A New Car, a New Choice
For most teenagers, only one thing is on their mind when they turn 16: being able to drive. I remember ever since I received my learner’s permit, I couldn’t wait to drive on my own. I looked forward to driving as fast as I wanted and blasting music with the windows rolled down; I of course couldn’t do this with one of my parents in the passenger’s seat. When I turned 16, I not only obtained my driver’s license, but I was also lucky enough to receive a new car. Now I know what you’re thinking, and I assure you that I am not just a spoiled rich kid who gets everything handed to him from his parents. My family only owned two cars at the time and being the oldest of four children, I would only be one of the many future drivers; owning only two cars just wasn’t enough. One of the fun parts about acquiring the new car was that I had some input in the selection process. My parents narrowed the choices down to a Toyota 4Runner and a Jeep Grand Cherokee and allowed me to help them with the final decision. After comparing and contrasting both vehicles, we decided to go with the Toyota 4Runner. Despite the Jeep Grand Cherokee having better performance and many similarities with the 4Runner, my parents and I chose the 4Runner because of its safety, price, and our loyalty to Toyota.
The first thing I did when I was comparing the two cars was look at the performance of each vehicle. The Jeep Grand Cherokee has 210 horsepower which is extremely high for an SUV, especially compared to the 4Runner’s measly 157 horsepower. I really liked the fact that the Grand Cherokee has a lot of power and was able to go pretty fast. The Grand Cherokee packs quite a wallop compared to the 4Runner with respect to torque, which is the force that lets you accelerate quickly. Torque equals pickup, and the Grand Cherokee will have picked up and left by the time the 4Runner finally gets moving. Horsepower and torque was not high on my parent’s priority list though, they actually thought the Grand Cherokee had too much power. They also explained that bigger engines use more gasoline than smaller ones, meaning that the 4Runner gets better gas mileage. I looked up the statistics to see if they were right and sure enough I found out the 4Runner has an 18/23 city to highway miles per gallon while the Grand Cherokee only has a 16/21 city to highway miles per gallon. Another important aspect of the performance is the handling of the vehicle. With their comparable turning radii, the Grand Cherokee and the 4Runner handle about the same. The Grand Cherokee may edge out the 4Runner in power, but the 4Runner has the advantage with gas mileage, a factor that my parents really care about since they pay for gas. Despite my preference with the Grand Cherokee in the performance category, my parents had the final decision and gave the advantage to the 4Runner.
Another category my parents and I looked at when deciding between the two cars was safety. After looking up safety statistics, we found out that the 4Runner has one of the highest safety-crash ratings for an SUV. The Grand Cherokee on the other hand, received average ratings. My parents claimed that safety was one of their top priorities especially since I was just beginning to drive. They told me that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 7,000 people aged 15 to 20 are involved in fatal crashes a year. My parents did their research and wanted to make sure I was as safe as possible out on the road. The Grand Cherokee is a reliable vehicle and received decent safety reviews, but with the 4Runner, they could feel more comfortable knowing I was in a safer vehicle.
When referring to size, neither the 4Runner nor the Grand Cherokee has a marked advantage as far as seating capacity. While the front cabin in the Grand Cherokee offers a bit more head room than the 4Runner, there honestly isn’t much of a difference. The Grand Cherokee provides more head and leg room to passengers than the 4Runner does, but the difference wasn’t big enough to affect our decision. Both cars have the same seating capacity, being able to seat 5 passengers. The 4Runner though is likely a better choice than the Grand Cherokee when it comes to transporting cargo but the Grand Cherokee out tows the 4Runner by a massive margin. My parents and I didn’t take these factors into consideration because I wouldn’t be using the car to transport cargo or tow objects, so we didn’t really look into size or utility that much due to the similarities.
The last categories my parents and I looked at were the price and the manufacturer. The introductory price for the 4Runner is $27,500, while the price for the Grand Cherokee is $30,710, making the 4Runner $3,210 cheaper. On top of the 4Runner being cheaper, the Grand Cherokee requires more trips to the pump, meaning more money would be spent on gas with the Grand Cherokee. The prices state that they also do not include destination charges. After doing more research, we found out that the destination charge is a standard charge for transporting the vehicle from its point of origin to the dealer. It costs almost the same to get the Grand Cherokee to the dealership as the 4Runner so we didn’t take that much into consideration. What we did take into heavy consideration though was the manufacturer. My family has always bought Toyota vehicles. We currently own a Toyota Sequoia and a Toyota Camry and even before those two cars, both my parents had always owned a Toyota vehicle. My parents claim that they like the reliability and they are very reluctant to change so until one of the cars break down or cause them trouble, we will probably continue to buy from Toyota. Seeing how the 4Runner is manufactures by Toyota, it pretty much sealed the deal.
After considering both vehicles and all their pros and cons, my parents and I agreed on the 4Runner. Despite the performance of the 4Runner not being up to par with the Grand Cherokee, the rest of the factors made me favor the 4Runner and to this day I’m glad we went with the 4Runner. My parents loved every aspect of the 4Runner and believe it was a perfect fit for me and the rest of my siblings down the road. It still drives great and I love all the features of the vehicle. I don’t know how different it would be if we had decided on the Grand Cherokee, but comparing and contrasting the two vehicles really helped us pick the car that best suited our family. With the combination of good gas mileage, safety, price, and the Toyota brand name the 4Runner seemed like a perfect fit.