2019 Toyota 4Runner

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2019 Toyota 4Runner Review: For The Rugged At Heart

When you think of off-road SUVs, a number of monikers jump to mind: the Jeep Wrangler, Mercedes-Benz G-Class, and Toyota Land Cruiser being chief amongst them. Of course, Toyota has more in its off-road arsenal than just the Land Cruiser, and the 4Runner is an ultra-capable off-road crawler that's celebrating 35 years in existence as the fifth generation now enters its tenth production year. As a midsize body-on-frame SUV that shares underpinnings with the Toyota Tacoma, it's a true rival for the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and the upcoming Ford Bronco, and much like its adversaries, the 4Runner is wayward on-road, with loose steering, even looser handling, and specification levels that seem as aged as the decade-old design. But steer away from tarmac and head into the great unknown, and the 4Runner's burly 4.0-liter V6, available four-wheel-drive, and low range transfer case truly shine. Don't think of it as a sub-par on-road vehicle, instead, it's an ultra-versatile seven-seat off-roader designed for those who like to live on the edge.

Read in this review:

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2019 Toyota 4Runner Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2018 4Runner?

For 2019, Toyota has placed an emphasis on the TRD Pro trim, featuring new Fox internal bypass shocks, a bulky roof rack, and a heavy-duty skid plate, while the also standard sunroof and optional JBL audio give it a little more rugged luxury. Also new to the range is a Nightshade Edition for the 4Runner Limited trim, decking the exterior out in all sorts of black attire. The TRD Pro trim also gets a new color called Voodoo Blue, shared with other TRD Pro models like the Tundra.

Pros and Cons

  • Highly-capable off-roader
  • Reliable powertrain
  • Powerful V6 motor
  • Loads of cargo volume
  • Extensive options list
  • Decade-old bones
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Antiquated technologies
  • Rough ride quality
  • Sloppy handling
  • One-trick pony

Best Deals on 2019 Toyota 4Runner

2019 Toyota 4Runner Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
SR5
4.0L V6 Gas
5-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$35,310
SR5 Premium
4.0L V6 Gas
5-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$37,140
TRD Off Road
4.0L V6 Gas
5-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$38,485
TRD Off Road Premium
4.0L V6 Gas
5-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$40,395
Limited
4.0L V6 Gas
5-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$43,625
See All 2019 Toyota 4Runner Trims and Specs

2019 4Runner Exterior

2019 Toyota 4Runner Front Angle View Toyota
2019 Toyota 4Runner Rear Angle View Toyota
2019 Toyota 4Runner Front Angle View 1 CarBuzz
See All 2019 Toyota 4Runner Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 190.2 in
  • Wheelbase 109.8 in
  • Height 71.5 in
  • Max Width 75.8 in
  • Front Width 63.2 in
  • Rear Width 63.2 in

Exterior Colors

  • Magnetic Gray Metallic
  • Classic Silver Metallic
  • Barcelona Red Metallic
  • Nautical Blue Metallic
  • Midnight Black Metallic
  • Blizzard Pearl
  • Super White
  • Voodoo Blue

2019 4Runner Performance

2019 Toyota 4Runner Side View Driving Toyota
2019 Toyota 4Runner Gauge Cluster Toyota
2019 Toyota 4Runner Wheel CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine
    4.0L V6 Gas
  • Transmission
    5-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Body-on-frame SUVs make several concessions for the sake of their ruggedness, but the 4Runner seems to make more than most. Firm suspension geared towards off-road prowess is hell on the road, sending ripples and corrugations rattling through the cabin. The steering suffers too, although not from excessive feedback but rather from its wayward nature. It's loose on center and the response to inputs is dull and slow. The mud and snow tires found on most models don't inspire confidence on tarmac, and the TRD Pro's all-terrain tires do even less; if anything, this makes every commute a nerve-wracking experience.

But once off-road, the tires, suspension, and truck foundations prove invaluable. A high ride height and stiff suspension mean that it's a cinch to climb rocks and rutted terrain, and the deadness of the steering wheel means it doesn't shuffle excessively in hand. It's by no means a short wheelbase Wrangler, but it's damn good off-road, particularly in TRD Pro guise, with thick skid plates, Fox internal bypass shocks, and grippy tires getting the most out of what the V6 has to offer.

2019 4Runner Interior

2019 Toyota 4Runner Steering Wheel Design Toyota
2019 Toyota 4Runner Sunroof Toyota
2019 Toyota 4Runner Infotainment System Toyota
See All 2019 Toyota 4Runner Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.7 in
  • Front Head Room 39.3 in
  • Rear Leg Room 32.9 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.6 in

2019 4Runner Trunk and Cargo Space

2019 Toyota 4Runner Front Seats Toyota
2019 Toyota 4Runner Third-Row Seating Toyota
2019 Toyota 4Runner Trunk Space with Seat Folded Toyota

2019 4Runner Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    2 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    2 Years \ 25,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: Is the 2019 Toyota 4Runner A Good SUV?

Spend any significant amount of time with a 4Runner on road, and you'll rue the day you ever decided to purchase one. It's thirsty, unrefined, and the handling and steering are loose at best, even scary if you've got the all-terrain tires of the TRD Pro. But the hungry V6 engine is a potent performer, and it comes to life off-road, which is where the 4Runner suddenly makes so much sense. It's not as good as a Wrangler, but then again, a Wrangler is far worse on-road. However, the 4Runner is highly accomplished off-road in a way almost no midsize SUVs can compare to, and with age on its side, it's incredibly reliable, too. It's also a spacious campaigner, with an abundance of storage and seating space - provided you stick to the five-seat configurations. We're disappointed in Toyota's lack of effort regarding safety features and driver assists, something they'll hopefully remedy for 2020, but the 4Runner is still a great midsize SUV if you keep it in its comfort zone. If you're an outdoor adventure lover who occasionally has to spend time on-road, then the 4Runner might just be the best SUV for you. Just don't expect any refinement.

2019 Toyota 4Runner Comparisons

Jeep Grand Cherokee Jeep
Toyota Highlander Toyota
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Toyota 4Runner270 hp16/19 mpg$37,815
Jeep Grand Cherokee 293 hp19/26 mpg$41,035
Toyota Highlander 265 hp22/29 mpg$36,420

2019 Toyota 4Runner vs Jeep Grand Cherokee

midsize off-roaders aren't exactly prevalent these days, but the Jeep Grand Cherokee probably strikes the best balance between capable off-roader and luxurious on-road machine. It's a little smaller than the 4Runner and doesn't offer seven-seat capability as the Toyota does, but it also doesn't offer the same abundant storage capacity as the 4Runner. It's capable off-road, with Selec-Terrain traction management, 4WD, and air suspension that can raise or lower to suit the terrain, but the 4Runner is naturally more rugged and more capable off-road, with a long history of reliability to back it up. However, the Grand Cherokee is vastly more comfortable, luxurious, and refined, with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and a range of available engines catering to all needs. It's got a more luxurious interior, loads more safety features, and better infotainment to boot. What it lacks in cargo space it makes up for in towing capacity, hauling 1,200 lbs more than the Toyota. So, while the Toyota is spacious and rugged, the Grand Cherokee is a superior all-rounder. If you'll be spending more time on-road than off, the Jeep makes far more sense.

See Jeep Grand Cherokee Review

2019 Toyota 4Runner vs Toyota Highlander

Toyota offers two polar-opposite midsize SUVs in the form of the 4Runner and the Highlander, each built for a purpose. The Highlander is the on-road crossover of the family, unibody construction and front-wheel-drive base mean that it's suited to on-road use, while the vastly better gas mileage means you can travel further for less. The Highlander is also quicker, more refined, and more comfortable on-road, with better handling dynamics and higher levels of refinement. Interior materials feel more premium and the available technology - safety and infotainment - are better in the Highlander. But it can only handle modest off-tar work, even with all-wheel-drive equipped. Where things get rocky, the 4Runner is vastly superior, with locking differentials, a low-range transfer case, and genuine 4x4 capabilities. The 4Runner is also more capacious from a cargo perspective, but that's unfortunately where its benefits end. At around $3,000 more expensive, the 4Runner is more costly to buy and run, but at least it's highly reliable. At the end of the day, if you're after an off-roader, get the 4Runner, but if you just want a high-riding daily runner, the Highlander is better in almost every way.

See Toyota Highlander Review

2019 Toyota 4Runner Popular Comparisons

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