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Original MSRP: $31,090 - $40,630
MPG: 17 City / 23 Hwy
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2012 Toyota 4Runner Review

Review Last Updated: 10/10/13

These scores and this review are from when the car was new.

Though reviewers agree the 2012 Toyota 4Runner is a fantastic off-road companion, shoppers looking for an SUV for family duty have better choices.

There’s no doubt that the Toyota 4Runner is a rough-and-ready four-by-four that’s ready to hit the trail whenever you are. That’s part of its appeal: It’s one of the best SUVs for a backwoods adventure. The 4Runner’s interior features are easy to use, it has high-tech off-road aids, tons of interior space for your gear and its optional suspension is capable off the beaten track.

However, the characteristics that make the 4Runner excellent off-road make it less pleasant than some rivals on-road. Its third row is cramped for adult passengers, and putting passengers in the third-row seats reduces the cargo space significantly. Plus, the suspension that makes the 4Runner so capable on the trail makes it less pleasant than car-based crossovers during weekly commutes.

Test drivers say that overall, the Toyota 4Runner is a good SUV for those traveling to remote, unpaved locations. However, if you’re just driving the kids to school in the snow or going to and from work on the highway, you’ll be more comfortable in a crossover SUV.

Other SUVs to Consider

If you truly need the Toyota 4Runner for its off-road prowess, consider the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Not only is it far more comfortable inside, but has a terrain-response selector that’s similar to the one in the Toyota. The Grand Cherokee only seats five, but since the 4Runner’s third row of seats isn’t very comfortable, it might not be a big sacrifice. Plus, the Grand Cherokee was redesigned for 2011, and now test drivers say the Grand Cherokee is one of the most comfortable off-road SUVs to use for on-road duties.

Shoppers who can sacrifice a bit of down-in-the-dirt capability but still need seven seats should consider the Chevrolet Traverse. Reviewers say its third row is one of the most comfortable in its class, and it has a lot more cargo space than the 4Runner. Plus, it can be outfitted much more luxuriously than most truck-based off-roaders, let alone the Toyota 4Runner. Finally, the Traverse costs a few thousand dollars less than the 4Runner, so you can spend that extra cash adding even more features.

Details: Toyota 4Runner

The Toyota 4Runner comes in three trims: the base SR5, the upscale Limited and the rugged Trail trim. For 2012, Toyota’s base stereo system adds standard satellite radio, a USB jack and Bluetooth audio streaming.

See the full list of 2012 Toyota 4Runner specifications.

  • "Redesigned for 2010, Toyota’s original SUV is returning to its roots as a pickup-based mudslinger that is also comfortable on the street. Think four-door FJ Cruiser.” -- Car and Driver
  • "For the relatively few drivers who require an all-conquering, all-terrain SUV, the … Toyota 4Runner is a top choice. Those city folk who need more passenger space and less off-road capability would be better served by a car-based crossover SUV.” -- Edmunds
  • “Toyota loyalists with true wanderlust, but who think the company's Land Cruiser is too expensive, will find enough to like here. Everyone else would be better served shopping elsewhere.” -- Consumer Guide

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