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Toyota’s 2020 4Runner is made for the roads less traveled Featured

Posted On Saturday, 21 March 2020 19:35 Written by
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The 2020 Toyota 4Runner is one of the few remaining SUVs made for use on roads less traveled. The 2020 Toyota 4Runner is one of the few remaining SUVs made for use on roads less traveled. Photo courtesy of Toyota

Looking at the Toyota vehicle lineup, most of it is pretty tame and domesticated. 

But there’s one item that dramatically departs from this model — The off-road star known as the Toyota 4Runner. There are few true direct rivals to the 4Runner, making it almost in a class of its own and filling a unique niche.

Amazingly, this vehicle has not been updated since 2010, an eternity in car years. Read on for a full review of how it holds up as we enter the 2020s.


Big and bold are the words that immediately come to mind when you see the Toyota 4Runner. The vehicle’s body-on-frame setup means that it’s still a true SUV, unlike most of the crossovers claiming that mantle these days.

There is tons of ground clearance, with 9.6 inches on the 4x4 models and 9 inches on the 4x2 models.

While not luxurious, seating is still high-quality and comfortable for all passengers. The driver sits up very high and has an excellent view of the road. You can choose between seating for 5 (two rows) or 7 (three rows), and there is ample cargo space.

Most versions of the 4Runner come with 17-inch wheels, but some offer a 20-inch option.

The 4Runner features a power sliding rear window, and skid plates on the engine, front suspension, fuel tank and transfer case to protect during off-road adventures, and you get a full-size spare tire.

The controls up front inside the 4Runner are very simple knobs, reflective of the rugged, old-school nature of the 4Runner … this is not a vehicle that has not been contoured and tamed for domestic life. 

Running boards on the sides of the vehicle help you get in and out of the raised setup, and you can opt for a power tilt/slide moonroof.

A variety of exterior colors are available, including a unique Army Green on the TRD Pro model only. And a Nightshade special edition features all-black features.


With a 4.0-liter V6 engine boasting 270 horsepower and 278 lb.-ft. of torque, the 4Runner is a powerful ride that gets you moving.

It’s built for off-roading, but also is able to transport the family around town. As I mentioned, this vehicle is almost in its own class, with the closest competitors being the Jeep Wrangler and the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

That’s a small group, and the 4Runner holds up very well in comparison in off-road ability. And compared to other, larger body-on-frame options it also outshines the alternatives.

The 4Runner’s towing capacity is 5,000 pounds, allowing you to tow a boat for example, and the 4Runner will handle hilly excursions with ease.

The trouble comes in daily driving, where the experience can be a bit rough. It will get you around town, but it’s far from smooth and you might want to use more domestic driving options when headed to the grocery store or the school pick-up line. 

The 4Runner features a locking rear differential, Multi-Terrain Select & Crawl Control
Hill-Start Assist Control, and a tow hitch receiver.

Both 4x2 or 4x4 setups are available, but most 4Runner buyers will be wise to choose the 4x4 option. Another option is the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System. 

The best way to say it is that the 4Runner is great off-road, but not great on-road. I found it tough to get used to the rough ride, so if you are not planning any adventures off the beaten path, it’s best to stick to either Toyota’s Highlander or another more family-friendly SUV.


The 4Runner featured a premium audio system and an 8-inch touchscreen. The system worked very well, but was a bit outdated in looks and design.

My test vehicle featured Dynamic Navigation, which responded well to verbal directions and found POIs effectively.

The 4Runner features Bluetooth connectivity for streaming music and phone calls., and several USB ports. Satellite radio is free for the first three months, and the vehicle is compatible with Android Auto & Apple CarPlay for phone mirroring.

There was a surprising amount of safety tech on the 4Runner, considering its rugged nature. A standard feature is the Toyota Safety Sense P package, which features: Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection; Dynamic Radar Cruise Control; Lane Departure Alert; Automatic High Beams; Star Safety System; Vehicle Stability Control; Traction Control; Anti-Lock Brake System with EBD, Brake Assist and more.

Safety ratings are a mixed bag, with some 5 star ratings, but 3 stars in other areas.

You can also opt for a Wi-Fi signal in the car, with a 3-month trial offering 2GB per month. 

The 4Runner also features child-protector rear door locks, Tire Pressure Monitor System, Daytime Running Lights with manual on/off feature, and anti-theft alarm system with engine immobilizer.

Official fuel mileage numbers on the 2020 Toyota 4Runner are 16 city/19 highway/17 combined. In real-world testing, I averaged 15 miles per gallon, which is not great, but this isn’t a vehicle that is selling itself on fuel mileage. The fuel tank is 23 gallons.

The 2020 Toyota 4Runner I tested (a 4x4 TRD Off-Road trim level) was priced just under $47,000; and the base price starts about $36K. A fully loaded version can run over $50K. So there are a variety of price points for buyers with different budgets. 

Warranty coverage is as follows:

  • 3-year/36,000-mile Comprehensive
  • 5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain
  • 5-year/unlimited-mileage Corrosion Perforation


For those who will be doing a lot of off-roading and exploring new lands and various elevations, the big, bold and capable Toyota 4Runner is one of the most ideal vehicles to consider. If you plan to stay on traditional pavement, I would recommend you stick to traditional SUVs.


AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2020 Toyota 4Runner
  • Price as tested: $46,942 (starts around $36K)
  • Best feature: Off-road prowess 
  • Rating: 3 out of five stars 
  • Who will want this vehicle?: The adventure-prone SUV buyer
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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