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2020 Toyota 4Runner Performance

U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Toyota 4Runner Performance Review


Performance: 6.1

The 2020 Toyota 4Runner’s performance shortcomings outweigh its positives. Though it performs well off road, it has an unrefined transmission that hampers acceleration, and its fuel economy is poor for the midsize SUV class. Additionally, the 4Runner leans around corners and can deliver a jarring ride.

  • "On paved roads, the 4Runner's powertrain really shows its age. Granted, the high altitudes of the Rocky Mountains don't help – naturally aspirated engines always suffer at higher altitudes. But with only meh amounts of power and a lazy transmission, the 4,500-pound SUV feels downright slow in these conditions." -- CNET
  • "There’s just no getting around the 4Runner’s antiquated state: The placeholder powertrain, the sloppy and disconnected steering, the way the 4Runner wanders in its lane. … Sure, the Toyota’s off-road chops help explain its on-road shortcomings, but no longer excuses them here in 2020." -- Autoblog
  • "The 2020 4Runner still uses a 4.0-liter V6 and a five-speed automatic transmission. Outdated as it may be, this drivetrain combination feels consistent and drivable in a wide range of conditions. But it is also somewhat thirsty and, if pushed hard, it can run out of breath. There's enough power and torque for daily use, but you may wish for more if you're driving with a full load of passengers on a high mountain pass." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The Toyota 4Runner comes standard with a 4.0-liter V6 engine that makes 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard. Critics say that the engine is powerful enough, but the transmission is unrefined and hesitates to shift efficiently.

At the time of writing, the EPA has not released fuel economy estimates for the 2020 4Runner. The nearly identical 2019 4Runner gets an estimated 17 mpg in the city and up to 21 mpg on the highway. Those estimates are among the worst in the class.

  • "The V-6 engine has a good growl, but the five-speed transmission makes the 4Runner lurch forward when you shift from park to drive. We also noticed a couple of clumsy shifts when driving on pavement." -- Motor Trend
  • "Unfortunately, the five-speed automatic transmission remains on hand from Toyota’s old soldier’s home. In theory, the shift lever’s manual function should make things snappier, but the 4Runner’s transmission often ignores downshift commands, with annoyingly tardy upshifts in manual mode." -- Autoblog
  • "Where things haven't changed is under the hood – the 4Runner still uses Toyota's super-old, 4.0-liter, naturally aspirated V6 engine. It produces an only adequate 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque, and runs through a smooth but unsophisticated five-speed automatic transmission." -- CNET

Handling and Braking

The Toyota 4Runner exhibits noticeable body lean around turns and rides roughly over broken pavement, but it is more stable when driving off road. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and two four-wheel-drive systems are optional.

The 4Runner is a capable off-roader, especially TRD models. Some upgrades in these trims include a locking rear differential, crawl control, 2.5-inch Fox shocks, TRD springs, a front skid plate, and Multi-Terrain Select, which allows you to tailor your off-road experience with multiple terrain modes.

  • "The 4Runner's old-school body-on-frame construction and solid rear axle lead to a trucky ride that lacks polish. … You sit higher, which some will prefer from a visibility standpoint, but that also magnifies body roll and makes the steering feel a bit less direct. The 4Runner ultimately feels balanced and secure when arcing through winding mountain roads, but it feels best when driven at a modest pace." -- Edmunds
  • "In terms of driving, the 4Runner TRD Pro behaves pretty much the same as the 2019 model. During our time on Hell's Revenge, the 4Runner showed good wheel articulation and traction. … The Fox suspension helps to keep the cabin calm, providing good cushioning on bumps, and the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System gives the 4Runner more suspension travel." -- Motor Trend
  • "A relatively unsophisticated ride quality brings bearable manners on smooth roads and some cushioning over rougher surfaces, but the … 4Runner will lean noticeably if a corner is taken with anything like gusto. In general, this body-on-frame setup results in truck-like rather than car-like ride and handling." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
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2020 Toyota 4Runner

MSRP: $36,120 - $49,865

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