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Unleashing the Beast: A Review of the 2024 Toyota 4Runner

Toyota's iconic 4Runner TRD has been turning heads and conquering trails for decades, and the 2024 model is no exception. With its rugged good looks, legendary reliability, and off-road prowess, the 4Runner is ready to take you on the adventure of a lifetime.

By J-F Wright

Thu, May 9, 2024 06:49 AM PST

Images courtesy Toyota.

First things first. How many 4Runner buyers are even going on an adventure? Most seem to be going to work, then the grocery store, and then home. On the off chance they do explore the capabilities of the 4Runner, it seems they do it by navigating over a curb at Whole Foods. So, yeah, the 4Runner does have its fair share of off-road grit, but when was the last time you saw it put to use?


First things first, let's talk about looks. The 2024 4Runner retains that classic, boxy silhouette that we all know and recognize - some seem to love it and others seem to question the stability of something that tall and boxy hurtling down the freeway at 70 mph.

But in all fairness, it is a design that screams adventure from every angle, with muscular fenders, a bold front grille, and beefy tires that look ready to squish anything in their path. The updated LED headlights and taillights add a modern touch, while the roof rack (on our TRD) lets you bring along all your toys for the ride.

Whether you're cruising down the highway or crawling over rocks, the 4Runner does look great, I’ll give it that. It looks like you are one your way to an adventure, wether you are or not. On the flip side, since there are so many 4Runners cruising around town it’s really hard to know who is actually the adventurous type versus who is all looks but no adventure at all.

white Toyota 4Runner
Stick with the white exterior to not make quite the same entrance as the orange...


The 4Runner, again, exudes adventure. This is true for the interior, just as it is for it’s exterior. Again, though, I wonder why so many car buyers choose the illusion of adventure over actual comfort. Sure, the 4Runner is a spacious vehicle with comfortable seats and plenty of space for friends and toys, but it is so over-the-top geared towards adventure that it is lacking in the finesse department.

Yes, the seats are supportive and well-bolstered, with plenty of room for passengers to stretch out on long journeys. The materials feel durable and built to last, with rugged textures that can probably handle whatever you throw at them. If you’re hellbent on buying a 4Runner, I’d go with the leather option, just for the ease of cleaning up any mud or other spills.

Also great is the ample cargo space and clever storage solutions throughout the cabin - you can pack up all your gear with ease.

I would feel like I’m leaving something out if I don’t mention a couple of things though: It’s noticeable that the 2024 4Runner is the last year before Toyota’s major overhaul. We are very much looking forward to the updates promised in the 2025. There are some features in the 2024 that have been added over time, and it seems that the buttons for said features sometimes didn’t really have a natural spot in the cabin, so they were placed wherever there was as spot. The button for the heated steering wheel is hidden behind the steering wheel, below the start ignition button, and the button to turn on the camera view is as far away from the screen where the view will present, next to the door to the left of the steering wheel..

dark colored 2024 Toyota 4Runner
This is not the TRD trim, so it looks a bit more at home in the concrete jungle.

While we are on the subject of buttons, I will say that having a bunch of the off road features accessible by switches and knobs on the ceiling adds a nice, adventurous touch. Kinda makes the 4Runner interior look a bit like an airplane cockpit. Not a bad thing, if you ask me.

Technology and Features

When it comes to tech, the 2024 4Runner has all the bells and whistles you could ask for in the off road technology segment. If you’re looking for technology to make your daily drive more pleasant you might want to check out some other Toyotas - they do have some of the best driver assist features, just not on the 2024 4Runner. The 2024 4Runner has the Toyota Safety Sense features from a couple of generations ago - this package includes adaptive cruise control and some systems to help you stay in your lane, but if you’ve driven the newer iterations of Safety Sense you’ll be disappointed.

No, the real star of the show is the off-road tech, with features like crawl control, multi-terrain select, and locking rear differential that make tackling tough terrain a breeze. Whether you're climbing steep hills or fording shallow streams, the 4Runner has you covered. So, to my point, if you do a lot of off-roading there are a lot of cool features here that you’ll probably be glad you have… But, if you are driving the 4Runner as your daily commuter, that’s a different story.

Driving Characteristics

Is the 4Runner slow? No, not really. But it sure does not thrill in the acceleration department. For climbing a muddy hill the 4Runner will do just fine, actually it’ll do really well, but when getting on the freeway you’ll need to plan your approach a bit.

Is the 4Runner a smooth ride? Absolutely not. If you’re off road then this is not much of a problem, both you and your passengers are expecting to get smacked around a bit. But, if you’re traversing roundabouts rather than bouts of rocks and mud you would probably appreciate a more stable and smooth vehicle. The 4Runner is large and heavy (top-heavy at that) and it will lean in whatever direction momentum has it going. Braking? Watch the hood dip heavily. Turning? Hold on! With the car rolling to the side it can get hard to sit upright…

orange 2024 Toyota 4Runner
If you're going to go with a 4Runner, you might as well make it orange.

Where the 4Runner really shines is off the beaten path. With its rugged body-on-frame construction, high ground clearance, and four-wheel drive, this beast is built to tackle the toughest trails with confidence. Whether you're crawling over rocks, traversing muddy trails, or plowing through snow drifts, the 4Runner's off-road capabilities are sure to impress. But ask yourself: are you really crawling over rocks, traversing muddy trails, or plowing through snow drifts?


The 2024 Toyota 4Runner is a true beast of an SUV that's built to tackle any adventure you throw its way. The iconic engine sound is detectable through the closed windows of any neighbor - true story: I can tell you whenever a 4Runner starts up within earshot, it’s a very special noise. It’s also very loud.

With its rugged good looks and legendary off-road capabilities, it's the perfect companion for thrill-seekers and outdoor enthusiasts. Interestingly, and unfortunately, I think most of the 4Runner owners are more like me: we like the concept of outdoor thrills but have other life commitments standing in our way of actually pursuing any of them. But hey, sometimes a rugged car is all I need to get my dose of the wilderness - even if I’m just driving kids to soccer.

About The Author

J-F Wright's profile picture

J-F Wright

John-Fredrik Wright was born in Sweden, but raised on both sides of the Atlantic. His experience in the automotive industry starts with a summer-job as a host at Volkswagen’s premier showroom in Stockholm. Later, he worked as an instructor at Swedish Active Driving, teaching safe driving (among other things the renowned "elk-avoidance maneuver") and advanced driving techniques.

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