What Is the Most Reliable Used Toyota 4Runner Model Year?

The Toyota 4Runner is a well-loved rugged SUV that Toyota originally released in the 1980s. Those throwback models are pretty cool, but those looking for a reliable used SUV are more likely to shop in the fourth or fifth (current) 4Runner generations, depending on their budget. It’s actually not difficult to find a good used 4Runner, but what is the most reliable used Toyota 4Runner model year?

a red 2017 Toyota 4Runner on display at an indoor auto show.
WASHINGTON, USA 2017 Toyota 4-Runner | Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Are fourth generation Toyota 4Runner models good used SUVs?

A grey 2009 Toyota 4Runner on the trails, the 2009 Toyota 4Runner is one of the best used three-row SUVs under $15,000
2009 Toyota 4Runner | Toyota

For someone looking for a capable and reliable used SUV, the fourth generation Toyota 4Runner is a good place to look. These 4Runner models came with either a standard 245 hp 4.0 liter V6 or an optional 4.7 liter V8 that makes up to 265 hp. The fourth 4Runner generation is reliable in general, and the generation ran from 2003-2009. However, there are more reliable years than others. 

The most reliable Toyota 4Runner model year from the fourth generation is 2008. The 2008 Toyota 4Runner is recommended by Vehicle History. In addition, the 2008 4Runner earned the Dependability Award from J.D. Power. 

It boasts a “Great” reliability score of 87/100, and was the No.1 SUV in its class according to consumers. The 2007 model year earned a Quality award and also came out on top as the No. 1 SUV among its competitors.

J.D. Power also gave the  2004 and 2005 Toyota 4Runner model years each a Quality Award. Vehicle History reports that the early model years are less reliable than those produced after 2005. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean used SUV buyers should avoid these, it just means that shopping between the years 2005 and 2009 are the best models for the fourth Toyota 4Runner generation. 

How reliable is the Toyota 4Runner? 

A white 2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD pro climbing rocks on mountain trails
2020 Toyota 4Runner | Toyota

According to J.D. Power and Consumer Reports, the Toyota 4Runner is one of the most reliable SUVs money can buy. For this reason, it is a great choice for a used SUV. The current fifth generation started in 2010. That means even a 10 year old Toyota 4Runner will have similar body and interior style to the 2021 models that are fresh on the lot. 

But which fifth Toyota 4Runner generation models are the best? According to J.D. Power reliability ratings, the 2010-2013 4Runners all have “Great” reliability scores. Consumers named the 2010, 2011, and 2012 model years No. 1 and the 2012 Toyota 4Runner took a No. 2 spot. 

The 2014-2016 Toyota 4Runner model years all came out on the high end of “Average” J.D. Power reliability scores with ratings between 78/100 and 80/100. For the last two decades, the rough and tumble 4Runner has remained in the top 5 in its class. 

2017 is the most reliable used Toyota 4Runner model year 

While virtually every model has the potential to be a good reliable used SUV, the 2017 model year is the most reliable used Toyota 4runner model year. The fifth and current generation started in 2010 and most are equipped with a 4.0 liter V6 engine. Both the 2018 and 2017 models earned the No. 1 spot from consumers according to J.D. Power. However, the 2017 model has a higher reliability rating. 

In addition, the 2017 Toyota 4Runner earned a J.D. Power Dependability Award. This capable used SUV has a reliability rating of 88/100. In 2017, the 4Runner added some trim levels and from here on offers three designated TRD models.

That said, 4Runner models hold their value well so even used models tend to be pretty expensive. J.D. Power reports an average price for a used Toyota 4Runner to be between $23,992 – $49,884.

This is a good off-road SUV, but it’s not for everyone

a 2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro on Display at an indoor auto show
2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

The 2017 Toyota 4Runner is a good reliable used SUV. In fact, it’s the most reliable Toyota 4Runner model year. A utilitarian off-roader, the 4Runner also offers a wide range of trim levels.

However, U.S. News and World Report points out that the number of available advanced safety features is pretty slim. Combine that with rugged ride quality and low fuel economy and it’s easy to see that, although it certainly has its niche appeal, the Toyota 4Runner isn’t for everyone. It may be a capable used SUV, but it doesn’t always tick all the boxes for particular buyers.

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