The Toyota 4Runner has been on sale in the US since 1984. In 2009, it entered its current fifth generation, receiving a major design update in 2013. Not much is new for the 2019 4Runner, which unlike most SUVs on sale today, uses a truck-like body-on-frame chassis as opposed to the car-like unibody approach of popular crossovers like the Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot.
Powertrain and specs
Toyota only offers one engine for the 4Runner: a 4.0-liter V6 with 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque routed through a five-speed automatic transmission that can send power to the rear or all four wheels.
Rear-wheel-drive 4Runners achieve an EPA-estimated 17 miles per gallon in the city and 21 mpg highway. Four-wheel drive only reduces the highway figure by 1 mpg. That's respectable for a ladder-frame SUV, but unibody competition like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Nissan Pathfinder are inherently more fuel-efficient with 19/26 and 20/27 city/highway mpg, respectively.
Interior and towing
The 4Runner offers enough space inside for five occupants. An optional third-row seat can increase the occupant count to seven, but with just 29.3 inches of legroom for third-row passengers, it's best to leave that area reserved for children. Also, there's only 9.0 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row of seats, whereas a more people-hauling-oriented SUV like the Chevrolet Traverse boasts 23 cubic feet behind its third row.
In its five-passenger configuration, the 4Runner can swallow 47.2 cubic feet of cargo behind its second row and 89.7 cubic feet behind its first row, which is better than the Jeep Grand Cherokee with just 68.3 cubic feet of maximum cargo space.
If you need to haul more than what can fit inside the 4Runner, you can tow up to 5,000 pounds with it, but three-row, midsize crossovers like the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander and Volkswagen Atlas can tow just as much. The Nissan Pathfinder, meanwhile, can tow up to 6,000 pounds.
Standard tech features include 6.1-inch touchscreen infotainment with HD and satellite radio running on an eight-speaker stereo. The 4Runner's Scout GPS Link can project your phone's navigation into the center stack's touchscreen, but that's about as close to phone mirroring as you'll get with the 4Runner as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay aren't even offered.
There's an even greater lack of tech when it comes to driver-assistance systems. Aside from available front and rear parking sensors, there are no other modern driver aids to speak of. Unlike many other Toyotas that come standard with collision-mitigation braking, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams under the Toyota Safety Sense suite of features, you can't even option the 4Runner with those goodies.
Options and pricing
Among its seven trims, the 4Runner carries base prices that begin at $34,910 and top out at $46,415 excluding $1,045 for destination. The base SR5 comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, skid plates, a towing hitch receiver, daytime running lights, fog lights and heated outside mirrors. Inside features power door locks, express up and down for all the power windows, including the window in the rear liftgate, plus a leather-trimmed steering wheel, cloth seat upholstery and a power driver's seat.
The SR5 Premium starts at $36,740 and adds leatherette upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror plus a HomeLink transceiver and embedded navigation. At $38,085, the 4x4-only TRD Off-Road trim is specced more like a base SR5, but also features silver accents on the front and rear bumpers, trim-specific 17-inch wheels, an electronic locking rear differential and a TRD shift knob.
The TRD Off-Road Premium starts at $39,995, also comes only in four-wheel drive and features all the off-road goodies of the regular TRD Off-Road trim, but adds the same luxury features found in the SR5 premium.
The $43,225 Limited trim features niceties such as 20-inch wheels, chrome-accented bumpers, front and rear parking sensors, chrome door handles with touch sensors and keyless access with push-button start. There's also a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, perforated leather upholstery with heating and ventilation for the front row, a power passenger seat and a 15-speaker JBL.
The $44,965 Limited Nightshade Edition offers the same equipment as on the Limited, but adds black chrome bumper accents plus dark wheels and door handles. Finally the $46,415 TRD Pro loses some of the aforementioned luxury features like parking sensors, dual-zone climate control and keyless access, but features LED fog lights, a unique front grille with black bumper accents, a roof rack, 17-inch matte-black wheels with all-terrain tires and Fox shocks with TRD-tuned front springs.
Notable options include a sliding rear cargo deck with under-floor storage, the third-row seat and running boards.
The 2019 Toyota 4Runner is on sale at dealerships nationwide now.