Saturday, January 28, 2023
Should-you-buy Should You Buy a 2021 Toyota 4Runner?

Should You Buy a 2021 Toyota 4Runner?

Built to last

  • It starts at $46,200 in Canada and $36,590 in the United States.

  • New for this year is the 4Runner Trail.

  • In Toyota’s lineup since 1984.


Those who know me know that I love technology. I read about new gadgets and I love to test them; in a nutshell, I’m a bit of a geek. Technology is part of my daily life, and I wouldn’t change that for anything.

That said, no matter how much I like my Apple Watch, sometimes nothing beats my old reliable and very analog Timex. You know, the one that’s always there when you need a non-rechargeable watch for your camping trip or just the one you want to wear when you need a small break from those oh-so-many popups that makes your wrist vibrate every minute? Yeah, that one.

Once in a while, it’s good to take a step back and remind yourself that less is more, that you don’t need everything to be a screen and fully digital. You need something that will stand the test of time, that won’t require an update every six months. My Timex was just an example. Another great one would be the Toyota 4Runner.

In Toyota’s lineup since 1984, the 4Runner is one of the longest-lasting SUVs to reach 200k Miles (320,000 km), according to a recent study by iSeeCars, where it ranked in the Top 5. This says a lot about the product. It’s built to last.

My tester was the new-for-2021 4Runner Trail, the entry-level model with a base price of $46,200. It features 17” dark grey TRD off-road wheels, a Yakima roof basket, black badging overlays, colour-keyed Toyota cooler, rear sliding cargo tray, and black fabric seat cladding highlighted with tan stitching. Only two colours are available for this trim, Cement Grey, which I had, and Army Green (exclusive to the Trail).

2021 Toyota 4Runner Trail | Photo: Toyota

Why you should buy a 2021 Toyota 4Runner:

  • This Toyota is ready for everything. The 4Runner is built to last forever, both in terms of design and powertrain. Even though the rugged body design dates back to 2009, with a facelift in 2014, it still looks good more than ten years later.
  • Speaking of looks, the 4Runner offers ample interior space thanks, in part, to its boxy design. Cargo space is also very generous, with a capacity of 1,337 litres. To add to that, as a photographer, I fell in love with the rear sliding cargo tray. It was a breeze accessing my gear in the trunk.
  • Its legendary off-road capabilities. The Toyota 4Runner is designed to tackle some post-apocalyptical scenarios and not break a sweat. Just take a look at the 4Runner TRD Off-Road featuring, among other things, Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, Multi-Terrain Select System, Crawl Control and a rear differential lock. If you think that’s not enough, the TRD Pro variant adds front and rear Fox shock absorbers and a TRD front skid plate.

2021 Toyota 4Runner Trail | Photo: Toyota

Why you should not buy a 2021 Toyota 4Runner:

  • Its fuel economy. During my week with the 2021 4Runner, I averaged a woeful 19 L/100 km. While the 4.0-litre V6 and five-speed automatic transmission are sturdy, they are old, even archaic.
  • The 4Runner feels like it’s a few years behind when it comes to technologies. Last year, for the 2020 model year, Toyota added some standard features that were overdue, like Toyota Safety Sense, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, dual-zone automatic air conditioning and a 4.2” full-colour multi-information display. Although this helped quite a lot, the interior layout shows its age.

2021 Toyota 4Runner Trail | Photo: Toyota

Yes, the 4Runner is old. Yes, its powertrain is even older. Yes, it’s terrible to drive daily, especially on the highway (but at the same time, it’s incredible). Yes, it drinks fuel like a hypercar going full throttle. But once you hit the trails, none of that matters anymore. The 4Runner is a serious off-roader, not a jack-of-all-trades.

If you’re shopping for a Toyota 4Runner you probably know you want one. It’s essentially alone in its category, the body-on-frame off-roader can maybe be compared to the Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. But can it really? You buy the Toyota because of its face value; you know that what you see is what you get. It’s that simple.

Again, the 2021 Toyota 4Runner has a roomy cabin, massive trunk, roof basket, off-roading capabilities, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and LED headlights and fog lamps that make it a capable and refined midsize SUV, in its own way. Don’t forget its legendary reliability in addition to its excellent resale value.

In the end, the fact that sales are steadily rising year over year in the United States shows that the Toyota 4Runner is still very relevant in today’s market. Those sales figures speak for themselves as strong demand remains for this true off-roader.

2021 Toyota 4Runner Trail | Photo: Toyota

2021 Toyota 4Runner Trail | Photo: Toyota

2021 Toyota 4Runner Trail | Photo: Toyota

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