2020 Toyota 4Runner

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2020 Toyota 4Runner Test Drive Review: Still Remarkably Relevant

It's been a decade now since the Toyota 4Runner was on the receiving end of a redesign. Under the cons category below, we're going to mention how the exterior design is looking dated, but the caveat here is that it still looks good, and there's something we love about a company letting their vehicles age gracefully. There is something else special about the new 4Runner, and that's the rarity of being a five-door body-on-frame mid-size SUV with some serious off-roading skills.

It's the 4Runner's capacity as an off-roader we're going to mainly concentrate on here as we got to spend some serious time with the 2020 model in its TRD forms at an off-road park in Texas. As an extra bonus, this was just before this incarnation's tenth birthday at the Texas State Fair, where the current generation 4Runner was first unveiled.

For 2020, the old dog has gained some new tricks to keep it relevant in the US. The cabin remains the same, but the infotainment has had a firm nudge into the next decade.

Read in this review:

7.2
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2020 Toyota 4Runner Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2019 4Runner?

2019 saw the introduction of a bigger touchscreen, and for 2020, Toyota ups the ante by improving on it even more: now boasting an eight-inch touchscreen, the infotainment system is also Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa compatible. The Toyota Safety Sense P suite is also now standard across the range, comprised of advanced driver aids such as collision-avoidance, automatic braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. The new Venture Edition model is also welcomed, and although based on the TRD Off-Road Premium trim, it boasts a MegaWarrior roof rack, standard all-weather floor mats, a rear sliding cargo deck for more storage space, and a variety of exterior styling enhancements. The TRD Pro gets a new grille design, as well as Smart Key with push-button start and two extra rear-seat USB ports.

Pros and Cons

  • Unrivaled off-roading capability
  • Cavernous cargo space
  • Comprehensive standard safety features
  • New Venture Edition and added tech onboard
  • Cumbersome handling
  • Tight third row
  • Dated interior and exterior design
  • Less than exemplary handling

Best Deals on 2020 Toyota 4Runner

2020 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
$36,120
SR5 Premium
4.0L V6 Gas
5-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$39,315
TRD Off Road
4.0L V6 Gas
5-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$39,840
TRD Off Road Premium
4.0L V6 Gas
5-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$42,570
Venture Special Edition
4.0L V6 Gas
5-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$44,285
See All 2020 Toyota 4Runner Trims and Specs

2020 4Runner Exterior

2020 Toyota 4Runner Front Angle View Toyota
2020 Toyota 4Runner Rear Angle View Toyota
2020 Toyota 4Runner Front Angle View 1 Toyota
See All 2020 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

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

2020 4Runner Performance

2020 Toyota 4Runner Front View Driving Toyota
2020 Toyota 4Runner Side View Driving Toyota
2020 Toyota 4Runner Wheel CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

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

Handling and Driving Impressions

On the road and handling wise, there's as little to complain about, relatively speaking, as there is to praise for the 4Runner TRD Pro. The ride is as you expect for a truck-based SUV geared to get off of the smooth stuff, although freeways certainly aren't its best friend. We didn't spend much time on the tarmac, though, and quickly looked for the more challenging routes around the off-road park. We found rocky paths with steep ascents and descents, tight trails with big cambers, and as it had been raining recently, some thick muddy puddles.

It's not just how easily that the 4Runner in TRD Pro and Off-Road forms handle the rocky ground; it's how it takes the shock out of things for the driver and passengers. The TRD Pro's lifted FOX suspension does an excellent job of cushioning jolts when getting into the rocks, and aids traction with generous wheel articulation when things get rough.

The only extra preparation done to the SUV was decreasing the tire pressure to aid traction. We did try and get the 4Runner TRD Pro stuck in one of the long muddy puddles, and we really had to try but, with the Multi Terrain system engaged in mud mode and the rear differential locked, it didn't matter how slow we trawled through. We could have stopped, but it's one thing having to be pulled out because the vehicle can't handle it, and another because you made a wilful error.

Crawl Control offers five speed settings and, frankly, takes some of the fun out of descending down a steep incline, although it can save embarrassment or potentially dangerous situations out of a controlled environment.

What we didn't find ourselves needing was extra power. The torque mixed with the ever-present grip and ability of the suspension and its articulation to keep that grip on terra-firma is more than adequate for what the 4Runner in this spec is designed to deal with.

2020 4Runner Interior

2020 Toyota 4Runner Gauge Cluster Toyota
2020 Toyota 4Runner Infotainment System Toyota
2020 Toyota 4Runner Gear Shifter Toyota
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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

2020 4Runner Trunk and Cargo Space

2020 Toyota 4Runner Dashboard Toyota
2020 Toyota 4Runner Front Seats Toyota
2020 Toyota 4Runner Roof Cargo Basket Toyota

2020 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 2020 Toyota 4Runner A Good car?

As reliable as ever, the 4Runner fills a gap in the market as one of the few truck-based mid-size SUVs around. It still looks good, and it still has the kind of off-road chops people will pay a lot of money for in other vehicles for showing off. The 4Runner isn't luxurious and doesn't show off though. Instead, it gets on with the job and does it relentlessly well. Upgrading to TRD Off-Road or TRD Pro opens up that off-roading ability while still retaining its capacity as a workhorse. You could cross-shop with a Lexus GX if you wanted that more refined interior, but if you want that extra dose of ability in the rough stuff, a TRD badge is still the way forward.

2020 Toyota 4Runner Comparisons

Ford Explorer Ford
Toyota Highlander CarBuzz
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Toyota 4Runner270 hp16/19 mpg$37,815
Ford Explorer 300 hp21/28 mpg$36,760
Toyota Highlander 265 hp22/29 mpg$36,420

2020 Toyota 4Runner vs Ford Explorer

Ford has jumped ahead in the USA by giving the Explorer a full redesign for the 2020 model year, basing it on a new platform that offers improved handling, boosts towing capacity and offers a spacious and comfortable cabin. The highly-acclaimed infotainment system in all new-generation Ford vehicles sees a huge improvement over the 4Runner's system and offers seating for six or seven passengers as standard. Cutting down from a forced seven- or eight-passenger load to six allows for roomier seating, and slightly more comfort, which is certainly one-up on the 4Runner's capabilities. Very similar cargo volumes and even a similar under-floor storage bin in the Explorer puts these competitors neck-and-neck in this segment. A new 3.0-liter V6 EcoBoost turbocharged engine is also available from mid-range models and produces 365 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. Intelligent four-wheel-drive systems make this a capable off-roader, but in this regard, the 4Runner has all comers beaten. With a starting price only a few hundred dollars more than the 4Runner, opting for the newer, more modern Explorer is a no-brainer for all but the heaviest off-road trail-rats.

See Ford Explorer Review

2020 Toyota 4Runner vs Toyota Highlander

Comparing Toyota's of this caliber is a risky business, as both are exceptional off-road vehicles. They share many elements, as well, but the Highlander does come out near the top in most regards. Equipped as standard with a third row of seats, the Highlander doesn't require an additional purchase to seat more occupants, although when equipped like this, both vehicles suffer the same restricted legroom at the back. With various powertrain options, however, the Highlander allows for a bit of play in terms of fuel economy, offering much better EPA estimates of 20/24/22 mpg in its base guise. This is at the detriment of the powerful 4.0-liter V6 on the 4Runner, however, with the entry-level Highlander only producing 185 hp and 184 lb-ft comparatively from its 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine. Cargo space is top-notch in the 4Runner unless you equip the third row of seats. With both vehicles desperate for a good redesign and modernization, this is a hard choice. We choose the 4Runner simply due to its much-needed upgrades for the 2020 model year, and for its superior off-road ability that it makes no bones about.

See Toyota Highlander Review

2020 Toyota 4Runner Popular Comparisons

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