CarsDirect Review

2022 Toyota 4Runner Review

, Automotive Editor -

Old-school look because it really is old-school. The Toyota 4Runner looks old-school because it is old-school. It went through its last redesign in 2010, though it has seen a few updates since. The old-school look remains a part of the 2022 Toyota 4Runner, enticing some nostalgic buyers.

However, with more modern rigs like the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco also featuring these rugged exterior looks while also boasting modern cabins, can the 4Runner keep pace? Continue reading to find out.

Chunky design, but it's very dated. Buyers seeking that old-school look and feel from an SUV will find it in the 2022 Toyota 4Runner. It’s a chunky, body-on-frame SUV that begs to be driven off the beaten path more often than not. Very few crossovers and SUVs have these bold looks today.

That said, it’s also very dated in many ways, especially inside. The interior is very loud and overcooked with its metallic-look plastic accents, blocky steering wheel center, massive center stack, and plain dashboard. There is not much that’s overly exciting, and what is dressed up is simply trying too hard.

Buyers who want to combine rugged with modern can look to the Ford Bronco or Jeep Cherokee.

Big-time off-roading and big-time appetite. The Toyota 4Runner is a professional off the beaten path, especially in its TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro packages. The latter offers a lifted suspension and Fox shocks for enhanced off-roading capability.

It also offers a smooth drive with its 270-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 engine. However, its five-speed automatic transmission leaves a lot to be desired and allows it to run out of steam quickly. It is, however, perfectly capable of off-roading.

The real downside to the 4Runner is its standard four-wheel drive, which gobbles fuel. It gets just 16 mpg city, 19 highway, and 17 combined. Want similar capability and better fuel economy? The 2021 Bronco delivers that with its competent off-road skills and up to 20 mpg city, 22 highway, and 21 combined.

Plenty of safety tech, light on actual safety. The Toyota 4Runner has no shortage of advanced safety tech for an old-school, rugged SUV. Its list of standard tech includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-departure warnings.

While this collection of safety gear is great, the IIHS rates it only “Marginal” in the small-overlap crash test on the driver’s side. This means there could be serious injuries or death in an accident.

The Ford Bronco has no IIHS safety ratings, but its smaller sibling, the Bronco Sport, is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+.

Final thoughts. If you want a rugged, off-road-ready SUV that can also double as a family hauler, the 4Runner is one of just a few legitimate options. However, it is far from the best option with a cramped cabin, an old design, and a big appetite for fuel.

The Ford Bronco and the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited are two likely better options as all-around SUVs.

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