2014 Toyota 4Runner Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- 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.
For the relatively few drivers who require an all-conquering all-terrain SUV, the 2014 Toyota 4Runner is a top choice.
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.
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.
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.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating4 out of 5 stars
- 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%
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More About This Model
The last of a dying breed, the 2014 Toyota 4Runner is one of the few body-on-frame SUVs left with real off-road capabilities. Of course, there's a reason this configuration has been dying as CUV sales have skyrocketed. The 4Runner rides, drives and returns fuel economy more like a truck than a tall station wagon.
If that's what you're into, the 4Runner hits all the right marks.
What Is It?
The 2014 Toyota 4Runner is a refreshed version of Toyota's traditional midsize SUV. With a body-on-frame configuration, four-wheel drive and advanced off-road suspension, the 4Runner is a weapon against the boundaries of a paved world. This Trail version takes that off-road ability and cranks it up to 11.
How Is It Equipped?
With a starting price of $36,585, our 4Runner Trail test vehicle comes standard with part-time 4WD and advanced off-road traction control, special cloth seats, a back-up camera, Bluetooth, 10 cupholders, a cool hood scoop and a locking rear differential.
The Trail represents the middle child of the 4Runner lineup. At the bottom is the SR5, which comes standard with 2WD and fabric upholstery. Capping the top of the line is the 4Runner Limited. It's loaded up with heated leather seats, dual-zone climate control, a body kit with lower side skirts and, perhaps most importantly, full-time 4WD.
All 4Runners come with a 4.0-liter V6 that makes 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. The only transmission is a five-speed automatic.
How Does It Drive?
Like a truck. With all of the fun aspects and all of the drawbacks.
Toyotas, especially recent ones, have had a particular knack for removing any sort of effort from the act of driving. They're isolated and quiet, the steering is light and doesn't bug you with any real feedback and they're largely refined, inoffensive places. From the minute you twist the key in the 2014 Toyota 4Runner, you know something's different.
The key, like virtually everything else about the 4Runner, takes intention. You've gotta put your elbow into it and when the 4.0-liter fires up, you feel a little wiggle through the chassis. Slotting the chunky shifter into Drive produces an audible, reassuring thunk and then you're off.
Under full throttle on the open road, the 4Runner's 270 hp is merely adequate, and the overwhelming sensation is intake whoosh. Ride that wave of noise from a standstill and you'll get to 60 in 7.8 seconds (7.5 seconds with a foot of rollout as on a drag strip). Stability at high speeds is surprisingly good, though the beefy P265/70R17 tires get a little loud, and the slow steering and exaggerated body motions mean you're using the wheel quite a bit more than you would in a sedan at these speeds. Potholes don't faze this SUV, nor do those frost heaves that wobble other cars. With a suspension designed for the rigors of the trail, those new ruts caused by a sewer pipe installation won't even register.
What will register are the subtle, high-speed bumps that dot California freeways. Frequent jolts send shockwaves through the chassis and get the 4Runner bouncing around like a jet ski. Whether this is fun and endearing, or annoying and distasteful depends on your expectations.
During our handling tests our test driver refused to simply drive in a straight line over the cones, using the 4Runner's natural talents to produce a fast run. Instead, he turned the wheel back and forth and went around them like he's supposed to. This produced a less-than-stellar 57.1-mph run through the slalom and 0.72g of cornering. Nobody buys this car for its on-road grip.
How Good Is It Off-Road?
Have you ever taken a Husky out for a jog? You lace up your fancy new running shoes, throw some zinc on your nose, grab the leash and hit the road. A little while later you've cleared 5 miles, built up a good sweat and are back at home. The dog, however, isn't even warmed up yet. "Where's the sled?" "Where's the sub-absolute-zero temperatures?" "Why aren't we still running?" "Guess I'll go eat the couch."
Driving the 4Runner off-road without significant training and experience is kind of like that. The rutted trails, semi-steep climbs and brief rock crawling that had us calling for a spotter barely got the 4Runner sweating.
Some of the goodies responsible for this incredible confidence include Crawl Control for low-speed off-roading; Hill Start and Downhill Assist Control; Multi-Terrain Select, which engages traction control based on the type of off-road driving you're doing; a locking rear differential; and KDSS.
KDSS, for those wondering, is Toyota's Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, a clever bit of hydraulic wizardry that disconnects the vehicle's sway bars to improve articulation. Don't worry; if this feature doesn't excite you, you can get a 4Runner without this $1,750 option.
How Safe Is It?
Though the 4Runner is a fully capable off-road truck, it doesn't lack in on-road safety. Features include full-length side curtain airbags and front knee airbags, LATCH anchors, traction control and stability control.
Though the 2014 Toyota 4Runner hasn't been fully evaluated by NHTSA, it has earned a four-star frontal crash test rating and three out of five stars for rollover protection. In front crash testing, the male driver figure scored four out of five stars, while the female passenger managed only three stars.
The mechanically similar 2013 model received five stars for side-impact protection. The IIHS awarded the 2013 4Runner a score of "Good" in moderate-overlap, frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.
During our 60-0 panic-stop test, this 4,707-pound 4Runner with all-terrain tires stopped in 132 feet. That number is about 10 feet longer than your average sedan and average for a truck of this size. It also required some steering correction. With the 4Runner, it's best to be proactive than reactive.
What Kind of Mileage Does It Deliver?
As we've discussed, the 4Runner isn't a lightweight and that hurts fuel economy. With its 270-hp 4.0-liter six-cylinder and five-speed automatic transmission, the 4Runner is rated at 18 mpg combined (17 city/21 highway). We didn't hit those numbers.
Over about 1,500 miles of driving, we managed only 17.1 mpg, with a best tank of 20.7 mpg (on our standardized test loop) and a worst reading of just over 15. Ultimately, this kind of fuel economy is to be expected from something this big, this sturdy and this capable. Gotta pay to play, right?
Opting for a 2WD version of the 4Runner only saves you 1 mpg on the highway and 1 mpg combined.
How Does It Rate in Terms of Interior Comfort?
This Trail Edition 4Runner isn't terrifically well equipped for something with a near-$40,000 price tag. Is it overpriced? No. Your money here goes to function and not features.
The cloth seats aren't heated, but they are water-resistant and provide a surprising amount of lateral grip — handy for when you're (intentionally) teetering on three wheels. Legroom is ample, as is headroom. Even the rear seats, decked out in the same tough fabric, offer space and comfort for full-size adults. Other versions of the 4Runner are available with a third-row seat. Ours just came with a massive storage area with a reasonably low loading height.
Materials quality in the 4Runner is a mixed bag. On the one hand, there's nothing we'd consider particularly nice in here. The dash is hard plastic, as are the doors and the shift lever. These are, however, very well put together, with no discernible squeaks. It's also very easy to wipe down after a day out in the dust. Levers, dials and knobs, on the other hand, feel like quality parts with fluid actions. If you're looking for a little more out of your truck, the Limited has you covered.
What Are Its Closest Competitors?
The Toyota 4Runner has two bloodlines of natural competitors. In the first camp we have burly SUVs with 4WD and true off-road abilities. These include the Jeep Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee, the Nissan Xterra and Toyota's own FJ Cruiser.
Shoppers who are more impressed by the 4Runner's size, visual appeal and impressive use of space would be better served shopping more conventional crossover utility vehicles. Comparable CUVs include the Chevy Traverse, Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander. Any of these vehicles will provide a softer, more carlike ride, lower step-in height and better fuel economy.
Why Should You Consider This Car?
Do you know the difference between 4WD and AWD? Does the idea of a self-disconnecting sway bar physically excite you? Do you read "Danger: Road Closed" signs as a dare? If so, the 4Runner's for you. It's a truly impressive package with talents well beyond those of most drivers.
There's also an ineffable coolness about the 4Runner that can't be denied. Just look at the thing! It's got cutouts in the face to allow greater clearance. It rides on massive all-terrain tires with fat sidewalls on little wheels instead of the electrical-tape-skinny rubber on 22s like other SUVs.
The 2014 Toyota 4Runner is a tool to help bolster an adventurous life. You get that or you don't.
Why Should You Think Twice About This Car?
The 4Runner Trail's part-time 4WD isn't what most people are looking for these days. This setup requires the driver to anticipate low-traction driving and set up the truck appropriately — and go slowly enough to engage it. With its full-time 4WD that will handle sudden downpours and blizzards as well as it'll run through the Rubicon, the 4Runner Limited is the better option for most drivers. Unless you need the ruggedness offered by the 4Runner, or just like knowing you've got that capability in your pocket just in case, any of the CUVs listed above would be a better daily driver.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Used 2014 Toyota 4Runner Overview
The Used 2014 Toyota 4Runner is offered in the following submodels: 4Runner SUV. Available styles include Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SR5 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SR5 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SR5 Premium 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SR5 Premium 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Trail 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), and Trail Premium 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A). Pre-owned Toyota 4Runner models are available with a 4.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 270 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2014 Toyota 4Runner comes with four wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2014 Toyota 4Runner comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 2 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2014 Toyota 4Runner?
Price comparisons for Used 2014 Toyota 4Runner trim styles:
- The Used 2014 Toyota 4Runner Limited is priced between $31,499 and$35,315 with odometer readings between 56531 and93913 miles.
- The Used 2014 Toyota 4Runner SR5 is priced between $26,995 and$32,590 with odometer readings between 40361 and126516 miles.
- The Used 2014 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Premium is priced between $35,998 and$35,998 with odometer readings between 60749 and60749 miles.
- The Used 2014 Toyota 4Runner Trail is priced between $32,998 and$32,998 with odometer readings between 68006 and68006 miles.
- The Used 2014 Toyota 4Runner Trail Premium is priced between $35,990 and$35,990 with odometer readings between 49368 and49368 miles.
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Which used 2014 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) 2014 Toyota 4Runner for sale near. There are currently 9 used and CPO 2014 4Runners listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $26,995 and mileage as low as 40361 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 2014 Toyota 4Runner.
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Should I lease or buy a 2014 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.