The Toyota 4Runner is nothing but dated in the performance category. It only manages a meager 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque out of a big 4.0-liter V6, mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. This is curious considering that the Toyota uses a smaller 3.5-liter V6 with 296-hp in several vehicles, and the five-speed automatic has been replaced by fuel-efficient gearboxes that cram up to 10 gears into the box for better efficiency. Still, both the engine and the transmission work and remain cheap to fix, which are two things that off-road enthusiasts appreciate.
Almost every 4Runner model comes available with real, rear-wheel-based, part-time four-wheel drive, although it's optional on the two lowest trims (the one exception is the 4Runner Limited, whose system is closer to all-wheel drive and is capable of being used on dry pavement). The 4Runner is a pure-bred off-roader that offers some of the most advanced features for post-pavement expeditions you can find south of a Land Rover culminating with the TRD Pro trim. All TRD models get active traction control, hill start assist, and a locking rear differential, while the TRD Pro gets advanced Fox shocks that make the ride nicer on all surfaces, as well as a raised ride height, off-road tires, and a unique front fascia to help it get over obstacles better.
At the same time, while the 4Runner is great off the road, it's marginal on pavement – only beating out the Jeep Wrangler in on-road vehicle handling characteristics. It feels bouncy, and it's not stable at highway speeds due to the high center of gravity. Additionally, the 4Runner will lean like a ship in a storm when going around tighter corners without the optional Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System with chunky anti-roll bars with an auto-disconnecting feature for off-roading.