The last of an increasingly rare breed of truck-based SUVs, the 4Runner will take you off the beaten path like few other production vehicles. Adverse terrain is where it thrives, so if that's not where you generally tread, the Toyota Highlander is a better choice.
While day-to-day commuting isn't the 4Runner's forte, this midsize SUV is thoughtfully designed. Weekend excursions are what this traditional SUV does best thanks to rugged drivetrain hardware and enough ground clearance to deal with tricky off-road situations. Its cargo area is quite versatile, too, especially when equipped with the optional sliding rear cargo deck.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Toyota 4Runner is available in six trim levels: SR5, SR5 Premium, TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, TRD Pro and Limited. All share the same 4.0-liter V6 (270 horsepower, 278 pound-feet of torque) and five-speed automatic transmission and are rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds. SR5 and Limited models are available in 4x2 or 4x4 configurations and offer third-row seating (for seven occupants) as an option. The remaining trim levels are 4x4 only and seat five. A low-range transfer case comes on 4x4 versions of the SR5, TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro trim levels.
The SR5 is the base model but it's not bare-bones. Standard features include cloth upholstery, skid plates, foglights, a backup camera, keyless entry, five 12-volt power outlets and a 120-volt AC power outlet.
Stepping up to TRD Off-Road adds some serious off-road chops in the form of a locking rear differential, wheels that are 0.5 inch wider and a crawl control function. It also offers the optional KDSS suspension.
Premium variants of the SR5 and TRD Off-Road get power-adjustable and heated outside mirrors, premium vinyl upholstery, navigation and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Serious off-roaders should consider the TRD Pro, which starts with the TRD Off-Road Premium and adds revised front springs, Bilstein dampers with rear remote reservoirs, Nitto Terra Grappler tires and a front skid plate.
Limited models top the 4Runner range. These models get a Torsen center differential (4x4 models only) plus a host of features to make it better suited to on-pavement use: 20-inch wheels, a sunroof, dual-zone climate control, parking alerts, perforated leather seat upholstery, a 15-speaker premium audio system. Power running boards are optional.
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current 4Runner has received very few changes beyond minor adjustments to feature content and trim levels (Trail became TRD Off-Road in 2017). Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's 4Runner.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.