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The Toyota 4Runner is among the last of a dying breed of true body-on-frame SUV models still in production. It’s an SUV that seats five or seven people, depending on the configuration. It is among the trucks in Toyota’s lineup that offers a TRD Pro trim, in addition to other off-road packages. But what does 4Runner Stand for? 

2022 Toyota 4Runner
The 2022 Toyota 4Runner | Toyota

What does the Toyota SUV name 4Runner mean?

a red 1992 Toyota 4Runner driving on a rocky dirt trail in the mountains
1992 Toyota 4Runner | Toyota

According to Toyota’s FAQ archive, 4Runner is a Toyota SUV name that combines the terms 4-wheel drive and off-road runner. So, what do you get when you have a 4×4 SUV that’s equipped to run on off-road trails with ease? A Toyota 4Runner. 

In fact, the Toyota 4Runner is known for its ability to traverse terrain off the beaten path. So the name fits. The first 4Runner in North America came out in 1984. Poised to compete with domestic heroes like the Chevy Blazer and the Ford Bronco, the 4Runner was a workhorse SUV that quickly gained popularity here in the states. 

The original 4Runner entered the market as a Baja-inspired 4×4 SUV with an affinity for off-road activities. A romp in the desert or some rock crawling in the mountains were its appeal then and still are. This rugged Toyota SUV has since won the hearts of countless fans. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see used Toyota 4Runners for sale from virtually every model year ever produced.

The 4-wheel drive off-road runner describes what this SUV is perfectly well. The 4Runner Toyota SUV name is easily one of the most recognizable in the market. And now we know definitively that 4Runner stands for 4-wheel drive off-road runner.

Is the 2022 Toyota 4Runner a good SUV? 

If you like going off-road, the 2022 Toyota 4Runner is one of the best new SUVs you can buy. It boasts high reliability ratings and strong resale value. Plus, the trim lineup ranges from the $37,305 SR4Runner to the range-topping TRD Pro 4Runner starting at $52,120. There are eight Toyota 4Runner trims total. 

The 2022 4Runner, and other recent model years, sometimes get some flack from critics like U.S. News and World Report for featuring a dated interior design. It’s also not exactly known for being ultra cushy and luxurious when driving on-road. Even the TRD Sport 4Runner “isn’t as sporty as its 20-inch wheels, hood scoop, and Sport badges suggest, but unlike most other models except for the more luxurious Limited, it features adaptive dampers that are designed to improve body control,” according to Car and Driver’s review

Still, it’s a good SUV if you want space for cargo and good off-road capability. Reliability and resale value are also likely on buyers’ priority lists. So, considering the Toyota 4Runner is a 4×4 SUV that checks all of these boxes, we’d say it’s a great SUV for the right people. 

What’s in a name? 


What Does RAV4 Stand For?

There are a few Toyota names that have letters and numbers in them. In fact, the 4Runner’s smaller sibling the Toyota RAV4 has a name that stands for something too. RAV4 stands for “Recreational Active Vehicle with 4wd.” In the name “Toyota C-HR,” C-HR stands for “Coupe High-Rider.” 

It’s not uncommon for manufacturers to use numbers and letters as code in the naming of their fleet. For those that wondered where the name 4Runner comes from, now you know. The 4Runner is a rugged SUV with trail capability. It’s called 4Runner, for 4-wheel drive off-road runner, because that’s exactly what it is.