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2020 Toyota 4Runner Review

The 2020 Toyota 4Runner has good off-road chops and a modern infotainment system, but it ranks poorly in the midsize SUV class because of its unrefined powertrain and low-quality interior.

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent off-road capabilities
  • Ample cargo space
  • Long list of features
  • Unrefined transmission
  • Dull, outdated interior
  • Bumpy ride
  • Poor fuel economy

New for 2020

  • Standard Toyota Safety Sense-P driver assistance features
  • Standard 8-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa

Rankings & Research

The 2020 Toyota 4Runner ranked #22 in Midsize SUVs. Currently the Toyota 4Runner has a score of 7.1 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 56 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.1

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 6.6
Performance: 6.1
Interior: 6.5
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 8.4 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 4.0 for reliability is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD

Is the Toyota 4Runner a Good SUV?

The Toyota 4Runner is an OK midsize SUV. It has so-so engine power that suffers further from an outdated, inconsistent transmission. It rides roughly on the street and has ponderous handling. Inside, cabin quality is lackluster.

It's not all bad though. The 4Runner is a great off-roader, especially in dedicated TRD-outfitted trims. This Toyota also boasts a lot of cargo space and comfortable, spacious seating. For 2020, Toyota improved the 4Runner’s infotainment system by adding standard Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, and Android Auto, which weren’t previously available.

Should I Buy the Toyota 4Runner?

You should buy a 4Runner if you like the idea of a rugged, body-on-frame SUV, and you prioritize off-road capability and ample cargo space. However, the 4Runner’s unrefined performance makes it tough to recommend to most shoppers. Though this Toyota has a bunch of newly standard safety equipment and upgraded infotainment features, it also has one of the highest base prices in the class.

There are several higher-ranking alternatives in the midsize SUV class. For example, the Jeep Grand Cherokee can tackle rough terrain as well as the 4Runner, and it has a nicer cabin, more composed handling, and additional powertrain options. The Toyota Highlander also offers a nicer cabin that features standard seating for up to eight.

Compare the 4Runner, Grand Cherokee, and Highlander »

Should I Buy a New or Used Toyota 4Runner?

The Toyota 4Runner's current generation stretches back about a decade, but several enhancements for 2020 now make it a fairly modern SUV. All 2020 4Runners come standard with the Toyota Safety Sense-P suite of advanced safety technology. This bundle includes forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, forward automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlights. Prior to this model year, the only driver assistance features in the 4Runner were a rearview camera and parking sensors.

An 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system with support for Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa is newly standard across the lineup. The infotainment system previously featured a 6.1-inch touch screen and none of the smartphone connectivity options. If any of these safety or infotainment upgrades are important to you, stick with a new 4Runner. However, if you can live without them, consider an older model, which will likely cost thousands less than a new 4Runner.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 and 2019 4Runner reviews to help make your decision. You can also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 4Runner »

We Did the Research for You: 56 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 56 Toyota 4Runner reviews – along with performance specs, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2020 4Runner is the right new car for you. This 2020 Toyota 4Runner review incorporates applicable research for all vehicles in this generation, which includes the 2010 through 2020 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 2020 Toyota 4Runner starts at $36,020. That's one of the highest retail prices for a midsize SUV. The base 4Runner comes with rear-wheel drive, and the least-expensive four-wheel-drive model starts at $37,895.

Other popular models include the four-wheel-drive TRD Off-Road ($39,740) and the 4Runner Limited ($44,885 with rear-wheel drive and $46,920 with four-wheel drive). The range-topping 4Runner TRD Pro will set you back around $50,000.

Rivals like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Toyota Highlander are also priced high for the class, but they have lower starting prices than the 4Runner. The Grand Cherokee starts at around $32,200, and it’s about $34,500 for a four-wheel-drive model. The Highlander retails for $31,830.

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?

Both the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the 4Runner have strong off-road capabilities, but the Jeep is a more well-rounded midsize SUV. It maintains a comfortable ride over most surfaces, and you can pick from multiple engine options. These range from a standard V6 to a turbodiesel V6 and several powerful V8s. This Jeep has an upscale cabin that is much nicer than the 4Runner’s interior. The 4Runner has many more standard driver assistance features, a larger cargo hold, and an optional third row (unlike the Grand Cherokee). Unless these are high on your priority list, pick the Toyota.

Which Is Better: Toyota 4Runner or Toyota Highlander?

The Toyota Highlander is a better vehicle than its 4Runner sibling in most ways. The Highlander comes standard with three rows of seats, while you have to pay extra for a third row in the 4Runner. However, the back seats are tiny in both of these vehicles. Cargo space, along with standard and available infotainment and driver assistance features, are similar in these SUVs. The Highlander has a smoother ride, a nicer cabin, and more poised handling. It also costs several thousand dollars less than the 4Runner across the lineup. Unless you prioritize the off-road capability of the 4Runner, you're probably better off with a Highlander.

The Highlander will be fully redesigned for the 2020 model year. Expected changes include a standard V6 engine, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa. Read more in our preview, Redesigned 2020 Toyota Highlander: All You Need to Know.

Compare the 4Runner, Grand Cherokee, and Highlander »

4Runner Interior

How Many People Does the 4Runner Seat?

The 2020 Toyota 4Runner has standard seating for five people. In any trim, you can opt for an available third row, which gives you two extra seats. Seating in the third row is tight and may be too small for adults to ride in comfort.

The driver's seat offers a commanding view of the road. The front seats are comfortable and supportive for long drives, with a good amount of headroom. The second row is roomy as well, and it reclines for extra relaxation.

Cloth upholstery and an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat are standard. Synthetic leather upholstery, genuine leather upholstery, heated front seats, a four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, and ventilated front seats are optional.

4Runner and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors for the 4Runner’s second-row outboard seats, as well as an upper tether for the second-row middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety notes that lower anchors are set deeply in the seats, and it requires some force to attach the car-seat straps to them. Additionally, you might confuse other hardware on the backs of the seats for the tether anchors.

4Runner Interior Quality

Toyota hasn’t redesigned the 4Runner in about a decade, and its interior has had an outdated appearance for quite a while. The cabin design is pretty drab, with nearly every surface covered in some uninspiring plastic or hard material.

4Runner Cargo Space

This rugged Toyota serves up plenty of cargo space for a midsize SUV. There's 47.2 cubic feet behind the second-row seats, and it expands to nearly 90 cubic feet when you fold down these seats.

The second row folds nearly flat, and the 4Runner's boxy shape gives you a cargo hold that's wide and open. You might find the load floor a little high, but that's the only complaint.

Models with the optional third-row seats lose a lot of storage space. You'll get just 9 cubic feet of room – enough for a few grocery bags – behind the last row.

4Runner Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

For 2020, the 4Runner receives a larger touch-screen infotainment system that looks and functions better than previous versions of Toyota's interface. It comes standard with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, as well as support for Amazon Alexa. After long eschewing these mainstream features in favor of its native applications, Toyota is outfitting most of its vehicles with these user-friendly technologies.

The 4Runner utilizes large, chunky buttons and knobs for common adjustments like volume and climate control. They're prominent on the center stack and easy to reach from the driver’s seat.

Other standard features include an eight-speaker stereo, HD Radio, satellite radio, voice recognition, and smartphone-linked navigation. Options include integrated navigation, a moonroof, a 15-speaker JBL premium stereo, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Read more about interior »

4Runner Performance

4Runner Engine: Get With the Times!

Like its cabin, the 4Runner's powertrain is a relic of a bygone era. Under the hood is a high-displacement 4.0-liter V6 engine that produces only 270 horsepower. While it isn’t underpowered, most rivals have more potent and efficient engines.

The engine is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission, a rarity in new cars nowadays. It can be slow to upshift or downshift and generally results in less-than-refined acceleration.

4Runner Gas Mileage: Meager for the Class

The EPA has not officially certified the 2020 4Runner’s fuel economy, but the nearly identical 2019 4Runner gets 17 mpg in the city and up to 21 mpg on the highway. Those estimates are among the worst in the midsize SUV class.

4Runner Ride and Handling: Better Off Road Than On

The Toyota 4Runner is an old-school-style SUV with a body-on-frame construction. It handles more like a truck or larger vehicle than a modern crossover so you'll notice some body lean going around corners. Bumps in the road provide a harsh ride. The 4Runner tends to waver a bit when cruising at higher speeds, so it may require more steering corrections to keep you in a straight line.

Though the 4Runner struggles a bit on the pavement, it excels off road. TRD-designated models come with standard part-time four-wheel drive, along with a locking rear differential, crawl control, and Multi-Terrain Select, which allows you to tailor your off-road experience with multiple terrain modes. The 4Runner TRD Pro, which is the most expensive model in the lineup, adds 2.5-inch Fox shocks, TRD springs, a front skid plate, and a roof rack.

Non-TRD trims come standard with rear-wheel drive, and part-time four-wheel drive is optional. The 4Runner Limited offers full-time four-wheel drive as an option.

Read more about performance »

4Runner Reliability

Is the Toyota 4Runner Reliable?

The 2020 Toyota 4Runner does not yet have a predicted reliability rating from J.D. Power. The nearly identical 2019 4Runner has an above-average rating of four out of five.

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 2020 Toyota 4Runner an overall safety rating of four out of five stars. It earned five stars in the side crash test, four stars in the frontal crash test, and three stars in the rollover test.

At the time of writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2020 4Runner. The IIHS gave the nearly identical 2019 4Runner the highest rating of Good in four crash tests and the second-lowest rating of Marginal in the driver-side small overlap front test.

4Runner Safety Features

The 2020 4Runner comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense-P suite of driver assistance features, which includes forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, forward automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlights. This is the first time Toyota has offered these technologies in the 4Runner.

A rearview camera is also standard. Front and rear parking sensors are available.

Read more about safety »

4Runner Dimensions and Weight

The Toyota 4Runner is 15.9 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 4,400 to 4,805 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Toyota 4Runner Built?

Toyota builds the 2020 4Runner in Japan.

Which Toyota 4Runner Model Is Right for Me?

The 2020 Toyota 4Runner is available in seven trims: SR5, SR5 Premium, TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, TRD Pro, Limited, and Nightshade Special Edition. All models come standard with a 4.0-liter V6 engine and a five-speed automatic transmission. TRD trims feature standard part-time four-wheel drive, which is optional in most models. The 4Runner Limited comes with rear-wheel drive, and full-time four-wheel drive is available.

Thanks to the addition of several driver assistance features and more connectivity options, the standard 4Runner is a better choice than it has been in previous years. All models are equipped with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, satellite radio, forward automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. You may want to upgrade to the SR5 Premium, which adds synthetic leather upholstery and heated front seats.

TRD models are your best bet for off-roading. They come standard with part-time four-wheel drive and many other enhancements. The TRD Pro has additional performance upgrades, and it's the priciest model in the lineup.

Toyota 4Runner SR5

The 4Runner SR5 starts at $36,020 with rear-wheel drive and $37,895 with four-wheel drive. Standard features include cloth upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a household-style power outlet. The infotainment system consists of an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, an eight-speaker stereo, HD Radio, satellite radio, Bluetooth, a USB port, voice recognition, and smartphone-linked navigation.

The 4Runner’s standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, forward automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlights.

Toyota 4Runner SR5 Premium

The 4Runner SR5 Premium adds synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, a four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, integrated navigation, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a universal garage door opener. Prices start at $39,215 for a two-wheel-drive model or $41,090 for one with four-wheel drive.

Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road

The 4Runner TRD Off-Road ($39,740) has the same features as the base model, along with standard four-wheel drive, a locking rear differential, Multi-Terrain Select, and crawl control.

The 4Runner Off-Road Premium matches the amenities of the SR5 Premium and adds a moonroof. It starts at $42,470.

Toyota 4Runner Limited

The 4Runner Limited retails for $44,885 with two-wheel drive and $46,920 with four-wheel drive. Standard features include genuine leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, a 15-speaker JBL premium stereo, front and rear parking sensors, a sport suspension, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

The Nightshade Special Edition builds on the Limited model with blacked-out interior and exterior design elements. The rear-wheel-drive model starts at $46,625, and the four-wheel-drive edition retails for $48,660.

Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

Starting at $49,765, the TRD Pro is the most off-road-oriented 4Runner. Upgrades include 2.5-inch Fox shocks, TRD springs, a front skid plate, and a roof rack.

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 2020 Toyota 4Runner specs and trims »

The Final Call

The longer it carries on in its current generation, the more the Toyota 4Runner’s appeal dwindles. Tweaks that include more standard driver assistance features and modern smartphone integration help keep it relevant, but the 4Runner largely appeals to those who appreciate a rugged off-roader. An aging powertrain and dull, bouncy handling make it feel less than at home on paved roads, and a plastic-heavy interior does little to justify its high price.

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

  • If your lifestyle and geography favors off-road adventure, the 2020 4Runner is as charming and trustworthy as ever. If your lifestyle leans toward commuting, family chauffeuring, or road trips on the Interstate, well, let’s put it charitably: The 4Runner is not the ideal tool for the job." -- Autoblog
  • "The 4Runner may seem like a throwback machine on paper, but a certain subset of SUV buyers still seek the combination of performance characteristics it can offer. Toyota is building a very good example of this diminishing breed, and it helps that the automaker continues to add improvements to keep it relevant." -- Edmunds
  • "There are few vehicles that can stick around for this long without an update and still be as cool as the 4Runner. It looks great, has serious off-road chops and now comes with better driving aids and better phone integration. The 2020 model year tweaks might not be huge, but they make an endearing SUV a little easier to live with." -- CNET

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: November 7, 2019

Cooling Sales: Compared to the same period in 2018, sales of the Toyota 4Runner have fallen by 6 percent this year. The 4Runner is among the top third in the competitive midsize SUV sales race, but its showroom sibling, the Toyota Highlander, has outsold it by 84 percent this year.

Research more buying advice »
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