With manufacturers often sharing platforms between their luxury and standard brand nameplates, we thought it would be helpful to give an overview comparison between the cross-platform 2018 Toyota 4Runner and the 2018 Lexus GX460. Sales records show there is market for both vehicles, but we’ll help you determine which one is right for you.

Exterior

Advantage, 4Runner. While this is strictly my opinion, the 34-year legacy of the 4Runner carries a certain level of “skins on the wall” to be the more attractive, or more respected of the two.

The 2018 Toyota 4Runner, as described in my previous full review, delivered a rugged elegance with its muscular fenders and hood elements, as well as an aggressively-styled front fascia. It is clearly the off-road focused design compared to the GX 460. The 4Runner also benefits from 20-inch wheels while the GX 460’s largest wheels are only 18 inches.

The 2018 GX 460 takes a “boxier” approach to exterior design which unfortunately puts it in a sort of same-as-everyone-else category, blending in a little too much. The Lexus-specific spindle grille is there but even this oft-polarizing element seems toned down compared to it’s Lexus siblings.

Given the Lexus design trajectory of big and bold lines with at least couple of polarizing design notes mixed in, we think it’s time the GX 460 gets a substantial exterior design update.

Interior

As expected, the 4Runner carriers an updated feel along with upgraded materials from previous model years, but contains enough functional plastic to remind you that it is meant to pull off the road and get nasty in the dirt. Seats in our TRD Pro 4Runner were SofTex® – a synthetic leather seat material that feels great but is also practical because of its easy-to-clean and spill-resistant properties.

The 7-passenger GX 460 delivers the level of quality interior and appointments expected from a Lexus. High quality leather seats, soft-touch materials and satin-finish plastics create a luxurious environment for all passengers. The second and third row seats aren’t as comfortable as you’d expect but there is plenty of legroom and headroom.

Performance & Driving

The 2018 Toyota 4Runner is powered by a 4.0-liter V6 engine, producing 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft. of torque. It is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission and rated to tow up to 5,000 lbs. EPA fuel mileage estimates come in at a subpar 17/20 city/highway and 18 MPG combined. This makes the 4Runner a fully capable SUV that comes at a premium during regularly highway driving days.

The 2018 Lexus GX 460 is powered by a 4.6-liter V8 engine, producing 301 horsepower and 329 lb-ft. of torque. It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and is rated to tow up to 6,500 lbs. EPA fuel mileage estimates come in expectantly lower than the 4Runner with 15/18 city/highway and 16 MPG combined.

Both vehicles are built on the traditional SUV body-on-frame which give both a truck-like drive and make them fully-capable off-road vehicles.

Safety

Both the 4Runner and the GX460 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee 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 four-wheel drive and rear parking sensors.

Pricing

Our 2018 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium topped out at $42,690 while our 2018 Lexus GX 460 hit a hefty $69,290. The jump is substantial for what in my estimation is a “fancied-up” Toyota and what ultimately makes us lean towards the 2018 4Runner.

Luxury appointments and higher quality materials are clear distinguishers between the two models but not enough to justify at at $25,000.00 premium. When brands create cross-platform vehicles that truly stand apart from their non-premium brand cousins, premium prices are justified. The numbers don’t add up in this case. Go check out both and decide for yourself.

See you on the road,

 Fabian