2009 Toyota 4Runner SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Toyota 4Runner SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Toyota 4Runner Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.0 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 236 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/21 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 Toyota 4Runner

  • For a go-anywhere traditional SUV, the 2009 Toyota 4Runner remains one of our top choices. However, those looking for an urban people carrier with little or no off-road capability may want to consider a car-based crossover SUV instead.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Strong V6, pleasant highway ride, outstanding off-road prowess.

  • Cons

    Third-row seat is cramped and doesn't fold flat, limited cargo space.

  • What's New for 2009

    The 2009 Toyota 4Runner adds a new trail edition option package for enhanced off-road capabilities.

Gas Mileage


  • 16
  • cty
  • 21
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Yea, i loved my 2008

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota 4Runner

This was my dream vehicle. It handled well on the highway, was great in winter conditions, and is one of very few SUV's that have any strong styling anymore. Furthermore, with the truck frame, I believe it is one of the safest. I too was involved in a head on accident at 65 Mph and survived well in this truck! When I originally purchased this vehicle in Spring of 2009, I was glad to have the confidence of all the safety features, but never thought I would have to use them in such a severe accident. Glad to have survived, wish my 4Runner did too.

Loved...loved...loved my 2008 4runner!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota 4Runner

I had a 2008 4Runner that I bought in December of 09'. I loved that car from the first time I drove it. It was great in the snow, rain or mountains. The 6 cylinder had enough power to get me where ever I wanted to go. Unfortunately on August 3rd I was in an accident where we were basically hit head on, but to the amazement of everyone we "walked" away with minor injuries! It was me, my daughter and my 3 year old granddaughter in her car seat in the back. Us two up front have injury from the seatbelts/whiplash but my granddaughter is completely fine. I can't say the same for my car, she didn't make it through the accident but she did save our lives! Best Car Ever!

Maybe saved my life

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota 4Runner

In June of 2013, a full-sized crew cab Chevy pickup ran a red light and hit my left front corner. My left rear corner swung around and his his R. R. side. $23,000 body damage to 4runner, and they couldn't open the hood. Front end was bent about 10" to the right. Adjuster said the 4runner probably saved me from serious injury or worse. I came out without a scratch. The dealer found me an '08 with only 29k miles- it's virtually identical, but grey not black. It's been a great vehicle. It's been elk hunting in CO, fishing on logging roads in Canada, and through some bad winters in MN. Excellent vehicle. I get 19 mpg unless towing a heavy boat, (16). 24 at 65 on the freeway.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Love it!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota 4Runner

I bought this truck used in 2011, with 138k miles. Yes, you read that correctly: 138,000 miles! Everything had just been 100% serviced and it was like buying it brand new. In the 30k miles I have had it (including driving halfway across the country), I have only had 2 issues. 1. I have had the driveshaft (?) lubricated twice due to a "thunk" sound and small lurch when stopping - no charge by the dealer; apparently it is common. 2. This winter, the back hatch has begun to freeze when it's below 30° outside and becomes impossible to open (at least for this gal!). Sort of a pain. Of note: the paint scratches relatively easily, but I haven't noticed any rust issues. Just irritating.

2008 4runner v8 4x4

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota 4Runner

I bought it brand new and in a couple of months it will be 4 years old. 57K miles on it. I have never had a single mechanical issue with it. I put the front end leveling kit on it, and larger tires w/after market rims - but the engine is stock. My only complaint is the gas mileage! Even driving like an old lady, 95% highway mileage (it's my commuter car now) I only get 17 mpg. Friends that have the v6 said they get the same. Dealer says they will give me 22,500 if I trade it in (decided not to anyway) Great resale! Overall, am very happy with it!

2008 4runner 4wd

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota 4Runner

Very reliable. have 55k. No problems. Mileage is not too good. about 16 in town(driving like a little old lady) . 20 on hy sometimes. However, ths is what it is supposed to get. Not very comfortable for me at 6'2" (legroom). My wife usually drives it and she is very comfortable. I am sure that it will last 200k easily.


Full 2009 Toyota 4Runner Review

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Toyota 4Runner adds a new trail edition option package for enhanced off-road capabilities.


When Toyota introduced the 4Runner in 1984, the "SUV" acronym was mostly unknown to the masses. Two-plus decades on, the SUV is a familiar, ever-evolving part of our automotive landscape. In the beginning, sport-utility vehicles were rugged off-road warriors designed to bust trails and scale rocky peaks. Nowadays, the SUV category offers a wide range of choices, including luxury SUVs, crossovers, mini-utes and so on. There's a sport-utility to suit nearly any taste.

The 2009 Toyota 4Runner is available in several flavors with varying degrees of utility and luxury, but its foundation of off-road strength remains undiluted; the 4Runner was, after all, originally designed to bully mountain paths, and the current model stays true to those roots. Based on a body-on-frame truck chassis, its rugged underpinnings can tackle the gnarliest of backwoods ruts. Thanks to Toyota's engineering and fine-tuning, the 4Runner is also well-mannered and easy to pilot in the city and on the highway.

This isn't to say that the 4Runner can match the convenience of modern crossovers. Vehicles like Toyota's own Highlander, the GMC Acadia or the Hyundai Veracruz all best the 4Runner in terms of on-road comfort, interior roominess and amenities. Meanwhile, there are still some other traditional midsize SUVs out there that are either more powerful or have had some recent updates, such as the Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Nissan Pathfinder. Help is on the way, as Toyota is expected to release a redesigned 4Runner in the next model year. In the meantime, a 2009 4Runner is still a respectable choice for consumers wanting something that stays true to the original SUV formula.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Toyota 4Runner is a midsize SUV that is offered in three trim levels: SR5, Sport Edition and Limited. The SR5 is the base model, and it comes with standard features that include 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control with rear ventilation, remote keyless entry, cruise control, full power accessories with a power rear window, a tilt steering wheel, a power driver seat (on V8 models) and a CD/MP3 player with an auxiliary audio jack.

Upgrading to the Sport Edition will add 17-inch wheels and Toyota's X-REAS suspension that dampens body roll and pitch, enhancing on-road handling. Also included are power front seats (V6 models) and a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with cruise and audio controls. The decidedly upscale Limited trim level goes a step further by adding illuminated running boards, 18-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, a household-style power outlet, a leather-trimmed interior, heated front seats, driver seat memory and a six-CD changer. Most of the Sport Edition and Limited add-ons are available as options for the SR5 model.

Additional 4Runner options include a voice-activated navigation system, an upgraded 10-speaker sound system, a rear-seat entertainment system, detachable personal navigation, iPod connectivity, Bluetooth hands-free, satellite radio, a sunroof, a rear spoiler, third-row seats and a two-tier cargo system. The X-REAS system is offered on the Limited as an option along with a height-adjustable rear suspension. Available in conjunction with the sport package is the urban runner package that includes many of the upmarket features and options listed above, as well as some interior and exterior accents unique to this model.

New for 2009 is the trail edition package for the V6 SR5 with four-wheel drive, which adds a locking rear differential, traction control and Bilstein shocks for added off-road acumen. Also included are seats covered in a water-resistant material and other exterior and interior trim.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2009 Toyota 4Runner is offered with a standard 4.0-liter V6 or an optional 4.7-liter V8. Both engines are available with either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. The V6 produces 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, while the V8 churns out 260 hp and 306 lb-ft of torque. In any configuration, the power is routed through a five-speed automatic transmission. Towing capacity for V6 models is 5,000 pounds when properly equipped, while the rear-wheel-drive V8 manages 7,300 pounds when properly equipped (the four-wheel-drive V8 maxes out at 7,000 pounds).

EPA fuel economy estimates place the rear-wheel-drive 4Runner V6 at 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined. A V8 version has a 15/19/17 mpg rating, and four-wheel-drive variants get mileage that's only slightly diminished relative to this figure.


Fostering occupant safety, all 2009 Toyota 4Runners come equipped with antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability control, traction control, front-seat side airbags and roll-sensing side curtain airbags for the front seats and second-row seats. In government crash testing, the 4Runner scored four out of five stars for driver and passenger protection in frontal impacts and a perfect five out of five stars for both front and rear side-impact passenger protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded its highest rating of "Good" for frontal- and side-impact passenger protection.

Interior Design and Special Features

The standard Toyota 4Runner offers spacious seating for five passengers, with the ability to seat two additional passengers in the optional third-row seats. Unfortunately, the third-row seating is extremely cramped, providing barely enough legroom for children. Making things worse, the 50/50-split third row does not stow or fold flat for added cargo space. Instead, the seats must be folded to the sides or removed altogether. Even with the third row left behind, maximum cargo capacity is 75 cubic feet, which is on the small side for a midsize SUV.

On the whole, the 4Runner's interior is handsomely designed with quality materials. Comments on the Limited version's accommodations are akin to those you'd hear regarding a Lexus. Dials and switches are intuitive and well-placed with the exception of the odd, joystick-like climate controls (we'd much rather have conventional knobs).

Driving Impressions

Whether you choose the V6 or the optional V8, power is plentiful -- more than enough to satisfy heavy-footed drivers. If substantial towing capability is required, opting for the V8 is a wise choice; otherwise, the more-fuel-efficient V6 will easily manage any other situation.

Despite being based on a traditional truck platform, the 2009 Toyota 4Runner exhibits a very civilized, smooth and controlled ride. When fitted with the X-REAS suspension, the 4Runner delivers reasonably tight and responsive handling. Perhaps more impressive is its off-road ability, as 4WD 4Runners can overcome steep obstacles and navigate wilderness trails with relative ease.


Talk About The 2009 4Runner

2009 Toyota 4Runner Discussions See all Started By

2009 4Runner - 4300lbs with 236hp which gives it 18.22lbs/hp vs 2010 4Runner - 4675 lbs with 270hp which gives it 17.31lbs/hp. In this case, the lower number wins. I'll take the off road capabilit...

I tow almost every weekend; either a 600 lb aluminum trailer or a 1,000 lb steel trailer and cargo consisting of two or three dual sport motorcycles, or an ATV and motorcycle, or a couple snowmobiles....

The next generation 4Runner will be a 2010 model (it will be available in Fall of 2009). The 3rd gen 4Runner lasted 7 years. Since this one came out in 2003, 7 years will make it 2010. The dealers are...

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