2008 Toyota 4Runner Review

Pros & Cons

  • Strong V6 engine, smooth highway ride, above-average off-road capability.
  • Third-row seat doesn't fold flat and has little legroom when in use, below-average cargo capacity.
List Price Range
$9,990 - $14,900

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Edmunds' Expert Review

A longtime favorite of ours, the 2008 Toyota 4Runner is a traditional midsize SUV that does just about everything well. Consumers who don't plan on much recreational use, however, would be better served by a top crossover.

Vehicle overview

Sport-utility vehicles, if one was to paraphrase George Bush Sr., have become considerably "kinder and gentler" in the past 10 years. And that's been a good thing -- crossover models, with their car-based architecture and on-road-biased handling, are much better suited for the way most consumers use their SUVs. But there are still people who like the idea of owning a traditional truck-based SUV, and for them, there's the 2008 Toyota 4Runner.

The body-on-frame 4Runner, a mainstay of Toyota's lineup since the mid-1980s, still has the expected rugged good looks and true off-road capability of a stout, no-nonsense sport-utility vehicle. This might seem like a misguided philosophy when you consider that few SUV owners actually go off-road, but Toyota looks at the situation a bit differently. It sees the 4Runner's all-terrain capability as a selling point over its rivals. If you want a "soft roader," there are plenty to choose from -- Toyota's redesigned Highlander is a perfect example. But if you want a midsize SUV that doesn't faint at the first sign of dirt, the Toyota 4Runner is still the real deal.

This isn't to say the 4Runner is a feckless choice for urban duty. It drives well, has a powerful V6 or available V8 under the hood, and is reasonably comfortable. But there's no getting away from the fact that it's an older model last redesigned in 2003. Among the old guard of SUVs, the 4Runner still holds its own, though three of its closest competitors, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Pathfinder and Dodge Durango, have been significantly updated this year. Compared to most modern crossovers, the 2008 Toyota 4Runner is outclassed in terms of interior space, ride quality and fuel efficiency. SUV shoppers not planning on doing much towing or outdoor recreation would be much better off with something like a Highlander, GMC Acadia or Nissan Murano.

2008 Toyota 4Runner models

The 2008 Toyota 4Runner is a midsize SUV. It comes in three trim levels: SR5, Sport and Limited. Standard features on the base SR5 include 16-inch wheels, automatic climate control with rear vents, remote keyless entry, cruise control, full power accessories including a power rear window, tilt steering wheel, power front seats (V8 models), a trip computer and a CD/MP3 player with an auxiliary audio jack. Stepping up to the Sport Edition adds larger 17-inch wheels, "X-REAS" shock absorbers, color-keyed exterior mirrors, power front seats (V6 models), special seat fabric and a telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. High-dollar Limited models pick up illuminated running boards, 18-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 115-volt power outlet, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a six-CD changer and satellite radio.

Options include a navigation system, Bluetooth, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a premium JBL audio system, a third-row seat and a two-tier cargo shelf. The X-REAS shocks are optional for the Limited and come with a height-adjustable rear air suspension.

2008 Highlights

The 2008 Toyota 4Runner gets the formerly optional side curtain airbags as standard equipment.

Performance & mpg

The Toyota 4Runner is available with rear- or four-wheel drive and one of two engines. The standard 4.0-liter V6 makes 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. The optional 4.7-liter V8 generates 260 hp and 306 lb-ft of torque. All 4Runners get a five-speed automatic transmission. Towing capacity is 7,300 pounds on V8 models, while V6 models top out at 5,000 pounds. Fuel economy estimates for four-wheel-drive 2008 4Runners stand at 16 mpg city and 20 mpg highway for the V6 and 14/17 mpg for the V8.

Safety

All models come standard with antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability control and roll-sensing side-curtain airbags for the first and second rows of seating. Front seat side airbags are also standard. In government crash testing, the 2008 Toyota 4Runner earned four out of five stars in the frontal-impact category and a perfect five stars for side impacts. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, the vehicle earned a top "Good" rating for its protection of occupants in frontal-offset and side-impact collisions.

Driving

Both engines move the 4Runner out quickly. Although the V8 is a must if you plan on doing any serious towing, most buyers will be happy with the less expensive and more fuel-efficient V6. When driven on pavement, the 2008 Toyota 4Runner delivers a smooth, controlled ride, and handling around turns is surprisingly tight and responsive for a traditional body-on-frame sport-ute. Models with the X-REAS system have their dampers diagonally linked. (The front left damper, or shock, is linked to the rear right and the front right is linked to the rear left.) The system helps improve on-road handling and dampens body roll and pitch. Taken off-road, this Toyota SUV is right at home, tackling steep passes with little drama and delivering an almost luxurious ride even on rutted trails.

Interior

The Toyota 4Runner offers roomy quarters for four to five passengers. The optional third-row seat strikes us as an afterthought, however. It provides minimal legroom even for kids and it doesn't fold flat into the floor. Instead, each half of the 50/50 third-row seat must be stowed in an upright position along the sideboards or removed completely if you want to carry cargo. The overall design of the interior is aesthetically pleasing and functional, with most controls easy to find and use. Our only major ergonomic complaint concerns the climate controls, which look like intuitive dials but work more like joysticks. Maximum cargo capacity is 75 cubic feet, which trails behind most of the 4Runner's midsize competitors.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 Toyota 4Runner.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Yea, I loved my 2008 Urban Runner
snowchasr,08/26/2014
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.
Love it!
ksdogwalker,03/12/2014
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.
Bought it with 180k miles, and it rides like new!
Indiana Bruce,10/28/2016
SR5 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
I saw this on a dealers lot with over 180,000 miles on it, and it looked like new. Knowing it was a Toyota, I bought it. Am SOOOO glad I did. I have the 6 cylinder and often pull a 7x14 lightweight cargo trailer with it. It does great. I love so many things about Toyotas. A headlight went out, and it was about $12 and took less than 5 minutes to replace. I just changed the oil tonight, and it's so easy. The filter is easy to get to, and even has a shroud around it to catch any oil that runs off so it doesn't mess up the engine area. Oh, and it's now about 210,000 and doesn't use a DROP of oil and runs like new. The body and paint are still perfect with no signs of rust or corrosion. I expect to easily get 300k or maybe more. Love, love, love it.
My second 4Runner
a2992,06/10/2008
Ever since I sold my '94 4Runner in 2006, I've always had my eye on getting another. My only complaint about the '94 was that there was no V8 at the time, and the V6 was WAY underpowered. So when I was in the market for a new car, I purchased the V8 Limited 4WD, and I'm happy. The new 4Runner is futuristic enough, while still maintaining the DNA of the original generations. The solid construction, "never-die" dependability, and fun driving attitude make it a joy to drive. It's as if I'm back in the '94, but this time, with all the power I've ever wanted with 270 HP, and 300+ ft/lbs of torque. I'm raring to get this thing off road where it belongs.

Features & Specs

MPG
16 city / 21 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed automatic
Gas
236 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
16 city / 20 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed automatic
Gas
236 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
16 city / 20 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed automatic
Gas
236 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
16 city / 20 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed automatic
Gas
236 hp @ 5200 rpm
See all Used 2008 Toyota 4Runner features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Poor
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2008 Toyota 4Runner

Used 2008 Toyota 4Runner Overview

The Used 2008 Toyota 4Runner is offered in the following submodels: 4Runner SUV. Available styles include SR5 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SR5 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Sport Edition 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Sport Edition 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.7L 8cyl 5A), Limited 4dr SUV (4.7L 8cyl 5A), SR5 4dr SUV 4WD (4.7L 8cyl 5A), SR5 4dr SUV (4.7L 8cyl 5A), Sport Edition 4dr SUV (4.7L 8cyl 5A), and Sport Edition 4dr SUV 4WD (4.7L 8cyl 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Toyota 4Runner?

Price comparisons for Used 2008 Toyota 4Runner trim styles:

  • The Used 2008 Toyota 4Runner SR5 is priced between $9,990 and$13,900 with odometer readings between 169823 and176062 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2008 Toyota 4Runners are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Toyota 4Runner for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2008 4Runners listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $9,990 and mileage as low as 150226 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2008 Toyota 4Runner.

Can't find a used 2008 Toyota 4Runners you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Toyota 4Runner for sale - 7 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $16,775.

Find a used Toyota for sale - 5 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $15,153.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota 4Runner for sale - 11 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $18,465.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota for sale - 4 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $22,345.

Should I lease or buy a 2008 Toyota 4Runner?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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