2014 Toyota 4Runner Review
2014 Toyota 4Runner Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Outstanding off-road capability
- strong V6 engine
- ample cargo capacity.
- Lack of V8 or diesel engine option limits towing capacity
- busy ride
- poor fuel-economy
- cramped third-row seat
- cumbersome setup process for Entune system.
The 2014 Toyota 4Runner has revised exterior styling, new headlights and a revamped interior. A touchscreen-based audio system and Toyota's Entune suite of smartphone-connected apps are standard for all trim levels, as is a rearview camera. There are also minor changes in standard equipment.
For the relatively few drivers who require an all-conquering all-terrain SUV, the 2014 Toyota 4Runner is a top choice.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2014 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 $3.12 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$198/mo for 4Runner SR5
Avg. Midsize SUV
If your lifestyle necessitates a vehicle with genuine off-road capability (or heck, you just prefer your daily ride to be ready for anything), Toyota's got you covered with the 2014 4Runner. It's one of the few remaining midsize SUVs on the market that embodies the term "sport-utility vehicle" to the fullest extent as opposed to just looking the part.
You can still bang around off-road with the 2014 Toyota 4Runner because it employs the same rugged body-on-frame architecture that underpins pickup trucks. And that, along with plenty of suspension travel and protective underbody plates, helps keep things from breaking when used as intended. The 4Runner's four-wheel-drive system also has low-range gearing and an available locking rear differential to help see you through rough terrain, deep snow or whatever else you want to throw its way.
Of course, there are plenty of consumers who enjoy the Toyota 4Runner's traditionalist image, but mainly use it for commuting to work and running errands with the kids. In a nod to that reality, Toyota has made some changes to the 4Runner this year. The SR5 and Trail models feature upgraded interior materials and all models get a new instrument panel and a touchscreen audio interface with smartphone integration via the automaker's Entune system (although we've found Entune to be a mixed bag when it's actually time to use it). A rearview camera -- an invaluable safety feature on any SUV -- is standard across the board for 2014, while Limited models now allow you to bask in the comforts of heated and ventilated front seats. And although the optional third-row seat is not very roomy, the 4Runner continues to offer it, providing seven-passenger capacity in a pinch.
That third-row seat, along with high cargo capacity, is one of the 2014 4Runner's few advantages over its closest rival, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which seats only five. Otherwise, though, we think the Jeep offers a better compromise between off-road capability and on-road comfort. Plus, it's available with a fuel-efficient diesel engine (not to mention a couple of V8s) -- whereas the Toyota is V6 only -- and comes with a great deal more high-end tech and safety features.
Meanwhile, buyers wanting a true SUV with a third row they can use every day will likely find the somewhat larger Dodge Durango more spacious and comfortable. For those who can spend a bit more, the Volkswagen Touareg offers premium interior accommodations, along with a strong lineup of engines (including a diesel) and a high tow rating for a midsize SUV. And if you don't require much off-pavement ability at all, there are numerous car-based crossover SUVs like the 2014 Chevrolet Traverse and the 2014 Toyota Highlander that will meet your needs. They'll also provide a softer, more carlike ride, lower step-in height and better fuel economy.
All that said, the choices for a modestly sized and (relatively) modestly priced genuine SUV seem to be narrowing every year, and the 2014 Toyota 4Runner remains a likable option in this cadre.
Performance & mpg
The 2014 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 transmission is also standard. The SR5 and Limited models are available with either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, while the Trail is 4WD only.
Four-wheel-drive SR5 models have a part-time four-wheel-drive system with a low-range transfer case, while the Limited uses a full-time 4WD system with low-range gearing and an independently lockable center differential. The Trail model comes standard with the part-time 4WD system and also includes a locking rear differential, crawl control (for use in low range) and selectable electronic terrain-sensitive systems. Properly equipped, the 4Runner is rated to tow up to 4,700 pounds.
In Edmunds testing, a rear-drive 4Runner SR5 accelerated from a standstill to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds (7.8 seconds for a four-wheel-drive Trail model), which is about average among competing SUVs. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 19 mpg combined (17 mpg city/22 mpg highway) for rear-wheel-drive models and 18 mpg combined (17 mpg city/21 mpg highway) for four-wheel-drive 4Runners (regardless of which 4WD your vehicle has) -- slightly below average for a midsize, off-road-oriented SUV with a gas-powered six-cylinder engine.
Standard safety features on the 2014 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. All 4WD models feature an off-road traction control system known as A-TRAC that helps keep you moving on slippery terrain by redirecting engine torque to the wheel(s) that have traction. A rearview camera is standard across the board. 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. A Trail model with its off-road-oriented tires needed a longer 132 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" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests. Its seat/head restraint design also rates "Good" for whiplash protection in rear-impact crashes.
Unlike most of today's midsize SUVs, the 2014 Toyota 4Runner is designed to provide real utility when the pavement ends. This Toyota is at its best when you're plugging along on off-road trails -- the Trail with optional KDSS is the version you'll want for these adventures. At the same time, the 4Runner has enough refinement that you can simply drive it to work every day, if that's your preference. This is still a SUV in the traditional mold, however, and compared to modern crossover SUVs you'll feel a lot more of the bumps and ruts in the road. Toyota's steering feels a little too light and overboosted in normal driving situations, but this calibration turns out to be ideal for off-roading, as it results in reduced kickback on gnarly trails.
The Toyota 4Runner's smooth V6 engine is strong enough that only consumers planning to tow a trailer will lament the lack of a V8 option. Still, there's no denying that you'd get more pulling power and better fuel economy with the optional diesel engines on rivals like the Grand Cherokee and Touareg. The 4Runner's five-speed automatic transmission provides well-timed shifts, but we certainly wouldn't mind another gear to calm the engine on the highway and eke out another mpg or two.
One of the changes you'll notice immediately in the 2014 Toyota 4Runner interior is the new instrument panel. In place of the old individual gauge binnacles, the new design locates an oversized speedometer and tachometer on either side of a multifunction screen trip computer. The new gauges are attractive and easy to read, and a welcome upgrade over the previous design.
In addition, all 2014 4Runners come with a touchscreen audio interface placed high on the center stack. Depending on which trim level you've selected, it brings various degrees of functionality from Toyota's Entune suite of smartphone-enabled services and apps (among them, Pandora Internet radio, the Bing search engine and sports/stock info updates). The SR5/Trail Premium models and the Limited integrate a navigation system into this interface. Getting started with Entune can be a hassle, though, since you have to install an app on your phone and register for an account; plus, you always need an active data connection to use it. The touchscreen interface has straightforward menus, but it's sometimes unresponsive to touch.
Most owners will be satisfied with the quality of the 4Runner's cabin materials, which are oriented more toward durability than aesthetics. Although you won't be afraid to get the Toyota's interior dirty, there's no denying that it has a more workaday ambience than, say, the interior of the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
As for passenger accommodations, the standard five-person seating arrangement includes a reclining 40/20/40-split-folding second-row seat. The optional third-row seat is bound to be a tempting option for carpoolers (as it provides seating for seven), but you'll want to make sure your elementary schoolers will actually fit, as this is one of the smallest, tightest third rows of any midsize SUV.
Most buyers will find that this space is better used for cargo. There's a healthy 47 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second-row seats, a number that jumps to an even healthier 89.7 cubic feet with all the rear seats folded down. This is far more space than the Grand Cherokee offers and more than many large crossovers (such as the Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot) as well.
2014 Toyota 4Runner models
The 2014 Toyota 4Runner is a midsize SUV offered in three trim levels: SR5, Trail and Limited. The SR5 and Trail are subdivided into base and Premium versions. Five-passenger seating is standard, but an optional 50/50-split third-row seat on the SR5 and Limited models raises capacity to seven.
The SR5 comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, skid plates, a tow hitch, hill start assist and hill descent control, a rearview camera, foglights, heated exterior 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 six-way power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with tilt/telescope adjustment, and 40/20/40-split-folding and reclining rear seats. On the electronics side, it comes with Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an eight-speaker audio system with a touchscreen interface, the Entune suite of smartphone-connected apps, a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.
The SR5 Premium model adds a sunroof and outside mirrors with integrated turn signals and puddle lamps. Inside, you get Toyota's SofTex premium vinyl upholstery, heated front seats, a four-way power front passenger seat, a navigation system and an upgraded version of Entune with voice control, phonebook-download capability and text-to-speech messaging for enabled phones.
The 4Runner Trail model includes all of the base SR5's standard features and adds off-road-oriented all-season tires, mudguards, body-color exterior trim, special components and electronic aids for off-road capability and an eight-way power driver seat. The Trail Premium model adds the sunroof and all of the interior amenities and electronics you get on the SR5 Premium. Either 4Runner Trail model can be equipped with the optional Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS). This option is aimed at serious outdoor enthusiasts, as KDSS automatically disconnects the SUV's stabilizer bars in low-speed off-road situations to improve suspension articulation over deep ruts and boulders.
The 2014 4Runner Limited includes all of the Trail Premium's standard content, except for the off-road-related equipment. It also comes standard with 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive shock absorbers for the suspension, automatic headlights, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, perforated leather upholstery, heated front seats and ventilation for the driver seat, and an upgraded JBL sound system with 15 speakers and HD radio.
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 options include fixed running boards for the SR5 and Trail, automatically deploying/retracting running boards for the Limited, a sliding rear cargo floor and roof-rack crossbars.
4.5 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 out of 5 stars
Good ride quality for truck based SUV.
2014 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
I shopped the 4Runner against a G. Cherokee (unattractive/low quality interior), Pathfinder (superb ride quality but felt too much like a car - CVT transmission also a no-go - google Nissan and CVT and see what I mean), and Explorer (a little bland) and the 4Runner won out for superior styling, fit and finish, and third row seat. I've had it since August of 2014 (~15k mi.) with no … significant problems. I did have to have the navigation system program updated by the dealer who performed this service free of charge and promptly. It has ample power (I rarely tow but it is up for the job), decent acceleration and relatively good fuel economy for a SUV. I average just over 18 mpg in largely city/suburb driving but it doesn't go up much on the highway if you have a heavy foot in particular. Mine is two wheel drive but I'd take it anywhere any other 2wd in the class may venture and then some. Good ground clearance (running boards are suggested if for looks if nothing else) and traction control performs well in light off road duty. Sharp truck. I was also sold on safety when my wife pulled across the path of a police dodge charger with push bar and under 2k miles and the impact totaled it but not her 2010 Highlander that were it not for a busted radiator and blown tire probably could have been driven away.
5 out of 5 stars
Tough, capable, and reliable
2013 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
Purchased 5yrs ago as a certified preowned with 13k miles. Now has 105k miles and still going strong even with some abuse I’ve given it now and then. I’ve been mudding in it, taken it through many miles of loose beach sand/dunes, miles of rocky trails, forded about 3 feet of water on a few occasions, had it teetering on two wheels, towed with it, taken family trips from Texas to … California, Wisconsin, and Florida. All this and it’s never let me down. We have the 3rd row seats and they have come in handy. The third row is perfect for kids and those about 5’ tall or less. I’m 6’ and I can ride about an hour or so before becoming uncomfortable in the third row. Gas mileage on pure highway is about 20 mpg at 70mph. If I really baby it I can get 22mpg but that’s driving with a light foot and no more than 65mph. Normal mixed driving I get in the 18s. I have bfgoodrich ko2 tires which I highly recommend. At 60k miles they still have good tread left. Acceleration is adequate. Only time if yearned for more power was trying to pass vehicles at highway speeds going up steep grades at higher elevations. It’s towing limit is 5k lbs but I’ve felt more comfortable towing about 3.5k lbs. above that you start to really feel the weight. Resale value is also fantastic. Recently refinanced the 4Runner to get some equity out of it and the bank said the reatail value is $28K. It’s crazy that a 5yr old car with over a 100k miles is still worth $28K. I plan on keeping this car at least to 200k miles and hopefully 300k miles.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2014 Toyota 4Runner, so we've included reviews for other years of the 4Runner since its last redesign.
2014 4Runner Highlights
|Combined MPG||19 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$198/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 TestMarginal
- 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