Ask TFL: I Have a Deposit on a Toyota 4Runner, But…Should I Get a Ford Bronco (or Ranger) Instead?

Our friend has a deposit on a 4Runner, but Ford's latest off-road showings look mighty tempting

2018 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium
(Images: TFL Studios, unless otherwise noted)

Considering its age, the Toyota 4Runner is still a remarkably popular off-road SUV.

Our friend Ryan reached out with an interesting dilemma: Which newer off-road SUV should he buy? Specifically, he’s looking between the Toyota 4Runner and Ford Bronco SUVs, and is also considering a pickup instead. Before diving into any sort of answer, let’s get right to his question:

Hello TFL, I’ve been watching your videos for quite some time now and I’ve been checking out newer off-road vehicles I’ve been looking at the 2022/23 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium, the new Bronco and the Ranger Tremor… maybe even the upcoming Ranger Raptor!

I’ve been in the market for an off-road vehicle to go hit the trails and to drive in the winter since my daily isn’t at all ready for wintertime. I’ve been looking at getting into overlanding and going on trips with whatever I end up buying.

I’ve got a deposit on a new 4Runner in the TRD Off-Road Premium configuration, but after seeing the reviews on the long-term Bronco you guys have and seeing the Ranger Tremor and information about the Ranger Raptor, I’ve been thinking about which one I should get a lot more than I was expecting!

I really don’t know which one would be more beneficial for me to get, because I really like the aspect of having a truck and being able to pull a bigger trailer and or camper if need be. But I’m not sure about the Fords’ reliability vs the sought-after Toyota reliability.

My recommendation: Do you want a vehicle now, or are you willing to wait?

Despite the fact that it’s downright ancient at this point, the Toyota 4Runner is still a remarkably popular SUV. I have a particular affinity for them as well, as our own Nathan Adlen is all too keen to point out at every opportunity. There’s a reason for my adulation, as the 4Runner is a well-rounded choice for most people who do at least a little bit of everything.

(Image: Toyota)

That said, Ford has been upping its game over the past few years, especially with its decision to reintroduce the Bronco for a modern off-road SUV buyer. To say it’s been popular is a massive understatement, as the Blue Oval is still working to keep up with demand (supply chain issues notwithstanding). Even at the best times, the company likely still would struggle to fill orders, and that’s because it’s just a good off-road SUV. Fact.

The Ford Ranger is also a capable truck, and I have little doubt that the new generation (particularly in Raptor-ized form) will be a fun off-road choice. Unlike the Bronco, it will also tow more than 3,500 pounds. But — and it’s a big “but” — you’ll have to wait awhile to get your hands on one.

Truth be told, they all are or will be strong contenders for your money, from an off-roading perspective.

On the basis that you’ll need to tow, though, I’d still lean toward keeping the 4Runner deposit. It can tow 5,000 pounds, which is a respectable amount for a midsize SUV. At worst, you’ll get a capable rig now, and you can trade it in if the Bronco/Ranger still strikes your fancy and you can easily (and affordably) get your hands on one. Things are getting a bit easier with the Bronco, but still…you’ll need to wait a bit for the new Ranger.

You can get the current Ranger Tremor, and it’s also a good choice. Thanks to tight dealer inventories and production output, you may have to travel a bit to find one in stock or wait a bit for a dealer order to arrive.

What do you think? Leave your thoughts below!