The 2021 Toyota 4Runner Was Torn Apart in Road Tests But Does It Matter?

There’s no denying that the 2021 Toyota 4Runner is one of the most rugged SUVs out there. Its body-on-frame construction and long list of off-road features have made it a favorite among many, and for a pretty long time. But there are consequences to be had because of its rugged nature. Because, unfortunately for the 2021 Toyota 4Runner, it isn’t very enjoyable to drive. 

a trail edition 4runner SUV off-road in some hilly countryside
2021 4Runner Trail Edition | Toyota

What comes under the hood of the 2021 Toyota 4Runner

Standard under the hood of the 2021 Toyota 4Runner is a 270-hp 4.0-liter V6 engine. Teamed with a five-speed automatic transmission, this year’s model comes standard with rear-wheel drive. This year’s new Toyota 4Runner is also available with all-wheel drive. Unfortunately, only the Limited model gets you full-time all-wheel drive. 

Driving the 2021 Toyota 4Runner 

As Consumer Reports so aptly put it, this year’s Toyota 4Runner is good for off-roading but not for much else. Its body motions are constant and, according to Consumer Reports, even mild braking results in the SUV taking a noticeable nosedive. Handling is clumsy too. 

Round a corner and Consumer Reports says that you’ll notice the body of this year’s 4Runner leans considerably. Take it on the highway and you may find yourself bobbing back and forth. As for steering? Consumer Reports says that it feels vague enough that it might as well be disconnected from the road.

Consumer Reports isn’t that far off, either. Car and Driver had a similar take on the 2021 Toyota 4Runner. After taking it out for a spin, Car and Driver reported that the 4Runner was pretty clumsy on the road. Its V6 engine turned out to be pretty thirsty too.

RELATED: The 2021 Toyota 4Runner Struggles Against the Ford Explorer

What it’s like behind the wheel

For a vehicle that comes close to costing $40,000, Consumer Reports says that the interior of the 2021 Toyota 4Runner feels pretty cheap. Its dashboard is compromised of far too many hard plastics and the Limited trim level comes with a pretty unimpressive panel featuring fake woodgrain. Consumer Reports found plenty of uneven mold lines on parts of the 4Runner’s interior too.

But Consumer Reports wasn’t the only one left unimpressed by the interior of the 4Runner. That’s actually a pretty common theme when it comes to this year’s model. Car and Driver reports that the interior of the 4Runner is definitely not state-of-the-art. If anything, Car and Driver says, it’s stocked with lackluster materials and way too much plastic. MotorTrend also called out the 4Runner for its old-school design and dated tech.

RELATED: Is the 2021 Toyota 4Runner Still Worth Buying?

But does anyone actually care?

No, not really. As clumsy as the 2021 4Runner may be to drive, it’s still an iconic SUV. It’s known for its impressive off-road capabilities and is actually pretty reliable. In fact, according to Consumer Reports, this year’s model earned itself a five out of five predicted reliability rating. So, while this year’s new Toyota 4Runner may have done poorly in road tests, at least you can count on it to be both reliable and off-road capable. What’s not to like about that?