It's hard to deny that the Toyota 4Runner remains one of the most charming SUVs on the road. It’s capable, it’s bulletproof — and, perhaps most importantly, it just looks cool. The trouble is, the fifth generation — which entered production back in 2009 — has grown outdated. It gets less than than 20 mpg on the highway, and its five-speed automatic transmission offers half the number of gears that the new Ford Bronco does. It’s time for Toyota to give us an upgrade for the 4Runner; luckily, one should be arriving very soon.
Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming sixth-generation Toyota 4Runner.
The 4Runner — which entered production back in 2010 — would presumably be next in line. But Toyota has been dropping teasers left and right about the 2024 Tacoma, strongly suggesting that vehicle will debut first. We also have not seen any spy shots of 4Runner prototypes out testing.
Complicating the 4Runner revamp timeline may be the return of an iconic nameplate. Reports have Toyota prepping a new Land Cruiser launch for the U.S. based on the next Land Cruiser Prado/Lexus GX. That model (as yet unconfirmed) could push the 4Runner timeline back even further into 2025.
Toyota is moving its body-on-frame trucks and SUVs to their new TNGA-F truck platform. It underpins the new J300 Land Cruiser, the new Tundra, the Lexus LX 600 and the new Sequoia. A smaller version of it should be used for both the 4Runner and the new Tacoma pickup.
Like the Land Cruiser, the 4Runner has traditionally been built in Japan. But the point of the new common platform is to streamline production costs. And we could see some or all of 4Runner production shift to North America.
Almost undoubtedly. Toyota has been downsizing its engines throughout the truck and SUV lineup. V8 models are becoming V6s. The 4Runner, currently packing a 4.0-liter V6, will probably move to a four-cylinder powertrain.
The favorite for the base engine is Toyota's turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four used in the all-new Lexus NX 350, which puts out 275 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque (substantially more torque than the current V6).
That seems likely. Toyota has previously said all vehicles would have at least a hybrid option by 2025. The 2.4-liter Hybrid Max powertrain, which puts out 340 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque in the Crown, could be a performance-oriented upgrade option to compete with upper-level versions of the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco.
Toyota has confirmed that the Tacoma is getting the more powerful iForce-Max V6 in at least the TRD Pro grade. So, it's possible that that engine could make its way to the 4Runner as well.
Almost certainly. The new Tundra interior (shown here) was a major modernization over the previous version; the 4Runner should follow suit, likely packing Toyota's new infotainment system that debuted on the Lexus NX with an optional 14-inch touchscreen. Typically, Toyota doesn't try to blow away buyers with interior material quality. But expect substantial upgrades to help fend off rivals.
We wouldn't bet on a 4Runner EV arriving in the short term. Toyota previewed its EV roadmap in 2021. Reports from Fall 2022 had Toyota rethinking that roadmap. We have seen a concept that looks a lot like an electric Tacoma. But nowhere have we seen anything that looks like an electric 4Runner.
A 4Runner EV should arrive eventually. But that would probably be a future seventh-generation model.
We don't know yet. The current 4Runner starts at $39,555 MSRP and tops out at $54,020. We'd expect a modest increase from those numbers for the new model.
If reporting about the new Land Cruiser is correct, that could be a limiting factor on the new 4Runner's price. The 4Runner topping out below $50K would leave room for a smaller, cheaper Land Cruiser to still slot above it.
What we know so far about the most-eagerly-awaited midsize truck.