2013 Toyota 4Runner Review
2013 Toyota 4Runner Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Outstanding off-road capability
- pleasant on-road demeanor
- strong V6 engine
- ample cargo capacity.
- Some disappointing interior materials
- no V8 option
- cramped third-row seat.
For 2013, the Toyota 4Runner returns with no significant changes.
For the relatively few drivers who require an all-conquering all-terrain SUV, the 2013 Toyota 4Runner is a top choice.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2013 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.11 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$202/mo for 4Runner SR5
Avg. Midsize SUV
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.
Performance & mpg
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.
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.
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.
2013 Toyota 4Runner models
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).
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4 out of 5 stars
You have to love a 4Runner for the right reasons.
2013 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
Update, 6/2019: We drove from Dallas to British Columbia (and back) last year, riding on new Michelin Defender LTX M/S. Big improvement, quieter, better handling and better mileage (averaged 21.5) even with all the mountains and high speed highway. I'll need to put the first set of brake pads on it this summer, and I have slight oil leaks on the front struts, a disappointment. The 2005 … struts went went about 125K, these only have 71K on them. Friend bought a 2018 Limited- significant upgrade. Maybe next time. 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.
4.88 out of 5 stars
2013 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
This is one of the very few mid sized truck based SUV's out there. I like to do some mild off road activites and have a boat to tow, so a car based SUV is not an option. So far I have loved it. Even though it is a mid size SUV, it has a very commanding stance on the highway. It feels larger than it is, people even comment on how large it looks. The handling is good for this type of SUV, … especially since its truck based. It takes some adjustments at first, but once you figure out how to drive it, you'll be pleased. The ride is a little on the bouncy side, but again its a truck! It does well on basic off roads. A great alternative to a full size suv if you need 2 rows of seating.
4.38 out of 5 stars
Got What I Expected...
2012 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
Purchased a 2012 4Runner 6 months ago. After 10K mi. the vehicle still performs as it did on day 1. The 4L engine is the largest V6 available in a mid sized SUV. Fuel mileage avgs 19-20 mpg with the best at 23 on longer road trips. If you actually test drive this SUV you will notice a stiff ride, similar to that of a truck...that's what I like about it. Ample storage space satisfies the … needs of our family and all our stuff. Dashboard electronics work as expected and nav system got me up north without a problem. Biggest complaint would be lack of headroom. At 6' I'm at the upper limit without hitting my head on the roof. Compared to similar SUVs out there this is a great buy.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Makes Me Laugh!!
2012 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
I laugh every time I read the reviews about the 2012 4runner because they are all way off!! People, please remember this is not a sports car or a preppy crossover which all of the experts unfairly compare this truck to. What these so called experts do not realize is that there is nothing out there comparable to this burly, reliable, beast of an SUV. Consumer reports with the 4-foot … red-head who bashes the 4runner is ridiculous! She has the truck going through a slalom and says there is too much body roll! Really!! This truck is solid as a rock, will run for 300,000 miles and looks tough as nails. Do yourself a favor and test drive this truck and do not listen to the bad reviews....
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2013 Toyota 4Runner, so we've included reviews for other years of the 4Runner since its last redesign.
2013 4Runner Highlights
|Combined MPG||19 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$202/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||rear wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating4 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger3 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover3 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover24.6%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestNot Tested
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood