Home Fun StuffAutomotive 2014 Toyota 4Runner Review – For the Outdoor Enthusiasts

2014 Toyota 4Runner Review – For the Outdoor Enthusiasts

by TerriAnn
2014 Toyota 4Runner Review – Off-Road Rugged Family SUV #cars #carshopping

I had always wondered what the difference was between the Toyota Highlander and the Toyota 4Runner. Now I know. The Highlander is a comfortable but modern SUV for the modern family, while the 4Runner is a rugged off-road truck-like vehicle for the outdoorsy clan that braves all sorts of terrain and weather.

2014 Toyota 4Runner Review – Off-Road Rugged Family SUV #cars #carshoppingOne-week vehicle loan was provided for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

2014 Toyota 4Runner Review

The 2014 Toyota 4Runner screams, “Look at me!” It’s a beautiful car with bold features and striking angles. Plus, it’s huge! It sits high and wide and has the overall feel of a small truck. The 20″ rims prop this baby up high and gives it a polished look. This is great for those that love the feel of a truck but will be transporting people rather than lumber most of the time.

Power is one of the 4Runner’s better features. Whether you need to tow your family boat or camper, this can handle it. Need to triumph over mud and snow? This can get you through easily. There were various settings to choose on how you needed to allocate that power, but that was a bit beyond my off-roading expertise (which is like zero). It also tells you what goes where.

2014 Toyota 4Runner Review – Off-Road Rugged Family SUV #cars #carshopping

The 4Runner is easy to drive and pretty comfortable as well. It does take some getting used to the dimensions but you can get around just fine. I just had my daughter and her friends stand at the corners so I could get a better idea of where the car edges were from the driver’s seat. Parking assist sensors only seem to go off when you’re within millimeters of something so I didn’t want to rely on those.

Steering is a bit on the light side and suspension leans toward the tighter side. Turning radius is not good at all and feels top-heavy on corners. However, you do feel like you have a good amount of control. The back area has a very heavy door and might be challenging to close (it’s not automatic) for those vertically challenged. I’d also suggest getting some kind of net or something as things tend to fall out of the raise cargo area.

2014 Toyota 4Runner Review – Off-Road Rugged Family SUV #cars #carshopping

One fun feature is the additional step that is automatically lowered and raised on each side when the door is opened or closed. You have the ease of getting or out of the car without dealing with the wider sides to accidentally scrape. This feature can be turned off if you don’t like it though.

2014 Toyota 4Runner Review – Off-Road Rugged Family SUV #cars #carshopping

Missing the Modern Touch

In this day of age of current technology, time somehow skipped the 4Runner. The middle panel looks dated in design and material. All the buttons and dials are chunky and “just there”. Despite the size, it still seems hard to find everything as they’re all scattered about. This area really, really needs the update other Toyota models have already gotten! On the other hand, it all looks very solid and will likely last for years.

Many menu options are hidden in the “apps” option, including navigation. Speaking of which, the navigation is difficult to follow as the screen is very small and low resolution. That also make it hard to touch tiny icons in the corners.

2014 Toyota 4Runner Review – Off-Road Rugged Family SUV #cars #carshopping

The third row of seats have some issues. I love that they have a nice, raised cushion so your knees don’t touch your nose. They actually feel pretty good to sit in. However, there’s almost no headroom. It’s quite easy to feel claustrophobic there. I found out that the window rolling down in the back isn’t just for the dogs, it’s for your extra passengers. Otherwise, there’s practically no air circulation there.

You also have to do some contortionist work to get in and out of the third row. Unlike the Toyota Sienna which had a smooth one-handed operation, putting these seats up and down required several steps, took some muscle, and elicited many grunts in the process. Let’s just say that there’s no ladylike way of working with these seats. Oh, and raising the bottom portion of the seat will likely break some nails so be warned…

2014 Toyota 4Runner Review – Off-Road Rugged Family SUV #cars #carshopping

Great Choice For Certain Families

The 2014 Toyota 4Runner seems like a dependable SUV that can take a lot of abuse from an active owner. It will get you where you need to go, even in the least ideal road conditions. Yet, it lacks any finesse. Everything has to be slammed or pushed or some similar movement. That also means you don’t have to feel like you have to be so careful using it.

So if you’re a lover of all outdoor activities and don’t want to worry about “getting things dirty” or breaking fragile pieces, than this just might be what you’re looking for. However, if you like the luxury features of other SUVS and are just attracted to the size alone, this might not be in your top five.

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Raijean S September 1, 2014 - 9:41 pm

How cute is the 4runner… I want to try one.

Crystal Green September 2, 2014 - 3:30 am

This is a great review of this vehicle. I am not convinced it’s the vehicle for me at all, but I can see where it still holds it’s appeal for other drivers.

Colleen September 2, 2014 - 10:59 am

All the reasons why i love my Toyota Sienna, we have used it in so many ways in just the few months since we bought it and it has been so worth it.

Crystal September 2, 2014 - 2:06 pm

One of the most important criteria for me is that it can fit my entire family. I think the kids would tired of the seats after a while. However, the 4Runner looks so much cooler than my minivan. I think it would be a better fit for my mountain biking husband.

Lisa September 2, 2014 - 9:37 pm

I was thinking the same thing. My minivan is soo not nice looking.

Lauren Harmon September 2, 2014 - 2:12 pm

I absolutely love the Toyota 4 runner, it seems like it has several great pros with a few cons that don’t change my mind about the car over all! I have a 2011 car and the dash on it looks way more old school than this – I feel like I’m behind the times! Maybe it’s time to upgrade to a Toyota!

Shannon Schmid September 2, 2014 - 2:19 pm

I love all the pros and cons you talked about with this model – truly helpful! I’ll be checking this model out next time we look for a new car!

LyndaS September 2, 2014 - 3:05 pm

I appreciate your review. I was thinking that might be a good option for my husband over a Tundra. Now I am thinking that maybe an extended cab Tundra just might work. He needs something big and reliable to pull his boat.

Karen September 2, 2014 - 3:37 pm

That is a very nice looking vehicle. I love how much room it has too.

Liz Mays September 2, 2014 - 4:54 pm

You absolutely give the best car reviews of anyone I know, and I mean that. I hope they bring the 4Runner updates into future designs.

robyn September 2, 2014 - 5:46 pm

I like the look of it! I also like the idea of not worrying about things breaking and getting dirty!

Krissy September 2, 2014 - 6:57 pm

That is the type of vehicle I need! Running around with 3 kids and a dog each week can be rough on a smaller vehicle. I love Toyota’s!

Kimberly Grabinski September 2, 2014 - 7:12 pm

It sure is pretty! We have some tall folks in our family though so I’m not sure that 3rd row would cut it for us.

Crystal September 2, 2014 - 9:56 pm

The 2014 Toyota 4Runner is beautiful! I have to agree, though, that the 3rd row seating just wouldn’t do. My kids are tall and they wouldn’t fit at all. But I do love some of the technology on board and the organizational features!

Tammy Litke (@threedifferent) September 2, 2014 - 10:33 pm

I think the trade off of having an off road worthy vehicle as opposed to all the tech gear inside is likely worth it for those that would use it for its intended purpose. Those third row seats in a lot of the vehicles seem to be for only using occasionally when you absolutely have to – not something one would use everyday!

HilLesha September 2, 2014 - 11:39 pm

Like any vehicle, it sounds like it has a few quirks, but it’s a beautiful vehicle, nonetheless! 🙂

Anne - Mommy Has to Work September 3, 2014 - 4:15 am

Probably not good for my tall family. But it sure does look nice.

Melissa September 3, 2014 - 5:38 am

Great review! I love that you gave lots of pros and cons so people could decide what is the best vehicle for them. I think that this vehicle would be a great choice for many.

Chelle @ Oh Just Stop Already September 3, 2014 - 6:44 am

I used to want a 4Runner when I was younger the older models ’95-’00 are the perfect body style to take off-road. Love the new look but the lack of space in the 3rd row is a deal breaker for this family. We’re a family of 7 and NEED that space.

Audrey at Barking Mad! September 3, 2014 - 7:05 am

We’ve been thinking about looking at 4Runners for a while now because we are constantly on the go in the summer, and because our daughter snowboards from late November through April, need a reliable vehicle that can handle all sorts of winter terrain. I have no doubt that 4Runner can do that, however after seeing your review – ESPECIALLY where that 3rd row is concerned and the smallness and outdated front dash and navigation system, we might just decide to stick with our Honda Pilot (we’ve had three now) for a bit longer until Toyota tweaks things. Looking at your pics of the third row set up and almost zero headroom is really a deal breaker for us.

valmg @ Mom Knows It All September 3, 2014 - 4:24 pm

Love the details you give, particularly about size. My oldest (and me too) are very tall. He hates being squashed in the back with no leg and /or headroom.

Kathy September 3, 2014 - 7:03 pm

I have always wondered what the difference was too. I am looking for a new car next year and this was very helpful!

vanessa: thequeenofswag September 3, 2014 - 7:09 pm

Great car review! It gives us something to think about when we go shopping for our next toyota!

Kelsey Apley September 4, 2014 - 5:15 am

Holy Moly, what a beauty! I love SUV’s and this one is pretty fancy inside and I love the color and design! I think it might be a little short on the roof spacing for my husband though!

Ty September 4, 2014 - 7:09 am

I’ve always wanted a 4Runner but my husband doesn’t want one. Maybe one day though.

Jen - Life With Levi September 5, 2014 - 11:47 am

You had me giggling out loud with your photos of closing the trunk. I have the same problem, but would be willing to deal with it for a fun day with a 4runner.

Shell Feis September 7, 2014 - 2:09 pm

I bought a new car last weekend and this is one that we looked at. We didn’t end up getting it- partly because of the lack of modern stuff- but it is a great car!

TerriAnn van Gosliga September 7, 2014 - 10:15 pm

What did you end up getting? I’d love to hear your thoughts on why you decided on that model and if you’re 100% happy with it!

Shell Feis September 9, 2014 - 12:11 am

We ended up with the 2014 Nissan Rogue SV. It just had so many features for the price and was just the right size for us. So far we are completely happy with it, but we’ve only had it for a week so I’m sure we will find something annoying eventually 🙂

Theresa Gould @ Faith and Family Reviews September 7, 2014 - 6:34 pm

This is a great review, I think we’d need a car we don’t have to worry about breaking 🙂

Jenn September 7, 2014 - 8:37 pm

I can imagine there would be some less than lady like sounds made getting into the third row. I like the room though and a net would be ncessary.

Karen September 15, 2014 - 7:02 pm

I like that this has an accessible place for tissues and such, and that it is high up off the road. I apprecaite the step that comes out, too. But, my husband is 6 feet tall, so he might not fit so well in it.

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