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Buying a Toyota 4Runner Is a Great Defense Against Depreciation

Although the Toyota 4Runner recently received several valuable updates, it didn’t really need them to be popular. The 4Runner, especially the off-road TRD Pro model, recently enjoyed one of its best sales years. No, even with its updates it isn’t the most advanced SUV, but fans seem to prefer it that way. Owners keep their SUVs for 200,000 miles and beyond, and Consumer Reports gives it an excellent reliability rating. All these play into why the Toyota 4Runner is really good at resisting depreciation.

How the Toyota 4Runner ranks in depreciation

iSeeCars recently analyzed over 7 million new and used vehicles to determine which were the best and worst at retaining value. Overall, over a 5-year period, the site found a vehicle loses 49.6% of its value to depreciation. SUVs did slightly worse: the average SUV lost 51.6% over the same 5-year period.

2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro
2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro | Toyota

The Toyota 4Runner, however, lost only 36.5% of its value. Only the Jeep Wrangler retained its value better amongst SUVs. In fact, not only was the 4Runner the #3 least-depreciating SUV, it ranked 5th in the Top 10 vehicles with the lowest depreciation. The only vehicles that did better were the Jeep Wrangler, and the Toyota Tacoma and Tundra. And the latter two are the #1 and #2 least-depreciating pickup trucks.

2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD
2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD | Toyota

The Toyota 4Runner, particularly the TRD Pro, can hold its value so well, that used ones sometimes sell for more than new.

Why it retains its value so well

Even with its recent updates, the 4Runner remains an old-school SUV. Heavy body-on-frame design, 5-speed transmission, and a 4.0-liter V6. The infotainment system was also rather dated until recently, as was the safety equipment. And even now, you still can’t get automatic braking.

2020 Toyota 4Runner Venture Edition
2020 Toyota 4Runner Venture Edition | Toyota

But it’s precisely because of its dinosaur-like design that the 4Runner is so popular. As Autoblog points out, no one really makes an SUV like this anymore. iSeeCar’s CEO Phong Ly stated that the 4Runner is “built like a truck and has truck-like durability.” It has a reputation for being tough and dependable, as do indeed many other Toyota trucks and SUVs. Such a loyal following and positive perception make for high resale values. And because the model’s been in production so long, Toyota’s basically ironed-out all the bugs.

2020 Toyota 4Runner Venture Edition
2020 Toyota 4Runner Venture Edition | Toyota

Plus, the TRD Pro comes with useful off-road features like a locking rear differential, bypass shocks, and skid plates. Then there’s the Venture Edition, which adds things like a steel roof rack and the TRD Pro’s Crawl Control. Basically, as Autotrader described, the 4Runner is the Land Cruiser that many buyers wish Toyota still made.

Other things to consider before buying a Toyota 4Runner

2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro
2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro | Toyota

There are some drawbacks to the 4Runner’s vintage design. Although Toyota has added safety features like pre-collision and lane-departure warning, there’s no blind-spot monitoring. The IIHS ranked its headlights “Poor” and gave it a “Marginal” score in the small overlap test. The NHTSA did give it 4 stars, though. But considering the current state of the IIHS SUV testing, these results should be carefully considered before putting a family into a 4Runner.

2020 Toyota 4Runner interior
2020 Toyota 4Runner interior | Toyota

Car and Driver noted that the interior was plasticky, though rugged. Both Car and Driver and Consumer Reports also noted that the SUV rides a bit rough, a common issue with off-road SUVs. The V6 and 5-speed transmission also make for rather poor fuel economy: Car and Driver only got 19 mpg on the highway. And while the TRD Pro and Venture Edition are excellent off-roaders, not every 4Runner comes with four-wheel drive. The entry-level one is rear-wheel drive, and the Limited’s 4WD is only part-time.

Stepping up to the TRD Pro can also be rather expensive. The base 4Runner starts at $36,020 while the TRD Pro starts at $49,765. However, Toyota does offer two years (or 25,000 miles) of complimentary service. Still, based on owner reports, the SUV will be in the family for far longer than its 5-year/60,000-mile warranty.