Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
Toyota’s 2013 4Runner SUV is the last of a dying breed. Its rugged body-on-frame design allows it to go places many unit-body SUVs can no longer tread. Although not the roomiest or most technologically advanced SUV, the 4Runner’s excellent reputation for longevity coupled with its proven off-road ability makes it a favorite among outdoor adventurers and weekend warriors alike.
You'll Like The 2013 Toyota 4Runner If...
If you need a vehicle that can serve as the family commuter on the weekdays and the family off-road adventurer on the weekends, the 2013 Toyota 4Runner SUV should be at the top of your shopping list.
You May Not Like The 2013 Toyota 4Runner If...
If off-roading or the ability to tow big loads is not a priority, there are roomier, more comfortable and more advanced SUVs than the 4Runner. The 4Runner’s fuel economy is also among the lowest in its class.
Changes to the 2013 Toyota 4Runner are limited to a new switch-type control for the transfer case, replacing the old-fashioned pull lever.
The 4Runner’s interior is both functional and inviting. Drivers will welcome the clear instrumentation with large buttons and rotary knobs for climate and audio controls, especially useful when wearing gloves. Pairing a smartphone using Bluetooth is refreshingly easy and does not require reading the owner’s manual. The large center console has an available 120V AC power outlet to run your laptop or computer games. Power-adjustable front seats are comfortable and provide good support. In the rear, a 40/20/40 split seat offers numerous cargo/seating configurations and also reclines for additional comfort. For 7-passenger seating, a third row (best for children) is available.
The 2013 Toyota 4Runner remains true to its utility heritage, featuring an upright windshield, long roofline and nearly vertical liftgate contributing to its boxy appearance. Impressively, that box can swallow 47.2 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats up. With a large flat front end, bulging fenders and 9.6 inches of ground clearance in the 4-wheel-drive (4WD) version, the 4Runner shows off its rugged personality. Access to the rear cargo is through a single-piece liftgate with a unique power rear window. The SR5 and Trail editions ride on 265/70 mud and snow tires mounted on 17-inch alloy rims while the Limited sports 245/60 tires on 20-inch alloy rims.
On the road, the 2013 4Runner’s drivetrain shines. The Toyota SUV accelerates briskly with an eager 270-hp V6 engine mated to a smooth-shifting 5-speed automatic transmission. Despite being on a truck chassis, the Toyota’s ride is acceptable with its compliant suspension absorbing smaller bumps well. Outward vision is good all-around even with the raised rear-seat headrests, so you can change lanes with confidence. The steering, however, is overly assisted in situations such as parking lots or tight turns and is slow to respond, thus requiring constant corrections. The brakes – a bit "grabby" at times – took a little getting used to as well. At highway speeds, wind noise is sometimes loud enough to interrupt cabin conversations. The 4Runner continues to be a capable off-roader offering part-time and full-time 4-wheel-drive (4WD) systems to confidently assist you on rugged adventures.
The 2013 Toyota 4Runner SUV starts at a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just over $32,000 for the rear-wheel-drive SR5 and tops out at over $46,000 for the full-featured Limited 4×4. Pricing for the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder, Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Honda Pilot is similar to the 4Runner. The Toyota, however, has the highest projected resale value in this competitive set, confirming a wise purchase decision. In fact, Toyota won Kelley Blue Book’s 2012 Best Resale Value Award for Best Brand – the second time in three years. A look at the Fair Purchase Price on KBB.com shows what others are paying for the 4Runner in your area, so be sure to check it out before you purchase.
All 2013 Toyota 4Runners feature Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), and integrated towing receiver hitch with wiring harness. A USB port with iPod connectivity, SiriusXM satellite radio, hands-free phone, trip computer with outside temperature, and three 12V auxiliary power outlets are also standard. The rugged Trail adds part-time 4WD, water-resistant fabric seats, power moonroof, Optitron instrumentation, integrated rearview camera display, electronic locking rear differential, sliding rear cargo deck, and Multi-terrain Select and Crawl control. The Limited features dual-zone automatic climate control, Navigation and Entune, leather-trimmed and heated front seats, push-button starting, and Toyota’s Safety Connect.
Only a few option packages are available on the 2013 Toyota 4Runner. The SR5 Premium Package with Third Row includes the Display Audio with Navigation and Entune, power adjustable leather-trimmed seats, power moonroof, and other interior/exterior upgrades. For the off-road enthusiast, the Trail offers a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) for enhanced wheel articulation over deep ruts and large obstacles. The audiophile can choose the Limited with voice-activated touch-screen DVD navigation system, JBL AM/FM 4-disc CD Changer, 15 speakers including subwoofer, and NavTraffic.
POWER REAR LIFTGATE WINDOWYou can gain access to the 4Runner’s rear cargo space without opening the rear liftgate – especially useful in a tight garage or when someone is parked close behind. As a bonus, you can carry long objects such as lumber out the back window without fuss.SLIDING REAR CARGO DECKThis convenient sliding deck lets you reach your gear in the back, supports 440 pounds, and is handy for your next tailgate party.
Under the Hood
The sole powertrain combination in the Toyota 4Runner for 2013 is a sophisticated 270-hp, 4.0-liter V6 engine mated to a responsive 5-speed automatic transmission. There are three drivetrain choices: 2-wheel drive (2WD) in the SR5 and Limited, part-time 4WD (SR5, Trail), or full-time 4WD (Limited) with a limited-slip, locking center differential. Maximum towing capacity is 5,000 pounds.4.0-liter V6 engine270 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm278 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/22 mpg (2WD), 17/21 mpg (4WD)
The 2013 Toyota 4Runner is the last of its kind, meaning it has shunned the move toward a car-based chassis and retains the same rigid body-on-frame design that, 28 years ago, spawned the original 4Runner. This important distinction means that the 4Runner remains capable of towing heavy loads as well as venturing over rough and rugged terrain. The trade-off for this design, however, is a rather truck-like ride, a narrow and somewhat cramped interior and bit more roll and heave when winding through twisting mountain roads. But, for the true outdoorsperson, the 2013 Toyota 4Runner SUV’s shortcomings are minor compared to its durability and dependability and in the end, that’s all an SUV owner can ask for.