2017 Toyota 4Runner

2017 Toyota 4Runner Review

If exploring backcountry appeals to you, the 2017 Toyota 4Runner has a lot to offer.
3.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Jason Kavanagh
Edmunds Editor

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.



what's new

For 2017, the 4Runner is carried over with minimal changes. The Trail and Trail Premium are renamed TRD Off-Road and TRD Off-Road Premium, and the TRD Pro Series is available in three additional colors.

we recommend

If you're shopping 2017 4Runners, off-road capability is likely a priority or you would be (or should be) shopping station wagons or crossovers. In light of that, the sweet spot in the 4Runner lineup is the TRD Off-Road Premium. It's the most affordable way to gain access to a locking rear differential and the KDSS suspension option, which enhances its off-road chops while maintaining manners on the road. Its "Premium" billing, however, adds creature comforts such as heated front seats with easy-clean premium vinyl upholstery, heated power outside mirrors and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

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.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2014 Toyota 4Runner Trail (4.0L V6 | 5-speed automatic | 4WD).

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.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.5 / 5.0

Driving

3.5 / 5.0

Acceleration3.0 / 5.0
Braking2.5 / 5.0
Steering3.0 / 5.0
Handling3.0 / 5.0
Drivability3.5 / 5.0

Comfort

3.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort3.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort2.5 / 5.0
Noise & vibration3.0 / 5.0

Interior

3.5 / 5.0

Ease of use3.5 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out3.0 / 5.0
Roominess3.0 / 5.0
Visibility3.0 / 5.0
Quality4.5 / 5.0

Utility

4.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage4.0 / 5.0
Cargo space4.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
The 2017 4Runner off-road nature dominates the way it performs. Traditional body-on-frame construction gives it ruggedness and clearance but adds weight that results in modest cornering, braking and acceleration limits. The off-road performance that 4Runner buyers seek is excellent.

acceleration

edmunds rating
The 4.0-liter V6 gets the 4Runner up to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds, which translates to easy freeway merging and decent climbing power up long grades. It's not the most powerful engine in the class, but it does the job.

braking

edmunds rating
The 4Runner's brakes have plenty of stopping power, especially in terms of initial bite. But this brings with it a notable amount of nosedive. Panic stops require a few extra feet compared to more modern crossovers.

steering

edmunds rating
A bit slow to respond but predictable. Offers reasonable feel in corners. Straight-ahead driving, on the other hand, feels murky and we sometimes found it necessary to make sizable corrections in response to road imperfections and side winds.

handling

edmunds rating
It's stable in corners but doesn't like to be rushed due to its weight and high center of gravity. The optional KDSS auto-disconnect stabilizer bars are larger and repel body lean better than the standard setup.

drivability

edmunds rating
Throttle response is smooth and progressive, and the five-speed automatic transmission shifts seamlessly. It would be better with another gear to choose from.

comfort

edmunds rating
The Toyota 4Runner provided a reasonable mix of comfort that isn't out of line with its overall mission or its truck-based roots. Not as comfy as the typical crossover, but no one looking for this kind of rugged capability should be surprised by that.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
Seats have decent shape and range of adjustment, but the padding could stand to be more generous and seat bottoms are short. Overall comfort is good, but stops well short of what we'd call excellent.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
The ride isn't necessarily firm, but there is a fair bit of shake and body movement. Instead of crashing over bumps, our 4Runner tended to jostle about lazily in response to road imperfections.

noise & vibration

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Good road noise isolation most of the time, but the squarish shape isn't particularly adept at quelling wind noise.

interior

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We like the nicely laid-out dash and instrument panel. The large cargo hold is quite functional, and the seating area is sufficiently roomy. Easy to climb in and out if you can deal with the step-up height.

ease of use

edmunds rating
Switchgear is logical and easy to use but the Entune navigation screen is small. Overhead off-road controls are a good use of space.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
An extra 3 inches of step-up height relative to crossovers goes with the territory with an off-road-biased SUV such as this. Front and rear access are similar; the optional side step covers both. The doors open nice and wide.

roominess

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There's plenty of front head- and legroom for tall folks, though we should note the 4Runner we tested did not have a sunroof. The rear seats offer similar headroom. There is a bit less legroom back there, but 6-footers still fit.

visibility

edmunds rating
Easy to see over the hood and find the front corners. Rear visibility is surprisingly good straight out the back and is further enhanced by a backup camera, but the rear quarters have the usual SUV blind spots.

quality

edmunds rating
The new 4Runner has tight gaps outside and an attractive interior. The fabric seats are grippy, easy to clean and good-looking.

utility

edmunds rating
Great cargo area versatility especially with the optional sliding cargo tray, plus a variety of storage options in the cabin.

small-item storage

edmunds rating
Plenty of little nooks in the dash plus a decent console bin, glovebox and door pockets.

cargo space

edmunds rating
The rear seatbacks fold flat, and it's easy to pack the sizable cargo hold (88.8 cubic feet seats down, 46.3 cubic feet seats up) because of its squarish shape. One staffer actually tossed a sleeping bag back there and spent the night.

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.