$28,723 - $41,349

2016 Toyota 4Runner Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Toyota 4Runner was new.


Performance: 5.8

The 2016 Toyota 4Runner is a capable off-roader, reviewers say, but it has a rough ride and dull handling on pavement. The 4Runner is also held back by its outdated transmission, which contributes to poor fuel economy and excessive engine noise, according to critics.

  • "It's in the running with the Jeep Grand Cherokee for the 'most capable midsize SUV' award. However, the same features that are a boon in the bushes -- such as the slow-ratio steering and tough-as-nails truck suspension -- make the 4Runner a bit of a handful on paved roads." -- Autotrader
  • "Toyota is trying hard to please two masters with the 2014 4Runner, but its split personality works against it. Buyers needn't look far to find more comfortable soft roaders or capable off-road machines." -- Road and Track (2014)
  • "It's not as refined or fuel-efficient as the average unibody crossover, especially when one throws the impressive Jeep Grand Cherokee into the mix, but it's the most capable for those who require a traditional body-on-frame truck to take daily abuse." -- Autoblog (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The 2016 Toyota 4Runner comes with a 4.0-liter V6 engine that produces 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard. Base models get an EPA-estimated 17/22 mpg city/highway, which is low for the class.

The 4Runner's V6 engine offers decent power, critics say. However, its transmission has fewer gears than the transmissions in many rivals, which contributes to the 4Runner being less fuel efficient and noisier on the highway, according to critics.

  • "The 4Runner's V6 engine is strong enough for most needs, but there's no denying that you get more grunt from rivals like the V8-powered Grand Cherokee and Durango. The 4Runner's five-speed automatic transmission provides well-timed shifts, but we certainly wouldn't mind another gear to calm the engine on the highway and eke out another mpg or two." -- Edmunds
  • "Part of the powertrain noise can be blamed on the five-speed automatic. It might also take the blame for less-than-stellar fuel economy. The 270-hp, 4.0-liter V-6 isn't bad in terms of refinement, but feels a bit lazy." -- Motor Trend (2014)
  • "Power is adequate but not breathtaking from the big V6." -- Left Lane News (2014)

Handling and Braking

Most modern SUVs are built on car platforms, but the Toyota 4Runner is truck-based. Reviewers note that this contributes to its rough ride and unimpressive handling on pavement. They say the steering feels too light and needs constant adjustment, and the brakes can be touchy. Limited models have an upgraded suspension system, which critics say improves ride quality and handling.

  • "At the same time, the 4Runner is refined enough for the daily grind, though lots of bumps make it into the cabin as the rugged suspension and big tires jostle you around. The 4Runner's steering feels a little too light in normal driving situations, but is ideal for off-roading, as it results in reduced wrist-wrecking kickback on gnarly trails." -- Edmunds
  • "The Limited model's X-REAS underpinnings noticeably tighten up the 4Runner's handling in civilization, but even so, you'll never forget that this is a tall, narrow SUV. We do think Toyota has done a nice job tuning the ride, however, as there's little of the truck-like jitteriness that plagued previous 4Runners." -- Autotrader
  • "Not surprisingly, the 4Runner isn't a great joy to run quickly through winding roads, but its body isn't as bulky or long as a full-size Expedition or Sequoia, so maneuverability is still relatively easy. We found the brake pedal a bit spongy at first, followed by brakes that seemed to grab suddenly as the pedal-travel deepened." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "The 4Runner is still constructed using body-on-frame architecture and it shows every minute of every mile on the road. Steering is ponderous at best, requiring constant correction. The ride and handling would be best described as outdated, and the truck isn't particularly quiet." -- Motor Trend (2014)


The base 2016 4Runner SR5 comes standard with rear-wheel drive, an automatic limited-slip differential, skid plates, mud guards, a full-size spare tire and hill start assist control, which helps prevent you from rolling backwards on a steep hill. Part-time four-wheel drive and downhill assist control are optional. Trail and TRD Pro models have a locking rear differential, Crawl Control, which helps you move at low speed across rocky terrain, and Multi-Terrain Select, which has four settings that help maximize traction on different road surfaces. TRD Pro models also come with all-terrain tires, and Trail models are available with a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), which continuously adjusts the suspension for maximum traction on uneven terrain. Limited models are available with full-time four-wheel drive with a lockable Torsen limited-slip center differential.

Test drivers say the 2016 4Runner is a superb off-roader with excellent traction on a wide variety of surfaces, including snow, mud and rocks.

  • "The TRD Pro makes quick work of rough trails and Los Angeles potholes alike, eating up moguls with none of the steering wheel shudder or jarring vibrations endemic to lesser SUVs." -- Left Lane News (2015)
  • "The 4Runner is sure-footed off-road, and standard downhill assist control was helpful on muddy hills, and likely would be in the snow, too." -- Car and Driver (2014)
  • "Even when cursed with street tires, the onboard wizardry can shimmy the 4Runner up slick inclines, through deep water, or across rutted terrain without any drama." -- Road and Track (2014)


The 2016 Toyota 4Runner comes standard with a tow hitch receiver and has a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds.

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