$15,041 - $19,240

2010 Toyota 4Runner Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2010 Toyota 4Runner was new.


Performance: 8.0

While reviewers criticized the 2009 4Runner's poor fuel economy, the new 2010 model's fuel economy ratings should alleviate those complaints. Even better, the 4Runner continues to be an excellent off-roader while also offering a relatively smooth ride on the pavement.

  • "Copes well with small bumps, but rough surfaces cause bounce and aftershock jiggle typical of traditional truck-type SUVs. The sport suspension is only a tad stiffer." -- Consumer Guide
  • "As you might expect, the Trail Edition rides and handles like a 4x4. The suspension permits a fair amount of vibration on the highway; contact with cracks and small imperfections are noticed in the cabin. On the other hand, larger irregularities -- washed out dirt roads, speed bumps or dips at intersections -- tend to disappear, soaked up by springs, shocks and bushings tuned to handle tough terrain." -- Cars.com
  • "In fact, the 4Runner's commendable on-road behavior impressed (surprised, really) every editor. Sure, its body-on-frame build and live rear axle translated to a rather bouncy ride and some chassis shivers not associated with today's unibody offerings, but its steering was linear and responsive, its brakes stout and easy to modulate, and its balance, in light of its six-foot height, buttoned down." -- Truck Trend

Acceleration and Power

Under the hood, the 2010 4Runner packs a more fuel efficient 4.0-liter 270-horsepower V6 engine that makes 34 more horsepower than the 2009 model. It's paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. The optional V8 is no longer offered, though now a 2.7-liter 157-horsepower four-cylinder engine is optional for 2WD SR5 models only. Power is excellent from the new V6 engine, though some reviewers miss the extra torque of the previous V8 option. Reviewers have not yet tested the less powerful four-cylinder engine.

A plus for 2010 is the improved fuel economy. According to the EPA, the 2WD 4Runner achieves 17/23 mpg city/highway, while 4WD models achieve 17/22 mpg (compare that at 16/21 for previous models). Those figures make the 4Runner's fuel economy better than most off-roaders and even put it on par with some of its crossover competitors. If fuel economy is a major concern for you, consider the Jeep Patriot. It costs about $10,000 less than the 4Runner, possesses capable off-road skills and boasts a 23/28 mpg rating.

  • "At the track, our fully loaded Trail Grade 4x4 weighed in at 4,753 pounds, so we were impressed to find it runs to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds (7.9 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip)." -- Edmunds
  • "The 4Runner feels quicker than ever before, with stronger response. We had ample high-speed passing power and on-ramp acceleration - even with a full load, and there's enough power to pass on the highway without forcing a downshift." -- Cars.com
  • "When overtaking slower vehicles on the highway, where the 4.0-liter strains through a downshift and some heavy breathing, Toyota's new 4.6-liter 310-horse 327-pound-foot V-8, which debuted in the 2010 Tundra, would have made a welcome option, especially for towing or carrying a full load." -- Truck Trend

Handling and Braking

The 4Runner can function as either a rugged off-roader or a daily driver, depending on what model you choose. The Limited model features an X-REAS Sport Enhance Suspension which improves on-road handling. On the other hand, the Trail model comes with a variety of systems, including crawl control, which makes it a capable off-roader.

  • "When fitted with the X-REAS suspension, the 4Runner delivers reasonably tight and responsive handling. Perhaps more impressive is its off-road ability, as 4WD 4Runners can overcome steep obstacles and navigate wilderness trails with relative ease." -- Edmunds  
  • "Steering is easy and reasonably accurate in the 4Runner, and it's easy to keep on-center while cruising on the highway. It takes minimal effort to maneuver in tight spaces. We think the 4Runner would readily out-handle and ride more smoothly than most full-size SUVs, but car-based unibody SUVs would be noticeably more precise, with better on-road manners." -- Cars.com
  • "Heavy and tall, so cornering lean is marked. Sport's suspension trims it a bit, but all models tend to bob and weave on imperfect pavement. The steering is nicely weighted. Strong brakes are easy to modulate." -- Consumer Guide


Always a capable off-roader, the 2010 4Runner takes its rugged nature to an even higher level with the new Trail model. Reviewers love its standard crawl control system, which adjusts vehicle and engine speed to match terrain. A standard Multi-Terrain Select system allows the driver to choose specific terrain settings. The Trail model is also available with Toyota's new Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, which disconnects stabilizer bars to allow for greater suspension movement over rough terrain.  However, it's part of a pricey options package ($4,170) that also includes navigation and other hi-tech items.

The Trail model starts at $35,700, making it one of the more expensive off-road SUVs. By contrast, the top-of-the-line Jeep Wrangler Rubicon starts at a more affordable $29,500. But while the Jeep iss a great off-road vehicle, it doesn't offer the practical cargo room or seating space of the 4Runner, and its fuel economy is a dismal 15/19 mpg city/highway.

  • "If you've ever been stuck on a steep hill-climb, the 2010 Toyota 4Runner's crawl-control technology -- first introduced in the 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser and also featured in the 2008 Lexus LX 570 -- will make you an instant convert. You won't find anything closer to a ‘God button' in the automotive kingdom." -- Edmunds
  • "While the 4Runner might be so-so when it comes to on-road manners, it clearly excels in off-road capability. The frame is as rugged as they come, and the driveline has been strengthened all the way back to the rear differential." -- Cars.com
  • "Those who are buying it because it is tough will want the Trail grade, which includes the KDSS kinetic dynamic suspension which allows for more axle travel over tough terrain by disconnecting the stabilizer bars." -- Jalopnik 

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