Is the Toyota 4Runner Underpowered?

The 2020 Toyota 4Runner blends old-school capabilities with new. The 4Runner is one of the few midsize SUVs that has a body-on-frame design ideal for off-roading. This Toyota is undoubtedly a charismatic performer, but does the 4Runner feel underpowered?

Power and capability 

2020 Toyota 4Runner Limited
2020 Toyota 4Runner Limited | Toyota

We aren’t exaggerating when we refer to the 4Runner as old-school. That’s putting it nicely. We often describe the 4Runner as outdated because Toyota hasn’t completely redesigned it since 2010. Like models before it, the 2020 4Runner features a 270-hp, 4.0-liter V6 that produces 278 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is also standard. 

As U.S. News highlights, most critics describe the 4Runner’s powertrain as archaic. Reviewers say that the 4Runner’s naturally aspirated V6 is increasingly loud at higher speeds. Because of this, it’s best driven at a lower velocity. Many also say that its five-speed lacks refinement. 

While the 4Runner isn’t the smoothest on concrete roads, power isn’t necessarily a problem for this SUV. The 4Runner exhibits enough power for everyday driving situations. This Toyota can tow up to 5,000 pounds with ease thanks to its truck-handling. 


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

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The 4Runner isn’t that impressive on paved streets, but it’s excellent off-road. Base models have a ground clearance of 9 inches and come with underbody skid plates. Rear-wheel drive is also standard, but there are two four-wheel-drive systems available. 

For the most optimal off-roading experience the 4Runner has to offer, you’ll want to consider the TRD variants. The 4Runner TRD- Pro adds Fox 2.5″ shocks, TRD springs, and Nitto Terra Grappler all-terrain tires. Additionally, the TRD-Pro model has a 1-inch lift compared to the base model and 9.6 inches of ground clearance. 

Interior elements 

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

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On the inside, the 4Runner is a mixed bag. Its car cabin has a rugged design to match its exterior. But as Consumer Reports noted, the cheap plastic finishings are a drawback for an SUV that starts at $36,120. The 4Runner’s standard configuration seats five; the optional third-row boosts seating up to seven. Although, the 4Runner’s third-row is rather pointless

Cloth upholstery is standard on this Toyota with faux leather and genuine leather available as upgrades. Other amenities include heated and cooled front seats. Overall, the 4Runner is pretty comfortable to ride in, and its tech offerings are a bright spot.

The 4Runner gets bonus points for its user-friendly infotainment system. It comes with an 8-inch touchscreen plus Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa. Additional features include HD Radio, a navigation function, and voice recognition. The 4Runnner also comes with an active safety suite that includes forward-collision warning, lane departure warning, and pedestrian detection. 

Should I get a new 4Runner?

It’s not a bad idea to buy a 4Runner used to save money. Plus, the 4Runner is one of the most reliable SUVs you can buy according to Consumer Reports. But if you want some of the latest modern technology, it’s worth getting the 2020 version. It’s also worth considering 4Runner class rivals like the Jeep Grand Cherokee.