Few vehicles have established Toyota’s credibility as a reliable automaker more then the 4Runner. From the early days of the unbreakable 22R four cylinder engine, to the 21st century 4.0-liter V8, the 4Runner is known worldwide (mostly under the name Hilux Surf) for its incredible durability. The most Followed version of the 4Runner is from its fifth-generation, model years 2009 to present.
First introduced to the US in 1984, the two-door 4Runner was a truck-based SUV with impressive off-road abilities for a low price. The second-generation launched in 1990 saw four doors and continued refinements, even sharing chassis components with the Land Cruiser. The 2002 to 2009 fourth-generation 4Runner moved it to semi-luxury territory and delivered more power and refinement. Whether you are the suburban DIY’er with frequent runs to the hardware store or the military officer looking for a front line combat vehicle, Toyota has you covered with the unbeatable 4Runner.
4Runner vs Highlander
The 4Runner and Toyota Highlander get compared a lot, as they look similar and start around the same price. Toyota knows that these are very different vehicles and you should, too. The 4Runner is a traditional SUV with real off-road capability. The Highlander may wear SUV clothes, but it is a crossover meant for street handling and very light off-roading. The Highlander is front wheel drive with optional all-wheel drive and most of the options and amenities add to the level of occupant comfort. Basically, if you would consider a Sienna minivan, look at the Highlander. If you would consider a Jeep Wrangler, take a look at the 4Runner.
The 4Runner comes standard with rear wheel drive in the SR5 and Limited trims. It does have a limited-slip differential, so even with the two-wheel drive, it does have some off-road capability. However, customers looking for a proper 4X4 should opt for the Trail Edition trim. This version uses a system called A-TRAC, which is a part time four-wheel drive with active traction control. This is Toyota’s way of saying the vehicle computer uses power management and the brakes to keep you in control of the vehicle. Instead of losing grip and having your tires dig holes in the mud, A-TRAC will pull power or apply brakes to spinning wheels and transfer power to those with grip.
4Runner Engine & MPG
Toyota makes the selection process easy by only offering one engine in a 4Runner from 2009 or newer. The 4.0-liter V6 engine has dual overhead cams with variable valve timing, helping the V6 generate 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque. All that power in a heavy vehicle comes with a price, as the 4Runner only achieves 17 MPG city, and 22 MPG on the highway. The 2.7-liter four cylinder was available on the 2009 and 2010 models, but was dropped due to lack of demand. That engine made 157 horsepower, which was not enough to adequately move the 4,400 pound SUV.
Written by Andy Jensen