2017 Toyota 4Runner review with video

The basics:

Base price: $44,800 + taxes
As tested: $52,195 + taxes (TRD Pro trim)
Average fuel economy during our road test: 12.4 L/100 kms (19 US MPG)
Competition: Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Pathfinder, etc.

Since 1984, the Toyota 4Runner has been barrelling down the back roads of British Columbia, crawling over the rocks of Utah… and, yes, shuttling kids to soccer games. But unlike many other SUVs that have been declawed over the years in the name of a more refined and car-like ride, the 4Runner has held onto those offroading roots. It’s still based on the same platform as the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado – a workhorse in far-flung corners of the globe – which is great for a true body-on-frame offroader. But it’s also rather noisy and harsh when you compare the 4Runner to much of the competition. Hardcore 4Runner enthusiasts will tell you that’s what gives this SUV its go anywhere charm and Toyota has upped the ante this year, introducing the TRD Offroad and TRD Pro packages to the Canadian audience for the first time. These are off the showroom floor rock crawling machines. For a full list of what these two packages bring to the table, make sure to watch our video above. But for our week of testing, we keep the TRD Pro 4Runner primarily on the blacktop, where most of them will spend most of their lives anyway, to see how this truck can stack up for daily life.

Pros:
– The 4Runner was treated to a great exterior facelift in 2014 and now the Heritage front grille and cement grey colour in our TRD Pro tester really make it pop. I couldn’t stop looking at it all week
– The 4Runner has exceptional an exceptional reliablity record and is still made in Japan
– Four wheel disc brakes make for far more responsive braking than expected
– Low range four wheel drive is still availabe in many pick-up trucks but has become much harder to find in SUVs over the last decade. The 4Runner still has 4WD AND low range standard on all trims
– Speaking of standard kit, it’s very good in the 4Runner: 4WD, tow hitch with 4 and 7 pin wiring and sway control, 6.1 inch infotainment system with navigation and a back-up camera, SofTex seats, three row seating, heated front seats, sun roof, running boards, roof rails
– It has a 5000 lb towing capacity
– And there’s also plenty of cargo capacity (1300 L behind the second row or 300 L if third row is up)
– Power sliding rear window comes standard which is great for quickly throwing groceries into the trunk or checking-up on your family dog

Cons:

– The only transmission available is a five speed automatic which seems very old-fashioned and revs very high at highway speed. That effects your fuel economy and cabin noise
– So, no surprise, fuel economy isn’t great with an average between 12 and 14.3 L/100 kms coming out of the 4-litre V6. This is the only engine available on all trims, by the way
– And yes, it is noisy. We saw 66 dB at 100 kms/hour but that could be because of the big offroad tires on our TRD Pro package
– Also, since it’s not AWD, it’s 4WD or bust in all but the Limited trim, which offers full-time 4WD. This acts much like all wheel drive but gives you the option of low range four wheel as well
– There are some other features missing on all but the Limited trim: automatic climate control, push button start, proximity key, ventilated front seats. But again, serious 4Runner followers would say these features aren’t necessary in a hardcore offroader
– While many models are adding the Toyota Safety Sense package as standard, there is still no Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive Cruise or emergency automatic braking on any trim of the 4Runner. Toyota says they’re working on it
– If you want seven passenger seating, you can’t get it in the TRD Pro or TRD Offroad  trims. Toyota says the serious offroaders they’re targeting don’t typically need a third row

Family Wheels report card:

Family Wheels driver comfort score: 3/5
Family Wheels interior layout score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels infotainment system score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels interior noise score: 3.5/5 (66 dB at 100 kms/h)
Family Wheels performance score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels rear passenger score: 4/5
Family Wheels trunk score: 4/5
Family Wheels fuel economy score: 3/5
Family Wheels build quality score: 4/5
Family Wheels value score: 3.5/5

Family Wheels overall score: 36/50= 72%

2 comments

  • Glen Dunsworth

    Paul, this is Glen Dunsworth Brian and Sues friend. Love your site. One improvement suggestion; a comparison table with rows being key features and columns being models I select and then a hyper link to your reviews for each. Great stuff, good job!

    • pkarchut

      Thanks for writing, Glen! Nice to hear from you. I know what you mean. I’ve thought of this, too. But that’s going to require some serious investment on the back end. Maybe down the road.

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