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MSRP: $35,310 - 47,400

2019 Toyota 4Runner Review

The 2019 Toyota 4Runner is relegated to the bottom of our midsize SUV rankings because it has a poor ride quality, unimpressive interior design, and some hard-to-use features.

Pros & Cons

  • Ample cargo space
  • Excellent off-roading abilities
  • Above-average predicted reliability rating
  • Aging interior design
  • Below-average fuel economy
  • Stiff ride quality
  • Small infotainment screen

New for 2019

  • New Nightshade appearance package for Limited model
  • TRD Pro model gains new features

Is the Toyota 4Runner a Good SUV?

The Toyota 4Runner isn’t a great midsize SUV, but it has incredible off-road prowess and one of the largest cargo holds in its class. It also boasts an above-average predicted reliability rating. Still, it gets low fuel economy, and its ponderous handling is marked by noticeable body lean and lots of movement over bumps. At almost a decade without a full redesign, the 4Runner's cabin is starting to look dated, and cheap-feeling materials dominate. This SUV also lacks the advanced safety tech that you can get in many new vehicles.

Should I Buy the Toyota 4Runner?

The 4Runner’s main appeal is its strong off-road capability, but this Toyota is not a good buy if you’re looking for a daily driver. Even if you prioritize a lot of cargo space and rock-crawling adventures, the 4Runner’s high MSRP for the class should discourage you. For less money, consider the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which can handle trails just as well as it handles highways and mall parking lots. The Toyota Highlander isn’t as strong an off-roader as the 4Runner, but it has an upscale cabin, lots of room, and comes with more driver assistance features.

Compare the 4Runner, Grand Cherokee, and Highlander »

Should I Buy a New or Used Toyota 4Runner?

The 4Runner only sees minor changes for the 2019 model year. There's an optional Nightshade package that builds on the Limited trim, with blacked-out design elements both inside and out. The TRD Pro model gains additional off-road performance features, like 2.5-inch Fox shocks, a TRD roof rack, a TRD-stamped skid plate, and a standard JBL stereo. Purchasing a used 4Runner instead of a new one will likely save you thousands of dollars and still get you a very similar vehicle. 

Be sure to read our reviews of the 2017 and 2018 Toyota 4Runner, which are nearly identical to each other. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 4Runner »

We Did the Research for You: 45 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 45 Toyota 4Runner reviews – along with performance specs, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2019 4Runner is the right new car for you. This 2019 Toyota 4Runner review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2010 through 2019 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain objective, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team manages the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Toyota 4Runner Cost?

The 2019 Toyota 4Runner has an MSRP of $34,910, which makes it one of the most expensive models in our midsize SUV rankings. The two lowest trim levels and the highest Limited trim come standard with rear-wheel drive, and you can add four-wheel drive for a couple thousand dollars. Off-road-oriented TRD models come standard with 4WD and cost between around $38,000 and $46,500.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great deals at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

Toyota 4Runner Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Toyota 4Runner or Jeep Grand Cherokee?

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is the 4Runner's best competition in the class when it comes to off-road capability. While they’re close in this regard, the Jeep does almost everything else better. The Grand Cherokee has an upscale cabin with user-friendly features and a comfortable ride quality. This Jeep also offers a wide range of engine choices, from a potent standard V6 to a fuel-efficient turbodiesel to some monstrous V8s. However, the 4Runner has more cargo space and an available third row, which isn’t offered in the Grand Cherokee. Those positives aren't enough to outweigh the 4Runner's downsides, however, so go with the Jeep.  

Which Is Better: Toyota 4Runner or Toyota Highlander?

The Toyota Highlander ranks highly in the midsize SUV segment, and it's a polar opposite of its brand-mate the 4Runner. The Highlander has a luxury-like interior and comes with a ton of standard driver assistance technology. The 4Runner offers little beyond basic parking sensors. Ride comfort is better with the Highlander, but its base four-cylinder engine is underpowered. Both of these Toyotas have a ton of cargo space, and you'll get a few extra cubic feet behind the Highlander's standard third row than behind the 4Runner's optional third row. The only reason to go with a 4Runner over a Highlander is if you want better off-road capability. The Highlander is a much more well-rounded SUV.

Compare the 4Runner, Grand Cherokee, and Highlander »

4Runner Interior

How Many People Does the 4Runner Seat?

The Toyota 4Runner comes standard with five seats, but you can add a third row that increases capacity to seven. The base model’s cloth upholstery isn’t very attractive, but the available leatherette and leather upholstery improves the quality. There’s plenty of room for passengers in the front seats and the second row for extended drives, but the third-row seats are best left to children. With the third row, the second row slides and offers one-touch folding for easy access to the back. 

4Runner and Car Seats

The 4Runner has two complete sets of second-row LATCH car-seat connections and a dedicated tether anchor for the middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system its second-lowest rating of Marginal for overall ease of use. You might confuse other hardware on the backs of the seats for the tether anchors. The lower anchors are set deep in the seats, and it requires significant force to attach the seat straps to the anchors.

4Runner Interior Quality

In keeping with the 4Runner’s rugged persona, the cabin is devoid of most frills and luxuries. There are plenty of hard plastic materials, and the design is simple and straightforward. That could also be a product of the 4Runner’s current generation closing in on a decade without a full redesign.

4Runner Cargo Space

The 4Runner has a ton of cargo room for a midsize SUV. It serves up 47.2 cubic feet of space behind its second row, which you can fold completely flat to access 89.7 cubic feet. Both of those numbers are better than what most class rivals offer. Opting for the third row will give you just 9 cubic feet of space behind those seats. The 4Runner’s cargo hold is squared off, making it easy to haul large or bulky items. The hatch opening is also big and wide, which further enhances utility.

4Runner Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the 2019 4Runner include entertainment amenities like a 6.1-inch touch screen and satellite radio, as well as practical considerations like a 120-volt power outlet. Toyota’s Entune interface responds quickly to your touches, but its small size makes it hard to read the optional navigation or to precisely tap the virtual button that you want. In lieu of features like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, the 4Runner can be equipped with an upgraded infotainment system that has Toyota’s native phone-app connectivity. Other optional features include dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity key entry, push-button start, a moonroof, and a 15-speaker premium JBL stereo.

The 4Runner’s spartan interior design features large buttons and knobs that help make it a breeze to adjust audio volume and the temperature. These controls are prominently placed on the center stack within easy reach of the driver.

Read more about interior »

4Runner Performance

4Runner Engine: Veritable V6

The lone engine available with the 4Runner is a 4.0-liter V6 that puts out 270 horsepower. It’s not the most powerful engine in the class, but it gets the job done with gusto. You’ll have plenty of power from a stop or for overtaking vehicles on the highway. The V6 is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission, which performs well. Shifts are smooth and precise, and the transmission always finds the right gear for the situation.

4Runner Gas Mileage: Nothing Special

With standard rear-wheel drive, the 2019 4Runner gets 17 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. Those estimates are fairly low for a midsize SUV. A four-wheel-drive 4Runner gets 17 mpg city and 20 mpg highway.

V6-powered rivals like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Toyota Highlander fare better. The Grand Cherokee gets up to 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, while the Highlander earns up to 20/27 mpg city/highway.

4Runner Ride and Handling: Better Off-Road

The 4Runner is one of the few holdouts among SUVs that still utilizes a body-on-frame construction. That makes it handle more like a truck than a car, with some noticeable body lean when cornering hard. The 4Runner loses some composure over broken or uneven pavement, exhibiting a stiff and bouncy ride. You may also find yourself having to make more corrections than necessary to stay in control at high speeds. Still, the steering is light and precise enough for easy maneuverability.

This Toyota isn’t the best on pavement, but it’s a formidable off-roader. There are two optional four-wheel-drive systems: part-time and full-time. TRD models have the most upgrades for going off the beaten path, like a locking rear differential, multi-terrain select, and crawl control. Other amenities include Fox shocks, TRD-tuned springs, a kinetic dynamic suspension, and special skid plates.

Read more about performance »

4Runner Reliability

Is the Toyota 4Runner Reliable?

The 2019 Toyota 4Runner has an above-average predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

Toyota 4Runner Warranty

Toyota covers the 4Runner with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

4Runner Safety

4Runner Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2019 4Runner four out of five stars for its overall crash test rating. The 4Runner earned four stars in the frontal crash test, five stars in the side crash test, and three out of five stars in the rollover test. From the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 4Runner received the highest score of Good and one third-place Marginal score. The IIHS also gave the 4Runner the lowest rating of Poor for how well the headlights illuminate the road ahead.

4Runner Safety Features

The 4Runner comes standard with a rearview camera. The only other optional driver assistance features are front and rear parking sensors. Most other Toyota vehicles feature lots of active safety technology.

Read more about safety »

Which Toyota 4Runner Model Is Right for Me?

The 2019 Toyota 4Runner comes in several trim levels: SR5, SR5 Premium, TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, TRD Pro, and Limited. All models come with a 270-horsepower V6 engine and a five-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and four-wheel drive is optional. Models with the TRD designation come standard with four-wheel drive.  

The base model comes decently equipped with a touch-screen infotainment system, satellite radio, and a 120-volt power outlet. The SR5 Premium model may be a better bet for most shoppers since it has more amenities like navigation, smartphone app connectivity, and nicer leatherette seats. Many features like leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, parking sensors, and proximity key entry are only found in the highest Limited model, which is about $8,000 more expensive than the base model.

Toyota 4Runner SR5

The 2019 Toyota 4Runner has an MSRP of $34,910 with rear-wheel drive and $36,785 with four-wheel drive. Standard features include cloth upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a leather-trimmed tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 120-volt power outlet, and a rearview camera. The standard infotainment setup consists of a 6.1-inch touch screen, an eight-speaker stereo, a USB port, Bluetooth, HD Radio, and satellite radio. Options include a third row and an infotainment system with navigation and the Entune app suite.

Toyota 4Runner SR5 Premium

The 4Runner SR5 Premium retails for $36,740 with rear-wheel drive and $38,615 with four-wheel drive. It adds leatherette seats, a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat, navigation, and the Entune app suite. A moonroof is optional.

Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road

The TRD Off-Road trims comes standard with four-wheel drive, multi-terrain select mode, crawl control, and a locking rear differential, all for $38,085. Navigation and the premium infotainment system with Entune app suite are optional. The 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium costs $39,995 and includes heated front seats, navigation, and the Entune app suite. A moonroof and a kinetic dynamic suspension are optional in the Off-Road Premium.

Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

For $46,415, the 4Runner TRD Pro model includes a 15-speaker premium JBL stereo and off-road-oriented goodies like 2.5-inch Fox shocks, TRD-tuned springs, a roof rack, and a TRD skid plate.

Toyota 4Runner Limited

The 4Runner Limited has an MSRP of $43,225 with rear-wheel drive and $45,260 with full-time four-wheel drive. It comes standard with features you can’t get in any other trim, like dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seats, ventilated front seats, front and rear parking sensors, proximity key entry, and push-button start.

Building on the Limited trim, the Nightshade edition retails for $44,965 with rear-wheel drive and $47,000 with four-wheel drive. It features a blacked-out appearance inside and out, including trim pieces, moldings, and the center console.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

See 2019 Toyota 4Runner specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Toyota 4Runner is one of the best off-road SUVs available, but that doesn't mean it’s a good, modern vehicle. This Toyota sits in the bottom of its class because of low fuel economy, a basic interior, lack of technology, and a harsh ride.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • The Toyota 4Runner is an SUV in the traditional sense, with a body-on-frame construction and a solid rear axle like a pickup truck. It is one of the last SUVs built this way, giving it the rugged capability that made this type of vehicle attractive in the first place. … But really, don't get a 4Runner if all you need is a mall crawler or family taxi. In that case, there are better choices, including Toyota's Highlander. But the 4Runner is one of the few vehicles left from the traditional SUV mold, and that's something to appreciate if you need a vehicle for frequent off-road weekend excursions." -- Edmunds (2018)
  • There are many shortcomings to the 4Runner with its veteran drivetrain, less-than-stellar fuel economy, lack of creature comforts and slim technology offerings, but there's something still undeniably cool about it. When driving it, you don't get lost in a sea of features. There's beauty in the simplicity. Driving a no-frills car like the 4Runner is refreshing. It's a perfect SUV for people who subscribe to the less-is-more way of thinking. But if it's modern accoutrements you seek, the 4Runner isn't for you." -- CNET (2018)
  • The … Toyota 4Runner SUV continues its dominance over a rapidly shrinking field of body-on-frame midsize SUVs. Rugged, reliable and highly valued, the 5-7-passenger Toyota 4Runner feels right at home on paved roads, although its ride and handling are nowhere near as good as that of the Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder or GMC Acadia. Then again, none of these competitors can venture to the off-road destinations a 4Runner can access, although they can match or exceed the 4Runner's 5,000-pound tow rating." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)


Expert Advice

Last Updated: June 7, 2019

Steady Sales: Compared to 2018, sales of the Toyota 4Runner have been consistent this year. The 4Runner is among the top third in the competitive midsize SUV sales race, but its showroom sibling the Toyota Highlander outsold it by more than 71%.

Research more buying advice »
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