYC miles. That’s my favorite. It’s THE classic SUV.
His statement that Jeeps are better off roaders than Toyotas is utter bullshit.
Here in Australia Jeeps are a laughing stock amoungst a 4WD mad nation. We have jokes, if you want to go up to Cape York, take a Jeep or a Land Rover. If you want to come back though, you’ll need a Land Cruiser or a Patrol ?
In fact, the only reason I came across this article was because I was interested in further reading of our news highlighting a local class action against Jeep breakdowns taking place..