Yup, it's another Rubicon or 4Runner question

  1. jeep4runner

    jeep4runner Active Member

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    Hi Jeep enthusiasts,

    I have a question that I'd love your thoughts on—which should I buy: a new Rubicon JL or a used 4Runner Trail (2014-2016).

    Yes, it one of those. BUT, I'm not here to incite a flame war. I'd like to tell you my specific needs, to get specific feedback to help make sure I get the best thing for what I want to do.

    My 3 primary aims for this vehicle are: Off-roading, Rock crawling, and camping/hiking.

    Context:
    This will not be an everyday vehicle (I have a small Prius C banger for that—and while boring, is insanely reliable and has stupid-high gas mileage).
    • This will not be a soccer mom, mall cruiser, or wishful thinking vehicle. I don't have kids (nor will I). Just my mrs and our dog who love the outdoors. So I want it to be functional, not just "look" functional. This will be exclusively for outdoor adventures (and maybe the occasional dog park).
    • I plan on keeping this vehicle for a long time—adding mods as I go.

    Why a Rubicon JL and 4Runner Trail?

    From what I've seen and briefly experienced, the new Rubicons drive much nicer on the road, and have an interior (finally) that puts the 4Runner to shame. To me, the TRD Pro is pointless and overpriced. I can get a used Trail for around $27k, and spend $10-$12k on mods overtime that will give me an absolute beast of an off-roader. But that starts to creep up right around what a base Rubi goes for (since a used Rubi is still much more money) that gives me things like front and rear lockers, nicer interior, tires I'd actually want to use, and more. But even with that, I can build a used 4Runner Trail for cheaper than a new Rubi.

    And here's a bit more for each aim—with a bit more context, too:

    1. Off-roading:
    I use to do a lot of off-roading with my first Toyota truck—mudding, fire roads, etc. We love to just get away and see different kinds of terrain. We like to do this a few times a month (weekends mostly). We'd be out all day doing this—so driving home has to be comfortable.

    2. Rock crawling: I love to crawl. But I haven't done it for a while. So I need to walk, before I can crawl (that makes sense, right?). I won't be crawling every weekend. I'll upgrade things and do smaller crawls to get the hang of it again. This will be almost exclusively on weekends. And to start, maybe once a month. But the aim is to go several times a month as I get back into it.

    3. Camping/Hiking: This kinda goes hand-in-hand with the other two. We love to hike. My mrs and I want to visit as many National Parks as we can. So this would mean driving long distances across the country. So it not only has to be reliable (yeah, I know most will say Toyota right away), but have the space to have a rooftop tent. or tow a small teardrop trailer instead. But when we get to these locations, we'll also want to off-road or crawl.

    Questions are welcome. Your passion is encouraged. But let's keep it civil :)
     
  2. 1quick1

    1quick1 Moderator
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  3. iki4life

    iki4life Well-Known Member

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    Coming from a die hard Toyota family- My parents have owned ONLY Toyotas ranging from the Tercel in '86 all the way upto the Avalon in '16, with the Sienna, Tacoma and Camry coming in between those years- I can say that Toyota makes the best "bang for your buck" product. Meaning your money will go a long, long way. The vehicle will run down into the ground and still have some great resale value left. That said, get the 4Runner.
    But if you Want to have fun, get the Wrangler. I wanted to have fun. And here I am- On a Wrangler Forum and a proud owner of a JL Sahara.
     
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  4. BillG

    BillG Well-Known Member

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    A Jeep becomes a mechanical member of the family. Everything else, no matter how reliable, is just another vehicle.:flag::jk:
     
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  5. wvgasguy

    wvgasguy Well-Known Member

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    I don't see my 2019 Rubicon as having a nicer interior than my 2017 TRD Pro, nor as comfortable...but regardless, your intended use doesn't really require a comfortable interior. The Rubicon has endless exterior performance upgrades available. For your use I would think the TRD Trail would be subject to extensive body damage eventually if you are banging it around in the rocks, where as the Jeep might lose a fender (easily replaced). I believe the top options for the Jeep would provide more options, though a soft top might not stop a bear. Not sure why you need a new Jeep, other than the price of the older ones are outrageous. Then again the new JL's are pretty expensive compared to the JK's (more expensive options to check off)

    As many have noted on these pages, if you plan to extensively modify your Jeep perhaps starting with a Sport and then spending mega bucks is the way to go.

    And I find your comment that the TRD is overpriced with some amusement as my Rubicon was $59,400 and my TRD Pro was $42,679. And it still has a retail value over the MSRP 2 years later.
     
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  6. OP
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    jeep4runner

    jeep4runner Active Member

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  7. mwilk012

    mwilk012 Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like a modestly equipped JLUR might be right for you. A 4Runner would take a lot more modification to get it on equivalent footing to a mildly modified wrangler.
     
  8. NFRs2000NYC

    NFRs2000NYC Well-Known Member

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    Not to piss on your cornflakes, but lets get one thing straight.....while the 4runner is a good vehicle, especially for the overland crowd (whatever that means), even with all the mods, it isn't going to be as capable as a STOCK rubicon, let alone a modified one. The transmission in the 4runner is ancient. The interior of the 4runner at this point is similar to a well equipped piece of farm machinery. It's a dated platform, and it shows. To sum up, if you REALLY analyze them both carefully, you'll see that there is no comparison.
     
  9. ChrispyJL

    ChrispyJL Well-Known Member

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    Do you like driving topless? Doorless?

    Yes?...buy the Wrangler.

    Stock Rubicon will do everything you want it to.
    Used 4runner will need work to be a crawler.
    And as you said, will put the 4runner at stock Rubicon price.

    Honestly, both good vehicles, let your heart decide, go drive the jeep, if it speaks to you, get it.
     
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  10. OP
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    jeep4runner

    jeep4runner Active Member

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    I don't think my response was specific enough :)

    Am I the only one who thought that video—while funny in parts—was kinda... not great?

    And while that thread sparked a lot of replies, a lot of it seemed less about answering the question, and more about an argument back and forth. It's why I ended up making this thread.
     
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  11. OP
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    jeep4runner

    jeep4runner Active Member

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    They owned a Tercel? I'm sorry (I speak from childhood experience).
     
  12. gwl

    gwl New Member

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    I currently have a wrangler. My last vehicle was a 2016 4runner and my previous vehicle was a 2011 Xterra Pro 4x. The 4runner is by far the least capable offroad of my three vehicles. Too big, too bulky, too much overhang front and rear, etc. And it didn't hold up at all on backroads. I wouldn't drive one anywhere that doesn't have pavement. Xterra's are much better than 4runners and Wranglers are better still at backroads and off-roads.
     
  13. OP
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    jeep4runner

    jeep4runner Active Member

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    Oh, I don't disagree that a new Rubi is a bit costly. But when if you look at comparative prices of a TRD Pro and a loaded Rubi, you get more off-road performance chops with the Rubi right out of the gate. Because—to your points—there's more to be damaged on a 4Runner that's possibly harder to fix (and it's a damn valid point). That's a big reason I'm looking at a Trail, not a TRD Pro—because it's way cheaper and I can put beastly bumpers, sliders, other protective and performance pieces while still staying lower than a new TRD Pro or Rubi.
     
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  14. OP
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    jeep4runner

    jeep4runner Active Member

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    You piss on people's Corn Flakes? Remind me never to come to your house for breakfast! :)

    You make some valid points here. I think the 4Runner's interior is slightly more comfortable than the Rubi's. But when I look at the design and functionality of the Rubi, what stands out most is how a bit more driver-friendly the new JL's layout is in the center stack, and the ability to mod it a bit more. So while dated doesn't necessarily bother me, comfortability and functionality does. And comfortability doesn't just extend to the seat. It's also how I (the driver) more easily get around my space while driving. And I think the Rubi does that a bit better right now than the 4Runner. But that's subjective.
     
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  15. OP
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    jeep4runner

    jeep4runner Active Member

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    When you say "moderately equipped", if I bought a new JL, what do you think should be the "must-haves" and what would be best served to add on later (from both a price and functionality point of view)?
     
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