Overview

Overview

In terms of automobile history, the 2013 Toyota 4Runner is just now hitting its mid-life. Started in 1984, the 4Runner is now in its fifth generation of production. U.S. sales numbers rose in 2012 and were the best Toyota has seen from the Runner since 2007. As such, the Japanese manufacturer didn't change much of anything on the 2013 Toyota 4Runner.

Most people would overlook this midsize SUV at first glance, but it does have some very rugged and practical features that could appeal to buyers looking for known reliability. On the other hand, the 2013 Toyota 4Runner does get beat by competitors in nearly every other category, including the most important category for many buyers - price.

Expert Reviews

Experts agree that the 4Runner is an SUV that fits a particular segment of buyer quite well but doesn't do much else for others. "For the relatively few drivers who require an all-conquering, all-terrain SUV, the ... Toyota 4Runner is a top choice. Those city folk who need more passenger space and less off-road capability would be better served by a car-based crossover SUV." (Edmunds)

Still, it does garner some praise for its on-road capabilities. "In fact, the 4Runner's commendable on-road behavior impressed (surprised, really) every editor. Sure, its body-on-frame build and live rear axle translated to a rather bouncy ride and some chassis shivers not associated with today's uni-body offerings, but its steering was linear and responsive, its brakes stout and easy to modulate, and its balance, in light of its six-foot height, buttoned down." (Consumer Guide)

Others, however, don't see its riding prowess as beneficial. "The ride is unsettled, and handling is clumsy. It leans in corners, and the bobbing and bouncing chips away at driver confidence. A high step-in and low ceiling compromise access and the driving position. Cabin fit and finish is unimpressive." (Consumer Reports)

Owner Reviews

Overall, current owners seem pleased with the 2013 4Runner. They like its durability and comfort. "It is better than the Tahoe, comfortable to drive and ride [and has] more power with less outside noise." (Owner review taken from Yahoo! Autos) The quiet ride is definitely a perk for those highway drivers, but don't expect comfort like you'd receive from a luxury SUV as the 4Runner's suspension is better suited to rugged conditions.

"So far I have loved it. Even though it is a mid-size SUV, it has a very commanding stance on the highway. It feels larger than it is. The handling is good for this type of SUV, especially since it's truck-based. It takes some adjustments at first, but once you figure out how to drive it, you'll be pleased. The ride is a little on the bouncy side, but...it does well on basic off-roads. A great alternative to a full size SUV if you need 2 rows of seating." (Owner review taken from Edmunds)

"The 2013 4Runner is not the best SUV I've ever owned but it is near the top. The interior is capable of handling most abuse you can throw at it. The exterior is boxy and makes visibility difficult in tight spaces but it isn't incapable. Overall, I would buy this vehicle again and again." (Review by Mark S. Duluth, MN) Some advantages listed by owners are the rugged dependability, ample power, and technology. Disadvantages are the fuel efficiency, overall price (MSRP ranges from $31,490 to $38,995), and the cramped third-row seat.

Lineup

The 2013 Toyota 4Runner comes in three trim levels, starting with the SR5. Four-wheel drive is optional on the lower two trim levels, but it comes standard on the high-end Limited trim level. The entry-level SR5 comes standard with such features as heated mirrors, rear privacy glass, power lift gate, keyless entry, foglights, Bluetooth, and an eight-speaker sound system with satellite radio, cd player, and iPod interface.

The next level up is the Trail model, which includes all the standards that come on the SR5. Of course, it wouldn't be an upgrade if didn't come with some additional extras. As can be judged by this trim level's name, the Trail model comes with several off-road features, including off-road tires, mud guards, a sliding rear cargo floor, water-resistant upholstery, 120-volt outlets, and several off-road mechanical additions.

The highest trim level is the Limited edition. It comes with all the above perks, as well as adaptive suspension, leather upholstery, rearview camera, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, 20-inch alloy wheels, and Toyota's Entune smartphone system with touchscreen audio interface.

Interior

Although there are some that may feel the 4Runner is more of an off-road traveler, the interior feels like a lot more than just a stripped-down Jeep Wrangler. Materials quality is better than average with a fairly modern look, yet still maintains a rugged sturdiness that could withstand a day or two out on the trails. The dashboard features a three-eye display with the speedometer predominantly featured in the center. All numbers and gauges are well lit and easy to read.

The front seats are supportive and offer an ample amount of room for driver and passenger. The reclining second-row seats are a nice option for rear passengers but don't have anybody sitting in the optional third-row seat when they go back; it is only large enough to fit children comfortably, which is common for this class. Controls for the touchscreen control system are easy to use. Toyota's Entune system is a nice addition, integrating the driver's smartphone to use helpful apps.

If you opt not to add the third-row seat, cargo space is an impressive 47 cubic feet. Fold down the second row and you'll improve that cargo capacity to 90 cubic feet; that's not bad for a midsize SUV. The sliding rear cargo floor provides a nice storage space and has a 440-pound capacity. One nice feature worth mentioning is the audio system's Party Mode, which shifts all music output to the rear tailgate speakers for those who like to tailgate on game days.

Performance

The 2013 Toyota 4Runner has one engine option, the 4.0L V6. It pumps out 270 horsepower and 278 ft.-lbs. of torque. A five-speed automatic is the only transmission option. It won't matter what trim level you choose, towing capacity is a maximum 5,000 lbs. Fuel economy is estimated at 17/23 mpg (city/highway), but the four-wheel drive will drop those numbers slightly to 17/21 mpg.

The 4Runner has ample power for the day-to-day drive, giving a nice jump in the passing gear and possessing good acceleration off the line. It's easy to see why Toyota chose not to offer a V8 option. Steering is adequate but the power-assist can make it feel loose and sloppy at certain speeds. The brakes are adequate most of the time but some owners and reviewers mention that they can get grabby at times, especially when they are wet.

Suspension isn't completely cloud-like on the open road but it fares well enough. In this segment it is probably one of the most off-road capable vehicles any one could buy. The electronic locking rear differential and selectable terrain system enhance those capabilities. On the other hand, there are competitors who can perform just as well with better fuel efficiency. Overall, the 4Runner is middle of the road when it comes to the hiking trails.

Safety & Reliability

As for safety, the 2013 Toyota 4Runner maintains the Toyota standard of excellence. The IIHS rates it with a top mark of Good in all crash tests and categories, including the roof strength test. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was a little less generous, giving it four out of five stars total. It did earn five stars in the side crash test, but as with nearly all SUVs it only received four stars in the rollover test, which could have affected its overall score.

There are currently no recalls, but the 4Runner is known for maintaining decent standards in reliability. It comes with the normal 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty on the powertrain.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
SUV - 4WD
SR5 4WD 4dr V6 SR5 (Natl) V6 4WD 33365
Trail 4WD 4dr V6 Trail (Natl) V6 4WD 37155
Limited 4WD 4dr V6 Limited (Natl) V6 4WD 41030
SUV - RWD
SR5 RWD 4dr V6 SR5 (Natl) V6 RWD 31490
Limited RWD 4dr V6 Limited (Natl) V6 RWD 38995

Comparison of 2013 Toyota 4Runner with Similar Cars

2013 Toyota 4Runner MSRP Invoice
2013 Toyota 4runner $31,490 $28,971
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2013 Ford Explorer $29,100 $27,427 2013 Toyota 4runner VS 2013 Ford Explorer
2013 GMC Acadia $34,050 $32,348 2013 Toyota 4runner VS 2013 GMC Acadia
2013 Chevrolet Traverse $30,510 $29,290 2013 Toyota 4runner VS 2013 Chevrolet Traverse
2013 Toyota Highlander $29,020 $26,494 2013 Toyota 4runner VS 2013 Toyota Highlander
2013 Honda Pilot $29,520 $27,000 2013 Toyota 4runner VS 2013 Honda Pilot

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2013 Toyota 4Runner ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2013 Toyota 4Runner rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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