2025 Toyota 4Runner is a Land Cruiser Without the Historic Baggage

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick

There sure is a lot of commonality between the two Toyota SUVs.

Toyota on Tuesday evening revealed the 2025 4Runner. The sixth-generation SUV joins the rest of the body-on-frame Toyota lineup on the latest TNGA-F platform, sharing more in common than ever before with the Tacoma—and the reborn Land Cruiser. In fact, the reveal event is doubling as the first drive for the Land Cruiser and three other models this week, and AutoGuide is here for the whole show.

It’s turbo time

We can’t say it’s surprising to see the 4Runner ditch ye ol’ V6 for the turbo four-pot found in the Tacoma. Its 278 horsepower isn’t much different to what came before, but the 317 pound-fet is a solid increase, and the whole lot arrives much earlier in the rev range. This isn’t just the same 2.4-liter found in the Highlander or various Lexus models: Toyota beefs up the internals and runs the engine through a harder test cycle for truck duty. It hooks up to an eight-speed automatic; the outgoing model made do with just five.

What is surprising: the higher-trim 4Runners will swap in the hybrid version of this powertrain, something that is standard on Land Cruiser. The i-Force MAX setup bumps horsepower to 326, while torque is a class-leading 465 lb-ft. The electric motor is integrated directly into the transmission, and pulls power from a 1.87-kilowatt-hour nickel metal-hydride battery.

Sorry, manual fans: while Toyota put a three-pedal setup in the Tacoma, it won’t make the trip to 4Runner, at least at launch.

The TNGA-F platform is fully boxed, with a double wishbone front suspension and multi-link coil rear. Two-wheel drive models continue—though not for Canada—and feature an automatic limited-slip differential. Four-wheel drive models, both part- and full-time, add a two-speed transfer case on top of that. An electronic locking rear diff is standard on TRD Off-Road, TRD Pro, and Trailhunter; a full-time 4WD with center locking diff is optional on the hybrid Limited and standard on Platinum.

One big family

The new 4Runner lineup is a big one in America, with no less than nine grades available at launch. The familiar SR5, TRD Sport, and TRD Sport Premium anchor the lineup, coming only with the pure-gas powertrain. The Limited, TRD Off-Road, and TRD Off-Road Premium use the same setup as standard too, but offer buyers the option to upgrade to the i-Force MAX. Finally, TRD Pro, Trailhunter, and the new-to-4Runner Platinum trim are Max-only.

Yes, as teased earlier in the week, Trailhunter is coming to 4Runner. The recipe is the same as on Tacoma: a machine built for overlanding, straight from the factory. ARB provides modifications top to bottom: a unique roof rack, and the brand’s Old Man Emu 2.4-inch forged shocks with rear external piggyback remote reservoirs. Combined with knobbly, 33-inch Toyo all-terrain tires, the Trailhunter sits 2.0 in (51 mm) higher at the front axle and 1.5 in (38 mm). Rock rails and steel skid plates protect the vitals, too. Other distinguishing features include a unique grille with bronze lettering and a complement of Rigid LED fog lamps. A 2.4-kW AC inverter provides power to outlets in the cargo area and cabin, while a trio of auxiliary switches allow for further customization.

Sitting at the top of the lineup is that new Platinum. It gets all the fixings, including second-row heated outboard seats, a head-up display, rain-sensing wipers, and a standard tow package. Black exterior trim pieces set it apart from the rest of the lineup.

Big tech upgrade

Off-roaders will appreciate that Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select system now works in both 4Lo and 4HI. Crawl control is accessed via the same rotary dial. Also, Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 is now standard on every 4Runner, including a full suite of driver assists.

2025 Toyota 4Runner pricing and availability

Toyota has yet to release pricing for the 2025 4Runner. We know it will be built at the famous Tahara plant in Japan, however. The new 4Runner will land on North American shores this autumn; expect more details on pricing and trims closer to that time.

What we think

The current 4Runner is so old that jokes about how old it is are too old. Alongside the Nissan GT-R, it’s one of the only vehicles still on sale that traces its lineage back to years with two middle zeros. This modernization was a long time coming, and if the related Tacoma is any indication, this will be a massive step-change in day-to-day friendliness while maintaining a lot of what made this model so compelling to begin with.

The challenge? Toyota needs to clearly position the Land Cruiser and 4Runner with clear air between them. Both are well-loved nameplates in the off-roading space: if one is perceived as inferior to the other, either by design or not, that could ruffle the feathers of a particularly loyal group of buyers.

Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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 1 comment
  • Myron Myron on Apr 10, 2024

    Lotsa luck

    the administration is gonna kill this as well as all other SUVs coming down the pike for mediocre battery cars