Among midsize SUVs, the 4Runner is the most SUV-like of the segment. This legendary machine is built the old fashioned way: body-on-frame construction with a solid rear axle, just as it has been since its 1984 introduction. Intended for drivers who find newer crossovers not capable enough, the current fourth-generation 4Runner went on sale way back in 2010. Toyota crossovers like the RAV4, Venza, or Highlander can't match the 4Runner's ruggedness.
Color us a bit surprised that the 4Runner survives for 2022—the long-running Toyota extends its status of being one of the oldest cars on sale. This generation has been on sale since 2010, and it shows everywhere you look. Compared to newer crossovers, the 4Runner's road manners, technology, efficiency, and safety are well behind the curve.
So what does the 4Runner have going for it? An excellent IntelliChoice value rating, and time-tested off-road capability. Especially in its TRD Off-Road variants, the 4Runner has hardware that enables it to venture well off the beaten path. Few crossovers can take on challenging terrain like it can. That's kept the 4Runner a favorite among off-road enthusiasts and those who like an overland-y aesthetic.
If you're not an off-road enthusiast, though, we can't recommend the 2022 4Runner. Any comparably priced and sized crossover will serve you much better as a regular driver on paved surfaces. Most of those are also quicker, more efficient, more comfortable, and have more modern infotainment and driver-assist features. New isn't necessarily better, but the 4Runner's age is a limiting factor. For drivers who want to get down and dirty, however, it's a solid choice.
The 4Runner is powered exclusively by a 4.0-liter V-6 producing 270 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque. Connected to an old-school five-speed automatic transmission, it routes output to standard RWD or available 4WD. In MotorTrend testing, 0-60 mph acceleration took between 7.5 and 8.0 seconds depending on trim. Fuel efficiency should come in at about 16/19 mpg city/highway for RWD and 4WD models.
Mediocre safety ratings evidence the 4Runner's age. From the NHTSA, the mechanically identical 2021 model earned a four-star overall safety rating out of a possible five stars. Side crash protection was five stars, and front impact was four stars, but rollover protection was only three stars. From the IIHS, the 2021 4Runner earned the top Good score in four crashworthiness tests, and the second-lowest Marginal score in the driver's-side small front overlap test.
For 2022, LED headlights and fog lamps become standard equipment. All 4Runner models are equipped with eight airbags. Driver-assist and active safety features include front automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams. Adaptive cruise control is also standard, but it's an older system that does not work below 25 mph.
The 2022 4Runner has a standard two-row, five-seat arrangement, but SR5, SR5 Premium, and Limited trims are offered with an optional third row that increases seating capacity to seven.
Front-row headroom measures 39.3 inches in the 4Runner, slightly less than the 40.1 inches offered by the Subaru Outback. Second-row headroom is 38.6 inches in the 4Runner, less than the Outback's 39.1 inches. Front-row legroom is 41.7 inches in the 4Runner, and 42.8 inches in the Outback. There's much less second-row legroom in the 4Runner, which has just 32.9 inches to the Outback's 39.5 inches. True, the Toyota offers a third-row seat while the Subaru does not. However, it's tiny back there—headroom measures 34.3 inches, and legroom just 29.3 inches.
Cargo space in the 4Runner is 47.2 cubic feet behind the second row seats, or 89.7 cubic feet with the second row folded. That's more than the Outback, which offers 32.5 cubic feet behind its second row, or 75.5 when those seats are folded.
All 4Runner models are equipped with an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen. Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, while built-in navigation is included on higher-end trims. A 15-speaker JBL premium sound system is available to replace the standard eight-speaker setup. Five USB ports are positioned throughout the cabin.
The 2022 4Runner range is broad and can be a bit confusing—which one should you get? We'd choose the SR5 Premium trim, which costs about $41,000. One step above the approximately $38,000 entry-level 4Runner SR5, it adds niceties like leatherette upholstery, heated power-adjustable front seats, a 40/20/40 split-folding second row, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Frankly SR5 Premium isn't much nicer than the basic SR5, which has keyless entry with push-button start, an 8.0-inch infotainment display, and LED headlights. But the SR5 Premium seems like a slightly nicer place to spend time.
Why not a rugged TRD model? If you're going to go off-roading frequently, one of those could be a good choice. Otherwise, you're paying for hardware you just won't use—over $52,000 for a TRD Pro model. Don't discount the SR5 Premium's standard capability, or forget that there's a robust aftermarket to build your 4Runner however you like.
Why not a high-end 4Runner Limited? At about $49,000 it might be the most luxurious 4Runner, but it's not nearly as luxurious as some newer crossovers. Toyota's own Venza or Highlander are plusher, more fuel efficient, and less expensive. That's true too of segment competitors like the Subaru Outback or Jeep Grand Cherokee, which have better road manners and retain good off-road capability.
TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development. In the case of the 4Runner, the badge generally signifies trims that have been tuned for off-road performance. In addition to standard 4WD, 4Runner TRD Off-Road models have underbody skid plates, a locking rear differential, a hood scoop, and mudflaps. Trail-oriented technology like drive modes for different terrain, low-speed cruise control, and hill brake hold is also included.
The 4Runner TRD Pro is equipped with the most off-road-oriented hardware. It gets Fox shock absorbers and specially tuned springs. Black-painted 17-inch wheels are wrapped in large-diameter all-terrain tires. Its front skid plate is heavier-duty and stamped with the TRD Pro badge. Other exterior signifiers on the TRD Pro model are black badges, a unique grille with bold TOYOTA lettering, and a roof rack.
New for 2022 is the 4Runner TRD Sport, which takes a road-oriented performance approach. Key to that is its X-REAS suspension system, which uses cross-linked dampers that adjust relative to one another based on road conditions. The system works to keep handling more level and stable than soft off-road suspension setups would. Other 4Runner TRD Sport equipment includes 20-inch alloy wheels, additional body-color exterior trim, and gray interior contrast stitching. Unlike TRD Off-Road models which have 4WD standard, the 4Runner TRD Sport is also available with RWD.
|$500||Toyota announces a College Graduate Rebate on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||04-04-2022|
|$1000||Toyota announces Bonus Cash on select models for eligible current owners. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||04-04-2022|
|$750||Toyota announces a Military Rebate on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||01-31-2022|
|$500||Toyota announces a Military Rebate on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||04-04-2022|
|$750||Toyota announces Bonus Cash on select models for eligible current owners. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||01-31-2022|