Why is the 2021 Toyota 4Runner in Last Place?

Usually, the Toyota 4Runner is a winner. It’s one of the most rusted SUVs available. But the 2021 Toyota 4Runner just landed in the last place on a list of the best-midsized SUVs. There have to be worse options, right? 

Is the 2021 Toyota 4Runner a good SUV? 

Of course, the 2021 Toyota 4Runner is a good SUV. It’s a rugged and capable off-roader that’s been trusted for decades. However, according to Car and Driver, it’s too outdated. It came in 23rd on their list of the best midsize SUVs. 

The 2021 Toyota 4Runner TRD parked in sand
2021 Toyota 4Runner TRD | Toyota

That’s wild to think that they placed 22 other models ahead of the 4Runner. They even put the new Chevy Blazer ahead of it. Also, for the record, the 2021 Kia Telluride that critics can’t stop gushing over is in first place. 

It received negative marks for lacking a smooth ride, refined interior, only offering one powertrain, for being sluggish and outdated. But on a positive note, it’s beefier and more off-road ready than rivals. 

Potential problems with the Toyota 4Runner

The 2021 Toyota 4Runner has an MSRP of about $36,590, making it a pretty expensive option to get started with. For example, the 2021 Ford Explorer has an MSRP of about $32,450. But perhaps the 4Runner base model comes with more. 

Under the hood of the 4Runner, you’ll find a 4.0-liter V6 engine with 270 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque. This is a solid amount of power, but the base engine in the Explorer has 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. 

RELATED: How Many Miles Will a Toyota 4Runner Last?

There isn’t a hybrid powertrain option for the 4Runner yet. It gets an EPA estimated 16 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. It’s pretty darn thirsty! When properly equipped, the Toyota 4Runner can tow up to 5,000 lbs. This isn’t bad, but to continue using the Explorer as a random example. It can tow up to 5,600 pounds. 

According to Edmunds, the Toyota 4Runner has a mediocre performance on the road. It’s not particularly fast, and the brakes are squishy. It has a pleasing amount of stability, but rivals are more nimble. For off-roading, it has a high ground clearance and is extremely capable. But that is something to consider if you actually go off-roading. 

Toyota 4Runner features 

The 2021 Toyota 4Runner isn’t the most comfortable SUV. It’s based on a truck platform and has a stiff and bumpy ride as a result. There is also a bit more wind noise than expected due to its boxy shape. 

It has a pretty pleasing interior, but the tall ride height can make it difficult to get in or out of. Go with the side steps to make things easier. There is plenty of space in each row for passengers too. 

rendering of a teal Toyota 4runner trd pro in the desert with a roof tent
Is This the New Color for the TRD Pro lineup? | Torque News via @4Runnersnacks

The Toyota 4Runner has a standard 8-inch touchscreen with clear graphics and easy-to-use menus. It can connect to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Plus, standard safety features include automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors. 

Because of its high resale value, the 2021 Toyota 4Runner is a safe bet. You can quickly get something else if you don’t like it. It seems to be in last place because of its poor fuel economy, off-road focused handling, and lack of refinement for a smooth ride.