The Toyota 4 Runner has been around since 1980 and it offers a lot of essentials that you would expect from a compact truck or small SUV. This five passenger vehicle brings the rugged truck strength that you would expect from Toyota in a midsized SUV body. Starting at $29,529 the 4Runner is not the cheapest model in its class, but it does offer a very strong value for the price. Some consider this model to be a truck based crossover, but without convoluting the situation, this four door 4 WD vehicle offers much the same styling found in the Jeep Grand Cherokee at about the same price.

The 2011 model is slightly longer and wider than the previous models and this translates into more interior room for the passengers and even a little extra cargo room for those who are looking for extra room to store camping gear of vacation baggage. The 4Runner is ready for any off road experience and offers big clearance that allows for it to move effortlessly across even the most rugged terrain. The standard engine in the 4Runner offers 270 horsepower which gives it plenty of go go juice.

Body styles: SUV
Engines: 2.7L I-4, 4.0L V-6
Transmissions: 4-speed automatic, 6-speed automatic
Models: SR5, Trail, Limited

We were hoping for the addition of the company’s new 4.6L V-8 as an option, but that hasn’t happened. In fact, there are only minor changes for 2011: the sport/utility vehicle receives a new brake override system. In addition, the sliding cargo tray/cargo organizer is a standalone option on two-row Limited models; the cargo organizer is a separate option on Trail models.

The new 4Runner is bigger, more rugged-looking, and bolder than before, with a bold, in-your-face style that screams off-road. The 4Runner Trail Edition adds black fender flares, grille, utility roof rack, and the hood received a hood scoop. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard; 20-inchers are optional.

Five-passenger seating is standard for the 4Runner, and room for seven is optional. All 4Runners come standard with an eight-speaker audio system, tailgate party audio, a slide-out cargo tray, and an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support.

While the 4Runner excels off-road – Toyota tested it at speed in the Baja 1000 and as a slow rock-crawler on the world-famous Rubicon Trail — it is surprisingly capable on the road as well. While its body-on-frame architecture and live rear axle can make for a bouncy ride, its steering is linear and responsive, and its brakes are responsive and easy to modulate. The 4.0-liter V-6 4Runner reaches 60 mph in 7.8 seconds.

Driver and front passenger airbags are standard, as are front seat-mounted side airbags, roll-sensing side curtain airbags for all rows, and dual front knee airbags. Stability control, traction control, and ABS with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist are also standard.

SR5: 17-18 mpg city/22-23 mpg highway
Trail: 17 mpg city/22 mpg highway
Limited: 17 mpg city/22-23 mpg highway

  • Off-road capability
  • Sliding cargo tray
  • Cool styling
  • Seven-passenger capability
  • No V-8 option
  • Heavy curb weight
  • Bouncy ride
  • Cluttered gauge layout

Cool, capable off-roader


  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Nissan Xterra
  • Kia Borrego

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