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#14

in Affordable Midsize SUVs

MSRP: $33,010 - $43,420
Invoice: $30,369 - $39,945
MPG: 17 City / 22 Hwy
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Toyota 4Runner Review

The 2015 Toyota 4Runner ranks 14 out of 15 Affordable Midsize SUVs. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Toyota 4Runner, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2015 Toyota 4Runner is ranked:

The 2015 Toyota 4Runner is appealing for its serious off-road capability and rugged demeanor, but more modern rivals have nicer cabins and better ride quality, reviewers say.

The 2015 4Runner has a V6 engine that most reviewers say has sufficient power. However, many critics comment that the 4Runner isn't as sprightly as rivals because its automatic transmission only has five gears, whereas most rivals' transmissions have six or more. At an EPA-estimated 17/22 mpg city/highway, the 4Runner's fuel economy is a bit low for the class. Test drivers say the Toyota 4Runner is a very capable off-road SUV, adding that it rides fairly softly on pavement for an off-roader. Unlike most SUVs in the segment, the 4Runner is not a car-based crossover SUV, and some reviewers find that it doesn’t ride as comfortably as many rivals, and they note that its steering offers little feedback.

Some test drivers appreciate the rugged, simple appearance of the 2015 Toyota 4Runner's dashboard, but others are put off by its cheap interior materials. Not all test drivers agree that the front seats are supportive enough, and some say the second row could be mounted higher. They agree that the optional third row offers adequate space for kids, but is too small for adults to fit comfortably. Compared with two-row SUVs, the 4Runner offers a good amount of cargo space, though a number of three-row competitors offer more overall. Standard features include a rearview camera, a USB port, Bluetooth and Toyota's Entune infotainment system with a 6.1-inch touch screen. A 15-speaker JBL audio system, dual-zone automatic climate control and navigation are optional. Several critics comment that Entune has a confusing menu structure and is slow to respond to commands.

  • "Softer crossover SUVs with adventurous sounding names like Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse and Dodge Durango may offer advanced 4-wheel-drive (4WD) systems, but they are not designed to roll over boulders, logs or other immovable objects the way a 4Runner can. Its poor fuel economy and a somewhat truck-like ride aside, Toyota's rugged 4Runner SUV can rival its crossover competitors for on-road performance. …" -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "With a few exceptions, automakers simply aren't making SUVs like the 4Runner anymore. That's a shame, because the 4Runner is a well-rounded vehicle. In addition to its off-road ability, it boasts an available third-row seat and a decent array of technology features. You don't have to be a hardcore adventurer to appreciate the 4Runner's appeal, because it's pretty good at being civilized, too." -- AutoTrader
  • "Even with a refresh that's hot off the griddle, the 4Runner offers little in the way of on-road refinement. An archaic driveline, iffy fuel economy, and woeful dynamics are stark reminders that body-on-frame SUVs lost their luster for a reason." -- Road and Track (2014)
  • "With the 2014 4Runner, Toyota continues to appeal to a niche of buyers that want the knowledge that they can go anywhere in their SUV, and that SUV is tough enough to take it. No, the 4Runner doesn't feel like a Highlander on road, and it shouldn't. What it offers is a unique driving experience, one that doesn't have to end when the pavement does." -- Truck Trend (2014)

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Other SUVs to Consider

Test drivers say the Nissan Pathfinder has an adult-friendly third row, an upscale cabin and a cushioned ride on pavement. The Pathfinder also has more cargo space behind the third row and gets better fuel economy than the 4Runner.

The five-seat Jeep Grand Cherokee is revered for its off-road capability in addition to its well-mannered ride. Reviewers like the Grand Cherokee’s responsive eight-speed automatic transmission, as well as its first-rate cabin materials.

Compare the 4Runner, Pathfinder and Grand Cherokee »

Details: 2015 Toyota 4Runner

The 2015 Toyota 4Runner seats five, or seven with an optional third row. Rear-wheel drive is standard and four-wheel drive is optional. A 4.0-liter V6 engine and five-speed automatic transmission are standard. The 4Runner is available in six trims: SR5, SR5 Premium, Trail, Trail Premium, Limited and new-for-2015 TRD Pro Series. Aside from the new TRD Pro Series model, the 4Runner sees few changes for 2015. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2010 through 2015 model years.

See 2015 Toyota 4Runner specs »

Review Last Updated: 11/17/14

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