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Latest Launch Date for Next-Gen Toyota 4Runner May Surprise You

Learn about Toyota’s plans for the newest generation 4Runner and when we can expect it.


We know when the next generation 4Runner will be making its way to you. Correction. We think we know when the next generation 4Runner will be making its way to you. I say it this way because in the automotive industry, things are more fluid and can change from news report to news report.

Look at the new Tundra redesign as an ideal example. For the entire last year we thought it would be a 2021 model year, and now reports coming out of the Toyota world claim we will be seeing a next-gen 2022 Tundra to be released at the end of 2021.

Watch our video report of when the next-gen Toyota 4Runner may be launching and click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube for daily automotive news reports.

How about our beloved 4Runner though? This huge SUV has a well-earned reputation for long-term toughness and dependability. It also has a wide range of trim levels designed to satisfy people looking for practicality, for luxury, and for off-roading ability. And then throw in new Nightshade and Venture grades as well. Toyota 4Runner has it all.

Or does it? How about a new redesign and when will we see it?

2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road Magnetic Gray profile and front endThe latest on next-gen 4Runner

Again we look to one of Toyota’s most beloved SUVs of all time to see just how quickly things change, and also just as much how they stay the same.

Here is what we know about time frame. I have heard enough reports within Toyota circles over the last year to be 90% sure we were looking at a newly redesigned 2022 Toyota 4Runner. However, just like Tundra, this timetable seems to be flexible and has changed (which is fine, by the way).

As of today, I feel we are looking at a sixth generation 2023 4Runner. This will be released to the public sometime in 2022, more than likely in the second half of the year.

Look for new exterior and interior styling, along with plenty of technology and safety additions as well. Also, one of the biggest changes will be to the powertrain. Currently 2020 4Runner uses a combination of a 4.0-liter V6 engine and a 5-speed automatic transmission. This produces 270 horsepower and 278 lb.-ft. torque.

VIDEO REVIEW: Compare all 2020 Toyota 4Runner trim levels to pick the best one for you. You will find over 600 Toyota videos like this on my Toyotajeff YouTube channel.

Why change 4Runner anyway?

For many fans and enthusiasts, there is no urgent need to completely overhaul 4Runner. New owners are buying an SUV that should last hundreds of thousands of miles, be trustworthy while offering peace of mind, and hold its value better than just about any other vehicle sold in America.

On the flip side, we are in the midst of the longest continuous same generation Toyota 4Runner in its long and storied history. This current fifth-generation was first launched for the 2009 model year and refreshed for 2014 4Runners. We are obviously in the 2020 model year now.

It will soon be time to redesign.

Potential buyers in the market for a 2020 4Runner should be pleased with new additions and upgrades, though, to this year’s model. Look for standard Toyota Safety Sense, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto with larger multimedia touch screens, a modernized multi-information display, and rear-seat USB ports. It is a very good time to buy a 4Runner.

2020 Toyota 4Runner SR5 interior graphite interiorTime for your thoughts on Toyota 4Runner

I am of the mindset that Toyota is working to make sure they hit a home run with this next-gen 4Runner offering. It will be worth the wait. First and foremost, we all want Toyota’s quality and reliability to continue with 4Runner. Next, let’s see a new powertrain that improves power and gas mileage. I would love to see what a 4Runner Hybrid would look and perform like as well.

What do you think? What is the ideal new powertrain for next-gen 4Runner? Would you be open to considering a 4Runner Hybrid? What other features would you like to see?

Thanks for reading everyone. See you in the next story when I detail potential powertrain choices for the next-gen 2023 Toyota 4Runner.

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YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY: Hear Torque News analysis of changes to the 2020 4Runner. Please subscribe to Torque News YouTube channel.


John Dulemba (not verified)    March 4, 2020 - 9:43PM

I leased my 2020 for three years specifically because I want to see the 2022 model, and if there will be a hybrid model. I'm also waiting to see how the EV SUV market shapes up.

Digitaldoc (not verified)    March 4, 2020 - 10:14PM

Toyota's idea for a redesign of the 4Runner is they trade the 5 spd tranny and upgrade it to a 6 spd keeping the rest the same. After owning a 2004 4Runner for 14 years, Toyota lost my business with their glacial pace of upgrades that are awaited to modernize the 4Runner.

Jose (not verified)    March 5, 2020 - 9:12AM

In reply to by Digitaldoc (not verified)

Despite the glacial pace, durability and dependability is the hallmark of the 4runner. Toyota will see me if they maintain what makes the 4runner great. My1998 SR @355k still works great. Cosmetic changes can negatively impact durability.

Digitaldoc (not verified)    March 5, 2020 - 2:38PM

In reply to by Jose (not verified)

While I had my 4Runner for 14 yrs, the reliability was not as stellar as folks think. For example, the front brake calipers kept on rusting shut with the pistons jammed, and would lockon to the brakes and rotors wearing the whole assembly down. This happened 6 times on the 14 years making for some very expensive brake jobs. Should have been recalled as this was a major safety issue, and I have never had to replace my calipers on any other vehicle like this.

I could care less about cosmetic changes, but the powertrain is damn thirsty with gas, and needs to be modernized as there are plenty of smaller engines than the 4.0L V-6, that offer more power for better fuel efficiency. Toyota seems to delay this as the 4Runner for all of its shortcomings still sells reasonably well, as it is in a good niche, and faces little competition.

Johnny Sailboats (not verified)    August 30, 2020 - 12:08PM

In reply to by Digitaldoc (not verified)

You must be doing something very strange to create that situation. I have an '04. My original, and I do mean original brakes lasted over 100,000 miles. If you maintain your vehicle these things are bullet proof. Impeccable reliability. I just changed the original timing belt at 203,000 miles. J

Cool Senior (not verified)    March 5, 2020 - 2:34PM

What is interesting is with the current gas tank problem with the 2019 Toyota RAV 4 Hybrid Toyota continues to manufacture and sell to the public defective vehicles. I purchased this vehicle in September of 1969 and had an immediate problem filling the gas tank to its full capacity. This is not a dealer problem, but a manufacturers. I'm waiting for some smart Attorney to file a Class Action Lawsuit against Toyota for manufacturing and selling defective vehicles.

Forever_Student (not verified)    March 5, 2020 - 9:50PM

I drive a 2005, and there's just no reason to upgrade at this point. The engine in my 2005 is 99% the same as the one in the 2020, and that engine was first introduced in 2003. Sure, in 2009 it had some recamming, and they moved the easy-to-change oil filter to a pain in the butt location underneath, but it's still the same awesome, bulletproof, long life, poor mileage, weak engine. Toyota is long overdue for an upgrade, and while I do love the way the 5th gen looks, it's in its eleventh model year without a major update. Toyota should have updated the 4runner 5 years ago. I was really expecting a 2021 update released in 2020, and would be even more disappointed in Toyota if they push back to the dates you've proposed.

Toyota has been falling back technologically for a decade or more. Sure, they make durable and long-lasting vehicles, but if you want efficiency, technology, electrification, power, or performance, you've gotta go somewhere else. They're just far behind on all of those fronts.

I would love to see a dual drive train in the next 4runner: 6spd manual and hybrid. A 4.0-4.6L v8 with 12.0:1 compression and a 6 spd manual, with 300/300 and 20+ mpg should be very possible, and the 3.5L v6 from the Tacoma, paired with a hybrid electric motor should make 350/300+, and might be able to manage 25+.

JDM rarity (not verified)    April 1, 2020 - 8:27PM

I owned a 2003 4runner sport with the 4.7 liter V8. I never experienced a problem and it ran like a fine tuned machine until I sold it last year. It was simply having age issues with the seats starting to fall apart and the dash cracking from the hot Cali sun. I was surprised to get $6500 for a 16 year old vehicle. I never had the brake issues that Digitaldoc posted. I always used the OEM pads as my mechanic advised. The one thing that sets the 4runner apart form others, is that it is still assembled in Japan where the average line worker takes deep pride in what they do and would be ashamed of producing a vehicle that lacks quality and craftsmanship. So after looking at the 2020 4 runners I opted for a used Lexus GX460 which is basically a fancy 4runner underneath the skin. I found one with 33,000 miles for $34,000 with a 2 year Lexus certified warranty. Same crappy gas mileage but at least I have more safety features and ventilated front seats. The ride is quieter than the runner but still has the offroad chops. The one big thing I miss is the tail gate with roll down window. The GX460 has a swinging gate. Once the warranty is over, I can start my upgrades with new wheels, tires, and a winch bumper. So for those of you looking at new 4Runners, you might want to save some money and buy a used GX460 that has been garage parked and never taken off road. I think I'll be driving this until all the future 4runners are either hydrogen fuel cell or full electric.

digitaldoc (not verified)    April 2, 2020 - 11:28PM

In reply to by JDM rarity (not verified)

I wonder if the V8 version had different brakes than the V6 as the issue was quite pervasive. I doubt the brake pads used would make any difference as the underlying issue related to rusting and seizing calipers. I was also surprised at how well my vehicle held its value when I traded it in. After Toyota never acknowledging, nor addressing the brake issue, it led me to purchase from another manufacturer.

Robnob (not verified)    April 5, 2020 - 9:07AM

Hybrid 4Runner wtf for? It's an offroad vehicle, not a city stop and go traffic monster with CVT transmission and engine auto start stop, sound like you should buy a rav4 or a highlander and leave the 4runner alone. Maybe give it a little more power, add an option for a small cylinder v8 4.0L-4.2L just for more sales, but really who needs more power from the 4runner are you really trying to race your 5000Lbs SUV, keep the 4.0 V6 with some updates for a little better gas mileage. MANUAL TRANSMISSION would be the best addition possible it's the only thing I wish I could have optioned on my 5th gen. D**m you Tacoma and your Manual transmission why couldn't you share!

Kevin Lincoln (not verified)    April 22, 2020 - 4:16PM

I have a 2013 Toyota FJ. Basically the same engine. I would be very interested in a hybrid 4runner. Also. A redesign that would make the vehicle lighter. If Ford can make an all aluminum F150 pickup truck. Surely Toyota can figure something out. Cheers!

Joe Grahe (not verified)    May 5, 2020 - 11:32PM

How about using doorlock actuators that arent disposable. I have a 2015 that is on its third driver side actuator and the second passenger side actuatot just stopped working as well.

Ron Bergeron (not verified)    May 31, 2020 - 5:32PM

In reply to by Joe Grahe (not verified)

An extended warranty would have paid for itself with the price of those actuators. I now need all 4 replaced on my '08 and dread the thought of spending a $1000+

Pat Lachance 666 (not verified)    May 10, 2020 - 12:37AM

I just purchased a 2011 (and had to let go my manually transmitted Cr-V in the process) and I'm glad I did because this beast is awesome. In the future, I absolutely want a manual transmission in the next gen 4Runner but we all know that's not happening (come on Toyota: share the Tacoma's tranny with his bigger cousin!). The real question is: why would I have bought a younger unit? They're all the same awesomely capable trucks and they all keep a crazy value. Might as well opt for a model that's going to give you top bangs for your bucks! Time to start putting money aside for a 2025 model to be bought in 2030!

Morrey Thomas (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 11:11AM

I have had my eye on the 4Runner for years but the fuel mileage held me back. Plus the safety features such as blind spot monitoring have lagged behind the Lexus RX that my wife drives. I have a Silverado 4wd pickup truck which gets better fuel mileage that the 4Runner, so having a SUV is more of a car to me than an off road rock climber.

Is owning a vehicle such as the 4Runner a blatant disrespect to this vehicle? I'm sure some say yay while some say nay. If the redesign addresses fuel economy even with a non-hybrid powerplant, I'm in for sure.

Ron Bergeron (not verified)    May 31, 2020 - 5:38PM

In reply to by Morrey Thomas (not verified)

It's hard to compare the 4runner to an RX....You should look at the Hylander for a better comparison. I don't foresee the 4runner becoming a hybrid. While the vehicle may be used by suburban families for urban travel only, the 4runner is not designed to intrigue that segment.

mike (not verified)    July 5, 2020 - 11:36PM

Yes I think they should keep everything it's a great build and reliable truck except for the transmission they should at least have 6 Speed -Plus automatic transmission better gas mileage and smoother shifting

Michael Lamberti (not verified)    July 18, 2020 - 9:21PM

I have had 3 four runners, the current is a 2015 with 103k. I have not had one problem with this truck.
Complaint the seats are not comfortable and need more thigh support.

Jason (not verified)    July 30, 2020 - 5:18PM

The power train has needed an upgrade for 4 years now. What a disappointment. Every time I test drive one, I refuse to buy one because of the underpowered performance and terrible efficiency.

Dale (not verified)    August 4, 2020 - 5:15PM

I bought my 1997 Toyoya 4Runner Limited new in the fall of 1996. My Toyota is still my daily drive. The car has held up well. I like to ski so it is the perfect car in the mountains. At the 250,000 mile mark I had a head gasket leak and I had the whole engine rebuilt for $5000 and a new starter along with a new radiator. My transmission is still going strong but I am guessing that will go out soon. Two years after the engine built the car is running perfectly. I know this car is based off a truck frame but I would like to see the new the 4Runners have a better not so bouncy rocky ride. The fan base will still want Toyota to use a truck frame. Jeep and Toyota's are the most popular off road SUV's out there. I used to have a Jeep before I bought the Toyota and that was in the shop every few months. I will never buy a Jeep product again. I would like to see a complete redesign of the interior of the new 4Runners. Their interiors right now are really dated. I added all new foam to my seats to make them more comfortable. I did test drive the new 4Runners last year and compared to SUV's from Audi, Kia, Mazda or even the Highlander the new 4Runners seats are not that comfortable. The Audi Q5 has the most comfortable SUV seats. With the new 4Runner's there is not enough body support and good foam in the bottom of their seats. My 97 seats are more comfortable. I would like to see some new seat designs and Toyota needs a good tan leather interior color. My oak color seats are still a very nice color. I looked at the new models on the Toyota site and the upgraded models only come in a black or an ugly dark redwood brown color. Like to see a new engine with more horsepower and at least 6-8 gears plus a hybrid option. Be nice if Toyota offered a 10 year warranty like Kia gives you on their new cars.

Rob (not verified)    September 12, 2020 - 12:11AM

I have an ‘04 v8. and am waiting for an electric 4Runner. Will be sad to go rivian/ford if that is the only choice.