Despite being the elder statesman of the mid-size SUV segment, the 2022 Toyota 4Runner is one of the only ones left that are as rugged as advertised. This image is enhanced by the solid ladder frame and robust V-6 engine. They are ideal for exploring trails, especially when combined with the range’s off-road-ready models, but they are not the best fuel economy and refinement. The 4Runner’s slender and tall shape provides a large interior and cargo space; However, the materials inside appear cheap. Toyota takes advantage of the popular off-roader’s aging appearance with an array of regular driver assistance features, like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping aid. However, this isn’t enough to bring the new 4Runner as modern or desirable as the most recent Jeep Wrangler.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Every 4Runner is motivated by a 270-hp 4.0-liter V-6 paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. Available with rear-wheel drive and either full- or part-time four-wheel-drive systems, the outdated powertrain provides the unremarkable acceleration, with the last version we tested took 7.7 seconds to hit 60 mph. The auto’s lukewarm responses aren’t a good way to optimize the engine’s unsteady behavior and downshifts usually require big right-foot inputs to push the 4Runner forward. However, the Toyota is more stable on the road than the bulkier Wrangler. Our experience behind the steering wheel of the off-road-focused Venture model showcased its impressive ground clearance. Its body-on-frame design was supported by the soft suspension, which absorbed the varying conditions. The steering in the 4Runner is unresponsive and weighted. Even though these attributes don’t give any sporty vibe, they’re perfectly suited for walking through trails and parking spaces. While it’s old, the Toyota is in motion, and its performance is compared to the more recent competitors, such as its rival, the V-6 Dodge Durango. The Toyota’s sturdy frame and powerful engine help it get over the competition for towing. The capacity of 5000 pounds is higher than those of the Ford Edge and Wrangler, but it isn’t as powerful as Durango’s higher-powered 8700-pound limit.
The powertrains of the 4Runner have seen their age at the pump, with each model being rated at just 16 mpg in city driving and 19 miles per gallon on the highway. In comparison, the V-6-powered Wrangler offers a much higher estimate of 19 mpg in the city and 24 highway. The last time we tested the 4Runner in our highway 75-mph fuel efficiency test, a part of our rigorous testing routine was able to surpass expectations, producing 22 mpg. Go to the EPA’s website for more information on the 4Runner’s fuel efficiency.
The interior of the 4Runner is not what you’d call state-of-the-art, with switchgear that could have come from the latter years of the last millennium. Lackluster materials and styling aside, it manages to comfortably fit humans front and rear in spite of its back-of-the-class interior measurements. We haven’t yet tested the third-row option. However, we think it’s best suited for children. Large, flexible cargo space and numerous deep, spacious storage compartments on the first row indicate that the 4Runner is as adaptable as a hauler as a rock crawler. Be careful not to lift something into the cargo area without an injury to your spine, and the flooring is uncomfortable high above the ground. The two-row models we looked at had an extra cargo deck with a pull-out designed to make unloading and loading large objects up to 440 pounds less difficult. It also functions as a tailgate that seats. It provides a flat load floor when the seats in the second-row fold-down but reduces the cargo hold by some inches in height. However, we can put 14 carry-ons in on the other row.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every 4Runner features an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The interface includes a set of physical buttons as well as rotary volume and tuning knobs. The system comes standard with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot. A built-in navigation system and a 15-speaker JBL audio system are available upgrades.