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I currently have a Subaru Outback (booooo hiss... yes... I know). I also have an older 4runner and previously had Sequoias and a couple FJ60's and a partridge in a pear tree.

I like sitting high in the seat for road view. It's a priority for me. The Sequoia did that. The '99 4Runner sort of does that. The Outback doesn't really. I am looking at 2014-17 4runners and am ASSUMING they have a higher driver sitting position than the Highlander. However, the Highlander also appears higher than the Outback but lower than the 4Runner. Yes, have sat in them all but its a subjective call to a degree based on the seat, settings, hood length... fortuitous distortion and swamp gas.

Is the highlander almost... near... about the same driver "sitting in the seat" height as the 4Runner? Totally subjective and highly opinionated views solicited.

Thanks !
 

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05 Tacoma 4x4 DC LB
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4Runner is similar to the Tacoma. Definitely sit higher in that versus our 2nd Gen Highlander. And yes, highlander is definitely higher than an outback (I have a Crosstrek too, so jumping into the highlander or Tacoma makes me feel like I’m sitting way up there!).
 

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I have a 2019 highlander XLE and test drove a 2018 4 runner and it is definitely higher, it is body on frame, so the floor of the vehicle sits atop the frame and the frame has more clearance than the HL. I just set my HL seat a bit higher, the seat in the 4 runner is lower to the floor, so rear passengers can't get their feet under the seat unless it is raised up. The HL is similar in the cabin to the tundra crew max, more room better cabin comfort and better fuel economy than 4 runner in my opinion.
 

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2015 4 Runner SR5
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The Runner has a high seat height, you should be good to go there. I am opposite your preference these days as I am enjoying my Camry ride height for my work daily commute. Kinda nice to feel the road a bit better, just a different driving experience.
 

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Chris
2016 4Runner SR5
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46 Posts
I have a 2016 4Runner and a 2019 Highlander. I absolutely love both for different reasons. The Highlander has much more comfortable seats, like night and day more comfortable. If you take a lot of road trips, get the Highlander. If you want more of a truck feel or plan to use it for anything more than dirt roads, buy the 4Runner.
 

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I have a 2016 4Runner and a 2019 Highlander. I absolutely love both for different reasons. The Highlander has much more comfortable seats, like night and day more comfortable. If you take a lot of road trips, get the Highlander. If you want more of a truck feel or plan to use it for anything more than dirt roads, buy the 4Runner.
How does the mpg compare between them? Would you say one is of better quality than the other? My opinion when I was comparing was the 4 runner had a more interesting feel on first impression, but the highlander feels better the more it's driven, it is very easy to dismiss on first impression but it makes so much sense as an everyday vehicle once one owns it.
 

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Chris
2016 4Runner SR5
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46 Posts
How does the mpg compare between them? Would you say one is of better quality than the other? My opinion when I was comparing was the 4 runner had a more interesting feel on first impression, but the highlander feels better the more it's driven, it is very easy to dismiss on first impression but it makes so much sense as an everyday vehicle once one owns it.
Can't compare MPG since my 4Runner is modded with much larger tires very aggressive tires, a lift, and I avg about 15 mpg due to this. 4Runner was modded at 325 miles so really no reference from when it was stock. The Highlander is also modded with larger more aggressive tires but still does very well. The tires were put on the Highlander brand new at the dealer so I have no reference when it was on stock tires here either. Only road trip I took was when it had 250 miles on it when leaving, 650 miles on it upon return, and I got 24 mpg doing about 75-80 most of the way. As everything seats in and at lower speeds I'm sure it would get much better mileage. Highlander seats are more comfortable, more of a car feel, it's a unibody crossover. The 4Runner is much more rugged, much more capable, full frame rather than unibody, and will take you places the Highlander will not. If you buy a 4Runner, plan to upgrade tires right away. The stock tires are garbage in anything other than dry weather. Pretty bad in rain, absolutely horrible in snow.
 

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Can't compare MPG since my 4Runner is modded with much larger tires very aggressive tires, a lift, and I avg about 15 mpg due to this. 4Runner was modded at 325 miles so really no reference from when it was stock. The Highlander is also modded with larger more aggressive tires but still does very well. The tires were put on the Highlander brand new at the dealer so I have no reference when it was on stock tires here either. Only road trip I took was when it had 250 miles on it when leaving, 650 miles on it upon return, and I got 24 mpg doing about 75-80 most of the way. As everything seats in and at lower speeds I'm sure it would get much better mileage. Highlander seats are more comfortable, more of a car feel, it's a unibody crossover. The 4Runner is much more rugged, much more capable, full frame rather than unibody, and will take you places the Highlander will not. If you buy a 4Runner, plan to upgrade tires right away. The stock tires are garbage in anything other than dry weather. Pretty bad in rain, absolutely horrible in snow.
I have the 2019 highlander XLE and my observed mpg via the trip computer has been as low as 12 mpg on a short city trip in very cold temps and as high as 27mpg on highway cruise, average confined with a city bias is 18mpg.
 

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Chris
2016 4Runner SR5
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46 Posts
I have the 2019 highlander XLE and my observed mpg via the trip computer has been as low as 12 mpg on a short city trip in very cold temps and as high as 27mpg on highway cruise, average confined with a city bias is 18mpg.
All depends on your driving style. Drive aggressively, you'll get poor MPG Drive like a grandmother, you'll get better MPG Truthfully, I couldn't care less what I get on either vehicle. I bought them because I like them and the modded them knowing full well I would hurt economy. I enjoy driving them, I love the look of both of them, and to me, that's really all that batters. Buy a Prius if you want crazy MPG, just tint the windows extra dark so no one sees you driving it.
 

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Chris
2016 4Runner SR5
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Just went outside to look at the dash. Past 100 miles or so have been slow around town driving and a bunch of in community driving at 10 mph. AVG currently on the dash is 16.7 and that hasn't been reset since before the road tip I last took. Like I said before, perfectly acceptable to me!
 

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I will just give my 2 cents. I love the 4 Runner but it is ancient. It's hard to go with something so out of date. Also, you're asking questions about mpg. If you are all concerned with that I would go highlander. As cool as it is, I would only say 4 Runner if you were planning on more than light off-roading.
 

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I think someone else and not the original p[oster was asking about mpg. The 4 Runner will always be higher but the road manners are much better in the highlander imho.
 

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92 Corolla, 90 Camry
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I've sat in highlanders, tacomas, FJ, 4 runners and I think that one is sitting pretty close to the floor vs. sitting more comfortably that is more like a couch so the calfs/knees drop straight down to the floor and the thighs aren't angled upwards but only horizontally. Since this hasn't changed over the years, is there an aftermarket front and rear seat that one could buy that is higher off the floor but not to high where my head would hit the ceiling? Otherwise, one would have to put spacer shims under the factory seats to raise them but hopefully one doesn't have to chop the roof and raise it so that my head wouldn't hit the ceiling too. This would be an interesting mod. Not everyone wants a sportscar bucket type seat in a general purpose SUV vehicle.
 
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