The 2020 Toyota 4Runner starts at $36,120 in the United States and at $48,120 in Canada, both before freight and delivery charges.
Versatility, off-road prowess, bulletproof reliability.
Gas hog, archaic powertrain, messy interior design.
The 2020 Toyota 4Runner is no spring chicken. The current generation of this off-road SUV was introduced on our market for the 2010 model year. Eleven years without any major changes is a long time in the automotive industry, where manufacturers spend billions of dollars to develop innovative and cutting-edge technologies to seduce customers.
As such, the archaic 4Runner should be struggling on the sales charts and lag behind more modern competitors. However, it’s gaining popularity year after year—excluding the 2020 calendar year for reasons we all know. It even seems to be serving as a design and attitude inspiration for other models such as the Toyota RAV4, which is now available in Trail and TRD Off-Road variants. Yes, rugged-appearance utility vehicles are trending right now, something the 4Runner has been all along.
In the United States, the 2020 Toyota 4Runner is available in SR5 and SR5 Premium trim levels—all of which can be configured with a 2WD or a part-time 4WD setup. The latter is standard on TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, Venture Special Edition and TRD Pro, while the Limited and Nightshade Special Edition grades can be specified in 2WD and full-time 4WD guise. Meanwhile in Canada, the 4Runner is offered in base, TRD Off-Road, Limited 7 Passenger, Venture, Nightshade 7 Passenger and TRD Pro, with the same drivetrain configurations as in the U.S.
In every one of those, there’s a 4.0-litre V6 engine that develops 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. Don’t look for modern features such as cylinder deactivation and automatic stop/start technology here, and the engine is mated to a just-as-old five-speed automatic transmission. The 2020 Toyota 4Runner boasts city/highway/combined ratings of 16/19/17 mpg in the United States, and of 14.8/12.5/13.8 L/100 km in Canada.
The midsize SUV offers room for five passenger, or seven when we opt for the third-row seat. It’s optional on SR5, SR5 Premium, Limited and Nightshade trims south of the border, and on Limited and Nightshade up north. Cargo space amounts to 47.2 cubic feet (1,337 litres) with the second-row seatbacks in place, and 89.7 cubic feet (2,540 litres) with the seats folded down. Also available is a slide-out tray for tailgate parties or, included in certain trims, a roof-mounted luggage basket.
Standard features include a power-operated rear window, 17-inch alloy wheels, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert and lane keep assist, automatic high beams as well as an infotainment system with eight-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration. Also available are heated and ventilated front seats, navigation, a power sunroof, Connected Services by Toyota, 20-inch wheels, leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, a 15-speaker JBL sound system as well as front and rear park sonar.
Pricing ranges from $36,120 to $49,865 for the 2020 Toyota 4Runner in the U.S. before adding freight and delivery charges of $1,125. In Canada, the SUV ranges from $48,120 to $62,120 before tacking on $1,840 in freight and delivery charges. It compares with the Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited, the Jeep Grand Cherokee and upcoming Ford Bronco.
Why You Should Buy the 2020 Toyota 4Runner
- The 4Runner is built to last. It benefits from an excellent reputation for reliability, and resale value is way up there, too.
- Toyota’s SUV has nothing to prove anymore regarding off-road capability. While any 4WD version can hit the trails with a two-speed transfer case (with the part-time system), great ground clearance as well as generous approach and departure angles, the TRD Off-Road variants also benefit from Hill Start Assist Control, a Multi-terrain mode system and Crawl Control for tiptoeing over treacherous terrain. The 4Runner TRD Pro is the ultimate off-roading variant, serving up FOX shocks with TRD-tuned front springs as well.
- The 4Runner’s square shape and high roofline make for plenty of passenger space up front and in the second row. There’s obviously less room in the third row, but adults can ride back there on short trips without complaining too much.
- Ride quality might not be as good as with the Grand Cherokee, which is almost as old, but it’s more refined than in the Wrangler Unlimited—although the latter did improve quite a bit during its last redesign.
- Cargo space is generous for a midsize SUV, even though some indirect competitors can do better, such as the Honda Passport, the Honda Pilot and the Chevrolet Traverse—which are nowhere near as capable off the beaten path.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2020 Toyota 4Runner
- First and foremost, the 4Runner is a gas hog. With a body-on-frame chassis, a prehistoric transmission and very little in terms of fuel-saving technology, it’s one of the worst in its segment.
- This is purely subjective, but despite boasting a rugged look that’s pleasing many buyers, the 4Runner’s exterior design lacks cohesion. The interior is just as messy, with a mishmash of forms, textures and surfaces.
- We don’t think running board or side steps belong on an off-road machine like this one, although we understand that very few people will hit the trails with their 4Runner. The optional Predator side steps not only add weight to the vehicle, but they’re not that useful for climbing aboard.
- There are many advanced safety features aboard the 2020 Toyota 4Runner, but it lacks important items like blind-spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.
- Those looking for a pure off-roading SUV will find more configurations, powertrain choices and customizing options in the Wrangler, and it looks as though the Bronco will offer a similar variety.
The 2020 Toyota 4Runner isn’t a technologically advanced vehicle, and it sure has an appetite for fuel. However, its age doesn’t stop it from attracting more and more buyers who appreciate its solid feel and bulletproof reliability. Not to mention its great versatility as a family vehicle.