2011 Toyota 4Runner SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Toyota 4Runner SUV

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Toyota 4Runner Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.0 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Four Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 270 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/22 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2011 Toyota 4Runner

  • For the relatively few drivers who require an all-conquering, all-terrain SUV, the 2011 Toyota 4Runner is a top choice. Those city folk who need more passenger space and less off-road capability would be better served by a car-based crossover SUV.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Outstanding off-road capability; pleasant on-road demeanor; strong V6 engine; ample cargo capacity; available third-row seat.

  • Cons

    No V8 option; intrusive stability control; cramped third-row seat.

  • What's New for 2011

    For the 2011 4Runner, Toyota has dropped the underpowered four-cylinder engine from the lineup. Otherwise, the 4Runner remains unchanged.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (9 total reviews)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Not for everyone, but for

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Vehicle: 2011 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

This car is not for everyone, but if you live in a rugged area with a lot of snow and ice in the winter this is the perfect vehichle for you. I have had to "pull out" the popular cross-over "cars" with my 4runner when it snows more than 1 foot. When I drive to the city it is comfortable and has all of the amenities of my last Lexus. I would buy this luxury tough vehicle again.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4runner limited

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Vehicle: 2011 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

Great vehicle. I owned a 2006 SR5 and this one has lots of improvements. The extra ground clearance and lack of plastic body cladding that 4th generation 4 Runners had makes this model better for off-road use. Very smooth on the road; handles great with plenty of power.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

This isn't a lexus rx

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Vehicle: 2011 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

After extensive research, we've ordered a 4X4 limited as our next family vehicle. To sum it up, there is nothing in the market that combines this level of engineering, reliability, reasonable refin't, indestructability and versatility as the 4runner.No, it does not drive like the MDX or the FX35. No, it does not pamper you like the RX or the RR. But if you live in snow and deer country, and need a vehicle that can do and survive anything...this is it. For 40 grand (huge dealer discounts on a gas hog that no one wants), you get keyless entry, navigation, bluetooth, backup camera, heated leather seats...all wrapped inside the strongest body-on-frame design in its class. Deer zero, 4Runner one.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Very pleased so far

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Vehicle: 2011 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

I own an '04 4Runner with 130,000 miles--this SUV has been as close to flawless as possible. It has never broken down on me--never.Time to hand down to daughter so I need a new SUV. Read all the reviews of the '10 and '11 4Runner and lots of negatives reviews had me looking to Jeep GC, BMW X5. Test drove all three, bought the 4Runner two months ago and haven't looked back. Good and bad differences compared to my '04: eliminating the lighted running boards and locking gas cap on the '11 was disappointing, loved my '04 6 engine and it's acceleration, don't love my 11 engine with it's acceleration. '11 is wider interior and way more comfortable leather seats vs. '04. Overall I'm happy with it

8 of 12 people found this review helpful

It is a cheap truck

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Vehicle: 2011 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

Last car was a $55g 09 BMW 335i xdrive w/ sport - ref this vehicle for my pov. It was the ultimate, if you want a fast capable vehicle. Now let's talk about a real suv. I wanted a fun and radical departure from a 335 - I got it! The 4runner is not fast and is NOT a luxury car - slow down and enjoy life. The interior, ride, and quality is fine for a 45g truck based suv. If you want a fancier version - shell out the bones for a Lexus GX. The seats are fine for a truck, the body is not meant to reduce drag so it whines at times, and the brakes make a sound. It is a great vehicle in a quirky niche that is overall big fun to drive for a relatively small payment. Fun ride.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Solid choice

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Vehicle: 2011 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

I really enjoy the 4Runner and it has met all my expectations. I wanted a truck with the SUV body and that is exactly what it is. I was also aware that the vehicle is a bit underpowered and am I fine with that. We also own a 2010 Highlander Limited. The Highlander is more like a car to me now than a crossover SUV. Anyone who complains about not having an assisted tail gate clearly should be buy another vehicle, or needs to go to the gym.

Full 2011 Toyota 4Runner Review

What's New for 2011

For the 2011 4Runner, Toyota has dropped the underpowered four-cylinder engine from the lineup. Otherwise, the 4Runner remains unchanged.


The 2011 Toyota 4Runner is, as it has always been, an off-road SUV that is very well-mannered in the city. After a redesign last year, the 4Runner returns mostly unchanged, with one notable exception: The previously available inline-4 engine is no longer offered. Not that you're going to be particularly broken up about this. The underpowered four-cylinder struggled to propel the heavy 4Runner with much authority and offered a minimal benefit in terms of real-world fuel economy.

This leaves the plenty powerful V6 as the sole engine choice for the 2011 Toyota 4Runner. Besides ample horsepower and impressive off-road prowess, the 4Runner counts a civilized driving demeanor and a spacious interior among its other strengths.

Climbing peaks and navigating treacherous terrain is what the 4Runner is best at. Just like a traditional SUV, it features body-on-frame construction and a solid rear axle suspension, although it also incorporates the latest in off-road technology with Toyota's Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), which can disconnect the front and rear stabilizer bars for greater wheel articulation over rough terrain at speeds below 40 mph. Opting for the Trail trim level further enhances the 4Runner's wilderness-taming attitude with black-plastic fender flares and rocker panels (for easier and less expensive replacement), a locking rear differential, hill-start assist and hill-descent control, durable off-road tires and even water-resistant upholstery.

It is worth mentioning that for the majority of SUV buyers who rarely (if ever) take their vehicles off road, the 2011 Toyota 4Runner has been outclassed by the flood of car-based crossover SUVs on the market, at least as far as urban utility is concerned. Compared to the likes of the 2011 GMC Acadia, 2011 Hyundai Veracruz or even the 2011 Toyota Highlander, the 4Runner lacks the on-road comfort and everyday practicality that these vehicles provide. The 4Runner also lacks a V8 engine option, which means choices like the 2011 Dodge Durango, Jeep Commander/Grand Cherokee and 2011 Nissan Pathfinder might be better for heavy towing duty. But in the end we have no hesitations recommending the 2011 Toyota 4Runner as a jack-of-all-trades SUV.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The midsize 2011 Toyota 4Runner SUV is offered in three trim levels: SR5, Trail and Limited.

Standard features on the 4Runner SR5 include 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels, skid plates, heated outside mirrors with turn indicators and puddle lights, foglights, air-conditioning with rear ventilation, cruise control, full power accessories, a power rear window, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a trip computer and an eight-speaker CD/MP3 audio system with an auxiliary audio jack. The SR5 is available in either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.

The 4Runner Trail level is only available as a 4WD model, and it supplements the SR5's equipment list with a hood scoop, black fender flares and rocker panels, a locking rear differential, Crawl Control (which electronically modulates throttle and brakes when ascending or descending hills), off-road-oriented tires, tinted head- and taillights, a sunroof, a back-up camera that displays in the rearview mirror, upgraded gauges, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, water-resistant upholstery, power front seats, a sliding rear cargo deck and an upgraded audio system with satellite radio, a USB port with iPod connectivity and Bluetooth phone and audio functions.

The Limited is available only with full-time all-wheel drive and includes 20-inch cast-aluminum wheels, Toyota's X-REAS adaptive suspension dampers, keyless entry and ignition, automatic headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 15-speaker JBL audio system with a six-disc CD changer, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather upholstery, heated front seats and power lumbar support for the driver seat.

Many of the features incorporated by the 4Runner Trail and Limited are available as options for the SR5 model, though specifics will vary based on the region of the U.S. in which you live. Other option highlights include a voice-activated navigation system and a third-row seat. The KDSS off-road suspension is available only on Trail models.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2011 Toyota 4Runner comes standard with a 4.0-liter V6 engine that produces 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic is the only available transmission. The SR5 and Limited can be had in either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive (part-time dual-range system on SR5; full-time system on the Limited), while the Trail comes only with part-time dual-range 4WD. When properly equipped, the 4Runner's towing capacity tops out at 5,000 pounds.

In Edmunds instrumented testing, a rear-wheel-drive 4Runner SR5 accelerated from a standstill to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, which is about average among competing SUVs. The EPA estimates 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined for a rear-wheel-drive 4Runner, which is also average in this segment. A four-wheel-drive 4Runner gets 1 mpg less on the highway.


Standard 4Runner safety features include antilock disc brakes (with brake assist), stability and traction control, active front head restraints, front knee airbags, front-seat side airbags and full-length, roll-sensing side curtain airbags.

In government crash tests, the 4Runner scores a perfect five out of five stars for driver protection in frontal collisions and four stars for the front passenger. Five stars have been awarded in side impact tests for both front and rear passengers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awards its top rating of "Good" for both frontal offset and side-impact protection. In a recent test, a rear-wheel-drive 4Runner SR5 came to a stop from 60 mph in 122 feet, which is average among other SUVs in its class.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2011 Toyota 4Runner's interior features a geometric, industrial theme that supports this SUV's rugged image. Hard plastics are abundant throughout the cabin, though most touch points are lightly padded. The oversized climate control knobs underscore the 4Runner's utilitarian design, but have a wobbly feel when operated.

The Toyota 4Runner offers spacious seating for five passengers. The optional third-row seat increases the count to seven, though it's suitable only for small adults or children. With all seats folded flat, maximum cargo capacity is a useful 90 cubic feet. An optional sliding rear cargo deck can support up to 440 pounds. Tailgate partygoers will appreciate the optional Party Mode, which directs most of the audio system's sound to the speakers in the liftgate and increases bass response for a thumpin' good time.

Driving Impressions

Cruising around town, the 2011 Toyota 4Runner is surprisingly smooth and comfortable. Despite being built on a truck chassis, there is very little of the bouncy, over-sprung ride you expect from a body-on-frame vehicle capable of serious off-roading.

On the downside, the 4Runner's on-road handling limits are notably low, even for this class of vehicle. The steering feels disconnected and uncommunicative on the pavement, although this makes for less kickback on the trail, though its light-effort response at low speed also makes for easy maneuvering in parking lots.

Off-road, the 4Runner performs very well, particularly if it's a Trail model fitted with KDSS. Though no V8 engine is offered, the standard V6 provides plenty of grunt and should be suitable for just about any driver.

Talk About The 2011 4Runner

Read more about the 2011 Toyota 4Runner

Gas Mileage


  • 17
  • cty
  • 22
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs