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While everyone waits for the updated Toyota 4Runner towing capacity, how much of an improvement can one expect from this SUV? The 2024 Toyota 4Runner is predicted to exceed last year’s numbers if it gets the rumored hybrid powertrain. However, looking at the 4Runners tow ratings throughout the generations, Toyota hasn’t changed much over the last almost 40 years. Will this sport utility vehicle break the 5,000-pound capacity curse? The 2023 Toyota 4Runner was supposed to, but it remained in line with the rest of the fifth generation.

Possible 2024 Toyota 4Runner towing capacities and other fifth-generation numbers

Competition for the 4Runner is pretty stiff for 2024, and a more efficient engine is necessary to keep up. Some suggest the engine found in the 2023 Toyota Tacoma might be up. This 3.5L V6 engine can tow 6,800 pounds, which would be a significant upgrade.

Since the automaker has not confirmed the details of the 2024 Toyota 4Runner yet, we can only assume it will improve over last year. Edmunds notes that the 2023 Toyota 4Runner can tow 5,000 pounds, which is pretty standard for an SUV of that size. Powered by the old 4.0L V6 engine that only gets 17 mpg combined, an update is necessary.

YearsToyota 4Runner Towing Capacity Generation
2017 – 20235,000 poundsFifth generation
20164,700 – 5,000 poundsFifth generation
2014 – 20154,700 poundsFifth generation
2010 – 20135,000 poundsFifth generation
2004 – 20097,000 – 7,300 poundsFourth generation
1996 – 20035,000 poundsThird generation
1986 – 19953,500 pounds with frame-mounted tow hitchSecond generation
1984 – 19852,500 to 3,000 poundsFirst generation
2024 Toyota 4Runner towing capacities could mirror previous years | MotorTrend

The fifth generation started in 2010, and the Toyota 4Runner towing capacity numbers have been pretty standard. Based on some of MotorTrend’s findings, the towing capacity has been 5,000 pounds since 2016. In 2016, Toyota offered some different trim levels that changed it up a bit. The towing capacity remained at 5,000 pounds for the SR5, SR5 Premium, and Limited with two-wheel drive. It dropped to 4,900 pounds for the Trail, Trail Premium, and TRD trims and went down to 4,700 pounds for the Limited four-wheel drive option.

Toyota 4Runner towing capacities through older generations

The 2024 Toyota 4Runner towing capacity could outnumber this generation
A Toyota 4Runner | Toyota

For 2014 and 2015, the engine capacity allowed for 4,700 pounds of towing. Even though that isn’t remarkable, these were pretty standard numbers for the time. Toyota’s engine was more powerful until 2010, which bumped the towing capacity back up to 5,000 pounds. However, not much has changed over the years. Will the 2024 Toyota 4Runner take some big leaps forward?

In the U.S., the fourth-generation 4Runner ran from the 2003 through 2009 model years. This generation was the golden years for Toyota’s SUV. It used the 4.7L DOHC V8 that the automaker called the 2UZ-FE. This engine got up to 235 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. Even though the 2024 Toyota 4Runner is supposed to get a hybrid engine option and more power, could the lack of changes throughout the generations be a sign? Historically, Toyota has not changed the engines much except for making a new, more fuel-efficient version. Will the 2024 4Runner fall victim to the same plan?

The 2004 through 2009 4Runner SUVs could tow up to 7,300 pounds with two-wheel drive and up to 7,000 pounds with four-wheel drive. Drivers needed a weight-distributing hitch on the 2007 models.

In the third generation, the Toyota 4Runner was bigger and came with a four-door configuration. These model years ran from 1996 up to 2002. 4Runners during these years utilized a 2.7L four-cylinder engine with 150 hp and a 3.4L V6 with 183 hp. Thanks to these new options, the 4Runner tow rating remained at 5,000 pounds throughout.

The 1995 4Runner could still tow enough

Back in the ’90s! This second 4Runner generation ran from 1990 through 1995 and had a full metal roof. Drivers could select four doors or two, a good selling point for Toyota. The four-door option made it more suitable for families and those with extra passengers. Toyota utilized the 3.0L V6 engine with 150 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. To get the total 3,500-pound towing capacity, the Toyota 4Runner needed a frame-mounted hitch.

This scenario remained the same throughout the rest of the years until 1985. Toyota had a few first-generation refreshes and redesigns in those early years, but the tow rating stayed the same at 3,500 pounds with a frame-mounted hitch. While numbers for 1985 and 1984 are harder to find, some brochures note the towing capacity was between 2,500 and 3,500 pounds.

The 2024 Toyota 4Runner is expected to launch the sixth generation of the SUV, and the hybrid powertrain has been highly discussed by industry experts. Specs for the 2023 Toyota 4Runner don’t offer much insight, but it remains part of the fifth generation. Toyota will have to drop some information soon if the 4Runner is going to make it off the production line for 2024.


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