And by lovable oaf, I mean that the 2020 Toyota 4Runner is like one of your best friends. But better than that. Within any circle of friends, there’s always one that’s a little slower than the others, not quite as athletic but he or she is, by far, the most loyal, dependable and trust-worthy in the gang. That’s the 4Runner among midsize SUVs.
The list of flaws that comes with the 2020 Toyota 4Runner is slightly above average. I will go over the principal ones, not that you don’t already know most if not all of them. Despite its shortcomings, given the choice and a little time to get to know it, many SUV drivers and owners would select it if mostly for its ability to never ever let you down.
From here, it only gets better.
The Toyota 4Runner, as we know it today, dates back to 2009. And like George Clooney, or Brad Pitt if you prefer, the 4Runner has aged gracefully with minimal work. Toyota did facelift the truck in 2013 but otherwise, like a new suit or t-shirt on old Brad, the 4Runner’s kept its cool.
The Venture edition slots in between the TRD Off-Road and the TRD Pro versions. It gets numerous TRD bits such as Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), locking rear differential and Crawl Control + Multi-Terrain Select not to mention the hood scoop and TRD Off Road badging. To this is added 17-inch TRD Pro wheels, TRD-inspired front bumper, Predator side steps, black mirrors, door handles, Yakima roof rack, roof spoiler, shark fin antenna, wheel arches and badging. Basically, the Venture is short on the Fox shocks and skid plates in order to make a real TRD Pro (never mind the audio system and LED fog-lamps.)
My only complaints in relations to the Venture are that colour options are crap (grey, white or black!) and that the side-steps are pointless. Relatedly, Army Green is only offered with the TRD Pro trim. Even the regular TRD Off-Road has better options with red, blue and silver. That’s it, done.
Power back glass!
Cabin-wise, there’s little to say. Room for passengers, all five, is very good. The capacious 1,300-litre boot is not quite deep but the roof height and overall width makes up for it. Also making up for whatever is the power rear glass! It’s nearly useless but incredibly cool!
As for tech, the 2020 Toyota 4Runner finally has all the modern comfort and amenities typical in a vehicle from 2016 – I’m almost kidding. Apple carplay, Androit Auto, satellite radio and more are included and accessible from the standard 8-inch touchscreen display. Within the gauge cluster, my tester also had a useful 4.2-inch info display. Unfortunately, and despite the sticker price, you won’t find a heated steering wheel, wireless charging or a power hatch.
Putting it in Drive
Driving the 2020, or 2010, Toyota 4Runner is fun, period. The 4.0-litre V6 burst to life with a familiar roar and engine fan noise. A more robust workhorse you’re unlikely to ever find again like the 15+ year old 270-horsepower and 278 lb.-ft. of torque 4.0-litre.
The V6 on its own is more than capable but it’s the standard 5-speed automatic transmission that fails it. Short on gearing, it manages to get the 4Runner up to speed smoothly if left to do its job. Rushing it however is recipe for abysmal fuel consumption which, even under reasonable driving, will never drop below that of 15L/100km.
The 4Runner’s vibe does not promote aggressive driving in the least. This is further demonstrated by the extremely plush ride. Designed for serious off-roading, the suspension and its dampers are engineered for maximum wheel travel. This is increases the level of compliancy to a point where, depending on the road’s surface, the 4Runner almost seems to float. It’s fantastic.
Once more, as a dedicated off-roader, the Toyota’s steering is heavy-ish and slow to respond, It’s not much of an issue in town but on the highway, the driver will need to be alert, more so than in a Jeep Wrangler. This is far from a fatal flaw as we adjust quickly enough.
Finally, and for the last time, the 4Runner’s 4×4 system is very real. The system is activated via a floor-mounted shifter and features a rear-locking differential and a Multi-Terrain Select 4-Wheel Crawl Control. The latter functions are activated by controls mounted on the on the ceiling console.
A Toyota Truck
With the possible exception of the Tundra and its predecessors, Toyota trucks always perform above and beyond expectations. They also tend to retain a strong resale value. At $48,120, a naked 2020 Toyota 4Runner is still ready for almost anything. The Venture adds $7,270 for a total of $55,390. Moving up to the TRD Pro brings the price up to a full $62,120.
Between all of these trims are the two 7-passenger iterations which, in my opinion, as they lack all things TRD, are not worth the money. A TRD-shod 4Runner is a near guarantee of a strong resale value.
More than likely, you’ll never turn your back on your best friend as he’ll have been the most loyal dependable truck you’ll have ever owned. If you do, you’ll regret it – it’ll feel like betrayal.