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 The trouble is, the fifth generation — which entered production back in 2009 — has grown outdated.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.
Toyota has been overhauling its off-road truck and SUV lineup. That process began with the all-new 2022 Toyota Tundra. It continued with the all-new 2023 Sequoia. The current 4Runner, which entered production in 2009, should be the next in line.
A leaked Toyota dealer roadmap for 2022 does not mention a new 4Runner. Toyota already announced updates to the 5th generation 4Runner for the 2023 model year. So the earliest we will see the sixth-generation 4Runner is likely in 2023 for the 2024 model year.
Toyota is moving its body-on-frame trucks and SUVs to their new TNGA-F truck platform. It underpins the new 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. One question with the new common platform is whether Toyota could shift some or all 4Runner production to North America.
Probably. Toyota will be looking for better fuel economy from the 4Runner. That will likely mean a smaller displacement engine than the 4.0-liter V6 and turbocharging and a transmission offering more than five speeds.
The favorite for the base engine is turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four from the all-new Lexus NX 350, which puts out 275 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque (substantially more torque than the current V6).
Yes. Toyota wants every model to offer a hybrid by 2025. The Tundra offers a hybrid. The Sequoia is only available as a hybrid. The 4Runner should follow suit. The question will be how.
One Toyota analyst believes the 4Runner may get a new hybrid version of the turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four. Other choices could include some form of plug-in hybrid like the RAV4 Prime or an all-out attack on the Bronco and Wrangler with the Tundra's V6 hybrid that offers 437 hp and 583 lb-ft. We aren't getting our hopes up for the latter option.
The new Tundra interior (shown here) received a major modernization. The 4Runner should follow suit with 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 some modest upgrades to help fend off rivals.
What we know so far about the most-eagerly-awaited midsize truck.