The 2021 Toyota 4Runner continues its long career with the addition of LED headlights and fog lights on all models. The range-topping TRD Pro receives new wheels and shock absorbers for enhanced off-road performance. The debut Trail Special Edition comes equipped with custom camping accessories.
The 4Runner belongs to the shrinking class of traditional SUVs with truck-like construction and capability. The basic design dates back to 2009.
Choosing Your Toyota 4Runner
The 4Runner lineup consists of nine trims levels: SR5, Trail Special Edition, SR5 Premium, TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, Venture Special Edition, Limited, Nightshade Special Edition, and TRD Pro. Pricing starts at $37,515 including destination for the base SR5 and tops out at $51,645 for the TRD Pro.
Every 4Runner comes with a 4.0-liter V6 engine that produces 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque, paired with a five-speed automatic transmission.
The SR5, Trail Special Edition, and SR5 Premium start out with rear-wheel drive. Part-time (selectable) four-wheel drive is available on these trims for $1,875. The Limited and Nightshade Special Edition also come standard with RWD, and a full-time 4WD system is optional at $2,035. The TRD models and the Venture Special Edition come exclusively with part-time 4WD.
With either rear- or four-wheel drive, the 4Runner can tow up to 5,000 pounds and is EPA-rated at 16 miles per gallon city, 19 mpg highway, and 17 combined.
Passenger and Cargo Capacity
The 4Runner's standard cabin offers ample room for five passengers, along with 46.3 cubic feet of cargo space. Folding the rear seat opens up an impressive 88.8 cubic feet of load space.
A two-person third row suitable for children is optional on the SR5 ($305), SR5 Premium ($335), Limited, and Nightshade Special Edition ($365). Cargo space shrinks to just 9 cubic feet with all rows in use.
For a truck-based vehicle, the 4Runner does quite well it comes to safety technology. Every model gets adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and automatic emergency braking.
The Limited and Nightshade Special Edition also get front and rear parking sensors.
The 4Runner is generously equipped for infotainment as well. Standard features include an 8-inch touchscreen, eight audio speakers, one media and four charging USB ports, satellite radio, and a wi-fi capability. Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay integration are all included.
The Premium Audio Package, which provides navigation and HD radio, is available on the SR5 and Trail Special Edition for $1,585, and for $1,040 on the TRD Off-Road. It's standard on all other trims. A 15-speaker JBL sound system is exclusive to the Limited and above.
The SR5 comes equipped with cloth upholstery, keyless entry, an eight-way power driver seat, manual climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated side mirrors, and a power tailgate window. Also standard are LED headlights, taillights, and fog lights. The SR5 rolls on 17-inch alloy wheels
The newest member of the 4Runner family comes ready for adventure with dark off-road 17-inch wheels, a 40-quart food and beverage cooler, a sliding cargo tray, floor liners, and a Yakima LoadWarrior rooftop cargo basket. Style elements include black badging and black seats with tan stitching.
The SR5 Premium gains imitation leather SofTex upholstery, heated front seats, a four-way power passenger seat, push button start, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with an integrated garage door opener, and turn signals in the side mirrors.
A sunroof can be added for $630.
The TRD Off-Road receives a terrain selector, a locking rear differential, a transfer case skid plate, all-terrain tires on matte black wheels, and TRD badging throughout. Otherwise, it's equipped like the SR5.
The TRD Off-Road Premium combines the SR5 Premium's comfort and convenience features with the upgraded hardware of the TRD Off-Road.
The Venture Special Edition adds a Yakima MegaWarrior cargo basket, all-weather floor liners, and black exterior trim, such as the door handles and rear spoiler.
The 4Runner Limited goes in a luxury direction with perforated leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, memory for the driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, automatic headlights, and the JBL audio system. The sunroof is also standard.
Outside are LED high beams, chrome door handles, and 20-inch wheels. The suspension is tuned for sharper on-road handling.
The Nightshade Special Edition is equipped like the Limited, but with black chrome exterior trim and black 20-inch wheels.
The TRD Pro picks up some of the Limited's features – like the sunroof and automatic climate control – but otherwise returns to off-road duty. In addition to the regular TRD treatment, the TRD Pro gets upgraded shocks and front springs, a roof rack, unique wheels and grille, and special badging.
Although any 2021 Toyota 4Runner model can leave the road when it pleases, the SR5 and Limited are better suited to everyday driving. If off-road capability is equally important, only a TRD model will do.