Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2013 Toyota 4Runner SUV
No Video Content
What's New for 2013
For 2013, the Toyota 4Runner returns with no significant changes.
In every crowd there's always a contrarian who ignores the conventional wisdom and stubbornly goes his own way. In the midsize SUV segment, that would be the 2013 Toyota 4Runner.
In an era when virtually all of its competitors have made the switch to kinder, gentler car-based platforms, the midsize 4Runner has remained true to its rugged roots. Though much has changed in the nearly 30 years since its introduction, the 4Runner retains the traditional body-on-frame underpinnings that give it a robust off-road capability that's increasingly hard to find.
Just because its basic layout remains the same, however, that doesn't mean the 4Runner is some kind of four-wheeled anachronism. Its 270-horsepower V6 engine has more than enough guts to keep up with the latest generation of car-based crossovers while still returning decent fuel economy numbers. It has a roomy interior with plenty of cargo space and the potential to carry seven passengers. And as if to prove this is no old-school SUV, it has a number of high-tech features including an emergency telematics system and Toyota's Entune electronics interface.
Yet there's plenty of old-school off-roader here, too. The 4Runner's two different four-wheel-drive systems with low range and locking center and/or rear differentials give it the ability to go where most of its competitors rightly fear to tread. There's also the KDSS dynamic suspension system that features electronically disconnecting sway bars for improved wheel travel, and Crawl Control that allows the driver to concentrate on choosing the correct line through tough off-pavement sections while the computer takes charge of the throttle and brake.
While the 4Runner has a number of points in its favor, it's not right for everybody. Buyers looking for similar off-road capability with more guts under the hood will want to check out the V8-powered 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which also offers a more upscale interior.
And if you're one of the many SUV buyers who aren't likely to venture very far off the pavement, you'll want to consider some of those car-based crossover SUVs. Top choices would include the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota's own Highlander. Still, the 2013 Toyota 4Runner offers something that's downright uncommon these days, namely the ability for those folks who don't like to follow the crowd to blaze their own trail.
No Video Content
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Toyota 4Runner is a midsize SUV offered in three trim levels: SR5, Trail and Limited. The SR5 and Limited are available with two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, while the Trail model is offered with four-wheel drive only. Five-passenger seating is standard but a 50/50-split third-row seat is available and raises capacity to seven.
The entry-level SR5 comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, skid plates, hill-start assist and hill descent control, foglights, heated mirrors, rear privacy glass, a power-lowering liftgate window, a windshield wiper de-icer, keyless entry, cruise control, air-conditioning with second-row vents, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat (with power lumbar adjustment), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 40/20/40-split-folding and reclining rear seats, a trip computer, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.
The Trail model adds off-road-oriented tires, extensive off-roading mechanical elements, mud guards, black exterior trim, a sunroof, power front seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger), water-resistant cloth upholstery, a rearview camera, a sliding rear cargo floor, upgraded gauges and two 120-volt household power outlets. The Trail can be equipped with the optional KDSS off-road suspension.
The Limited includes the Trail's interior upgrades plus 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive suspension, automatic headlights, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, HD radio, a touchscreen audio interface and Toyota's Entune smartphone integration system.
Many of the features found on the 4Runner Trail and Limited models are available as options on the lower trim levels, though specifics will vary based on the region of the United States in which you live. Other option highlights include a voice-activated navigation system and automatically deploying/retracting running boards (not available on Trail).
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 Toyota 4Runner comes standard with a 4.0-liter V6 engine that produces 270 hp and 278 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic is the only available transmission.
Rear-wheel drive is standard on SR5 and Limited models. The SR5 trim level can also be had with an available part-time four-wheel-drive system with low range, while the Limited offers optional full-time four-wheel drive with a lockable center differential. The Trail model comes standard with the part-time low-range-equipped four-wheel-drive system and includes a locking rear differential and selectable electronic terrain-sensitive systems. Regardless of model or drivetrain, the 4Runner's towing capacity is rated at 5,000 pounds.
In Edmunds instrumented testing, a rear-drive 4Runner SR5 accelerated from a standstill to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds (8.2 seconds for a four-wheel-drive Trail model), which is about average among competing SUVs. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined for a rear-wheel-drive 4Runner, which is also average in this segment. With four-wheel drive, those numbers drop to 17/21/18.
Standard safety features on the 2013 Toyota 4Runner include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, front knee airbags and active front head restraints. The Limited comes with the Safety Connect emergency communications system, which includes automatic collision notification, a stolen-vehicle locator and roadside assistance.
In Edmunds brake testing, a rear-wheel-drive 4Runner SR5 came to a stop from 60 mph in 122 feet, which is average among SUVs in its class. However, a Trail model with its off-road-oriented tires consumed 140 feet to come to a standstill.
In government crash tests the 4Runner earned an overall rating of four stars (out of a possible five) along with four stars in frontal crash protection and five stars in side impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 4Runner its top rating of "Good" for both frontal-offset and side-impact protection and a second best "Acceptable" in the roof strength test.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2013 Toyota 4Runner offers an interior that's as straightforward as the rest of the vehicle. Its utilitarian DNA can be seen in the expanses of hard plastics (or maybe it's just penny pinching), but either way, key points of contact at least get some welcome padding. Controls are simple and easy to use, though the large climate controls knobs don't feel very substantial. Toyota's Entune system, which is standard on Limited models and available as an option on both the SR5 and Trail, integrates with the driver's smartphone to enable the use of handy apps like Pandora or OpenTable through the dash's touchscreen interface.
As for passenger accommodations, the standard five-person seating arrangement includes a reclining 40/20/40-split-folding second-row seat. The available third-row seat bumps capacity to seven passengers, but is cramped enough that no one over the age of about 14 will want to spend much time there.
There's a healthy 47 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second-row seats, a number that jumps to an even healthier 90 cubic feet with all the rear seats folded down. That's about the same as crossovers like the Ford Explorer and Nissan Pathfinder. The cargo hold also has a couple of clever features including a sliding rear cargo floor with a 440-pound capacity and a Party Mode that shifts the audio system's output to the speakers in the liftgate to provide tunes for tailgate parties.
From behind the steering wheel the 2013 Toyota 4Runner displays a level of refinement you might not expect from a truck-based SUV. The V6 engine is strong enough that it's unlikely the lack of a V8 option will be an issue for most buyers. The ride is also smooth and well-controlled, with hardly a trace of the bounciness once common to vehicles with this level of off-road capability.
On the pavement, the 4Runner's handling is not particularly impressive. The steering feels less communicative than we'd like, but its light effort works well in both slow-speed parking lot maneuvers and off-road, where it results in reduced kickback on gnarly trails. Speaking of its performance in the dirt, the 4Runner is one of the best in its class, especially if it's the Trail model equipped with Toyota's KDSS suspension system, which allows for a greater range of wheel travel.
by Ann Marie on Aug 21, 2016 Vehicle: 2013 Toyota 4Runner
This is a workhorse vehicle. Not overly fancy, but just enough to fit my needs. Didn't want to pay for a bunch of features I don't need such as third row seating or navigation....my kids are grown and my phone has navigation. So I'm happy! Love my truck!!!
by Bill on Dec 16, 2015 Vehicle: 2013 Toyota 4Runner
Update, 6/2016: We did our first long trip in the 2013, from Dallas to Indianapolis via Nashville for the 500. Loved driving it, or being a front seat passenger- comfortable, quiet, great view of the road, but the back seats don't recline like the 2005. I could NOT get comfortable back there. And I really miss the automated comfort controls for a/c. That alone may be justification for getting the Limited version. Mileage is also not as good- I was hoping to see that climb on a long highway trip, but 20.7 is as good as it got. I have yet to pull my trailer with this one, but I am suspecting the larger motor might make it a little easier.
Original Review: We use our 4Runner both as a daily driver and weekend ranch vehicle. That's why we went with this, our second 4Runner- first one was a 2005 SR5 that we just traded on this 2013. We wanted the solid body-on-frame construction because we haul stuff all the time, sometimes off-road, and the towing capacity because we pull a small trailer sometimes. Our 2005 was bulletproof- the ONLY failure in 188,000 miles was the a/c evaporator coil. We expect this one to be similar, as most 4Runner owners will attest- they're reliable and will take punishment. They are more utilitarian and ride a little rougher than other SUVs (except for Jeeps) because of the construction, and tend to pitch or roll on uneven pavement, which can be more than some people can deal with. Towing a 2,000 lb trailer is noticeable but comfortable, no strain on the drivetrain. That 5,000 lb limit? Only if I had to for a short distance- nice to know it's capable though.
We also do quite a bit of highway, and for that, the 4Runner is great. Pretty quiet (70 mph is just over 2,000 rpm), visibility is super, seats are comfy for long hauls, and we've clocked 22 mpg at 80 mph across Wyoming. Factory sound system is pretty good. Watch out for tires with noisy tread patterns though, they'll cut through. The Michelin LTX M/S 2 is the best replacement tire for low noise and good handling.
The interior is very useable with plenty of elbow room, and headroom for a 6-footer. Our 2013 has a nice sunroof too, and I still have a few inches to spare. We did lose some features on the 2013 though that I will miss- the programmable cabin temperature from the 2005 is gone, the powered tailgate latch is gone, and now we have a radio antenna, instead of FM diversity built into the windows. Those are real cost-cutting throwbacks to me. The glove box is half the capacity (no "gun compartment" anymore), and there are no closeable storage compartments around the interior, just open compartments.
Just remember why you bought it- decent performance, classy enough for dinner, haul stuff, tow stuff without breaking down. Ever.
After one year, love it as much as the day i bought it.
by yngturk on May 28, 2014 Vehicle: 2013 Toyota 4Runner
An extremely solid, truck-based SUV.
Purchased new in 2013.
After 13-months now has 20k miles and it's only been to the shop for oil changes.
Ride is better than most trucks, but the build is solid and body stiffness is superb.
Seats are quite comfortable, as are heater/AC and the overall ride.
My wife -- the ultimate judge of comfort, with a bad back -- has no problem taking road trips in this vehicle.
I mostly use this as a commuter vehicle, but occasionally haul stuff or go camping off-road.
Average 21.3 MPG in combo city/highway.
Engine is more than adequate.
It's the perfect vehicle for my needs.
A well-engineered, reliable ride.
by kara8 on Apr 27, 2014 Vehicle: 2013 Toyota 4Runner
This is my 2nd 4Runner.
My last 4Runner was old and I wanted a new, reliable vehicle for my daughter and me
as I was worried I would start having problems.
New 4Runner is not reliable.
I really, really don't like this vehicle at all.
I have had it since Aug.
Every time something hits the windshield, it cracks.
It's cracked 3 times since Aug.
Major hassle to get it fixed every time it breaks and it seems like it always breaks.
Prior to this vehicle, I have replaced 1 windshield.
Also had a major electrical failure, which put it in the shop for 5 days.
Still doesn't seem right but the techs say it's fine.
Waiting for it to break again.
It shifts totally weird.
I don't recommend
by jose65 on Jan 23, 2014 Vehicle: 2013 Toyota 4Runner
in cold climate, it takes unreasonably long for the engine to get into normal operating range. (about 8 miles of driving)
the interior heater is weak even at the max and takes very long to warm up the interior.
Suspension is hard when driving over bumps and potholes, not good for the spine
running boards are useless for a taller person as they are in the way
front dives and rear moves up under hard breaking
engine is loud and sounds rough around 2500rpm
sheet metal is very thin, waves can be seen on the hood when going through car wash dryer
by feralcat on Oct 11, 2013 Vehicle: 2013 Toyota 4Runner
I just picked
up a 2013 trail edition.
I paid extra for Nitto Terra Grappler ATs as I've had so many problems in the past with the standard HTs that come with all 4Runners.
I realize that most folks don't off-road but we do a few times a year.
I traded in a 2011 trail which ran perfectly.
This should be exactly the same but it does feel a little different with shift points and throttle response.
I love Toyotas. I have 1994 MR2 and 2005 4Runner. Now... This 2013 RAV-4... it is nice inside, but Gosh what a boring car. It is designed for house-wifes to drive to grocery stores 2 miles away from h...
This is the estimated average annual insurance premium being charged in your state. The premium has been determined based on annual premium data for defined coverages (liability, comprehensive and collision) from a major insurer.
While this information is specific to vehicle make, model, model year and body type, your personal information is not taken into consideration and could greatly alter the actual premium quoted by an insurer. Factors that will affect your rate include your age, marital status, credit history, driving record, and the garaging address of your vehicle.
The Edmunds TCO®
monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Toyota 4Runner Suv
in VA is: