The 4Runner is Toyota’s longest-running SUV model, dating back to its 1980s origin as a modified version of the company’s compact pickup truck. Through more than 30 years to the current fifth-generation model, the 4Runner has morphed into a more refined vehicle, but can still handle off-road driving with ease.
What’s New/Key Changes From Last Year
For 2021, there’s a new entry-level trim called Trail that replaces last year’s SR5 and brings a lower starting price. Also, all 4Runner trims are now standard with LED headlights and fog lights.
4Runner trim levels are Trail, TRD Off Road, TRD Venture, TRD Pro, Limited and Nightshade. All use a 4.0L V6 engine, a five-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive.
On the outside, the 4Runner wears dark grey 17-inch alloy wheels, variable intermittent wipers, a front wiper de-icer, heated side mirrors, a sunroof, silver roof rails, and LED headlights, taillights and fog lights.
Inside, the 4Runner is standard with push-button engine start, an eight-way power driver’s seat and four-way power front passenger seat, Softex upholstery, heated front seats, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, power tailgate window, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a 4.2-inch driver info display.
Infotainment is handled through an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, satellite radio, and an eight-speaker stereo with auxiliary and USB inputs.
Safety gear includes tire pressure monitoring, automatic high beams, forward collision detection with automatic braking, lane departure alert, and radar cruise control.
TRD Off Road adds crawl control with multi-terrain select, a hood scoop, black roof rails, Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), a locking rear differential, and upgraded audio with navigation.
Limited trim builds on Trail and adds navigation, seven-passenger seating, driver’s seat memory, ventilated front seats, leather upholstery, front parking sensors, 20-inch wheels, full-time 4WD, a 15-speaker stereo, a sport suspension, and chrome fog light trim.
Venture trim gets black exterior badges, crawl control/terrain select, hood scoop, KDSS, locking rear diff, active traction control, a basket-style roof rack, predator-style side steps, and black door handles and side mirror housings.
Nightshade trim is similar to Limited, but gets unique 20-inch wheels and exterior trim, metallic dash trim, and automatic running boards.
Finally, the TRD Pro has the off-road kit found on the Venture and TRD Off-Road models, and adds the 15-speaker stereo, active traction control, basket roof rack, predator side steps, unique 17-inch wheels, Fox shocks, and a TRD front skid plate.
Toyota’s fuel consumption estimates for the 4Runner are 14.8/12.5 L/100 km (city/highway).
As a fairly specialized body-on-frame, off-road-ready SUV, the 4Runner faces few direct competitors. Key among them is the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited four-door in both price and purpose. The 4Runner also compares well with the more upscale Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Believe it or not, the Land Rover Discovery Sport comes in a similar price range. While it’s designed more for paved roads, it boasts the brand’s legendary off-road ability and can handle itself well in the rough.