$34,210 - $44,560

2017 Toyota 4Runner Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Toyota 4Runner was new.


Performance: 7.2

The 2017 Toyota 4Runner is a very capable off-road SUV, but it has a rough ride on uneven pavement. The 4Runner is also held back by its outdated automatic transmission, which plays a part in its poor fuel economy and so-so acceleration. Newer competitors offer transmissions with more gears.

  • The 4Runner's V6 produces a healthy 270 horsepower, perfect when you need to pass slower traffic or tow heavy loads. The 5-speed automatic is the right choice for this kind of vehicle, although it must accept some blame for the 4Runner's rather dismal fuel-economy figures." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Throttle response is smooth and progressive, and the five-speed automatic transmission shifts seamlessly. It would be better with another gear to choose from." -- Edmunds
  • 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 (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 Toyota 4Runner is powered by a 4.0-liter V6 engine that produces 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard. Rear-wheel-drive models achieve an EPA-estimated 17/21 mpg city/highway. Four-wheel-drive models earn just 17/20 mpg. Both ratings are low for the class.

The 4Runner's V6 engine supplies sufficient power, but it’s hampered by its five-speed transmission, which has fewer gears than most modern automatics. This contributes to the 4Runner’s low fuel economy and lackluster acceleration.

  • 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

The 2017 Toyota 4Runner is one of the few remaining truck-based SUVs. Its ride quality isn’t nearly as polished as its crossover SUV rivals, and its handling lacks finesse. Steering changes are light and easy, but constant adjustments must be made for straight-line tracking. Additionally, the brakes feel touchy. Limited models benefit from an upgraded suspension, which improves on-road handling.

  • "The ride isn't necessarily firm, but there is a fair bit of shake and body movement. Instead of crashing over bumps, our 4Runner tended to jostle about lazily in response to road imperfections." -- Edmunds
  • "Due to its weight and high ride height, the 4Runner can't round curves like a Highlander, but its narrow body is a bit easier to maneuver than a full-size SUV, at least in the urban jungle. One weak spot we found is the 4Runner's brake pedal that at first feels a bit soft, but after applying more pressure, causes the brakes to grab too quickly." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • 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 (2016)


Even in its base trim level, the 2017 Toyota 4Runner proves to be a very competent off-roader. The standard SR5 models are equipped with an automatic limited-slip differential, skid plates, a full-size spare tire, and hill-start assist control, which helps prevent you from rolling backward on steep hills. Part-time four-wheel drive and downhill assist control are optional. The TRD Off-Road models add a locking rear differential, a low-speed crawling mode for traversing rocky terrain, and Multi-Terrain Select, which has four settings that help maximize traction on different road surfaces.

TRD Pro models are equipped with high-performance Bilstein shock absorbers and TRD springs. A Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System is optional, which adjusts the suspension to maximize the 4Runner’s wheel travel and articulation over uneven terrain. Limited models are available with full-time four-wheel drive with a lockable Torsen limited-slip center differential.

  • "The 4Runner has part-time four-wheel drive, crawl control, active traction control and a rear locking differential. The real gem is the optional KDSS technology that automatically disconnects both stabilizer bars when maximum articulation is needed. A top performer in this class." -- Edmunds
  • "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 2017 Toyota 4Runner comes standard with a tow hitch receiver and has a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds.

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