By on May 31, 2018

2018 Toyota 4Runner

2018 Toyota 4Runner Limited

4.0-liter V6 (270 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm; 278 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm)

Five-speed automatic, full-time four-wheel drive

17 city / 20 highway / 18 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

14.3 city, 11.9 highway, 13.2 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $44,760 (U.S) / $51,320 (Canada)

As Tested: $46,874 (U.S.) / $53,262.50 (Canada)

Prices include $995 destination charge in the United States and $1,915 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

Age can be a strength or weakness, and in the case of Toyota’s 4Runner, it’s almost certainly the former.

Indeed, I expect that when it comes time for the company to fully update the model, there will be plenty of hand-wringing among 4Runner fans as they worry that Toyota will screw it up. Considering that Jeep just successfully modernized the Wrangler without diluting what made it great, and considering the current 4Runner is already more civilized than the last Jeep, I think the next 4Runner will be just fine. But I understand the concern.

The current 4Runner is an old-school SUV – big, blocky, and tough-feeling. It even has old-school body-on-frame construction and boxy looks with a big ‘ole mean-looking grille and front end. Furthermore, the current generation stretches back nearly a decade.

Changes for 2018 are, fittingly, minimal. The changes consist of two new available options packages and two new trim levels. That’s it.

The 270-horsepower, 4.0-liter V6 remains under hood and the sole transmission remains a five-speed automatic. Drivetrain layouts are as follows: 4×2, part-time 4×4, or full-time 4×4.

Climb in the driver’s seat and you’ll see that all the hallmarks of familiarity are there. The center stack is a mix of blocky design and big control knobs. The quickly-becoming-outdated infotainment system sits housed within.

[Get pricing for new and used Toyota 4Runners here!]

The engine isn’t loud, per se, but it’s noticeable, even at idle, in a way that was once common but has become less so as sound-deadening measures improved over the years. It neither sounds nor feels smooth, which adds to the ruggedness. As for delivering power, it’s a mixed bag. The 4Runner has the guts for around-town driving, but it feels a tad slow to come on boil. You get the sense that the throttle response is tuned for the sensitivity needed when off-roading.

2018 Toyota 4Runner

Ride and handling are unsurprisingly truckish. Which is fine – this SUV is built for off-roading. Want something soft with a Toyota badge? Go check out that Highlander across the lot.

Rough around the edges as it may be, the ride isn’t unlivable. It’s just not well-suited to city cruising. At least the steering feels connected to the wheels – there’s only minimal numbness.

Off-road-oriented SUVs tend to command decent money, most likely because in a market flooded with SUVs and crossovers, only a handful are truly capable off-road. That could explain why the high-end Limited trim 4Runner I drove bases at over $42K.

With four-wheel drive, the 4Runner Limited I drove started at $44,760. Standard features included full-time four-wheel drive, 20-inch alloy wheels, skid plates, fog lamps, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, Entune, USB, satellite radio, heated and cooled front seats, moonroof, power sliding rear window, push-button start, and keyless entry. Options were limited to automatic running boards, the “Blizzard Pearl” white paint color, and carpeted floor and cargo mats. Total tag: $46,874 including $995 for D and D.

2018 Toyota 4Runner

As always with vehicles built with a singular purpose, the value for money equation comes down to how you plan on using it. A lot of today’s SUV buyers would blanche at paying more than $45K for a body-on-frame vehicle that is probably past overdue for a refresh. But those who want or need off-road capability and want something a bit bigger than a Wrangler and cheaper than a Land Rover will find the price just right.

The 4Runner is built to be tough and to handle the outdoors. It should be able to do that just fine. And that’s the point.

Not every vehicle has to be an automotive multi-tool. The 4Runner is an off-road-oriented SUV that happens to be able to haul people and stuff around town as well as any crossover or more “on road” focused SUV.

It does so with an old-school verve that both charms and annoys (although neither the charm nor the annoyance are as pronounced as they were on the last Wrangler). It’s not the best choice for commuting, but it doesn’t punish. This is the same formula that Toyota has used on the 4Runner for well, forever.

Someday soon-ish there will be a new 4Runner, but expect it to remain just as throwback as this one is. It will be a bit more modernized in some ways – a newer and better-looking dash design, and up-to-date infotainment, I’d wager – but the spirit will likely remain.

That’s a good thing.

[Images © 2018 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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102 Comments on “2018 Toyota 4Runner Limited Review – Old Isn’t Always Bad...”


  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Toyota is LAZY & LAME.

    They deserve to lose a large chunk of market share, as a result.

    Many of their vehicles look as if they are straight out of 2008 and so late.

    And Healey, I’m going to start coming at you bro, for definitely having a pattern in your reviews thus far that are beginning to shape the “critic” in you as something closer to a manufacturer lapdog.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      p.s. -‘Got stuck with one of these POS as a rental last year in Colorado, so I have driven this (I would have driven it had I rented one in 2008, for that matter).

      Never again. It’s a ungainly, inefficient, uncomfortable, dim-witted TuRD of a vehicle that is yet another example of Toyota’s incompetent current CEO and executives resting on their laurels.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Seems you get a lot of crappy rentals DW.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I think crappiness for DW is proportional to the level of dissimilarity from a 2013 E350.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          I mainly talk/b!tch about the vehicle rentals that are really poor, as a warning to others.

          I also, but less frequently, rave about rentals that are outstanding.

          Aside from Toyota diehards like gtem, I’m genuinely surprised that anyone could classify the 4Runner as anything other than uncivilized and inefficient (unnecessarily so), with subpar on road manners, a cheap interior, that’s overpriced by about 20% or more, and even its dual calling cards of reliability and off-road capability don’t really hold up to much/some of the competition that’s far more refined and modern, the way that they may have 15 years ago.

          Toyota is/has outing out/put out some real trash lately, from the RAV-4, to the Yaris, Corolla, Echo, the new Avalon, and even their “vaunted” Tundra and Tacoma are legitimately not competitive with the competition.

          Toyota is producing some real overpriced sh!tboxes now, that are going to take a toll even on the “Oh, what a feeling!” fanbois – give it some time.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            DeadWeight in 10 years a 2013 4Runner will be worth more than your 2013 E-class, and won’t be in a BHPH lot. That kind of sums things up IMO. People recognize and hang onto good vehicles. 4Runners are proportionally the most commonly registered vehicles on US roads with 300k+ miles.

            I’d argue we’re lucky in the US to be able to buy basically a re-bodied Prado 150 for $36k in basic 4wd trim. Adjusted for inflation, something like my ’96 was about $50k. Overseas Prados are a good bit pricier. I’d argue you get what you pay for, Toyota’s current weak paint notwithstanding. These are still very much stupidly overbuilt and durable trucks.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The 4Runner is about reliability, off-road capability, and durability. It’s the cheapest way to get those things. You’re right about the things it does badly, but its advantages outweigh those things for some buyers, and its price is reasonable.

            The alternatives are 1) a similarly priced Grand Cherokee that gives you more refinement at the expense of reliability or 2) a slightly cheaper Wrangler that takes away reliability without giving back much in return.

          • 0 avatar
            Peter Gazis

            @gtem

            10 years EVs will come in all shapes and sizes. Most will blow away Toyota in reliability. Plus 13.2 mpg sux by todays standards. I highly doubt it will retain its value.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          “90% of everything is crap.” – Theodore Sturgeon

          • 0 avatar
            Heino

            I have a 21 year old base 2WD 5spd 4cyl 4Runner that is great except in heavy snow. The new ones are all dressed up like a Range Rover at the mall. Why can’t we just get bog standard Land Cruisers, Hi-luxes or Nissan Patrols? Because we only deserve the finest Corinthian leather.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Try actually driving it in its intended environs. This is like complaining about how a Wrangler slaloms. On road, excepting the Limited with its silly wagon wheels, one of these 4Runners or luxed-up GX variant are one of the better ways to reliably traverse our increasingly dilapidated urban infrastructure.

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          I had one as a rental too a few months ago. I ended up with pretty much the same opinion as DeadWeight. I didn’t expect it to drive and handle like a Miata, but I thought it would be on par with my Silverado. The was stiff. It had the turning radius of a city bus. The interior was pretty cheap fealing. If someone criticizes GM for their interiors, you can’t give Toyota a pass. It definitely seems that Toyota has been phoning it in on the development. It seems that they are stuck in the early 2000s with their vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Funny you mention turning radius as an issue relative to a Silverado as a cursory look tells me the 4Runner has a 5 foot shorter turning radius than a crew cab Silvy, and is actually a foot shorter than a car based Highlander (for whatever that’s worth). The domestic half tons definitely ride impressively well, owing in part to that much longer wheel base. I also suspect a non-Z71 Silverado would be more prone to bottoming than a 4runner out if driven hard offroad, but that is just a hypothesis. The newest GM definitely have nice interiors as well, I was in a rental Yukon SLT last summer and really liked it.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            An Explorer, Tahoe, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Silverado, F150, RAM etc etc etc literally feel like ultra-luxury vehicles on 20 year old newer platforms, with 15 year old newer interiors, and if outfitted properly, give up little to nothing off-road to the Ancestor4Runner.

          • 0 avatar
            cgjeep

            I bought one last year and I agree with Dead Weight and MBella. I was appalled at how bad it drove the first time I test drove it, the second time I test drove it, the third time… And now it sits it my driveway and I couldn’t be happier. If you don’t get off the beaten path there is no reason to own one I imagine. But if you do there is no substitute. It eats highway miles like an old 70’s car and contrary to the reviewer’s opinion it is at its best in the city. Big 70 series sidewalls, lots of suspension travel, makes city streets great. I wince when we take my wife’s car into the city. Winding roads and the suburbs is where the 4Runner sucks. Last weekend loaded up the family and about 900 pounds of stuff and did a driving tour through Shenandoah Valley. With everything in the back we were still able to go explore unimproved fire roads and trails in the mountains. SUVs like this make family memories. But if I showed up at an airport and got one as a rent a car I would be disappointed too.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            DW I think you are thoroughly out of your element discussing offroad capabilities of vehicles, and it shows. Explorer? Seriously? Tahoe Z71 even with the bottom lip removed in that trim is still just waiting to get the lower part of the fascia ripped off, and costs quite a bit more than the 4Runner to boot. Similarly, to get the offroad trims that will hang with a 4Runner Trail (or even SR5) offroad, you are looking at quite a bit more money.

            I don’t think a similarly priced F150’s interior is any better than an SR5’s 4runner, I’d argue it is worse in terms of plastics and general quality. Newest Rams I don’t know, but the lower trim ones pre-new body style likewise are not in any way better than the current 4Runner IMO.

            A 4Runner Trail optioned with KDSS might hit the sweet spot of being priced in the low $40k range and solves a lot of the wallowing issues you are objecting to.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “An Explorer”
            “Give up little to nothing off-road to the Ancestor4Runner.”

            An Explorer doesn’t even have the off-road ability of a Suzuki SX4 hatch.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Okay, maybe not an Explorer, but there are a ton of vehicles that give people 90% of the off-road capability of the 4Runner, while giving people 300% the on-road refinement, efficiency and comfort/space/power of the 4Runner (often at a lower price).

            The 4Runner is just an old, lazy, phone-it-in and rest-on-laurels non-effort by Toyota, which really is showing serious signs of becoming non-competitive in many segments, in the U.S., and globally.

            Toyota is seriously back-sliding.

    • 0 avatar
      VW4motion

      Toyota is building rental vehicles right now.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      Come at me all you want, that’s part of the joy of TTAC. Any patterns aside (I’d disagree with your contention, but that’s an aside), my thesis here is that the 4Runner kinda sucks because it’s old, but a subset of buyers LIKE it like that. I am not one of them, but I understand the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality Toyota is going for here. Some of the buyers WANT it like this.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    The 4Runner is just about everything right with Toyota. For someone who plans on buying a vehicle that will last a long time, go anywhere, and do just about anything, it’s VERY hard to beat a 4Runner. It’s a car that can take Jr home from the hospital and be his first car 16 years later.

    • 0 avatar
      dallas_t4r

      This is why I purchased mine last year. Can’t beat the fit/finish, fun factor, and overall vehicle enjoyment. I’ve had some fun rides, but I love the 4Runner the most. Bonus points for resale value which I never intend to use.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I do intend to use the resale value, and it was a key point in my decision to buy a used fancified Land Cruiser (LX570). When I took expected repairs and likely depreciation into account, the LX’s total cost of ownership over four years was dramatically lower than a lot of the newer, lower-mile competition. The reliability so many of you are slagging is a big part of the reason why the resale is the way it is.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Overpriced, just like the EcoSport is overpriced. Each are good in their ways, but loose their befits when you look at the sticker.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Honestly, given the longevity and versatility of the vehicle I don’t think it’s overpriced. In the days of Explorers tipping $50k I don’t think $35-$45k is unreasonable for a 4Runner.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Let’s say get the SR5 Premium for around $40k. It’ll last 200k miles easily, as well as 15 years at least. And will still be worth some decent money if past 4R resale is any indicator.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    I’m just curious who the potential buyer of a 4×2 4Runner (2Runner?) could possibly be.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      Seriously – big, tough, BOF SUV, uncompromised for off-roading…um, except that they charge extra for 4WD. Joke.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenn

      As a RWD 4Runner owner (for the last 17 years), I chose it because the engine (3.4 liter) at the time was only adequate, even with 350 pounds less weight than the part-time 4WD system that was offered on lower-than-Limited models, the less-punishing ride, lower maintenance/repair costs, fuel economy, etc, etc. I basically wanted a traditional front engine, rear wheel drive, body-on-frame station wagon, with a few extra inches of ground clearance for back-country roads and car camping, which it has nicely fulfilled.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Just about everyone in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina.

        • 0 avatar
          James2

          Loads of 4Runners in Hawaii, too, for reasons that escape me. Other than the Toyota sheep factor.

          Cops love ’em (in HNL a lot of cops drive their own cars, er, 4Runners, subsidized by the city).

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        FWIW Without ever engaging 4WD I was able to bounce along some fairly rutted and hilly tracks yesterday afternoon in my 3rd gen, granted I have fairly aggressive All terrain tires on it. But I can understand the niche of a RWD BOF SUV, you get all of the toughness and ground clearance for bad roads, but you do have to pick your battles as far as getting into serious low traction situations. I’ve also experimented with driving in 2WD in the sand while wheeling around the beach on the Outer banks. Aired down to 20 psi and it was passable in the easier sections where the sand isn’t too deep and loose.

  • avatar
    eamiller

    Toyota resting on their “reliability” laurels.

    Why anyone would pay this much for such an obviously noncompetitive vehicle is beyond me. Jeep has the Trailhawk Grand Cherokee with probably all the capability of this particular version for about the same money and blows it away in nearly every subjective and objective measure.

    Plus this thing is just hideous inside and out (like pretty much every Toyota now).

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      This. The title of the article says “Old isn’t always bad”, but they sure are charging new 2018 prices for it.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      You mentioned it yourself. Reliability/Durability. The Trailhawk might (key word “might”) get you as far as a 4Runner out into the sticks, but you can rely on the 4Runner to drive that trail and back out every day, for years, without fail. The GC is also quite a bit tighter in the back both in terms of leg room but especially cargo room. 4Runner competes in cargo space with the midsize Crossovers, the GC can barely keep up with compact crossovers these days.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        It’s funny, but I’m a two-time 4Runner owner and now a two-time Grand Cherokee owners. My current vehicle is a 2017 Grand Cherokee TrailHawk. I can tell you for sure that the Jeep is MORE capable than either of my 4Runners were out on the trails. The QDII 4wd system in the Jeep is superior to the A-TRAC based 4wd system in the 4Runner with center locking diff. I don’t have any experience with the current 4Runner Trail or TRDPro, but I’d imagine they would give the QDII Trailhawk some competition.

        As far as reliability, my last 4Runner was a 4th gen that I had for 10 years. It was a good vehicle, but it wasn’t perfect. In fact, I’d say it was far from reliable. I had it back at the dealer a few different times for warranty work. And after 10 years, the frame was rusted so badly that it was starting to rot out. So even if it were great reliability, the frame rot would’ve killed it anyway. The Jeeps haven’t been perfect either, but have been better than the 4Runners. People like to bash on Jeep for poor reliability, but my own experience has been that they are just as good, if not better than the Toyota.

        • 0 avatar
          SSJeep

          +1 White Shadow – My current GC Summit is a heck of a lot more comfortable than the 4Runner and has more room in back. It doesnt hurt that the GC has a 400HP V8 and an 8 speed proper transmission, yet gets better mileage than the current 4Runner and is a heck of a lot faster.

          I have had no problems with either the GC or former 4Runner in my time.

          If I ever need to go seriously offroad, Ill take the Wrangler.

          • 0 avatar
            cgjeep

            I owned Jeeps for 20 years before I bought my 4Runner. New GC was my second choice. Much nicer ride on street and much nicer interior/informatics. So put a SR5 4runner against a Laredo off road and it isn’t even close. The 4runner is much better. To be fair, compare the Trail Hawk to a TRD PRO 4Runner or at least a Trail. If the GC was better off road I would have bought one. To make it go off road you have to put he suspension in the highest setting, at that point it has 0 flex, rides like a bronco and has to reply on the computer traction control devices for traction. So the GC might get you there but I would be afraid to actually use it. Slight mistake and it is real expensive. Also one can easily modify the 4Runner to be even better, the GC not so much. Oh and the back seat and cargo are smaller. If I could have fit all the crap my wife makes us take on vacation in the back of one I might have bought another one. But for 90% of the people the GC is a better fit.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          I’d certainly be curious to take my ’96 without any sort of brake-based aids but with the factory rear locker up against a GC Trailhawk offroad. My guess is the GC owner will run into body-damage concerns long before the old ‘yota is flustered. I will say Jeep’s BLD traction control system is one of the best in the business, up there with LR’s. Toyota’s seems a bit jerky, although I know they’ve refined it quite a bit since it initially appeared in 2000.

          • 0 avatar
            SSJeep

            gtem – the 96 3rd gen 4Runner was a beast and built quite differently than the 4th and 4.5th generations that we have today. Toyota over-engineered everything in the 90s. That one is a keeper especially if it has the e-locker.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Most recalled vehicles of 2017:
      1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 5.77
      2. GMC Sierra – 3.25
      3. BMW 3/4 Series – 2.95
      4. Dodge Durango – 2.71
      5. Nissan Pathfinder – 2.00
      6. Ram Pickup – 1.99
      7. Toyota 4Runner – 1.98
      8. Dodge Charger – 1.74
      9. Chrysler 300 – 1.71
      10. Chevrolet Tahoe – 1.52

      Some of these vehicles are well established and should have a low recall rate. Note the 4Runner at #7. That simply shouldn’t be there.

      • 0 avatar
        Ltd1983

        “Recalls” mean almost nothing.

        My current car has had 3 recalls, all software updates, 2 just controlling how the passenger airbag seat sensor activates.

        If you’re deciding to buy, or not buy, a car based on the manufacturer keeping up to date, you’re doing it wrong.

        Look at reliability & satisfaction ratings.

  • avatar
    make_light

    Interior looks dated but still miles better than the Seqouia. I just don’t get why Toyota made their truck design language so cartoonish over the years. Through 2009, the 4Runner looked handsome, rugged, and restrained. Since then it has looked like a wannabe monster truck.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I’ve wanted a 4Runner for years now. I’ve driven some 3rd-gen very high-mileage, well-worn examples and some 4th-gen models. Have also compared the 4Runner to Rav4 and CRV. The 4Runner drives worse in every respect, but it’s the one that has tremendous charm. This must explain the insane prices on older models. 1990s 4Runners are taking off in price, and that’s for any 4Runner, no matter how rusted and no matter the mileage or general condition. In fact, it makes more sense economically to buy new. Or, as I am doing now, it makes more sense to look at Lexus GX, same truck, lower miles, better interior and likely less abuse. But, yeah, love me the 4Runner.

  • avatar
    jfk-usaf

    Needs more power… Keep everything else the same

  • avatar
    vehic1

    The actual old-school looks, the image, etc., make it a Man’s (or good ole girl’s) SUV; clearly a pickup truck-based vehicle. Butch grille, squared-off fender flares – this ain’t no wussy, tee-hee girlie Pathfinder or Pilot. Of course, there are buyers for all of those, too – they’re not interested in pretending they’re running the Baja 1000.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “clearly a pickup truck-based vehicle” Technically no, but I get what you’re saying. Toyota has the Fortuner overseas, that is based on the Hilux. 4Runner is on the Land Cruiser 150 medium duty chassis, a dedicated SUV platform.

      • 0 avatar
        Lee Wilcox

        You are correct but I think it’s not always been so. Iirc my 95 is Tacoma based and the 96 was based on the LC. Whatever, at 220k it’s just broken inward broken in and will probably outlast me.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Lee your ’95 has a Hilux frame with torsion bar IFS, very big difference from the lighter duty Tacoma frame. The Fortuner is a closer successor to the smaller 4Runners of old in that way: more emphasis on being a sturdy and affordable offroader without quite as much passenger space or comfort.

      • 0 avatar
        Lee Wilcox

        You are correct but I think it’s not always been so. Iirc my 95 is Tacoma based and the 96 was based on the LC. Whatever, at 220k it’s just broken in and will probably outlast me.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    So freaking ugly. Prehistoric. Like Godzilla. Please stop hiring stylists away from Marvel.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    This is a great vehicle. People who drive CUVs or little German things won’t get it. This is a vehicle that will simply last for 10-20 years average. Nothing too complicated, just mechanics that are proven. Try getting a deal on one of these and it is nearly impossible. At best you get 2,000 off. I actually like the even tougher looking SR5 edition. Fantastic vehicle

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Agreed pmirp1. I’m out in Central NY currently on vacation, having driven my 22 year old 4Runner here from Indiana. I trust it to take me anywhere, in (relative) comfort. Not just that, I trust it to do a 10 hour drive, get it buried up to the axles in mud on location, then drive it back. I keep eyeballing these 5th gens but as long as my ’96 keeps running well I’ve got my midsize SUV bases covered.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Exactly this. It really is a go-anywhere do-anything Jack of all trades.

        • 0 avatar
          Nick_515

          I don’t really get this. I feel like you guys are ready to give up an insane amount of goodness for “reliability.” Sure, it’s one of the variables… but why the hell would I care THAT much for a point in time 20 years down the line? If it breaks down, effing fix it will ya? If it strands you, well call triple A or some family member. Them’s “memories” too btw.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “If it breaks down, effing fix it will ya?”

            Difference being if you’re out in the middle of nowhere, be it a trail in Colorado or a mosquito infested road-side nothing-ness of Siberia. The fact that I can use a 22 year old SUV as my primary road trip vehicle and not worry about beating on it a bit and then trekking back speaks highly of its quality IMO. Mind you there is still plenty of “goodness” to be had. No it won’t handle as well as a GC offroad. But it’s not exactly a torture chamber or horrible to drive either as some seem to be implying.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            A telling anecdote in regards to the “effing fix it will ya” line of thought as it (doesn’t) apply to SUVs you actually want to use in remote areas:

            http://www.toyota-4runner.org/5th-gen-t4rs/251010-do-i-dare-ask-grand-cherokee-trailhawk-3.html#post2910870

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “If it breaks down, offing fix it will ya?”

            Sure, if it’s American or Japanese with cheap parts and labor.

            When every “fix it” trip costs $5000, as is true with too many larger German vehicles, there’s a different equation.

            It’s another form of luxury. I own a ’95 Acura Legend with a whisker short of 200,000 miles. I’d take it on a 3000-mile trip tomorrow without a second thought. It’s hard to believe I’d feel that way about a 193k-mile Grand Cherokee.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I see those as apples and oranges Dal (Legend and JGC).

    • 0 avatar
      dallas_t4r

      Your off on the discounts here. You can get between 8-10% almost everywhere but some cali dealers.
      Here’s 293 pages of people sharing deals on 5th Gen 4Runners.
      http://www.toyota-4runner.org/5th-gen-t4rs/154274-how-much-people-paying-new-4runner-293.html

  • avatar
    blank reg barclay

    This generation of the 4Runner is the first to tempt me since gen1. Still prefer the older truck for the lift-off roof and available 5-speed stick. Hard to find a nice one with under 200k on it, though.

  • avatar
    whynot

    I want to love this truck, and I respect what it can do, but it is just so awkward inside and out. It is stuck with Toyota’s awful mid-late ‘00 styling techniques (eg altezza taillights, odd bulges on the head/tail lights, Tonka truck interior styling) and the interior is painfully dated. The dated interior would be ok if it fully embraced it’s dated ness, but instead Toyota tries to make it look modern and fails.

    Also the back looks so ridiculously blocky and out of place compared to the rest of the styling since the tailgate needs to accommodate the rear window.

  • avatar
    Ermel

    “The 4Runner is built to be tough and to handle the outdoors” — as opposed to the competition which is better off left indoors? Joking aside, I like this lump of metal. It’s completely ridiculously oversized and thirsty of course, but at least it looks like a proper SUV and not like some bit of scenery from an SF movie off which bits of plastic start flaking when first taken off road. Here’s hoping that this flavour of “noncompetitiveness” will take a long time dying out.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I’m actually wishing for a larger BOF+solid rear axle SUV from Toyota, basically a return to the gen 1 Sequoia. The current Sequoia is a bloated pig with IRS that lost a lot of its offroad ability IMO. I love the 5th gen 4Runners but with 2 dogs and with additions to the family in mind, even a 5th gen 4Runner runs out of interior room quickly. The current Patrol based Armada is on my radar as well.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Early Sequoia’s are handsome and still stand out when I see them in traffic. I have desire for them that I do not feel for the current gen.

        I think “Limited” is the worst 4Runner trim just because a luxury version of this vehicle doesn’t make sense to me. Base and off-road oriented versions seem like what the 4Runner was meant for.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    Somehow, sales of the 4Runner have been increasing as the generation ages. That baffles me because it’s so old & ugly….and so low tech that it’s ridiculous. You can only get push button ignition on the Limited models. All others still use an old fashion key. It has a 5-speed automatic, which is considering ancient technology at this point in the game. The thing nose dives under heavy braking like something from the 70s. Did I mention that it’s ugly?

    Seriously, the ONLY thing it has going for it is that there are very few BOF SUVs available to purchase new right now. Just about everyone else has abandoned the segment. That’s probably why sales have been increases and as long as sales are getting stronger, Toyota has little incentive to move on to the next generation.

    I think many people will realize that they don’t need BOF and will eventually move on to crossovers.

  • avatar
    SSJeep

    I don’t agree with this review – older is rarely better, and in the case of the 4Runner, it is notably worse (especially at current MSRP). The 4Runner has been largely the same since 2002, and back then it was a reasonably okay vehicle. The chassis has not aged well, and pretty much any other modern SUV is a better choice.

    The 4-runner is underpowered and is also a gas guzzler nowadays, with worse mileage than a Tahoe. Acceleration is slow and at highway speeds the 4Runner wanders about the road requiring constant corrections. The interior is horribly dated with the “silver plastic” motif. The 4Runner exterior is reminiscent of the early 2000s BOF Ford Explorers.

    Off-road cred is okay in base and limited form, excellent in TRD form. Its only saving grace is reliability – and according to some of the 4Runner forums, reliability isn’t always a 4Runner strong suit.

    But for some reason I still like the 4Runner. Maybe because it is different than all of the jellybeans populating the modern automotive landscape.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “Off-road cred is okay in base”

      I’d put an SR5 4Runner without locker and just ATRAC above just about any other vehicle offroad on the US market short of the offroad trim 4Runners, Wranglers, Ram Power Wagon, Colorado ZR2, Raptor and a choice few others.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Now if Toyota could only return to graceful and clean styling, like the 2nd and 3rd generation had. This is a great rig for what it is (and that’s not on-road prowess), but it’s eye-searingly ugly.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    I usually hate this type of new vs used comparison, but since I’ve been shopping them lately, I will say you can get a pretty nice used Land Cruiser for $46k, which to my mind is everything about the 4Runner made better.

  • avatar
    BC

    I cannot wait for toyota to do a unibody SUV with real off-road chops. Land Rover does it. Jeep does it. Its 2018 and time for toyota to do it with toyota reliability.

    If one cannot find a way to get the benefits of BOF with the advantages of unibody with today’s materials and technology, you aren’t trying hard enough.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Exactly.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      They sort of already have, in the gen 1 rav4 with rear LSD, or the current Diahatsu Terios which has a honest-to-goodness full-time 4wd transfer case with an ability to lock the center diff (but no low range). For the larger vehicles, I think for the demands of the more serious global market (read: third world with crappy roads) Toyota has distilled down that the most capable and robust and comfortable formula is a separate frame underneath and a solid rear axle. I’m inclined to agree. Nissan made a big move by moving the Patrol over to IRS (but keeping the frame) and the Pajero made the move to Unibody+IRS way back in 2000. Nissan had to incorporate all sorts of tech to make the Patrol articulate adequately in the back to ensure offroad traction while also maintaining good on-road handling. I think they were largely successful in this. Sadly the US Armadas are seriously nerfed in terms of this offroad gear (including the mandatory locking rear diff), we get stiff swaybars that are a cheap solution to ensure good on road handling but totally ruins articulation offroad.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Land Rover and Jeep are conning people into thinking they have made no-compromises unibody.

      There are basically only 2 real offroaders for sale today. The Wrangler and the 4Runner. The Wrangler has two solid axles, and the 4Runner has IFS and rear solid axle.

      There is no reason to cannibalize 4Runner sales with a unibody cousin, and no reason to create a non-CAFE-compliant shopping cart with TRD stickers to compete with all of the other non-CAFE-compliant shopping carts.

      If Toyota felt like that was really necessary, hopefully they would just wait for CAFE to start tearing Jeep apart, and then they would buy it.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        What makes an offroader “real” in this context, exactly?

        Is it “solid axles!!!!!”?

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          Yes, that’s an important component, along with body-on-frame construction. Independent suspension on a production car cannot do what a solid axle setup can do, and installing a suspension lift on a solid axle setup tends to be considerably less complicated, which means easier to repair.

          Independently suspended unibodies are compromised.

      • 0 avatar
        BC

        I don’t buy the “conning people” argument. What specifically does a BOF architecture do? Off road ability is dependent upon approach angles, ground clearance, and traction. Yes, if you want to convert your truck to a rock crawler, BOF makes that easier. But otherwise, a well designed unibody SUV should be able to do everything a 4runner does plus provide better fuel economy, on-road driving dynamics, and more interior room.

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          Forces on the suspension components tend to be greater offroad and the angles are non standard. It is advantageous to have a frame that can flex to take some stress off of the suspension and soak up some of impact forces coming from weird angles.

          In other words, unibody rigidity, which makes for an exceptional onroad ride, is a disadvantage offroad. Unibodies can not be made to flex like body on frame because it tends to put the vehicle out of square which jams doors, breaks window regulators, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            BC

            You still haven’t explained why you cannot specifically design a unibody frame that addresses these issues? Land Rover, Jeep, and polaris all appear to have already done it with demonstrable success. You’re clearly living in the past.

        • 0 avatar
          carlness

          Generally speaking:

          Unibody = light,
          body on frame = strong
          Stronger = add more weight or exotic materials

          Unibody = more rigid but vibrations and flex felt through whole body,
          Body on frame = more flex but forces more isolated from upper body.

          You can’t have it both ways. Kind of like saying you want a light sports car that can haul heavy cargo. You can still off-road a unibody vehicle and it will probably perform well enough, but over time it will develop creaks and rattles and machical failures that a body on frame would have resisted longer.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    This (and the Land Cruiser) is actually one of the very few SUVs I’d actually consider. Yes, it’s dated, and it’s compromised as an on road vehicle. But it’s HONEST – it delivers what it promises, and doesn’t BS you about the rest, as Ford does when it slaps a “4X4” badge on an Explorer.

    And this thing’s built.

  • avatar
    TW5

    The new 4Runner needs very little attention, and with the departure of the Xterra, Toyota 4Runner’s only direct competitor, Toyota should err on the side of caution. Update the powertrain to Tacoma spec, update the infotainment and powertrain electronics, and move on.

    No reason to waste time or energy on a $1B clean-sheet redesign. The CAFE penalty savings would be negligible, and I doubt the new generation would be noticeably more formidable than the current N280.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “Update the powertrain to Tacoma spec”

      That would be an epic mistake. Give it a 6spd auto but leave the 4.0L as is. Look into offering the GX’s 4.6L on Limiteds and offroad variants. Consider going back to a multi-mode transfer case for better slick highway stability (like they had back in 2000-2009).

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        The wheelbase is only 110″ so they will have to do something to improve fuel economy. The 2GR-FKS gets 2mpg better combined. The engine would probably have a similar impact in the 4Runner, and it’s worth it, imo.

        The 2GR-FKS doesn’t want for power, and the loss of 500cc displacement is compensated with the extra gear.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          The general opinion on the switch to a downsized 2GR seems to be negative, I’ve seen some Tacoma refugees moving to the 4Runner in large part due to how unsatisfying the new Taco powerplant is. Less low end torque and 400+ curb weight from the last gen, what did they think would happen? Personally, if I knew the 3.5 was coming, I’d rush down to the Toyota dealer to get my hands on a current 4Runner with the larger 4.0L.

          • 0 avatar
            TW5

            I’ve not driven the new Tacoma, but the sluggishness is probably attributable to the transmission, like every other new vehicle. New transmissions are designed to require higher throttle percentage to improve efficiency, which makes them feel sluggish, short-shifting, and unpleasant to drive.

            Even if Toyota sticks with the 1GR, they could update the transmission, and the next gen 4Runner will have the same feeling.

            9/10th of the feel is down to transmission tuning and programming. Hard to say which way Toyota will go.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            It’s beyond transmission and throttle tuning. The 3.5L just doesn’t have the same grunt down low, made worse by the additional weight it now needs to lug around. People are having to really spin the motor to get the truck moving along. And with that goes any hope of fuel savings IMO. To be fair I haven’t driven one myself.

  • avatar
    Jason

    My best friend is a Toyo truck die-hard. He currently owns 6. FJ40, 2004 4Runner, 2013 Tundra, 2016 Tacoma TRD Pro, FJ Cruiser, and a 2017 4Runner TRD Pro. He just picked up the 4Runner TRD Pro a few weeks ago.

    All of these trucks are very capable off-road vehicles and he uses them as such. But I was taken aback by how crummy and plasticky the interior of his $50K 4Runner was. It’s bad. Really bad. The center stack is beyond ugly. The touchscreen is circa 2005.

    The thing is, the used market for all these vehicles is very strong, people pay crazy money for used ones. I assume it’s because they last and are a good value.

  • avatar
    carlness

    For thise who don’t understand the appeal of old tech, I will try to explain. Most of the new improvements on cars, I don’t want. For example:
    -Keyless entry can be hacked to steal your car and one more thing to go wrong.
    -More advanced infotainment ties more essential functions to the computer which can be hacked or fail.
    -More gears in transmission gives minimal performance advantages for less reliability and added complexity.
    -Turbocharged engine, see “more gears”.
    -Unibody won’t last as long when used for towing or rough terrain. I’m willing to compromise ride quality and efficiency for it.
    I believe the 5th gen 4Runner will be the last of it’s breed and forced into extinction by federal fuel mileage requirements. Most people won’t care, but it fills a niche that will missed.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    The limited is the worst looking of the 4runners. Something is just off in that trim. The rest I love.

    I agree with other posters on the “honesty” aspect. I think that’s why I love the 4runner as well, though haven’t owned one. The resale values are insane on them, to where even I won’t pay the 10 year old 150,000 mile $15,000 or whatever asking price.

    It doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t. It is simple, I’m glad there is no push button start and whatever else it doesn’t have. I’ve frankly grown sick of cars constantly pushing all sorts of electronic connected XYZs that I’ll be honest it is refreshing to drive a 10-20 year old car with none of it.

    And same applies here.

    That you can drive it 300,000 miles and 20 years and go anywhere and camp with it and fit your crap in it, etc is all icing. It might be the best do-everything-forever vehicle you can buy.

    The prices new and used are crazy. That is a negative. The 5 speed should be at least 6. Engine… I’m fine with it but bring back a V8 like the last generation. I might also prefer some sort of full-time AWD setting currently only on Limiteds.

    That’s it. A do everything car that you can keep until your dead or if you decide to sell will have only lost about $13.87 over 100,000 miles. Let everyone else have their crossovers and crap. The 4runner and Wrangler (and I’d say a Miata, Corvette, and maybe the Mustang) are legends for a reason. And you just don’t mess with them.

    Yes, the GX is appealing, particularly because of the V8.

    • 0 avatar
      Ltd1983

      Yeah, the Limited 4Runner is just a suburban fashion accessory.Take a capable offroader, put giant wheels on it that limit offroad-ability, and put some nice painted trim on it that lowers ground clearance.

      The SR5 & TRD’s make sense for some needs, but Limited buying people need to suck it up and just buy a Highlander (or even better, a Sienna…)

      • 0 avatar
        AJ

        What an ignorant comment as you can say that about any loaded vehicle being a fashion statement. So I suppose all those TRD owners are taking their pretty new rides out on the trails, scratching up and denting the paint because that’s what really off-road owners do? Haha! Not many.

  • avatar
    JGlanton

    I test drove a 2018 Limited 4-Runner recently. I owned an 80’s 4-Runner for 13 years and appreciate what they bring to the table. After the drive I found out the one I drove costs $48K and asked to see a cheaper $38K SR5 model. The cloth seats in that one were horrible thin foam seats that looked like they belong on the old, cheap 80’s model. That was a no-go. Not to mention the stripper interior with few accessories. The salesman said I could take it to a shop and have leather covers put in for $1600 or something. Seriously, on those pancake chairs? on a $38K car???? I ended up getting a loaded Outback for $33K and it’s been great for my camping/fishing/kayaking/biking excursions.

  • avatar

    I don’t like the “new” styling.

    My 2008 4Runner is a V8, AWD and you really know it’s a V8.

    Bought it new 10 years ago and have 215,000 fairly trouble free miles. Have upgraded shocks to Bilstein and done the brakes. Thats about it.

    My next one will be a 2008 or 2006 used model V8 AWD. Anything with 100K miles or less would be the pick


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