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Fans Warn Against this Next-Gen Toyota 4Runner Redesign Feature

Learn about the one thing fans do not want for the next generation 4Runner. Do you agree?

Toyota 4Runner owners are proud to say they own one of the toughest vehicles on the planet.

With its legendary body-on-frame design, 4Runner is built to withstand harsh twisting and pulling and bending. We look forward to hitting the toughest trails and mountains and rivers with confidence and peace of mind.

In short, 4Runner owners “know what they’ve got.”

Next-gen Toyota 4Runner

This is the time of year when we look to what is coming down the pipeline. This year we will be seeing a next-gen 2022 Tundra. Big news here for truck fans and owners.

And if we discuss Toyota Tundra, naturally we may also wonder about its counterparts too – Tacoma and 4Runner.

Toyota is famously secretive with potential breaking news and updates on new models. Until it is ready to share. We really do not know when Tacoma and 4Runner will be redesigned.

Time to focus on Toyota 4Runner and what is next.

I have heard talk about a next-gen 2022 4Runner. And a next-gen 2023 4Runner. And a next-gen 2025 4Runner.

VIDEO YOU MAY ENJOY: Crawl control demo on Tacoma and 4Runner.

All in the last month. Plenty of rumors and speculation. I will believe it when I see it. Next thing I know, you will try to tell me that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father or something.

We just do not know when 4Runner will be redesigned. Yet.

Next-gen 4Runner wish list

In the past year I have polled Toyota 4Runner owners and enthusiasts about their “wish list” features for the next generation model.

Fans of my “Toyotajeff” YouTube channel and my Instagram page and my Torque News column have weighed in often on this topic.

For example, listen to what Leo is thinking. “I guess they might wanna keep the same 4.0 for regular models, plus maybe a hybrid system for hybrid models, and a new 6-speed transmission. The biggest change might still occur on appearances and gimmicks though. Really not too much to change in the basic mechanical system unless they wanna risk the reliability and longevity of this perfect truck.”

Digitaldoc wrote. “4Runner is way overdue for a powertrain upgrade. The 4.0L V-6 was a great engine, but needs better fuel economy, and power for the size. The simple engine choice for the next gen is a 3.5L V-6 with the 6 spd. I would like to see a turbo 4, like a 2.0T with an 8 spd that should give us equivalent power with better fuel economy. A nice upgrade would be a 3.0L V-6 turbo for more power, but Toyota is not too ambitious, so doubt that would happen.”

Jason commented. “My bet is the 4Runner will progress into a unibody longitudinal engine platform with RWD, AWD and 4x4 with low range versions non-turbo 3.5 V6 and 8 spd AT. Doesn’t cannibalize Highlander sales. In fact, it’ll be closely related to the Jeep Grand Cherokee which has good yearly sales. For hardcore body on frame lovers Toyota should bring a new Land Cruiser, either the Prado or a 70 series with manual transmission choice. It’ll need it to face the Wrangler, the upcoming Bronco and the return of the Nissan Xterra. The large Land Cruiser 200 series should get a turbocharged Inline 6 with hybrid drivetrain like Mercedes does. Diesels: Toyota diesels are underpowered for US drivers preferences. V8: yes, please keep at least one.”

One thing 4Runner fans do not want

When looking at all the comments and feedback, I began seeing a common theme developing. There was one feature I saw multiple times that Toyota 4Runner fans would NOT like to see when it comes time to redesign our beloved SUV.

VIDEO: Many accessories for your 4Runner.

Nick warned. “Whatever you do. PLEASE don’t make it unibody. Almost every other company has cheaped out with this class of vehicle. Please, don’t kill the six... refine it!”

“Couldn’t agree more. Full frame is a must. 4Runner is last of its kind in this size/class. Don’t cheapen them up with that unibody crap. V6 is solid refine it. 4Runner stands alone one of a kind.” Suggested David.

“4Runner is the last true SUV left. Please TOYOTA do not give us a unibody frame.” Added Kyle.

Glenn was straight to the point. “If the next 4Runner is a unibody count me out!”

Time for your Toyota 4Runner comments

Does it make a difference to you if the 6th generation 4Runner is built with a unibody or body-on-frame?

If Toyota changes the frame design, how will that affect whether you buy one or not?

Are there any special features you want, or do not want, for sure?

Thanks for reading everyone. See you next story when I discuss my evaluation of 2021 GR Supra 2.0.

- Details falling into place for 2022 Tundra
- Next-gen Toyota Tacoma vs Next-gen Toyota 4Runner: who needs it more?

Follow Jeff Teague on social media:

- My Toyotajeff Website
- Torque News Toyota - my regular column
- YouTube channel - My "Toyotajeff" Toyota reviews
- Facebook page "Toyotajeff"
- Instagram page @toyotajeff1
- Twitter @toyotajeff1

Thank you everyone for following me.


Chandler McElroy (not verified)    April 2, 2021 - 7:59PM

Please add a manual transmission as an option. FJ cruisers had them so why not the new 4 Runner. I have a 6 sp FJ and love it. Would buy the new 4 Runner if it also comes with a manual.

Chris (not verified)    March 29, 2023 - 3:33PM

In reply to by Chandler McElroy (not verified)

I also have the 6-speed manual. Factory ordered with the TRD short shifter package - it took 6 months from the factory to receive. Love it. Hoping for a 4Runner successor designed with the same philosophy…

Keith Pinion (not verified)    April 2, 2021 - 8:03PM

My wife and I bought a 2020 offroad premium model 4runner. We love it! It's everything you could ask for in an suv. If it were a unibody vehicle, we would have chosen something else. This truck is ready for anything! An off-road utility vehicle should be on a frame! Anything else can't perform as well! SUVs were bred from trucks! It's a truck!

Nick (not verified)    April 2, 2021 - 10:13PM

All I know is if they cheap out and make the next gen 4runners unibody I for one will be out and trying out the Bronco instead.

Larry (not verified)    April 3, 2021 - 12:58AM

Frame on makes the 4runner unique among SUVs so changing to unibody will mean the end of the 4runner Era. Will instantly increase the value of all the old ones.

Bill T (not verified)    April 3, 2021 - 8:15AM

If we got a 70 or Prado in the US, then I would be okay with the 4runner going unibody, as long as that 70 or prado was reasonably priced like the 4runner. 'Froaders like us would not buy it but most 4runner owners are soccer moms and mall readers anyway.

As for the engine, the reason it hasn't changed is because the reliability beats almost any engine of its type, and any redesign might mess that up.

Oscar Sherman (not verified)    April 3, 2021 - 8:29AM

I own a 2018 4Runner and I enjoy driving this beast daily. I wouldn't look at another 4Runner if they made it into a unibody (couldn't). Toyota should retune the engine for better fuel economy and find ways to keep it body on frame and decrease the weight. I'm all for the 6 speed trans if the power increases with greater torque. And please make them sit level without the rake. Better fuel economy (22 city/28 hwy) more power (keep the v6) and slightly increase the interior room and watch the units move off the lots.

A Ghost to Most (not verified)    April 3, 2021 - 10:13AM

A 4Runner isn't a 4Runner if it isn't body on frame.
It's a Highlander. Nice car, but not for Colorado rock ledge roads.

Johng (not verified)    April 3, 2021 - 10:55AM

Unibody - no
Turbo - Hell no
I like the engine / tranny combo they have now, but I also drive a 3rd gen, so gears, gas milage and power are not my priority, just reliability. The reality is that it's getting harder for toyota to keep the 4 runner alive, so I think we are at the end of an era.

Crash (not verified)    September 6, 2021 - 1:56AM

In reply to by Johng (not verified)

I can't afford one anyway and reliability is most important. Not what size touchscreen is inside. If I have a change of fortune and am able to afford one, I certainly won't buy it if it goes to a softroader like the new rugged nissan pathfinder hahaha! An econobox corolla is over 20 grand. All new cars are just too expensive because of all the added smart technology junk. Give me manual windows, doors and transmissions. Stupid thing is most idiots will spend 40 plus grand on a new vehicle whether they can afford it or not and that's part of why they are expensive.

John Tipton Massey (not verified)    April 3, 2021 - 11:14AM

I just got a new 4 runner this year and love because it is a true s.u.v. if become something like every other such know a unibody I will have no chose to look else where or get a well take care of used one. I agree the engine and transmission could use a little updating but other then that I love the thing. If you want a squishy suv then get an escape, renegade, blazer.

Dave (not verified)    April 3, 2021 - 2:08PM

In total agreement that a unibody is a non-starter, but then Toyota must know that! Better fuel economy would be nice. And keep all the various trim options (ours is 2016 SR5 Premium 4x4). On thing I don't hear much about is lack of seat comfort? Around town not an issue, but we bought it to travel too, sometimes 2-4 day road trips. Nav system has got to have Apple Play, another non starter if it doesn't.

Ben McMillan (not verified)    April 3, 2021 - 2:36PM

PLEASE DONT MAKE IT A UNIBODY. If they go that route I will have to look elsewhere for my next SUV. Lastly bring back the 2uz-fe engine or any 8 cylinder in general. I think the 6 is underpowered.

Bill (not verified)    April 3, 2021 - 3:11PM

I have purchased three 4Runners in the last 10 years, all new. The last was a 2016 Limited. I am a big guy and since 1987 had wanted a 4Runner but could never comfortably fit until I bought my first in 2011. I have since learned the many positives of the renowned abilities of a 4Runner. Not least in the the basics of a 4x4 true SUV is what this truck can do, to great extent, because of it’s body on frame construction. I plan to keep my current 4Runner for a few more years. If, however, the changes in the next gen 4Runner include a unibody design, it will be my last.

Scott (not verified)    April 3, 2021 - 6:48PM

I have been a car guy my whole life and my son suggested a 4 Runner Limited 4x4 and love this truck. The body on frame was the deciding factor. I would like to see more power and torque....we didn’t buy these for fuel economy. Small V-8.

Marc Conner (not verified)    April 3, 2021 - 10:01PM

Yes I bought the new 2020 Nightshade. It is the most amazing 4 Runner I've been in. Lots of my friends have older models My nightshade came completely with every option that Toyota offered I decided to not have the automatic sideboards La besides that I've had it a year and I got 13,000 miles on it. Just totally fantastic I get so many comments especially the wheels the 20in black gloss awesome totally spoked perfect fit Toyota engineers spent some time thinking about this all the way along to the black gloss tailpipe the third row is a very comfortable if your under 15 did ride I set back there on a trip was quite tight but it wasn't uncomfortable good airflow the air condition all the way through the vehicle the back window automatically goes up and down is an awesome feature

William Santos (not verified)    April 4, 2021 - 12:34AM

It would be really nice to be able to put 33in or even 35in tires on without cutting pieces of the vehicle off. Also different gearing ratio options would be nice, the 5th gen is geared way too tall.

Jeffrey Kerns (not verified)    April 4, 2021 - 7:39AM

Please keep the full frame platform as opposed to the unibody. It is on of the features which make the 4Runner a GREAT vehicle.

Warren (not verified)    April 15, 2021 - 3:36AM

Keep the frame on body design. I have owned 4 different generations of the 4Runner and enjoyed them all. The current. V6 motor if maintained is the most reliable of it kind . Friends had them with over 400k and still running . What I would like is a 600 hp fully electric 4Runner option that can get 500 miles to a charge. Certainly doable as seen in the hummer and if Toyota does it , it will be reliable.

julianna M. (not verified)    June 1, 2021 - 12:25PM

Keep the full frame! Keep the slide down rear window (another unique great feature)! I miss the drop down tailgate. I've owned 4runners since 1986 and getting too old to lift my kayaks on the roof.
Improved fuel efficiency is another wish. I would consider hybrid version if available.
More color options would be nice

Mike O (not verified)    June 8, 2021 - 8:39PM

I just bought a 2021 4runner, just turned 3,000 miles love it! I wasn’t wanting to wait for the next gen to find out they changed everything good about the 4 runner . The 4.0 V6 with the 5 speed is and has been bullet proof , when I heard they might use the 3.5 V6 ,it was a no brained to buy now, and get a 4runner still built in Japan,not built in Texas or Mexico.... I don’t have a heavy foot , so gas mileage isn’t a big issue for me.I’m getting 21.5 -23.5 miles per gallon, engine has lots of torque, does all I need .
I’ve wanted a 4runner for years, now I have one !
No regrets what so ever, nice rig !
I upgraded from a 2015 Tacoma sr5 access cab 4cyl which I also bought new.

Nate Roberts (not verified)    August 4, 2021 - 8:33AM

I own a 2013 4Runner and am seriously considering trading up when the 6th gen arrives. It will be body on frame. Anyone who has done a little research knows about the TNGA-F platform. It is body on frame and doesn't support a V8 so people can stop making weird speculations about unibodies or V8's. I love the current 4.0 V6 but would like to see refinements and an 8 speed to boost economy, as well as a higher towing capacity (7500lbs) and better brakes. Standard lockers would be nice too. If Toyota doesn't come through, I'll just keep my 2013 forever.

Mike O (not verified)    September 7, 2021 - 12:09PM

Rumors were the 4 runners weren’t going to be built in Japan, possibally Mexico or Texas…
I wasn’t chancing a redesign that would ruin the 4runner…. I bought a brand new 4runner in March of 2021….. 6,000 miles on it now absolutely love it, much better than my 2015 Tacoma that I traded in with 150,000 miles that still looked like new and with the used prices through the roof I got $14,600 for my trade, stepping up to the 4 runner was a no brained for me, I wanted the 4.0/5 speed bullet proof drivetrain, wasn’t chancing a smaller engine with turbo, a unproven transmission and any chance of it going unibody instead of body on frame….. I’m very happy with my choice to buy the 2021 4 runner, over waiting to see what they changed for model yr 2023
“ the next gen 4 runner”

Margaret (not verified)    January 4, 2023 - 8:32PM

Yes, keep frame on body, but also so want a 4Runner with a back seat that folds flat again, with no gaps, for sleeping and hauling.