The Toyota 4Runner has been a favorite among adventurers and off-road enthusiasts for decades. However, there has been a long-standing debate about whether the 4Runner is a truck or an SUV.
Some argue that it is a truck due to its body-on-frame construction, while others believe that it is an SUV because of its size and passenger capacity.
Those who argue that the 4Runner is a truck point to its body-on-frame construction, which is similar to that of a pickup truck. This design allows for more rugged off-road capabilities and the ability to tow heavy loads.
However, others argue that the 4Runner is an SUV because it has a closed body style and can seat up to seven passengers, making it a more practical family vehicle than a traditional pickup truck.
Understanding the 4Runner
The Toyota 4Runner is a midsize SUV that is known for its off-road capabilities, body-on-frame construction, and rugged design.
It has been in production since 1984 and has undergone several changes over the years. The 4Runner is often compared to trucks due to its design and capabilities, but is it really a truck?
The 4Runner is classified as a sport utility vehicle (SUV) and not a truck. However, it is often referred to as a truck due to its body-on-frame construction, which is similar to that of a truck.
The body-on-frame design provides the 4Runner with better durability, strength, and off-road capabilities than a unibody SUV. The 4Runner also has a high ground clearance, good approach and departure angles, and a 4-wheel drive system that makes it a capable off-road vehicle.
The 4Runner is available in several different trim levels, including the TRD Pro, TRD Sport, and SR5 models. The TRD Pro is the most off-road capable of the 4Runner models, with features such as a locking rear differential, crawl control, and TRD-tuned suspension.
The TRD Sport is more focused on on-road performance, with sport-tuned suspension and a sportier appearance. The SR5 is the base model and offers a more affordable option for those who want a 4Runner.
The 2023 Toyota 4Runner is the latest model in the lineup and continues to offer the same rugged design and off-road capabilities as its predecessors.
It features a 4.0-liter V6 engine that produces 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque, along with a 5-speed automatic transmission. The 2023 4Runner also has a towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds, making it a capable vehicle for towing trailers and other equipment.
Overall, the 4Runner is a versatile vehicle that is capable of handling both on-road and off-road conditions.
While it is often referred to as a truck due to its body-on-frame construction, it is classified as an SUV. The 4Runner is a popular choice for those who want a vehicle that is rugged, reliable, and capable of handling any terrain.
4Runner as a Truck
The Toyota 4Runner is a mid-size SUV with a body-on-frame design that makes it similar to a truck. While it is not a pickup truck, it has many features that are truck-like, such as its ability to haul cargo.
One of the main features that make the 4Runner similar to a truck is its cargo space. The 4Runner has a large cargo area that can be used to haul a variety of items.
The cargo volume of the 4Runner is 47.2 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 89.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. This makes it a great vehicle for anyone who needs to haul large items or transport a lot of cargo.
Another feature that makes the 4Runner similar to a truck is its towing capacity. The 4Runner is capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds, which is comparable to many pickup trucks on the market. This makes it a great choice for anyone who needs to tow a trailer or other heavy items.
While the 4Runner is not a pickup truck, it does have some features that are similar to those found on pickup trucks. For example, the 4Runner has a roof rack that can be used to transport items on the roof of the vehicle.
Additionally, the 4Runner has a sliding rear cargo deck that can be used to easily load and unload items from the back of the vehicle.
Overall, the 4Runner is a great choice for anyone who needs a vehicle with truck-like features but doesn’t want a pickup truck. With its large cargo area, towing capacity, and other truck-like features, the 4Runner is a versatile and capable vehicle that can handle a variety of tasks.
The Toyota 4Runner is a popular choice for off-road enthusiasts who want a vehicle that can handle rough terrain with ease. This is due to its impressive off-road capabilities, which make it a great choice for those who enjoy exploring the great outdoors.
One of the key features that make the 4Runner a great off-road vehicle is its suspension. The TRD Off-Road model comes with a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), which helps to keep the wheels in contact with the ground even on rough terrain.
This technology uses hydraulic cylinders to adjust the sway bars, which helps to improve stability and control.
As per Carmax, another important feature of the 4Runner’s off-road capabilities is its four-wheel drive system. The vehicle comes with a part-time four-wheel drive system that is designed to provide maximum traction on slippery or uneven surfaces.
This system is complemented by Toyota’s Crawl Control feature, which helps to maintain a constant speed in low-speed, off-road situations, enhancing vehicle control when driving up, over, or down obstacles.
The 4Runner’s ground clearance is another feature that makes it a great off-road vehicle. With 9.6 inches of ground clearance, the vehicle is able to clear obstacles with ease.
Additionally, the TRD Off-Road model comes with skid plates to protect the undercarriage from damage when driving on rough terrain.
The vehicle’s solid rear axle and body-on-frame construction also contribute to its off-road chops. These features provide the vehicle with a high level of durability and strength, making it capable of handling even the toughest terrain.
The TRD Off-Road model comes with an electronic-locking rear differential, which helps to improve traction in low-traction situations.
Finally, the 4Runner’s all-terrain tires are specifically designed to provide maximum traction on rough terrain. These tires are able to grip the ground even in wet or muddy conditions, making them an ideal choice for off-road driving.
Overall, the 4Runner’s off-road capabilities make it a great choice for those who enjoy exploring the great outdoors. With its advanced suspension, four-wheel drive system, and solid construction, the vehicle is able to handle even the toughest terrain with ease.
4Runner’s Power and Performance
As per Toyota’s website, the 2023 Toyota 4Runner comes equipped with a 4.0-liter V6 engine that produces 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque.
The engine is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain is standard rear-wheel drive, but four-wheel drive is available for those who need it.
The 4Runner’s acceleration is adequate, but not particularly impressive. Opinions of the 4Runner’s power and acceleration range from merely adequate to very uninspiring.
The EPA rates the 2023 model at 16 mpg city and 19 mpg highway, for a combined 17 mpg. However, the Toyota’s 4.0-liter engine is known for its reliability, though it also reliably consumes fuel at an alarming rate.
The 4Runner’s wheels are 17-inch alloy wheels, though 20-inch wheels are available as an option. The truck’s interior has plenty of passenger and cargo space, but its cabin materials are not particularly luxurious.
The 4Runner’s blocky design means it’s not very efficient, but it is rugged and capable off-road.
Overall, the 2023 Toyota 4Runner is a reliable and capable SUV that can handle a variety of tasks, from daily commuting to off-road adventures. While it may not be the most fuel-efficient or luxurious option on the market, it is a solid choice for those who value reliability and ruggedness.
Interior and Comfort
As per U.S. News & World Report, the 2023 Toyota 4Runner has a spacious interior with plenty of room for passengers and cargo. However, the cabin materials are not as upscale as some of its competitors. The seats are comfortable and supportive, making long drives more bearable.
The steering wheel is wrapped in leather and has a solid grip. The steering is responsive, but it feels a bit heavy at low speeds. The physical buttons on the dashboard are well-placed and easy to use, allowing the driver to control the infotainment system without much distraction.
The infotainment system in the 4Runner is user-friendly, with a straightforward menu layout.
The standard system features an 8-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a navigation system. The sound quality is decent, but it lacks the premium sound systems found in some of its rivals.
The 4Runner’s navigation system is easy to use, and it provides clear directions. However, it lacks some of the advanced features found in other SUVs, such as real-time traffic updates and a 3D map view.
Overall, the 2023 Toyota 4Runner provides a comfortable and practical interior, but it falls short in terms of luxury and advanced features compared to some of its competitors.
The 4Runner is a rugged SUV that offers a range of safety features to ensure the driver and passengers are protected on the road.
The 2023 Toyota 4Runner has not been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) yet.
However, the 2021 4Runner received an overall four-star rating from the NHTSA, with five stars for side-impact and four stars for frontal-impact.
The 4Runner comes with several standard driver-assistance features, including forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection. These features help prevent or mitigate collisions by alerting the driver and automatically applying the brakes if necessary.
In addition, the 4Runner also offers blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-departure warning. These features help the driver stay aware of their surroundings and avoid potential collisions.
The 4Runner’s chassis is designed to provide maximum protection in the event of a collision. It features a reinforced body-on-frame construction, which helps absorb and distribute impact forces.
The vehicle also has a high ground clearance, which reduces the risk of damage to the undercarriage in off-road situations.
Overall, the 4Runner offers a range of safety features that help keep the driver and passengers safe on the road. While the 2023 model has not been crash-tested yet, the 2021 model received a good rating from the NHTSA.
The 4Runner’s rugged chassis and advanced driver-assistance features make it a safe and reliable SUV for any adventure.
Size and Dimensions
The Toyota 4Runner, in production since 1984, straddles the line between a pickup truck and an SUV. Its truck-like frame provides ruggedness, though it’s officially classified as an SUV.
Weighing between 4,400 and 4,805 pounds, it has a wheelbase of 109.8 inches and measures 190.2 inches in length, 75.8 inches in width, and 71.5 to 72.5 inches in height, depending on the trim.
With a generous ground clearance of 9.6 inches, it excels in off-road driving and rough terrain. The 4Runner offers ample cargo space, up to 88.8 cubic feet with the rear seats down, making it ideal for families and transporting large items.
In conclusion, the 4Runner’s size and dimensions make it a versatile SUV choice with unique features, despite its truck-like appearance.
Fuel Economy and Efficiency
The Toyota 4Runner is known for its off-road capabilities, but how does it perform when it comes to fuel economy and efficiency?
According to FuelEconomy.gov, the 2022 Toyota 4Runner 4WD has an estimated fuel economy of 16 miles per gallon (MPG) in the city and 19 MPG on the highway.
The annual fuel cost is estimated to be around $3,350, assuming 45% highway and 55% city driving, 15,000 annual miles, and current fuel prices. The tank size is 23.0 gallons, and the cost to fill the tank is around $87.
It’s worth noting that the 4Runner’s fuel economy is not particularly impressive compared to other SUVs and even some pickup trucks. Car and Driver notes that the 4Runner’s “below-average fuel mileage” is one of its drawbacks.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that the 4Runner is designed for off-road adventures, not fuel efficiency.
If fuel efficiency is a top priority, there are other options to consider. MotorTrend has compiled a list of the most fuel-efficient pickup trucks for 2023, which may be worth checking out.
Additionally, FuelEconomy.gov provides gas mileage estimates for a variety of vehicles, including the 2019 Toyota 4Runner.
Overall, while the 4Runner may not be the most fuel-efficient vehicle on the market, it’s important to consider its intended purpose. For those who prioritize off-road capabilities and ruggedness, the 4Runner may be the perfect choice.
Pricing and Reviews
The 2023 Toyota 4Runner is a popular midsize SUV with a rugged design and off-road capabilities.
According to U.S. News, the 4Runner has a starting price of $37,605 for the SR5 trim, which comes with a push-button start, 8-inch touch screen, eight-speaker stereo, satellite radio, USB ports, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi hot spot, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa.
The SR5 Premium trim costs $43,215 and adds synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal garage door opener, and navigation. A moonroof is optional.
Car and Driver notes that the 4Runner’s 4.0-liter engine is reliable but also consumes fuel at an alarming rate. The truck’s interior has plenty of passenger and cargo space, but its cabin materials are not as luxurious as some competitors.
Additionally, the 4Runner’s dated powertrain and trucky on-road demeanor may not be as appealing to some drivers.
Edmunds provides an overall rating of 7.6 out of 10 for the 2023 Toyota 4Runner, citing its off-road capability, spacious cargo area, and solid build quality. However, the 4Runner’s fuel economy and lack of modern driver assistance features are noted as drawbacks.
Toyota offers a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty for the 4Runner.
Overall, the 2023 Toyota 4Runner is a reliable and capable SUV with a starting price that is competitive with other midsize SUVs in its class. However, potential buyers should consider the 4Runner’s fuel economy and lack of modern features when making their purchasing decision.
Comparison with Other Vehicles
When it comes to deciding whether a Toyota 4Runner is a truck or not, it’s important to compare it with other vehicles in the same class. One popular competitor is the Jeep Wrangler, which is often considered a true off-road vehicle.
While the 4Runner may not have the same reputation as the Wrangler, it is still a highly capable vehicle with impressive off-road capabilities.
Another competitor to consider is the Ford Bronco, which was recently reintroduced to the market after a long hiatus. Like the 4Runner, the Bronco is designed for off-road adventures and has a rugged, boxy design.
However, the Bronco is available in both two-door and four-door configurations, while the 4Runner only comes in a four-door model.
The Toyota Tacoma is another vehicle that is often compared to the 4Runner, as they are both part of Toyota’s lineup of rugged, off-road vehicles.
The Tacoma is a pickup truck, which means it has a bed for hauling cargo, while the 4Runner has a closed cargo area. However, both vehicles share many of the same off-road features, such as high ground clearance and four-wheel drive.
For those who need more space for passengers and cargo, the Chevrolet Suburban and Toyota Sequoia are two options to consider. Both of these vehicles are large SUVs that offer plenty of room for families and their gear. However, they are not designed for serious off-roading like the 4Runner.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning Toyota’s own Land Cruiser, which is often considered one of the most capable off-road vehicles on the market. While the Land Cruiser is more expensive than the 4Runner, it offers many of the same features and capabilities for those who are willing to pay the premium.
Let me drop some wisdom, and you can take it from me as a Toyota 4Runner owner: this baby might not be your typical pickup truck, but it’s a real beast when it comes to tackling all sorts of off-road shenanigans.
When you stack it up against the others in its league, it’s no slouch and brings a cool blend of tricks and skills to the table.
In summary, the Toyota 4Runner, in production since 1984, sparks debate over its classification as a truck or an SUV. Its body-on-frame construction and off-road features align it with trucks, while its spacious interior and advanced safety features are more in line with SUVs.
Regardless of this classification debate, the 4Runner’s reliability and durability have garnered a loyal following over the years, making it a versatile choice for off-roaders, outdoor enthusiasts, and families in need of a spacious and rugged vehicle.