2015 Ford Explorer vs Toyota 4Runner

March 31st, 2017 by
2015 Ford Explorer

The 2015 Ford Explorer and Toyota 4Runner are among the most popular SUVs on the road. The Explorer is a full-size, three-row crossover SUV designed to provide spacious seating, strong engines, and modern features. The 4Runner is a midsize SUV with optional third-row seating, a dependable V6 engine, and impressive cargo space. If you’re having trouble deciding between the two, read our four-category comparison.

2015 Ford Explorer vs Toyota 4Runner

Power and Performance

The 2015 Ford Explorer is our pick for power, thanks to its outstanding towing capacities and capable engine lineup. The base engine is a 3.5-liter V6 that delivers 290 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that powers the front wheels. Shoppers can also choose to add four-wheel drive. Those who choose front-wheel drive can also select the optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It makes 240 horses and 270 pound-feet of torque. On the road, Explorers with this engine achieve impressive fuel economy: 20 city/28 highway mpg. The Explorer Sport model comes standard with a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that produces 365 horses and 350 pound-feet of torque. This engine is also paired with a six-speed automatic, specially tuned to deliver an athletic performance. With either V6 engine, the Explorer can tow up to 5,000 pounds. The fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine helps it tow up to 2,000 pounds.

The Toyota 4Runner comes standard with a 4.0-liter V6 engine. It makes 270 horses and 278 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. The Trail and TRD Pro come standard with four-wheel drive. The SR5 and Limited models can be equipped with either rear- or four-wheel drive. With rear-wheel drive, the 4Runner achieves 17/22 mpg.


We like the 2015 Ford Explorer’s impressive standard safety lineup. Items like trailer sway control and stability and traction control maximize safety over a wide range of road conditions. Ford’s MyKey system lets owners set speed and stereo volume parameters for secondary drivers. Explorer shoppers can also choose from a wide variety of high-tech systems designed to enhance driver vigilance. A rearview camera is standard on Limited and Sport models and optional for the XLT, helping drivers reverse with ease. The available lane-departure warning alerts drivers if they’ve strayed outside the lane. Frontal-collision warning and brake priming technology helps drivers avoid careless accidents.

The 4Runner competes well in this category. Like the Explorer, it delivers a wide range of airbags and antilock disc brakes to keep passengers as safe as possible. The rearview camera is standard for all models. The 4Runner Limited come standard with Toyota’s Safety Connect technology, which includes automatic collision notification to quickly alert emergency services after the airbags deploy.

Passenger Comfort and Space

The 2015 Ford Explorer offers a smooth, quiet ride, even on the highway. Passengers can spread out over all three rows in complete comfort. The cabin contains a range of high-quality materials, creating a luxurious space. The supportive front seats enhance comfort during long commutes. The Explorer offers 80 cubic feet of maximum cargo space.

The 4Runner isn’t far behind in terms of comfort and space. The optional third row is well suited to younger passengers. Behind the second row seats, drivers can fill 47 cubic feet of cargo space with everyday items like shopping bags.


Although it was almost too close to call, the Explorer has the edge in this category. The available MyFord Touch infotainment system lets users interact with an impressive range of apps on a high-resolution display screen. The voice-activated Sync system lets drivers alter infotainment settings without sacrificing safety. Available keyless ignition and entry saves time in the parking lot.

The 4Runner’s available Entune infotainment system can be equipped with smartphone integration, allowing drivers to make hands-free calls. It also offers a wide range of off-roading accessories to create the best possible trail experience, including roof-rack crossbars and automatically deploying/retracting running boards.

Learn More about the Ford Explorer

2015 Ford Explorer

category. Its modern features create a comfortable, convenient ride. Passengers can enjoy spacious, supportive seating, even in the third row. Safety equipment aims to protect passengers. Finally, shoppers can choose from an impressive array of engines for fuel-efficient power.