How Reliable Is the Toyota 4Runner?

Toyota is a brand that consistently receives praise for its reliability. It recently ranked third on Consumer Reports’ list of top 10 automakers that make the most reliable cars. But does that sterling reputation apply to all vehicles in the carmaker’s lineup, even the ones that haven’t been updated all that much? 

One example we’re thinking of is the Toyota 4Runner. It’s a sturdy, solid and off-road-capable midsize SUV. But it hasn’t seen much in the way of major updates for a decade. So, what we want to know is: how reliable is the aging 4Runner? We’ll look at Consumer Reports’ data on this vehicle.

How the Toyota 4Runner rates according to Consumer Reports

The Toyota 4Runner displayed at the Annual Chicago Auto Show
The Toyota 4Runner | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

The 2020 Toyota 4Runner has an overall score of 65 of 100. Its predicted reliability score is a five out of five. The predicted reliability score is the average of the overall reliability verdict score of the most recent model years. 

But since the 2020 4Runner has no information about potential trouble spots, we’ll take a look at the 2019 model year. Like the 2020 model year, the 2019 4Runner has a predicted reliability score of five out of five. For the 2019 model, the overall reliability verdict was the highest.

All 17 trouble spots for this model year received five-out-of-five ratings, which means that, on average, the 4Runner had the fewest problems compared to other models in the segment. These trouble spots include important components and systems such as the engine, transmission, brakes, and electrical system.

The only stumbling block for this model year is that it’s had three NHTSA recalls. One was for loose fasteners for steering components. The other two were for hard-to-read labeling for the SUV’s load capacity.

Comparing the Toyota Highlander to the 4Runner

Consumer Reports’ information for the reliability of both 2019 and 2020 model years of the Toyota 4Runner is helpful, but we might want to dig a little deeper and look at related models for comparison.

For example, the 2019 Toyota Highlander scored 85 out of 100 overall. It also won Consumer Reports’ Recommended designation. Both the 2019 and the 2020 model years had a predicted reliability score of four out of five. CR is in the process of testing the 2020 Highlander, but the 2019 version scored a four out of five for predicted reliability. This is only slightly worse than previous years of this model, all of which score five out of five in this category all the way back to 2010.

In-car electronics were the only real trouble spot for the Highlander with a score of two of five. All other trouble spots scored five out of five with the fewest amount of problems. There was a NHTSA recall, however, which was the same as the 4Runner’s hard-to-read labeling recall for load capacity.

Checking the Toyota Sequoia’s reliability

Like the Toyota 4Runner and the Highlander, the Sequoia’s predicted reliability scores for both the 2019 and 2020 model years were five out of five. Both years earned an overall score of 73 out of 100 from Consumer Reports. Both model years have a predictability rating score of five out of five.

And as with the Highlander, CR has given the Toyota Sequoia its Recommended badge. It also tops the comparison chart with other models for reliability with a score of 92 percent. Other SUVs that scored lower include the GMC Yukon, the Ford Expedition, and the GMC Yukon XL. 

There is no data for trouble spots for either the 2019 or the 2020 Sequoia. But all trouble spots listed for the 2018 model year scored five out of five with the exception of minor engine problems and body integrity, which scored four out of five.

The final verdict

The Toyota 4Runner is a very reliable SUV. It has no glaring trouble spots and its predicted reliability for the newer models is excellent. While it did have three NHTSA recalls, the overall reliability verdict for the 2019 model year was also at the top.

The Toyota 4Runner’s outstanding reliability is supported by CR’s reliability scores for its brand siblings, the Highlander and the Sequoia. Although the Toyota Highlander‘s predicted reliability score was four out of five, both it and the Sequoia had top scores for their overall reliability verdicts. Any of these three Toyota SUVs would be highly reliable vehicles. But we’d say that the Toyota 4Runner, despite its lack of updates, is the one to choose if you want a very dependable offroader.