The Toyota 4Runner is a traditional sport utility built on a rugged and proven truck frame. It is very capable in handling off-road conditions as well as being refined enough for an easy drive around town. Noted for its quality construction, durability and reliability, the 4Runner has come a long way from its beginnings in 1984. Now with a roomy and comfortable interior packed with the latest technology, the 4Runner provides all the luxury comforts of a daily driver for the outdoor enthusiast.
See also the main fact sheets for the Toyota 4Runner.
- Handles well on and off the road
- Nice interior (Autoweek)
- Durability and reliability
- Spacious interior
- Equiped with the latest off-road electronic technology (New Car Test Drive)
- Cargo capacity is small compared to competition
Performance and HandlingEdit
The Toyota 4Runner's standard 4.0-liter V6 engine is responsive, and never feels lacking. This engine is packed with the latest technology, including fully variable valve timing, a linkless electronic throttle, and lightweight all-aluminum construction. It's rated at 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet. The optional 4.7-liter V8, introduced for 2005, represents a huge improvement over the V8 it replaced. It's smooth and tractable and never struggles when thrust is needed. The V8 features variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) and electronic throttle control with intelligence (ETCS-i), turning it into a real performer. It's rated 260 horsepower and 306 pound-feet of torque, and adds about 190 pounds to the weight of the vehicle.
Both engines are paired with a sophisticated five-speed automatic transmission. More gears means better response for any given situation along with better efficiency. The transmission is equipped with Artificial Intelligence Shift control, which changes gear-shifting patterns according to driving conditions and driver intent.
The 4Runner handles very well for a truck with a live rear axle. The suspension damping is excellent. Rack-and-pinion steering gives the 4Runner quick response and good steering feel. The ride on unpaved roads is smooth, which is important on long gravel treks over washboard surfaces. The 4Runner's well-tuned damping and progressive-rate spring bumpers are to thank here. Where the 4Runner really comes into its own, however, is when the terrain gets truly gnarly. There's lots of suspension articulation for climbing over boulders and gullies, and a host of technology for handling steep, slippery grades.
A limited-slip differential, optional on many SUVs, is standard on even 2WD 4Runners. The two-wheel-drive models are impressively capable on rugged terrain; indeed, a 2WD 4Runner is more capable off road than many all-wheel-drive SUVs. For ultimate traction, however, you do need a four-wheel-drive model.
All 4WD 4Runners come with Toyota's Downhill Assist Control (DAC) system, which controls the speed when creeping down steep, slimy grades. Shift into 4WD Low, check to make sure DAC is activated, pull to the edge of the nearest precipice, take your feet off the pedals, and steer your way slowly down the trail. Once you make the leap of faith that comes with allowing the machinery to do the work for you, Downhill Assist works very well and is easy to manage. The antilock brakes make a noisy "dunk, dunk, dunk" sound as the system lowers the 4Runner safely down the slippery slope. Gently touch the gas or brake pedals to slow or speed your progress, then take your feet off the pedals again, and the system comes back on: "dunk, dunk, dunk, dunk." DAC helps keep the 4Runner pointed in the direction you steer it, using ABS to curb the tendency for the vehicle to get sideways on steep descents. The system will work continuously for three minutes (because the brakes will heat up with prolonged use), but Toyota officials say it only needs the shortest of breaks to continue. Three minutes is usually more than enough time to get to the bottom of the sort of extreme descent we're contemplating here.
All 4Runners, 2WD and 4WD, come with Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), which is designed to prevent the vehicle from rolling backward or slipping sideways when starting off on a steep ascent. The system uses the brakes to stop an individual wheel or all wheels, whatever it takes to keep 4Runner running forward.
The optional rear air suspension offers improved ride and performance when towing or hauling heavy loads. The air suspension automatically adjusts the ride height according to vehicle load. The driver can also manually raise the rear suspension when driving off road to increase the ground clearance and improve the rear departure angle. This latter feature is useful in the extreme conditions, but most owners will never go there.
X-REAS improves handling dynamics on the road with no compromise in off-road articulation or travel. X-REAS reduces the tendency of the vehicle to bob up and down in corners and improves handling by damping body pitch and roll. A simple system, it links the shock absorbers diagonally through hydraulic lines (e.g., the front left shock is linked to the rear right shock). A central control damper helps keep the system in balance.
According to the EPA ratings, The 2 wheel drive V6 version of the Toyota 4Runner gets the best mileage at 18/22. The 2 wheel drive V8 gets 17/20 and the four wheel drive V6 gets 17/21. The worst gas mileage goes to the four wheel drive V8 with 16/19.
The Toyota 4Runner is available with the following safety features:
- Traction Control ABS & driveline
- Electronic Stability stability control
- ABS 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS)
- Front Impact Airbags driver and passenger
- Occupancy Sensor occupancy sensor
- Side Impact Bars side impact bars
Reliability and MaintenanceEdit
The Toyota 4Runner is noted for its quality construction, durability and reliability. Regular scheduled maintainance should keep it running problem free for many years. Toyota also provides a warranty that offers:
Basic Coverage: 36 months/36,000 miles (all components other than normal wear and maintenance items). Powertrain Coverage: 60 months/60,000 miles (engine, transmission/transaxle, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, seatbelts and air bags). Rust-Through Coverage: 60 months/unlimited miles (corrosion perforation of sheet metal).
Interior and ComfortsEdit
The Toyota 4Runner cabin is roomy and comfortable. It's highly functional. The quality of materials and they way they fit together is good, and loaded models are quite luxurious. Overall, the 4Runner cabin looks traditional SUV.
The standard cloth is nice, and the cloth seats in the SR5 and Sport Edition are comfortable, with side bolsters to keep the driver in place when cornering or driving off road. All seats offer adjustable headrests and three-point seatbelts, and the driver's seat adjusts eight ways, manually on the SR5 V6 and powered on all others. The driver and front passenger sit up high, as one expects in an SUV, yet flatter to the floor, as in some low cars like a Ford Mustang. The driver's legs stretch out, rather than down, toward the pedals.
A two-tone dashboard houses the instruments. Gauges illuminate orange, set in three deep binnacles that prevent the front-seat passenger from reading them. The fuel gauge uses an inclinometer for accurate readouts when the 4Runner is tilted in the rough. Automatic climate control is standard on all models, while the Limited comes with his-and-hers dual-zone temperature controls. The fan, airflow and temperature controls, are big and easy to locate; they are long on design and a little awkward at first, but become easy to use with familiarity.
The stereo buttons are easy operate. The Auto down button for the power windows is illuminated but the central lock button is not and can be difficult and awkward to find in the dark. A display located just above the climate controls reveals time, ambient temperature, and trip data. A 115-volt AC power outlet is available, a real bonus in the backcountry.
The rearview video camera works incredibly well. The navigation system is among the best, intuitive and relatively easy to use. The ultimate stereo system is a 360-watt JBL Synthesis setup with 10 speakers and controls integrated into the steering wheel. Standard on SR5 and Sport Edition is a six-speaker AM/FM/cassette/CD stereo with MP3 and WMA capability. An all-new universal mini-jack port connects to most portable music players.
The optional third-row seat adds an element of flexibility. It's actually two separate seats that fold up to the sides of the cargo compartment, parallel to the rear side windows. These seats are easy to stow, and access from the curbside rear door, via a spring-loaded sliding mechanism on the second seat, isn't too difficult.
Cargo space is designed well. The second-row seats can be folded down with the headrests in place. The seat folds nearly flat, flatter than a Ford Explorer's, and the seatbacks are reinforced to support heavy loads. The cargo area includes structurally attached steel tie-down hooks in the floor, with additional hooks on the sides. A clever double-decker rear storage shelf helps organize cargo in two levels. Using just one hand, the collapsible shelf can be folded flat or lifted up easily. When deployed, it's rated a sturdy 66 pounds. A large storage box is provided on the right side of the cargo compartment. Storage bins are provided in all four doors, and every seat gets a cup holder.
Styling changes to the Toyota 4Runner add still more visual muscle to its big and burly façade. The trapezoidal grille remains, but now it slashes into the bumper below; and one big, bold horizontal crossbar has replaced the two slimmer bars used previously. Foglights are now standard, and they hunker down in squared-off foxholes. The more massive and bumpy front bumper sets a chunkier theme that continues through more prominent overfenders and body cladding. Headlights and taillights have been more subtly re-shaped, with the teardrop effect of the former slightly exaggerated.
More than ever, the 4Runner looks off-road rugged and ready to hit the dusty trail. Backing up that contention are skid plates for the engine, transfer case and fuel tank, all of which come standard. (Even 2WD models get the engine and fuel tank plates.) A molded-in step adds a functional look to the broad rear bumper.
Visual cues help distinguish among the three trim levels. Bumpers are body-color on all three models. On SR5, however, grille, door handles, and the license-plate trim are chrome, and running boards are painted black. The Sport edition retains the hood scoop and is further distinguished by a smoked-chrome effect in its grille and headlamp trim, and by a graphite-and-black roof rack. Tubular side steps replace the SR5's running boards. The Limited looks almost military with its body-color grille, black roof rack and black running boards (which are illuminated). The standard aluminum-alloy wheels have six spokes on SR5 and Sport Edition; five on Limited, and they grow from 16 inches to 17 to 18 as you move up the line.
4Runner's windshield, side windows, and side mirrors are made of hydrophilic glass and repel water like a waxed car or a window that has been treated with Rain-X. The glass causes water to form large drops, which are quickly shed by gravity or wind. The side mirrors are angled out to increase the driver's field of view. The available moonroof includes a two-stage wind deflector designed to reduce wind noise when traveling above 55 mph.
Styles and OptionsEdit
- 2006 Toyota4Runner SR5 V6 4x2
- 2006 Toyota4Runner SR5 V8 4x2
- 2006 Toyota4Runner SR5 V6 4x4
- 2006 Toyota4Runner SR5 Sport V6 4x2
- 2006 Toyota4Runner SR5 Sport V8 4x2
- 2006 Toyota4Runner SR5 V8 4x4
- 2006 Toyota4Runner SR5 Sport V6 4x4
- 2006 Toyota4Runner SR5 Sport V8 4x4
- 2006 Toyota4Runner Limited V6 4x2
- 2006 Toyota4Runner Limited V8 4x2
- 2006 Toyota4Runner Limited V6 4x4
- 2006 Toyota4Runner Limited V8 4x4
- Honda Pilot - side-by-side comparison
- Volkswagen Touareg - side-by-side comparison
- Nissan Pathfinder - side-by-side comparison
- Ford Explorer - side-by-side comparison
- Chevrolet TrailBlazer - side-by-side comparison
Autopedia Contributor Favorites
Toyota Manufacturer Sites
- Toyota 4Runner - Official US Site