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The new 2025 Toyota 4Runner is a chunky upgrade of a bullet-proof classic

Toyota’s latest adventure SUV kicks off a new era of off-road enjoyment

Published: 10 Apr 2024

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” as the saying goes, which is convenient when talking about the notoriously hard to break Toyota 4Runner. Even so, the current version of the rugged utility vehicle has been in service for 14 years, and like any teenager, was bound to start going through changes.

Those come to fruition in the form of the new sixth-generation Toyota 4Runner, a beefier, smarter adventure vehicle for a modern era.

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The new 4Runner is built on the TNGA-F platform, meaning it shares its underpinnings with the latest Toyota Land Cruiser SUV, Tacoma pickup, and the Lexus GX. The body-on-frame platform gives it the strength it needs for repeat off-road beatings but modern enhancements should make it comfortable on road as well.

Looks-wise, it retains the recognizable 4Runner features but with an updated look to its inherent chonk. It’s worth noting that a power rear window is standard, as it should be, frankly.

Powering the 4Runner is a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine linked to an eight-speed automatic gearbox that replaces the dutiful 4.0-liter V6 found in the outgoing model. Before you start grumbling, hear this: the new engine is more powerful than the outgoing one, specifically, it puts out 278hp and 317lb ft of torque. A whopping eight more horses. If that’s doing it for you, there’s also the unnecessarily angry i-FORCE MAX version that adds a hybrid system with an electric motor and 1.87kWh battery that ups power to 326hp and 465lb ft, making it the most powerful 4Runner to ever... run.

Speaking of run, will it do so on all fours? Technically, yes, but if this is a roundabout way of asking if it has 4WD, it does, depending on configuration. Shoppers have the choice of 2WD, part-time 4WD or full-time 4WD including weekends. If you go for the 2WD, the 4Runner will include an auto limited-slip diff while the 4WD models have an electronically controlled two-speed transfer case with high and low range plus active traction control. On the TRD Off-Road, TRD Pro and Trailhunter models, an electronic locking rear diff is standard.

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Toyota’s multi-terrain select system returns, working in tandem with 4WD high and low settings to maximize traction control in all sorts of conditions like mud, sand and dirt. The SUV also includes the low speed “crawl” control function that acts like a sort-off off-roading cruise control, so that the driver can concentrate more on steering in tricky situations. If and when things get super sticky, the 4Runner’s locking rear diff can split the power evenly across the wheels while downhill assist alleviates the more treacherous descents 4Runner drivers are bound to encounter.

With a number of trims available, the 4Runner shopper is not left wanting. There are nine in total, ranging from road-friendly and comfortable versions to 4Runners ready to go off the beaten path. A new addition is the Trailhunter grade that is outfitted as a turn-key mountain goat. This has a number of components from companies overlanders love. The 2.5-inch OME forged shocks will come from ARB who will also supply a unique roof rack. The 33-inch Toyo Open Country all-terrain tires will cover the Trailhunter’s wheels while a 20-inch LED light bar will be thrown in to complete the package. It'll also get steel skid plates and a 2400W AC converter to power a number of accessories while in the wild.

Naturally, there is a load of convenience and safety tech thrown into the new 4Runner like Toyota’s safety sense system for incident prevention and mitigation while on the road. Inside, the SUV sports either a standard 8in touchscreen or the optional 14in interface for all the digital functions. This includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and dual USB-C ports for charging devices.

Prices haven’t yet been announced but the Toyota 4Runner is slated to hit roads late this year, presumably right before they’re taken immediately off them.

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