Why Is the Toyota 4Runner So Popular?

The Toyota 4Runner has been one the longest selling, pure-bred SUVs in the automotive world. There is more than a cult-like following for it and it’s also arguably one of the most recognized SUVs on the planet. And although the 4Runner has gotten bigger and better over the years, it’s still a rougher riding, body-on-frame SUV that garners a lot of attention and remains one of Toyota’s best-selling models every year. But why is the Toyota 4Runner so popular?

The Toyota 4Runner is very reliable

It’s a no-brainer that Toyotas are among the most reliable vehicles on the planet and the 4Runner is no exception. Consumer Reports has rated the 4Runner with the highest reliability ratings for over the past 10 years and the owner-reported issues on Carcomplaints.com are relatively low. Whether you use a 4Runner for daily errand duties or for the occasional weekend getaway, you can be sure that it will be dependable for many years.  

toyota 4 runner front shot
2020 Toyota 4Runner | Toyota

The 4Runner retains its value well

Aside from reliability, it wouldn’t be a Toyota if it didn’t have exceptional resale value and the 4Runner definitely does. iSeeCars analyzed over 7 million used cars and trucks in order to find out which vehicles lose or hold onto the value over a five year period. The Toyota 4Runner ranked fifth on a list of 10 cars that retain their values the best, with a projected average 5-year depreciation of 36.5 percent. This is exceptional, considering they found that the average vehicle depreciation is typically 49.6 percent.

a rear shot of a red toyota 4runner
2020 Toyota 4Runner | Toyota

Even the base model is well-equipped

While we can easily get into the nitty-gritty of all of the available adventure and off-road focused features that are available on the current 4Runner, we feel the need to point that it’s one of the rare vehicles where the base trim level is actually very well-equipped with almost everything you would need. In addition to handy features like roof rails and skid plates, the entry-level 4Runner SR5 also comes standard with Toyota’s Safety Sense, which is the brand’s suite of driver-assist features, as well as an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple Carplay/Android Auto capability and eight speakers.

Other notable features include a power rear liftgate window, an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and Entune Audio Plus with the Connected Navigation app. There’s a lot more than that to love about it, but just know that its starting price of $37,995 is a bargain for what you get with it.

2020 Toyota 4Runner Limited interior front
2020 Toyota 4Runner Limited interior front | Toyota

The 4Runner is rugged and capable right out of the box

Features and options aside, the Toyota 4Runner retains is overall popularity due to its sheer ruggedness and off-road capability. Every trim level is powered by a 4.0-liter V6 that produces 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. A rear-wheel-drive configuration is standard, however, stepping up to the higher trim levels yields either a part-time all-wheel-drive setup (TRD trim) or a full-time all-wheel-drive configuration with a limited-slip locking center differential (Limited trim). Any of those configurations are very capable for a multitude of off-road terrains, but other 4Runner highlights include a 9.6-inch ground clearance in addition to a 33-degree approach angle and a 26-degree departure angle. And to top it all off, the 4Runner can tow, too. In fact, it’s rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds.

2020 Toyota 4Runner Venture Edition driving through mud
2020 Toyota 4Runner Venture Edition | Toyota

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There’s a lot to love about the Toyota 4Runner

While we can clearly see that the 2020 Toyota 4Runner is a well-equipped and reliable body-on-frame SUV that holds its value well, the main reason it’s so popular is that it’s easy to drive, easy to own and can handle just about anything you can throw at it for many years. And although it’s aging design and lack of a more powerful engine option might sway some prospective buyers away, it’s safe to say that the Toyota 4Runner will likely retain its cult-like following, but we just hope that the brand gives it a redesign soon as it sure could use it.