The Toyota 4Runner almost didn’t survive. Once the company’s best-selling SUV, its sales had dwindled as customers picked the smoother-riding, more fuel-efficient Toyota Highlander crossover instead of the 4Runner’s heavier-duty off-road capability and towing capacity. When a recession struck in 2008, leaving money scarce and gas prices high, it seemed logical that Toyota would discontinue the 4Runner.
Instead, Toyota fully redesigned the vehicle for the 2010 model year and doubled down on its image and capability. Gone was the sleek 4Runner in favor of an aggressive, get-down-to-business box. That flavor became a runaway success. The 4Runner has received few updates over the past decade — revised styling in 2014, and additional safety and infotainment features last year — but sales steadily climbed. Though it’s not cheap, starting at $36,765, it’s one of the best-selling mid-size SUVs today. Whether you’re interested in its go-anywhere capability or just its unique vibe, let’s go over the 4Runner’s pros and cons to see if it’s the SUV you want to take home.